Price paid: € 1250
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 9
I'm using an Ibanez RGR321EX with a DiMarzio Air Norton in the neck and an air zone in the bridge. This combo can get you almost anything you want but it has its limitations. You know that tone the active EMGs produce? Well you can't get that but then again if I wanted that I would've bought EMGs. When I bought the amp I wanted to see how it sounds without any pedals in front of it. The first thing I tried was the modern mode on channel 2 *surprise surprise*. I turned everything to 12 o'clock and started dailing. This thing is versatile. Immediately I was hooked, I couldn't stop playing while my other band members were like "Dude this thing sounds HUGE!". What I noticed was that this amp has a flubby low end. This is not very good when you are a metal player but it's kind of perfect for punk. However I knew the cure to this well before I bought the amp and the cure is called OD808. Set the lil bastard with overdrive to 0, tone to 12 o'clock and balance to the max. After several power chords I came a little in my pants. The pedal adds definition to the low end and makes the amp sound closer to the dual rectifier, the sound becomes brutal and perfect for metal. If you are planning on buying this amp and play metal on it, don't forget to buy the OD808. Also don't forget to try the EL34 tubes for extra brutality. I know I didn't say anything about the Vintage and the raw settings on channel 2. That is because I don't plan to use them often and because I really doubt it anyone will buy this amp because of these. That is not to say that they sound bad but there are way cheaper amps out there that will provide similar results in this department. Now for the shitty part - the cleans. The clean channel on the single is bad. It's harsh and brittle sounding. Playing with the guitar tone knobs can make it sound decent but how the hell am I supposed to do this when I have to switch from cleans to distortion on stage? Anyway I can live with that. I'm sure with another week of tweaking I'll get better cleans out of that beast. An EQ pedal might also help here.
Overall Impression — 10
As I said earlier I play punk and metal and the amp is a perfect match for that (You didn't forget the OD808 did you?). I've been playing for 10 years and I've played on quite a few decent amps. This one however beats the crap out of them. I didn't really understand what the fuss with mesa is all about. Now I know and I'm never letting go. I'm pleased with this amp although I paid a fairly high price for it. The reason I chose it before the dual is not the price tag but the sound. Punk on dual sucks, I'm sure there will be many who disagree but I stand behind what I said. My only wish is that the cleans were as good as the ones in the dual. If someone has the balls to steal my beautiful beast I will hunt the bastard down, strap his head to my rig and CRANK it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
So far I didn't have any problems. I hope it remains that way. The shop I bought it from provides 2 years warranty and I hope I will never need it. Would I gig with it without backup? Hell yes I will, I'll just keep an extra set of matched tubes in my backpack.
Features — 10
The amp was made around 2007. I'm running it through a friends Marshall JCM900 4x12 cab and occasionally through my crappy Crate 4x12. It's a 2 channel tube amplifier with a clean and a distorted channel. It's a series 2 single rectifier which has an additional 'vintage' setting on channel 2. I play mainly metal and pop-punk and the amp is just perfect for these styles. This monster is really powerful and it could be used for gigs without any problems. To tell you the truth I was thinking of buying the Dual Rectifier and for the price I paid I could've bought a used dual but in the end I'm glad I chose the single. You can get that meaty distortion at lower volumes with the single and that comes handy when we are rehearsing. Our drummer hits like a wuss and he was always complaining that my previous Bugera 333 amp was too loud. Now we are both happy.