Price paid: € 633
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Features — 9
2 channel 30W class A amp with 2x12" Celestion Seventy 80 speakers; 4xEL84 power Tubes and 3x 12AX7/ECC83 preamp tubes; Hi & Lo inputs, FX loop, reverb.
This amp is really simple feature wise. It has Hi and Lo inputs. Probably made for single coil pickups and humbuckers respectively, but works fine also the other way around. The amp has clean and dirty channels. Both share the bright switch, EQ and reverb which is what makes this amp simple. Just plug in and play. Each channel has separate gain/volume controls. The FX loop is series and works great with delay pedals like DD-3 that have no kill dry option. It can be bypassed or switched between -0dBu and -20dBu. VC30-212 comes without the footswitch for channel switching and reverb, but you can buy it separate for a reasonable price. The amp can be connected to a extension cabinet (8-16 OHM).
This amp is not for the players who need separate EQ for both channels and other options. Laney VC30-212 has this rock 'n' roll and punk feel to it feature wise. As I said - plug in and rock out. The features are perfect if simplicity is what you are after. The only downside is that it comes without the footswitch. If they would throw it in the box with the amp, I would give it 10 for the features.
Sound — 8
I play progressive rock/metal with my main project but I have always liked old-school drive tones, and this amp is perfect for that nasty, gritty but not too saturated drive. And this thing is loud - more than enough for small venue concerts without miking amps. You have to crank this thing anyway for the best tone on the dirty channel. The dirty channel works great with boosters/overdrives in front of it. The distortion that it pumps out might not be enough sometimes, but with a booster or overdrive you can push the amp and get the saturation you want (keeping in mind that this amp isn't for high gain ultra saturated tones).
From time to time I also play some jazz or pop music tones. This is where the clean channel shines it stays crystal clear up to serious loudness and it is really nice sounding clean tone. I use this amp with a Les Paul through the high input andeith the bright switch on, so that i get a good bite out from both channels, and if I need more jazzy tone, i work with the volume and tone knobs on my guitar. The 3 EQ knobs don't change the tone dramatically. Together with the bright switch and general tone knob you can dial in the exact tone you want, but generally this amp highlights each guitars tone. The reverb is really subtle. I set it around 75% and leave it on at all times.
This amp responds really well to players fingers or pick attack. The bright switch adds a lot of top end and bite, but doesn't take away the overall warmness. You can dial in tones ranging from soft clean to punk-ish drive that bites. With the right pedals in front of it you can push it to sound it more like modern rock. The overall sound can be improved with better tubes and speaker replacement. But for the relatively low cost this amp sounds amazing.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have had this amp for a year and so far, so good. I play it almost every day and during this year it has seen quite many live shows The amp feels really sturdy (maybe because it is so heavy). I expect this amp to work without any major problems for years. Everything including knobs, finish and handle seems well made and put together. This amp will definitely withstand live playing and being on the road. It is made for that. If it would come with a cover which would protect it from moisture and if i knew how it would withstand 5 years of playing i would give it a higher mark.
Overall Impression — 9
This amp inspires me. The tones and looks of it gives the extra old-school punk rock feel to my progressive rock playing. Yes, it can be improved, but I want to push this amp with the original valves and speakers before switching to better parts. I bought this amp because I have played on Laney Lionheart 20W head and cab, and i wanted that sound but was on a budget. I am glad that I was and didn't spend extra for the Lionheart. VC30-212 is just as good. This amp won't give you modern metal sounds (with exception of gain and saturation coming from a stompbox). But if you have a nice boost/overdrive pedal to push the drive channel the only limitation of what can come out of this amp is the player himself. If it was stolen, I would replace it and I recommend it.