Price paid: $ 399.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
Sure this is a solid state modeling amp and of course it's not going to sound exactly like $3000 Marshall's, Mesa's, and Fender's. The thing is, so what? I've owned all those amps and I'll be happy to stack this baby up there with them. I play heavy blues, hard rock, classic rock, and metal. You can easily navigate your way through all those genres. BTW, I play Epiphone les pauls. One with Duncan SH-6B/SH-2N pickups and the other with GFS alnico II pickups. They both sound really great with this amp. Tone is subjective. I know what I like and I can easily get it from this amp. If you feel that you have to spend $3000 for your tone then by all means have at it.
Overall Impression — 9
I love this amp. I got the entire half stack for $649.99 from GC. I feel like that is a great value for what I got. I wish the shortboard wasn't $269 but I found one on eBay for $150 so I saved a few bucks there. It's funny to me when people try to compare this to a Marshall JVM or Mesa triple rec. Only an idiot would do that. Is this as good as those amps at the one thing they do? No, of course not. Are they as good as this amp at the many things this amp can do? No. They're not. The bottom line is that in the class of $650.00 amps you won't find anything as good as this. I tried a $650 Vox Valvetronix and the tone sucked compared to the Spider III half stack.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I like the heavy duty corners on the cabinet and the head. They take a beating when moving these around from place to place but they keep the amp in good shape. The knobs are plastic and the tolex seems a little thin but it's like that on most amps these days. So far I haven't had any problems with this amp and I've had it about 2 years now.
Features — 8
Lot's of features. We all know this. The effects they include are what would normally be rack-mounted effects and sound good enough. Even the built in tuner is nice. Accurate enough. The built-in presets are really cool. A lot of them are just comical or junk but quite a few are really good. When I want to dial in a tone I usually browse through them until I find one that is close then tweak from there. I've used this amp at practice and at clubs as big as 1500 patrons. It's got headroom for all these occasions. If it didn't you can just mic it.