Price paid: $ 1100
Purchased from: used
Sound — 10
I play a Jackson DXMG with a Seymour Duncan SH-4 in the bridge and a custom-made PAF in the neck and a Gibson Standard Explorer with stock pickups (490T and 460 I think). Before I bought this amp, I played that model through a Mesa 2x12 Stiletto cab and felt like it sounded exactly the way I wanted it to sound. It's not that it sounded better than my JCM 2000 TSL60, but it was perfect for me. Right now, I run it through a Marshall 1936 cab, and it's still great, although different. Perhaps some day I'll throw out the GT-12 75's and get Celestion Vintage speakers. If I were to describe the sound, I'd say that it's the combination of Marshall's greatest amps. The clean channel in the "green" mode is really clean, not "Marshall clean", then we have Orange mode, kinda like the JCM2000 clean channel, and then we move to a red mode, which sounds pretty much like a Vintage amp cranked up too high. The Crunch channel delivers some pretty decent tones, but the green mode on that one isn't what I was looking for. Orange and Red somewhat remind me of a classic Marshall Plexi sound if you get the controls right. The OD1 channel is the best feature of this particular amplifier. The Music I play is mostly 80's heavy metal, and it's just perfect for the job. The green mode sounds like JCM800 overdrive, the Orange mode is something like a hot-rodded JCM 800, and the red one adds another stage of gain, in the like of a JCM 900 I think. OD2 sounds quite similar, but it's more thick, the mids are scooped out a bit and we have more gain, which results in a modern, saturated hi-gain overdrive. Of course it still retains the characteristics of a British amplifier. Overall I think that it's the most versatile of all Marshall amps, it combines the characteristics of an old 70's rock amplifier with a more modern tone. The only thing which really puzzles me is - why add so much gain? The red modes of overdriven channels are extremely noisy when the gain setting is over 5, and the sound loses definition. Aside from that, it sounds lovely. I give it a 10, those Who don't like Marshall amps, probably should rate it at 7 or so. Oh, forgot about the reverb. It's really great, although it's not a spring unit. I don't hear much difference between that reverb and the spring reverb in my old JCM 2000.
Overall Impression — 9
I play heavy metal, with a little touch of thrash and hard rock. I think it fits the style perfectly and I don't need anything else. I've been playing for something like 8 years and owned a JCM 2000 and a crappy practice amp. As for other gear I use - I don't really need anything fancy except a noise gate and a CryBaby. So my setup is pretty simple. I love everything about this amplifier, the only thing I think it could have, is a 7-way foot controller ('cause then you wouldn't have to choose between a reverb Switch and for instance fx loop... though I don't really need an fx loop) instead of a 6-way one. But that's just a thought. Aside from that, I couldn't think of anything else I would really want it to have. In my opinion, this amplifier is the best offer at that price. If you want something better, perhaps you could go for a Mesa (though I don't like American amps, just a suggestion). But then again - Mesa Boogies are much more expensive.
Reliability & Durability — 5
I've only had it for 2 months. It looks quite reliable, but I really don't know if I can trust it. Still, the overall impression is very good. I give it a 5, only because I haven't owned it long enough. I've heard that some people had problems with faulty amps, perhaps I'm lucky to have one that's actually well made. Only time will tell, but judging from the state it's currently in, it won't probably give me any problems at all for a long time.
Features — 9
This amp was made in 2008. I bought it at the beginning of March, 2009 used, it was 6 months old then. It has 4 channels, with 3 modes each, comes with a 6-way programmable footswitch (though I use the factory settings), serial and parallel fx loop, emulated line out. 100-Watts, more than enough to withstand Live playing.