Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: Guitar center
Sound — 8
I play with a Schecter C1 with active duncan designed pickups. I play a lot of things, but mostly in the alternative or metal range. This amp is great for rock and metal. The distortion is completely relentless. Of course, turning up the gain and volume on the guitar will give you massive feedback, but that's why they have the built in noise gate. It takes out the worst of it, but the way I play with the gain on max I need a real noise gate. The tube sounds are alright, sometimes they feel unrealistic, like it's too good. Most of the clean channels aren't really worth playing on, but on the twang channel it is possible to get a tone similar to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. a few other cleans are alright. Not something to go pro with or anything, but far better than the 10 Watt Crate I used to have. The effects are alright too. You get just the basics on them, so they're not really versatile. there isn't much to tweak. However, you can use up to 3 at once. I just don't see why anyone would want to.
Overall Impression — 9
This amp is great for metal and hard rock. However, you need to do a little tweaking before you really start playing. Whenever you switch a channel, the volume will jump dramatically. But with a little programming this problem can be fixed. The effects could use some improving but whatever. For 300 bucks it's a real good deal. And I highly recommend getting the footswitch for this.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This amp is pretty damn reliable. There isn't really much to break on it, and it's light for its size.
Features — 8
The Spider III really has a lot of different settings. 12 different models to choose from, about 5 or 6 that sound really good. There's a lot of features too, like a built in noise gate and distortion boost, and 7 different effects: chorus, phaser, tremelo, delay, tape echo, sweep echo, and reverb. I barely use any effects anyway, but it's nice to know I have them. The best part about it is that it has the mp3 input jack. Every amp should have that.