Purchased from: Hessle Music Centre
Sound — 8
I use a Squire Strat and it sounds beautifully brutal on evey pickup style I care to choose; it can be ball achingly high and screeching, or brain pummeling forceful, or mellow and groany. As I mentioned before I'm an indie guy so my music is rooted in the punk that Laneys HCM amps are aimed at. With enough coaxing and experimentation I can get any desired sound out of my amp, as long it isn't the dreaded Metallica drone 'n' screech. It does give a little buzzing (whack the crunch up, close your eyes and convince yourself your're in a room with a buzz saw murderer) and if you get the wrong pickup combo it'll let you know that it isn't happy as long as you kepp the jack lead in tight, you shouldn't have a problem. As I've said, this can handle everything apart from extremes like les paul warmth or RG screech. There's no buzz on the clean and the distortion sounds like James Hetfield growling into your ear. Through a megaphone.
Overall Impression — 8
This is a beautiful match for me because even though I play indie and rock, I play the crap out of my guitar when I'm angry (which I am a lot) and this punk amp is perfect for that. As I said earlier I play a squire strat, but it doesn't matter in this amp; it just drags my sorry ass guitar to new and harder sounds. If my amp were stolen I'd plead for its bigger brother to my parents but I would try to get it back. My favourite feature is how it has not dropped in performance despite its age or the punishment I've dealt out. Though I am getting her big brother in a month or two because I'm expanding, I reccomend this to a beginner who likes punk (old and new) and has anger management problems.
Reliability & Durability — 10
To be fair to my baby, I'm a slob. I don't clean it, don't service it and when I'm angry I'll kick the crap out of her. But she takes it and she's made of harder plastic than any other amp I know (aside from her big brothers). Marshall amps couldn't resist my punk fury put it that way. I wouldn't gig with her cos she's too small but hell she's a feisty one.
Features — 8
I'm not quite sure when this amp was made but it was pretty recent because it's in the Hardcore Max range and that has only been around for two years or so. I play anything from rock to indie but not much metal, which is good because the Laney HCM series is punk inspired and goes for brute force rather than guitar raping treble. Because it is the baby sister of the main HCM amp, it has your basic crunch (distortion to you and me), equalization and master volume settings but no more. However, it does have a cd input and a headphone socket so its not all bad. I use this lil bitch in my front room and even then on 3 volume I get screamed at so power is not a worry (is it a worry for any Laney amp? god bless their britishness). Overall, it performs as a beginners amp for people who know they don't want much in the way of metal and hour long solos.