Price paid: $ 750
Purchased from: online
Sound — 9
I run this through a stereo cab and often mix it with my 3 channel dual rectifier. Similar gain, but different tones. I use 3 HB equipped "shredder type" guitars, 2 with EMGs and a 3rd with coil tap passives. I play everything from dirty blues to pretty extreme metal type riffs. This is where it shines. The clean is pretty good, mix some reverb and it is nice, "jazz" not sure, but it handles an acoustic simulator much better than the Mesa. Gain is very high. I'd say the Mesa and Laney have SIMILAR amounts of gain, but deliver it differently. The Laney is MCH smoother and a little more articulate (less the pre-boost) where the Mesa has the more 'fizzy' heavy presence tone, making it sound a little more aggressive. Adding the pre-boost to the gain channels requires some experience with front end gain, too much and it gets muddy, just right and you get a nice smooth compressed sustain, very tasty. This amp is probably a more "well rounded" amp than the Mesa, able to cover MANY gain amounts and styles a little better. It can hang in the heavy metal tones just as well, but can pull off the "dirty blues" - classic rock tones better, IMO. Together, they are a total terror... If it only had a presence control.
Overall Impression — 9
I have a used Mesa and a new IronHeart, new vs new, the Laney is $800-$900 and the Mesa is $2100+, so the Laney wins this one. You'd have to get a deal on a used Mesa in the low $1k range to be competitive. That said, if they both got lost, I'd have to grab the Laney again. The watts control gives it the edge vs having to use an attenuator on the Mesa. I only wish it had the 3rd EQ section.
Reliability & Durability — 10
My experience with Laney goes back 25 years, I've never had a single problem with them. They are some of the best constructed amps on the market (their tube stuff, not comparing SS). Their tough, durable, and sound great, all 10's in my book. I've had and had to sell 3 Marshalls, in the same time frame, due to 'problems' with them.
Features — 9
This is my 4th Laney, and definitely as good as the AOR Pro, the TT50, or the VC30 were for their intended use. 3 channels, rhythm & clean share EQ, lead has its own. 6L6 power section. Preboost control can add a "tubescreamer like" boost to the front end. Watts control can vary from 1-60 with no loss of tone. Density controls low end, especially at low volumes. Tone control can add or subtract high end from the 'post EQ sound'. An included reverb is a nice touch. Big "tough a-s" metal grab handles on the top sides. Decent weight and the grab handles make it easy to take to a Jam session. Would get a 10 with 3 individual eq sections.