Price paid: $ 200
Sound — 4
This amp is no one trick pony. It can be used in any kind of guitar playing you desire and it will do justice. First off, the clean channel is what really sets this amp aside in my opinion. It thumps! When I initially played the combo years ago I was at first under the opinion that it was a tube amp. I has that tube like response. I couldn't believe how good the cleans sounded. The next thing that shines is the built in chorus. I don't care what type of chorus pedal yiu go out and buy, it will not match the sound of this chorus. It is sort of 3 dimensional. The only thing I don't like is that on my combo the chorus has a little noise behind it like a hissing but hey, this baby is 22 years old and will still rock the balls off of any solid state you buy at GC. It also has a built in spring reverb which sounds absolutely awesome. Now for the drawback, I will admit I like the overdrive on this amp but Fender could have at least added EQ knobs. The overdrive sounds okay but there are two options here for making it what it should be: either use an EQ pedal with it or do what I like to do with mine, I found that turning the gain down to about 4 and using an Ibanez tube screamer (gain all the way down) as a boost will make this sound much richer. Hell try combining the two. I believe these combos are 65 watts per channel if I'm not mistaken and the head is 80 watts. Either way, this is the best sounding solid state I've ever owned. I won't be parting with mine. I do own tube amps, halfstacks, but the Fender M80 series really showed me that you don't have to spend big money to get a big sound. Get yourself a decent stompbox, maybe a DS-1 or HOT Head and use it with the clean channel. You have got a great tone right there. I also forgot to mention how loud this thing is. It screams... And keeps its tone at higher volume.
Overall Impression — 4
I have been playing guitar for 20+ years. I play most rock and metal but I also like to kick back on some rockabilly and bluesy stuff when I'm at home and this amp covers the entire spectrum. I've read some reviews stating that this amp can't do metal... I beg to differ. Maybe it was stated that way because of the lack of EQ control in the OD chanel but as far as OD gain... Man this thing has plenty of gain. Or like I said, use a stompbox. Its all you need. I like to think of this as a poor mans JC-120. As previously mentioned, the chorus is phenomenal. I will also say that I like to use this amp for old school grunge. The clean and Od is perfect for AIC or Nirvana. Use the chorus for the intro to "Come As You Are" and see what I mean. Use the clean and turn the reverb up about halfway and you are in "Folsom Prison" territory.
Reliability & Durability — 4
This amp is definitely gig worthy. Even at a large venue you could mic it thru the P.A. If you had to but you would still have a compact tone and trust me your amp will stand out from the new Line 6 combo or the mg combo that other guys are using. These things are hard to get your hands on these days especially the grey carpeted series so if I lost mine I would be upset until it was replaced. I think the combo also sounds better if you cover up the back with a piece of plywood or something. It seems to give the sound a little more UMPH! I am pretty sure I could gig either the head or the combo without a backup and J would be safe but its always better to be safe than sorry. The best thing about the tone of this amp is that you don't have to replace tubes. Its got the same tone for life which I love.
Features — 4
This is a solid state amp made by Fender. I own the original grey carpeted combo as well as the original grey carpeted head. They were made around 1989 or 1990 I believe. The M-80 Chorus has four basic features: clean, overdrive, spring reverb, and the magic of this amp is of course the chorus effect which can be added to both channels. The chorus on this baby will just pull you in and make you fall in love with this amp. I play mostly Fender guitars and I love the way this amp sounds through a single coil pickup. I also have five other guitars that are equipped with Seymour Duncan HOT Rails and JB pickups and they all sound great through this amp. I own two Fender Mustangs, a Fender Strat, a Fender Telecaster, and I also have an LTD Kirk Hammet signature with JBs. They all respond well with this amp. This amp seems to take pedals really well. I have not found one as of yet that does not sound good in front of this amp. I also would like to mention that this amp is equipped with its own effects loop. Personally I think that my MXR Phase 90 sounds better when run by itself through the effects loop but it still sounds great directly into the input. It just seems to have a little more clarity through the loop.