Price paid: € 535
Purchased from: www.thomann.de
Sound — 10
Using it with a Gibson Les Paul Studio for the time being (gonna have a SG Standard soon), with stock PUs replaced with Seymour Duncan hotrodded set (SH-JB). The amp absolutely suites my style which is sabbath-style heavy metal, doom metal, stoner. You can easily get a hellish early day death metal sound, very brutal. The amp is not very noisy (at least with the stock valves and with Tung-Sol preamp valves that I have as a reserve). The clean channel is good, and yes, it becomes distorted with the amp's pre-boost, but with the latter turned off, you get pretty decent cleans.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall impression from this amp is fully positive. This is exactly what I needed in terms of the sound I wanted. I compared it to my friend's Mesa Double Rectifier and another friend's Marshall JCM 800, both are much pricier than the IronHeart (those guys are band guitarists, unlike me, I'm an amateur, and in my band back in mid 90-ies I was doing the vocals and never really played a guitar), and my Laney can easily stand in the same line with those. As a replacement I might think of another Laney, or smaller Orange hi-gain amp.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It looks and feels quite solid. What happened was one of the push-pull knobs just fell off (maybe was not glued well enough) after a few days of very careful use. But I fixed it easily with a deadly Chinese glue (always had my fingertips glued to the knob's surface :-)))). I need to note that this is my first valve amp, one of only few valve heads in Armenia, and surely the only Laney amp around. So this is kind of a discovery for me, and maybe some of my comments may sound naive in the technical sense, but I've been into heavy metal for 25 years, and I surely know what the metal sound is. One other thing that popped up after one or two days of use was some crackling noise starting as the amp warmed up after about 2 hours of playing. I checked the preamp valves, and it appeared to be the input TAD hi-grade valve that went wrong as soon as it got hot. But it was in those HOT summer days with 40 Celsius, now it doesn't get HOT like that, but I have reserve tung-sols and sockets, as well as a couple of hi-grade 1st stage TAD valves, so no worries, can flap them any time.
Features — 10
Made in China, quality controlled in GB. This amp is absolutely versatile, but it's a heavy metal beast, have no doubt. For what I play, which is Black Sabbath and all alike, this is it. 3 channels, effects loop, no headphone jack (I don't need any). I wish it had a presence knob, but not a big deal. I don't use that dynamics knob a lot, it's sort of useless. The pre-boost option is not bad, but I prefer my Rangemaster-type Germania 44 treble booster by HBE (together with the pre-boost at certain setting you get an excellent psychedelic fuzz). I use the amp at home hooked to a 60Wt 1X12 Celestion Vintage 30 Orange cab. Power more than enough.