Sound — 9
I play a selection of guitars, all fitted with humbuckers. Playing mostly punk and metal, the amp delivers everything I want. The clean channel is very clear and full of life all the way through the gain and volume dials. OD1 is a great crunchy distortion, with plenty of play in it. OD2 is where the amp comes to life - a full on distortion, perfectly complemented by the mid scoop switch, enabling some great metal sounds. Unfortunately, OD2 is pretty much unusable in reality as it is SO noisy, and I've not found a way to cancel this out with a noise gate. The Acoustic simulator is also quite useless, as its overall volume is WAY lower than the other channels. This amp perfectly complements my collection of Boss pedals. Finally, the emulated line-out provides a useful method of recording using the amp. Just make sure you turn down the channels' volumes, or it distorts very easily.
Overall Impression — 9
These days this amp is primarily used on the clean channel, with a Boss MT-2, CE-2, and ME-70 providing the distortions and other effects. I also have a TU-2 tuner and NS-2 noise gate in the chain. With this set up, and a selection of Epiphone, Gibson and Dean guitars, I am able to play punk, metal, and other genres of rock with ease. If this were lost or stolen, I'd be gutted, but I guess I'd take it as an opportunity to upgrade to a pure valve amp. Personally though, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about solid state amps - this one is far from bad sounding, and has stood the test of time. Any future amp purchase I make (if I ever buy another), I'll happily take one without on-board effects, and with a simple 2-channel setup, as the others on this amp don't see any use.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Well, 10 years, including a number of gigs and many many hours of home use, and this amp is still running just fine, with the original pre-amp tube still in place. On the strength of that I'd happily use it to gig, although I suppose the tube could pop at any time, so a spare wouldn't go amiss. I've read people have had trouble with the power amp chips basically melting, but I've never had a single problem with this amp.
Features — 8
I bought this amp back in 2000 for the band I was playing in at the time. Now, after 10 years, its still going strong, after a handful of gigs, and countless hours of home practice. I play mainly punk and metal, but also toy with other genres, and this amp has been perfectly versatile. These days I mainly keep it on the clean channel, with a handful of Boss effects pedals doing the hard work. The amp itself has 4 channels - Acoustic sim, clean, OD1, and OD2, with 2 separate EQs, one for the clean channels, and one for the ODs. It also has a number of on-board effects (chorus, delay, reverb etc), mid scoop for the distorted channels, and a bright Switch for the clean channel. There is an effects loop on the back, a headphone socket, an emulated line out, and a second speaker socket for an expansion cab. 150W of solid state power are plenty for anything up to a small to medium gig. I played 200-ish capacity venues with this, with no help from a PA. It has a single pre-amp tube, the power stage is solid state. The intention was to allow traditional Marshall valve amp sounds in a solid state package. I'm not sure it quite delivers on this promise, but it does sound good for what it is. And the valve is still going strong after 10 years! The amp comes with a 6-way footswitch - one Switch for each channel, and 2 to control the on-board effects. All I would like to have added was a standby switch, but its not essential. I use the Acoustic channel turned to zero as a mute.