Purchased from: http://www.GAK.co.uk
Sound — 8
I use this predominantly with my (H)SS MIM Fender Stratocaster, and it works great from cleans to classic rock. Starting with the cleans; thanks in part to the TAD EL84STRs (which sound more like 6V6 than EL84) they're very very nice. Lots of jangle, aggression and a nice amount of mids. Bass is pretty tight but you can do the SRV thing if you want. For cleans I tend to use the EQ: (bass 7; mids 4; treble 7) and this gives me something towards a Silverface Deluxe Reverb type of sound. When cranked, you get natural breakup from both the pre and poweramp, but it needs more careful EQing as in this setting it is very easy to have too much treble or bass and kill your tone. What works for cranked clean won't work on normal clean or drive. Speaking of reverb, the amp has a lot of it but it's a bit harsh, I'd rather they didn't skimp out and put a very nice tube reverb in, but tbh for Live use you get natural reverb anyway. Now, the Drive channel. There isn't much gain here, it tops out at about Queen, which is a tone I love, but it won't get much further. You can either go the Vox or Marshall route with this channel, to get the Vox AC30w/TB tone you whack the Drive right up and set the EQ to something like mine: (bass 4; mids 10; treble 7) and hear that Queen or Rory Gallagher-like attack; or for the Marshall route you set gain to 2/3/4 (at this point on the dial there is barely any gain, don't go much higher than this, mud prevails yonder here if you're boosting it) and boost it with a Tubescreamer, this gives you more midsy crunch and a lot more gain, while also tightening the bass. What's great about the Marshally type tone is if you remove the OD from in front, you get a slightly broken up clean that is great for Frusciante etc.
Overall Impression — 8
For upto classic rock in the UK, buy it. It does the Hendrix, Froosh, Brian May and Rory Gallagher kinda thing great. In all honesty do prefer the Classic 30 as it has a warmer more Marshally crunch as opposed to the VC30's own Voxy treble-boosted crunch, which is more usable, but for stuff like Queen the VC30 is great. In the US I'd have bought the Classic 30 as it's a much better deal. Been playing for just over 2 years now. (eleccy guitar wise) I own an Epi Valve Jr, a MIM Strat, a Squier Strat and a DigiTech Bad Monkey + Vox V847a. You can tell Laney have tried to impress with the stock tubes and speaker, the tubes are generally excellent, although rather trebly and aggressive in nature, and the speaker is better than most at this pricerange although it has a treble spike and I want to drop an Eminence Private Jack in there, They're decent parts but don't compliment the VC30 very well. If it were stolen I'd claim insurance money and go build something better. I love the Voxy tone and the versatility and features. And at that price, it's a bargain, and better than for example the Marshall DSL401 which is a ton more, cleans are also exceptional. I compared it to the Classic 30, DSL401, Hot Rod Deluxe, Laney VC15 and PV Delat Blues. The Delta Blues and C30 were very similar: warm cleans, nice Vintage crunch, but way above my budget for what they were. The VC15 had similar tone, but I needed the headroom. The Hot Rod had marvellous cleans but piss-poor overdrive and was way overpriced. The DSL401 is way overpriced, has crappy features on everything and sounds bad. So a no-brainer basically.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Well, a fuse blew once. But otherwise, it's absolutely solid. There are a lot of horror stories but when reading reviews you always tend to pick up these as more extreme and ignore all the perfectly fine users. It does run very hot, this. Hotter than any other tube amp I've tried. But the cab is solid and very nicely finished, also very sexy, and the stock setup is pretty good, so I'm impressed overall.
Features — 8
I presume, having bought it in late '07, that it's an '07 model. Fitted with a 1x12 Celestion Seventy80, probably the lowest end Celestion. The amp weighs 22.2kg, and is a 30w EL84-powered Class AB (not A as Laney claim, can you spell marketing ploy) Vox AC30 derivative. Two channels: clean and drive; the clean channel has just a single volume knob, and the Drive has a pre and post gain volume. It has a single shared EQ, that is rather unusually placed before the gain stages, which gives me a little less response than I'd like. It's fitted stock with a matched quad of TAD EL84STR power tubes (which are excellent) and TAD 12AX7s, with V1 being a hi-grade 5751. It also has a slightly edgy SS spring reverb and an FX loop which I don't really care for. It works for anything upto Rock, pretty well. I've gigged it 4 times, once in a small cafe; twice in a main hall seating 500 and once in a gymnasium seating 1000 and it handled it fine every time. 30w of this kind of power is pretty much enough.