Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 8
Right now, I'm playing an SG Special Faded with 490 p/ups as my main guitar, but I'll soon be switching to Blackouts. I play metal, if you haven't guessed yet, and the only issue I have with this amp is that the distortion is a tad chunky, and a little too low-end heavy. Hopefully the blackouts will help tighten up the bass a little and smooth out the distortion, but that remains to be seen. I play Bullet For My Valentine, Atreyu, Avenged, Metallica, Escape the Fate, as well as lighter stuff like Switchfoot and Anberlin. This can dial pretty close to all of the above sounds with a little bit of tweaking. More importantly, however, this amp will take pedals like a Champ. It absolutely sings with any sort of distortion pedal in front of the clean channel - I've played with my MT-2 and DS-1, with a GE-7 for flavor. The GE-7 hisses a tad with this amp, but it's very worth it. I'm also planning on getting an MXR Fullbore Metal if the Blackouts don't tighten up the distortion enough. This guitar gets a little hissy if you really crank the HiGain channel, but not to the point of unusability. If you turn it past 2 in a confined space, prepare for feedback. This thing is LOUD. However, it has a heartbreakingly warm clean tone. It's like getting a big, warm hug from a teddy bear. The 'Bright' switch adds a little more bite to the clean, but I prefer it deep and warm. With a distortion pedal in front of it, the 'Bright' switch really makes the highs scream - a little unnecessarily so, but I'm sure someone could find a use for it. The clean can get a bit crunchy if you really really crank it, but I have my pickups raised and the gain up anyways, so I'm sure you could tone it down easily.
Overall Impression — 9
In addition to the AVT150, I have a Line 6 Flextone II, a Fender Deluxe, and a Marshall MG practice amp. As far as guitars go, I also have a cheap Japanese strat with active single-coils, and a PRS Custom 22 fret. The AVT150 makes every guitar I play on it sound beautiful, and makes other amps sound cheap - with the exception of the Fender Deluxe. It sounds similarly warm on the clean channel, and they both handle pedals very well, but I prefer the Deluxe's handling slightly more. Tube vs. Valvestate, I suppose. At any rate, the AVT's HiGain channel and built-in FX make it my amp of choice for performing and practicing. I'd probably buy a different halfstack if I lost this one, just because I've learned and would like to try something different, but I'd do my utmost to not lose this one, as I love it. A great amp for an entry-level price that will satisfy all sorts of styles.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I would absolutely use this amp without a backup. It's a Marshall - which means rock-solid construction. The only issue I've had so far is that the footpedal has a broken light. The crunch-channel FX button's light is always on, but the switch works normally. You just can't tell whether it's on or off. Also, after getting an ugly sound out of the amp one day, I took it apart and tightened all the screws. The result was a much much much tighter sound, and the ugliness was all gone. Beautiful :]
Features — 9
My AVT150 was bought used, and I know that it's an old model, but it's beautiful. 4 channels - Acoustic Sim, Clean, Crunch, and HiGain. It also has two effects channels, one for the crunch channels and one for the clean channels. Each of these has I think 12 different effects? Most of them are types of reverb, however the delay / reverb on the HiGain channel is my favorite. The amp also has a headphone jack, emulated line out, FX loop, and ports for 4 ohm or 8 ohm. It's Marshall's Valvestate amp, and it's a perfect balance between tube and solid-state, in my humble opinion. It can play quiet enough to be practiced on if need be, but it really sings when you crank it past 1 o'clock. And this thing gets LOUD. I've played with it live, both mic'd and un-mic'd, both sounded beautiful. Finally, it has a 'Bright' switch for the clean channel, and a 'Scoop' switch for the crunch channels. I give it a 9 because the FX loop is of the sort that plays both the straight guitar and whatever goes through the FX loop at the same time - which means no volume pedals or distortion pedals.