Price paid: $ 564.85
Purchased from: Italmelodie
Sound — 7
I am using a PRS santana SE. Dual humbuckers, very similar to an Epiphone les paul. This amp is very good for ska/punk, but only because I play rythm. The clean on this amp is not great, so for ska it is not ideal, but I bought it when I was playing more heavy metal for which it is a very good amp. Once again there is no hiss, because of the noise gate. The amp makes rly good distortions for the price, but the cleans and the overdrives are a little bit lacking. The variety is not that great either, most of the models have scooped mids, and unless you're playing heavy metal, you need to work with them a bit to get a good sound. I have never experienced the clean distorting at high volumes without having that gain above 0 (all the cleans still have a mild gain control), but then again I never really have to run master volume past 75%. The distortion can be pretty brutal. Good enough to do shred, probably really hardcore death metal too, but I'm not into anything too hardcore so I'm not sure. Basically the "good" sounding distortions go from raw 80's thrash punk to high defined modern metal stuff. Overall pretty good distortions. Overall Good distortion, ok cleans.
Overall Impression — 7
I play ska/punk/metal/reggae. It is good for the punk/metal (in fact exceptional for the price), but just decent for the ska/reggae. If this amp had good cleans it would be grear. I have been playing for 4 years, and am currently running a PRS Santana SE (2 humbuckers)into this amp. If this were lost or stolen, I would probably get something else, because I have a little more cash flow nowadays, but if my price range were still the same I would have to reconsider between this amp, and the bandit 112 and a good distortion pedal (this is mostly because of my musical progression which is leading me, more and more, towards dub/ska/reggae/etc). I would also consider maybe getting the 112 or the 210 version, because I dont use all of thepower on the 212. I dont really love anything on this amp anymore, it's sufficient, but not ideal. I hate the "red insane channel". My favorite feature is the saving of presets (its useful for gigging, because you dont lose your tone). I wish it had tap tempo on the tremolo and better cleans. The final word:"If you play metal; this is a good if not great (because of the price) amp. Anything else, and I think you might want to reconsider."
Reliability & Durability — 10
I depend on this amp all the time. I have never played with a backup, because I cant afford one, but I'm pretty confident it wont break down. the only problem I've ever had with it was a dusty master volume nob, so it didnt go up smoothly, other than that it has worked flawlessly since the day I brought it home.
Features — 8
This amp is not very versatile. It's kind of like a cheap decent sounding, solid-state Mesa Boogie, in the fact that its got pretty good drives, but the cleans are not much to speak of. It has 4 channels which is nice. You can save your settings into the amp which is very convenient, but can be a pain when your looking for the perfect tone. It makes it a little harder and more complicated to set it up really nice sounding. I'm a little upset that the footswitch (the FBV4 (which is 4 buttons (1 for each channel) and does tap tempo aswell)) was a extra $100 CND. No FX loop is also a bit of a pain, but for ska/punk its not a very big deal. There is a headphone jack, but I never use it. Honestly I wish this amp had tap tempo on the tremolo, but its not a big deal, I rarely use the onboard FX. I use this amp for practice and for gigs. Really has more than enough power; for practice (with acoustic drums) I have never had to surpass the halfway mark (but I do keep my channel volumes on the high side). Gigging live there's always a house PA micing me so that's no big deal either, but even if there weren't it would still have enough power. One thing that is really useful is the onboard noise gate which makes it virtually "hiss-less". One feature I hate is the "red insane" model. It is absolutely disgusting, I dont see how anyone could ever use it. It makes your guitar sounds like a car that wont start.