Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: private seller
Sound — 6
I'm running my Ibanez Rg4 and 350MDX through a Boss OD-20, Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Jr., Boss DD-20 for delay, and out to the amp (most of the time) and I play progressive metal/classical whatever. Dream Theater, Symphony X, Steve Vai, etc. With all of these effects i can get a pretty good tone out of it (I've heard nothing but compliments from fellow musicians) One problem I've had, however, is that when you use a setting other than Clean and you want to try to give it a "little more" on the crunch or heavy side with a pedal. FORGET ABOUT IT! The moment you press that button the most ungodly screech will come barreling out of your amplifier that's shrill enough to even hurt my mostly deafened ears. AWFUL. I was very disappointed in this. So... to solve this issue I leave my amp on Clean all the time and just use my pedals accordingly. The distortion on the amp is just plain weak. Anyone who says they can get a good chugging sound out of this is thinking about the wrong kinda sound lol. If you want that heavy guitar sound with some lows in there and highs that are not overbearing and completely unsaturated, you'll need some kind of external distortion or overdrive. By the way, the button on the far end that is supposed to mimic a tube amp is, in my opinion, a complete waste of space. You would probably never want to play this amp without that button pressed in because it sounds just pathetic without it. But also, in no way does it mimic a tube or valve state amp in sound. Volume wise... This thing can get loud. I've actually gigged this thing live (once in an auditorium) and it handled as well as it could. The cleans (when cranked) can get a little bit chimey (definitely not in a good way).
Overall Impression — 6
With my style of music, I would say this amp is a horrible match. The only way I get good tone out of it is to use a labyrinth of pedals and the clean channel on the amp which doesn't say much for it. I've been playing for several years and the only reason I haven't upgraded is because I don't have the $$$ right now. If it were stolen, (If they could carry it off... It weighs a ton) I would laugh my ass off and tell the person who stole it that it was their problem now. Compared to the Peavey 112 bandits that I play on every week... This thing is just sad.
Reliability & Durability — 4
This amp... Sadly enough. Is absolutely not dependable. I will never ever play live without a backup. (i usually run stereo so a backup is already there :P) I have done nothing but baby this amp so i don't want to hear someone complaining that this was from neglect because it wasn't. Plugged this baby up for practice one morning and much to my horrid disbelief the sound cut out on me. Not completely though... You could still hear what you were playing but at volumes beyond low (especially since I had the amp cranked to 5 which is very loud) I checked all of my pedals. They were fine. I ran my pedalboard to some headphones. All was well. Hooked the guitar directly to the amp and switched some cords... Same problem. Checked my electronics on my guitar. All was well in there. Switched guitars 3 times. Same problem. I HAD A SHOW THAT NIGHT! And I had no amp. So I made a call or two and lined up a Peavey 112 Bandit for the show. Well the amp started to work again slightly so I took it to play stereo anyways. Halfway through the show it kept cutting out and back in even though the Peavey still sounded fine. After a couple months it has stopped giving me fits but I still won't trust it after that. I've heard too many accounts of this happening for it to just be coincidence. On another note, the fan starting up in the back sounds like a jet airplane struggling to take off and is sure to get some laughs out of your friends. It's just plain hilarious.
Features — 8
This amp comes with 2 channels, Clean/Crunch, and OD1/OD2. The 2nd channel also sports a contour knob. Built in effects include Chorus, Delay, Chorus/Delay, and Flanger. Reverb is on a separate knob thank god. Effects loop in the back with Wet/Dry control up front. Also the little button that is supposed to make it sound more tubey-ish. The channels can be switched back and forth on a footswitch but you can't Switch between the settings in the channel such as switching between Clean and Crunch. Pretty standard features for an amp in this price range.