Price paid: $ 593
Purchased from: guitar center
Sound — 10
My primary guitar is an American Strat with stock pickups. With a smidgeon of reverb, chord comping is heavenly. I play mostly classic rock and blues so I stick primarily with the clean channel so solos can be a little thin sounding. I remedy this with a Way Huge Green Rhino (think TubeScreamer with better bass response) and a ED-1 compressor to kick the preamp a bit harder. The amp is dead quiet on the clean channel but can be noisy on the drive and more drive settings. Clean channel will break up at higher volumes with the stock (SOVTEK) preamp tubes. I replaced the Sovteks with NOS and put a lower gain tube in the phase inverter position with fantastic results. Replacing the stock preamp tubes significantly increased the clean channel headroom and even tightened up the Drive channel a bit. Highly recommended. When I started looking for a new amp, I was nearly convinced that I would be going with a Blackface reissue. After a half-dozen trips to Guitar Center and a few other music stores, I could no longer resist the gravitational pull of the Hot Rod Deville. Though it doesn't get you all the way to Backface territory, it can come pretty damn close and leave you the option of opening up the mids for a fatter sound. All I can say is that my Hot Rod Deville and my American Strat is a match made in heaven. The drive and more drive "channels" can get a bit loose in the low end at higher settings, especially with the neck pickup. Flip over to the bridge pickup and yer rockin' out without the flub. Right now I'm fine with the clean channel and my stomp boxes.
Overall Impression — 10
If this amp came up missing, I would *maybe* play a deluxe reverb cause it's smaller or find a Mesa Boogie Lonestar for the same price (not gonna happen). Either one of those amps would have to floor me, though, to make me Switch from the Hot Rod DeVille. I have found some sites which outline some neat modifications for this amp. I have changed out the pots with audio taper pots, but I have been considering a few other things. All in all, this is a great amp. Yes, I have a few minor complaints but for the money, and even for twice the price, this is a great amp. I will give this a ten, because it is a fantastic value. It's not perfect, but if you want a "perfect" amp, you have to shell out a lot more cash. If you find a better amp for this price, I'd love to know how I can get one. I played small Mesas, an Ampeg Reverborocket reissue, Marshall heads, a Fender Twin, not to mention all of the crappy Crate and Peavey amps that music stores try to push on you. I bought the DeVille.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've owned several Fender amps and have never been let down. Treat it right and keep spare tubes handy and life is good.
Features — 9
Bought it used in "like new" condition so I'm guessing it's not more than a few years old. Won't bother listing all the features. If your interested in this amp you probably already know what they are. 60 watts at 8 ohms. Accepts an 8 ohm extension speaker cab. I have an 8 ohm 2x12 cab (w/ Vintage 30's) that will be interesting to try at some point. My only reservation is the reliability of the solid-state reverb driver and recovery circuitry. Would have been happier with separate EQ for Drive channel but I hasn't been a real big problem with the kind of music I use it for (blues, jazz, classic rock).