Price paid: $ 25
Purchased from: surplus shop
Features: - solid state
- 10 watts
- 8 inch Maxon made speaker
- 2 channels (2 inputs too; normal and overdrive)
- 2 volume knobs (volume or the gain knob and master volume knob)
- basic 3-way EQ (Bass-Mid-Treble)
- headphones input
- line out input
This is a very Vintage and somehow boutique-looking amp produced by Maxon. I got the amp second hand from a surplus shop here in the Philippines. With the serial inscribed in the amp, according to my research, this amp is probably made in September, 1980 in Japan. And I just got it at December 2011.
It's been 31 years but this amp still ROCKS! It has a very good clean tone and you can have a good crunch sound with the overdrive section! Its stock speaker is good! Not too bassy and not too trebly. The EQ is GREAT! It is very responsive and still not scratchy even through the years! I can nail the tone that I want from this amp. Also, this amp is WAAAAY TOOO LOOOUD for a ten-wattage amp. It is even louder than the 15-watt Behringer amp I used to have before. I'm just a bedroom guitarist and I use this amp for bedroom practice. Even at high volumes, the amp is still quiet in terms that it still does not hum or produce buzz. The amp is also pedal-friendly. I use my 2 pedals alongside with it. It can also be connected to another cabinet with its line out feature. Though most low-wattage SS amps suck with that feature, I think this amp would do fine in that category.
The only thing I hate with this amp is that it needs a 110v outlet. I just can't plug it anywhere. I'll give it a 10 because it covers the basic features that a low-wattage SS amp should have. And also because it is really better compared to other practice amps out there. // 10
Sound: I use this amp with my all-stock Ibanez GRGA11. I play jazz, rock & metal and this amp really is GOOD! This amp is very versatile for a practice amp. You can shape the EQ to your taste and play with your kind of music and the amp would really compliment. The normal or clean channel of the amp sounds SO CLEAN. This amp has the best clean tone and clean sound that I have encountered with low-wattage SS amps. The stock speaker can be said as a really QUALITY one. It is very quiet and clear even at high volume settings. (vol=10, mas=4) The sound starts to break at settings: vol=10, mas=5. The amp's responsive EQ really shows a very clear difference when you dial the EQ to different settings. It is also responsive to the player's attack on the strings. Meaning, when you hit the strings softly, the amp will not sound so loud as well.
The overdrive channel of the amp is just plain OVERDRIVE. You can't have a broootal sound with it but is it fine for me. I use my Danelectro Fab Distortion for my distortion needs. And I just love the crunch sound of the amp! With the proper EQ settings you can nail that Marshallish-crunch-sound that a lot craves for. I also have a BB Preamp clone pedal with I use as a booster and an overdrive pedal as well.
I want to try other guitars with this amp. Let see if this amp would do better with better guitars. I appreciate the sound of my guitar with this but I'm guessing that I will appreciate this amp better with other high-end guitar. I'll rate this at 9 because the sound is really good for a practice amp. Tube amps really sound better but this one is way too good for a SS amp. Too bad Maxon discontinued its production many years ago. This would have been a hit given that they will produce the same kind with the same quality. // 9
Reliability & Durability: As a practice amp, I wouldn't depend on it at live gigs. But, given small gigs, I think this would not sound bad. It is really loud that the sound is still clear. From its looks before I bought it, it looks that it has been through numerous trials. The leatherette cover has some marks of bumps. The grill cloth cover has some small hole punches. Too bad. The grill cloth is really good looking. Considering the age and quality of sound that I got, I'll give this amp a 10. With that time, the amp can still rock and roll! You can just prove its durability and reliability. Maxon products are QUALITY and made to last. Nuff said. // 10
Overall Impression: I've been playing for about 8 years and the gears that I have are all that I mentioned above. As I have described above, I play mostly rock to metal. This amp is a very good practice amp for anyone out there. Too bad, it's discontinued already. The amp is even older than I am. I don't wish anything to be included in it. It is fine and good as it is. I would feel bad if this amp would be stolen. This amp is hard to find already. Add up the quality of the amp. I don't think I can buy another like this. I would like to try its bigger brothers! GX20 and GX30. I love its clean tone. But I hate the fact that it needs 110v outlet. Well, Maxon is a Maxon. QUALITY. That's what I can say. // 8