Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 6
I am playing this amp with an Epiphone 1958 Goth Explorer with EMG 81/60. I play primarily thrash metal, in the vein of Exodus, Kreator, Sodom, Megadeth, Slayer, etc., but I have been completely unable to get a good tone for this style. First of all, the amp has too much bass on the Metal 2000 setting. If treble is below 10 or bass is above 3, the sound becomes overwhelmed with bass (on bridge pickup, EMG 81, which is known to be a trebly pickup). And I find it impossible to get well-defined palm-muted alternate picking, something which lies at the core of my style of thrash. Furthermore, the direct recording feature (aforementioned USB cable) does not preserve the original tone at all (for metal), making it much looser and harsher. The only positive is that the amp does a decent job for clean and blues tones, as well as some punk rock tones.
Overall Impression — 7
I play mainly thrash and death metal. If you mainly play these genres, DO NOT get this amp. You will only want to replace it. I have been playing for about 2 years now, and this was my first amp. It's a great first amp, but you will want to replace it with a much better, focused amp, once you have a good idea of what genre you will be playing. I am currently preparing to purchase a second amp. I am looking at the Ampeg VH-140C, the Peavey 6505+, and the Marshall Valvestate 8100. From what I've heard from demos, they can provide me with the exact tone I am looking for.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This amp is very durable, and if I liked its tone, I would use it without a backup, as someone kicked it down a flight of stairs and it emerged completely unharmed. However, the amp has randomly changed the EQ of a tone on me before (no one was near the amp, and nothing touched the amp), and this definitely compromises its overall reliability.
Features — 9
This amp is extremely versatile. It can play anything from jazz to blues to metal. This is thanks to the modeling capabilities of the amp. It does a decent job of covering everything except metal, which is what I primarily play. More on this in the next section. It also allows the user to record from the amp directly into a computer via USB cord. Overall, features are very extensive and to get all of this in a tube amp would cost a fortune in pedals.