Sound — 8
I'm currently playing a Dillion PRS copy with an ebony fingerboard and plan to get soon get a MIM Fender Standard Stratocaster to balance out my bands sound since it's other guitarist also has a dual-humbucker guitar. Even though logically a Fender should work only half-decently with a humbucker guitar, it actually works pretty well. I play a mixture of rock of all sorts of genres from 1964 to the late 90's, and currently try to write somewhere between Cream-style blues-rock and The Who-esque rock. For the style, it works well. The clean channel seems to be modeled on a 5 Deluxe Reverb, which is by far an excellent amp to model your clean channel on. Granted this little box can't cut it when compared to a real deluxe Reverb, mainly since it's not a tube amp. This channel also goes well with the two pedals I'm currently using, a Boss CE-5 Chorus pedal and an Electro-Harmonix Nano Muff distortion. No buzz or feedback from the pedals. I'd be angered if I did get feedback from them too, since it has no effects. Not sure how it goes with single-coils, as I don't have the MIM strat yet. I'm also happy to report the amp doesn't distort too bad on high volume. You'll want to keep it in it's optimal operation range though(2 to 4), otherwise you get some annoying speaker distortion. Still, it isn't too bad. The gain channel is, I'm rather sure, based on a Marshall 100-watt half-stack judging by the accuracy of my AC/DC covers. That or a Vox AC30 hooked up to a Boss SD-1 overdrive, as I tried it once and it sounds rather similar to a Marshall. Anyway, though it's not tube, it manages to give a really nice overdriven tube amp-style distortion, though that'd mean you metalheads will want to look elsewhere for a good gain channel. That fact would also be why I got the Nano muff, which, from my experience, can work well as both a fuzz pedal and a distortion pedal, the two tings I need in distortion this doesn't provide. Much like the clean channel, though you'll want to keep it in optimal operation range, you can push it without unwanted distortion, and, though you will get it on higher settings, it seems to cascade in with the overdrive. Sadly, the gain channel comes out terrible with another overdrive/fuzz/distortion pedal, it comes out saddeningly muddy. Once more, not sure how it sounds with single-coils, as I don't have my mexi-strat yet. Just so I can control it with my foot, I plan to get a Boss BD-2 Blues Driver soon. I haven't had any environment noise in both a basement and a garage, likely the two places most popular for practice. Not sure about gigging as this thing doesn't have gigging muscle.
Overall Impression — 8
As I stated before, I play anything from 1964 to about 1996, and it sounds good for those, as it does for the Who/Cream tones I try to write. I've been playing for four years and besides my acoustic except for occasional numbers, everything except my broken old super strat are in my setup. I love the clean channel on this thing, it's really great without any effects, and it sounds good with them as well. I'm not as big a fan of the gain channel though, mainly because of it's disagreeable-ness with my pedals. If this thing were stolen, I'd just wait a month or two after I get my mexi-strat to get $200 and buy the Orange Crush 30R I'm looking at right now, until then playing through my other guitarists two-input amp. If I could do it over again knowing what I do, I'd either get a Peavey Rage 258 or this thing again, mainly because of it's excellent clean channel. Overall, a great starter amp, but I haven't had it even a year and already I'm beginning to get annoyed with it. Luckily it's low-price so it isn't too bad to pack it away.
Reliability & Durability — 10
So far I've hit, slapped, knocked down, eaten off of, spilled water and tea on, kicked, banged, dinged and overall beaten this thing, and it still works fine, never broken down or anything, only times I've been plugged in and didn't get my guitars sound was when the battery in one or more of my pedals was dying or when I had a broken cable. This little fella is definitely designed for the long run in practicing.
Features — 7
Not sure what year it was made in. Made in Indonesia, and, while it's never going to compare at all to a British-made amp like an Orange all-valve amp, it's better than Chinese sweatshop labour. Two channels, clean and gain. I have a distortion pedal, so I mainly stick with the clean channel. no effects, except reverb, which I'm pretty sure is spring reverb judging both by the quality of the reverb and the fact it has that sound of an amp with spring reverb when you hit it, so that's pretty good at least. The good thing about not having pedals though is this guy will at least get you off on the right foot of getting pedals for once you move on to valve amps that don't have effects. Still, it would've been nice to have included at least a few effects. But you get what you pay for. Solid-state, 25-watts being driven through a single 10-inch speaker. It says 25-watts, but it sounds more like 30. Still, occasionally I wish it had more so I could go for a stereo effect when gigging. But hey, for what it is it's good on power. Not too heavy either, though I wish they could've had removed the five pounds Peavey manages to on their Rage 258 amp.