Price paid: $ 732
Purchased from: Rea Sound
Sound — 6
I use it with an Ibanez RG470 with stock V7/S1/V8 humbucker/single coil/humbucker pickups. I enjoy playing mainly blues, rock, metal and shred. It does well for blues on the OD1 channel with the gain at about 3, and it's heavy enough for rock, but the distortion is not heavy enough for metal or shred really - pinch harmonics sound quieter than the rest of the notes you're playing! It is also quite noisy when you turn up the gain. The scoop switch does make it appear to have more gain, but this just gives you a generic metal scooped tone. I haven't had the chance to turn it up, as I just play it at home, so I can't comment on how it performs at gigs. Another major problem is that distortion/overdrive pedals only really work through the clean channel - if I try to boost a tone from one of the overdrive channels, it works a bit, but then the sound cuts out, especially if I use the neck pickup. So the major problem is, it doesn't have enough gain, and there's no way to boost the gain while keeping the original tone of the amp (unless you use a metal distortion pedal, and I don't like their tone, in my opinion). On a positive note, the tone is actually quite good, but there are too many cons for me to give it a great rating.
Overall Impression — 6
It's a good match for blues, clean and classic rock tones, but just doesn't cut it for metal and shred. Marshall claims it's high-gain, but it just isn't. I wish I had tried it with an overdrive pedal before I bought it. If it were stolen, I wouldn't buy another. If I had to buy another amp at a similar price, I'd go for some kind of all-valve combo. I don't particularly love anything about it - it's not bad for blues, clean and classic rock, but that's about it. I hate the way I can't front end it with an overdrive pedal, and it's kind of noisy. It's not the worst amp in the world though, it does have 3 channels and an FX loop which are handy, but I just feel I was conned by the hype surrounding hybrid amps.
Reliability & Durability — 6
It's never broken down, but it's just been sitting in my room for 3 years, so that isn't much of a test.
Features — 6
I bought this amp about 3 years ago. It has 3 channels: clean, OD1 (classic rock overdrive) and OD2 (heavier overdrive). The clean channel has a bright switch to increase the treble frequencies, and both overdrive channels have scoop switches to remove the midrange. It has an FX-loop (serial I think), and 16 built-in digital FX (lots of reverbs, delay, chorus etc). It comes with a 4 button footswitch to change channels and turn the inbuilt FX on and off. It has a 12AX7 valve in the preamp, but has a solid state power amp. Pros: 3 channels, scoop switch radically alters sound, FX loop is nice to have. Cons: Hybrid valve/solid state is a con. It's quite expensive for what it is. The 2 Overdrive channels share EQ, and the built-in fx are shared over all channels.