Price paid: $ 150
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I have a Fender starcaster (piece of shit, I know) with some pretty bad pickups. Despite the fact that the guitar sucks, it still sounds good. The only problem I've had is that the guitar gets a heck of a lot of feed-back, and the amp doesn't do much to help being as loud as it is. I use a DigiTech RP200, and some people have complained that this amp doesn't work well with effects, but they are dumb. I had been using my DigiTech pedal and a Metal Muff distortion pedal with the amp on the clean pedal, and that did not sound very good. I gave up on using a distortion pedal, and the sound is much better with the multi-effects pedal and the Insane channel. The amp does have the typical hum with the distortion on, but oddly enough, if you turn the gain all the way up the hum goes away. I have no idea why that is. I'm having some trouble with feed-back when I first turn up the guitar volume, but I can probably fix it, and its most likely do to the guitar, not the amp. The amp can get down to civil levels for just playing by yourself around the house, and also way up into the gigging levels. It definitely shows its full 120W of power when you crank it. If you have a distortion pedal that needs a little more kick, you can turn up the gain on the clean channel, which will help, but also brings down the amp volume. The insane distortion lives up to its name, and gives a very driven, modern metal sound. The only problem I've had is that the amp can be a little bit trebly, but if you leave the bass maxed and bring mid and treble down to about 5 it sounds good.
Overall Impression — 10
If you can find this amp, its going to be a great deal because it was discontinued. Line 6 discontinued the amp because the Spider 3 is essentially the same amp with an LCD screen and a lot more programmable channels. So if your not going to use all those channels, get this amp. Its less channels to deal with and it'll be several hundred dollars cheaper. Its great for playing Heavy Metal. I've been playing for about five years, and just had a little 10W Fender for 2, and that couldn't play over anything really. This amp is a massive improvement, since I can drown anyone out if I want to. I probably shouldn't have bothered getting the warranty on it, cause this thing is never gonna break down. If someone stole this amp I would hunt them down and kill them, then get the amp back. I fricken love it. If I could find another one I would buy it again, cause I don't have enough money to upgrade. I love the size, and I love the volume, though it really needs a channel pedal, and as I said it can be a little trebly sometimes. When I was looking for an amp I was also considering a Raven 60W, but at a cheaper price and twice the watts it was a no contest. If you need an amp to play with a drummer, you only have like $200, and you can find this amp, get it. I have No Doubt its the greatest deal on the market.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I got the amp used, but it doesn't have a single scratch on it. I haven't put it through to much abuse, I don't have money to experiment with what it'll take, but if I did I bet it would take a lot. The most I've done is stand on it and jump some, but thats nothing for this amp. The amp is very sturdily built, and I plan on gigging with it frequently.
Features — 10
The first thing you will notice when you turn this amp on is that it has a built in fricken light show. That can get some attention to you even before you play a note. I play heavy metal and classic rock, and I don't get to much into other styles, except pure clean every once in a while. However if I wanted to expand my variety, the amp would not present many limitations. It has 12 amp models to choose from (6 specific models with two slightly different models on each) though I'd only count 11 cause the second mode on "Insane" sound like total crap. I can't speak for most of the amp models, but the clean and Insane modes are both very good. There are 4 programmable channels, and as far as I can tell you can set levels and effects for every amp model on each of the 4 channels (I got mine used, so I don't have a manual for it, but it hasn't been too hard to figure out.) These channels are very convenient when you move the amp and the knobs get rolled around, because when you turn it back on your same sound is right there. The amp has two effect knobs, one with phaser, flange/chorus, or tremelo and one with delay, sweep echo, or tape echo, set with tap tempo (The two echos don't seem very usable to me, but you may not think the same). I don't use any of these because I have my own multi-effects pedal, which gives me more control over the effects. The amp also has a reverb knob, which sounds good, and I usually have on a low amount of reverb. I believe you can buy a pedal for channel switching on the amp, though its from another company, and I have not gotten one since they run almost $100. It would be much more convenient to have one though, so I could change from clean to heavy distortion. It does not have an effect loop, though I haven't had any trouble running my pedals in front of the amp. It does have a head-phone jack, though the sight of someone using this amp with headphones would be rather ridiculous, I mean its huge. Speaking of huge, this amp is plenty for gigging, and if you need any more sound you'll need to mic your amp anyways. My friend has a 120W half stack, but this blows it out of the water, despite the fact that its only half as tall. I rarely go up above 4 or 5, though I might push to 6 or 7 at a larger gig. The only thing I'd want out of this amp is a cheaper channel switching pedal that came with it.