Purchased from: Online auction
Sound — 7
The sound of this amp is surprisingly good. I have seen many negative reviews of this amp, but I suspect most people buy this expecting it to sound like a 100 watt Marshall stack and are disappointed when it doesn't. If you forget your unrealistic expectations, and compare this amp objectively against anything else in the 20 - 40 watt class, it stands up very well. One disappointment for me is the clean channel, which, the owners' manual advises, will "crunch up your sound" if taken past 5 on the volume dial. I'm sorry Jim, but if I wanted the amp to "crunch up" my sound, I'd use the lead channel. I'd like to be able to get a nice clean crisp acoustic-type sound beyond 5 on the dial, as I could on my Peavey. The lead channel is very good, but I am using the Marshall Guv'nor GV-2 pedal on the clean channel as it has better sustain. I am playing an Aria Pro II RS Deluxe-V (a 30 year old Japanese single-coil guitar), and have not tried it with a humbucking guitar. I'm not a rock player, more into easy-listening and pop, and all I really want is some nice clean sounds and some good fuzzy sustain for guitar solos. I appreciate that Marshall amps are primarily aimed at rock players, and I think most rock players would be happy with the sounds if they compared this objectively against other amps of similar wattage and spec.
Overall Impression — 8
I really like this amp. It compares very favorably with its predecessor, the Peavey Envoy, which, in addition to being noisy, had fiddly little knobs and poor visibility. To be sure, the amp could do with a better ergonomic layout (9 identical knobs in a row with no gap between channels isn't especially user-friendly) and I'd like it to be able to keep clean sounds to a louder level, but it seems well-built, is visually attractive, is nice and quiet, and for the most part, sounds great. Also, the brand name has "street cred" and it won't cause you any embarrassment at band practice. I consider this particular amp to have been excellent value for money (second hand), and I'd recommend this amp to anyone looking for a compromise unit that can be a bedroom practice amp but also a small-gig stage amp.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The amp seems well-built. There is some minor noise when using the volume control on the lead channel, but I will apply some CRC / WD40 to this and see what happens lol. I did buy it second hand, so all in all, am very happy with it. It's made in England, so it has a bit more "cred" than something made in China, although having driven English cars, I know this is not always a good thing lol.
Features — 8
This is a twin-channel guitar amp, with separate equalization for each channel, plus reverb. It has a 10 inch speaker. It has line out and headphone out sockets, and a single input. It is compatible with a channel-switching footswitch but this was not included. It says made in England, which seems astonishing in this day and age when everything involving a circuit-board seems to be made in China. I bought this amp second hand from an online auction site. I got it for the equivalent of US$155, but this price included a Marshall Guv'nor GV-2 distortion pedal. My intention had been to sell the pedal to off-set the cost of the amp (I would probably get half my money back), but I like the pedal so much I'll keep it lol. The amp is replacing a Peavey Envoy that is getting old and noisy. The name "Valvestate" implies that it is a valve / solid state hybrid but in fact only the 65 and 100 watt models in this series are hybrids, the 15 and 30 watt models are totally solid state. No big deal, and I'm happy with a solid state amp, but the name does seem a little misleading.