Price paid: $ 579
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
Using this mainly with two custom strats, both have bridge humbuckers (Hot rails in one and a Custom Custom in the other). One guitar has a HSS pups and the other is HH. I'm not sure about some of the other posters here saying there is no clean channel on this amp. It's clean enough for me - ever heard of backing your guitar's volume knob down? My guess is that the ppl here have the gain too high and don't use the guitar's volume knob. Hello? It's a tube amp! You control the amount of grit with how hard you hit the strings, the volume knob and the gain... I have it set up with a Boss Super OD running into the front of the amp, then in the effects loop, there a GE7 EQ and a DD-3 delay pedal. The amps reverb is marginal, but I don't want an overprocessed, hide your mistakes kind of tone anyway. The GE7 is for lead boost and a little low mid push. The Rhythm channel is great with or without the overdrive pedal. Setting the gain on the amp around 5 gets a fairly clean tone and with the OD kicked in it's more like a driven Fender, but not as chimey. The crunch setting on the rhythm channel adds a lot of gain. More like the old JMP 50 watt Marshall's with a little Mesa midrange and a boutique tube amp thrown in. Very nice tube harmonics and enough gain to cover AC/DC, early Priest, Black Sabbath, etc. With the OD kicked in, the amp obviously drives more and gets tones closer to earlier (non-Randall) George Lynch. Definitely has the classic overdriven Marshall tone here. Turn the gain up to 10 and with no pedal, this amp sounds like a lot of today's boutique tube amps. It has a singing midrange and lots or harmonic overtones. But, it's not so driven that is gets mushy. The lead channel has plenty of gain. I don't run it past 7. The tone is more modern - mainly because this amp was rebadged from the 5150. It can do pretty much any EVH, Zakk Wylde tones. Throw the OD on and with the gain around 6, the hottest metal tones are right there. The best part is the tube harmonics. There's just no way to compare this to any of the modeling or solid state stuff out there. They are OK, and I've owned plenty of Line 6 stuff, so I know what I'm talking about here.
Overall Impression — 8
I bought the amp for both practice and gigging. The style is 70's to 80's metal. None of the nu-metal crap that's all over the radio these days. If you want that kind of tone, go buy a dual recto and live without a decent lead tone - sorry guys, every recto I have heard sounds thin when playing leads. Where are the harmonics? All they are good for is the way too common rhythm tones that Metallica and the hundreds of soul-less cookie cutter "metal" bands that exist today. Where are the players like EVH? Rhoads? Lynch? Wylde? All those guys played Marshalls. This amp is as close to those tones as I have found. I've been playing for 35 years. Have been in several bands and have owned many different amps. This one is good for it's purpose. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but it beats the heck out of anything Line 6 makes, including the Spider Valve 100 - which I own right now. If I needed to replace it, I don't know what I'd get. Maybe a Mesa Mark 2C+, maybe a Marshall 4100H, ENGL? But those are expensive. I wish the reverb was better and that it was a little more quiet, but overall, it's a very nice amp. I'll be replacing the stock speaker with a V30 to see if that adds to the tone - I expect it will.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Just got it and it works fine - time will tell. So I have to type in more characters in this section for the review to post. This is kinda stupid, so don't bother reading this part. It's just wasted space... Still not enough. How dumb is this? How about a bunch of spaces?
Features — 7
Brand new amp, made in 2011. Two main channels with a foot switchable sub channel on the rhythm channel. Very versatile, but not meant for chimey clean tones. Bought it for an all around classic rock and 80's metal amp. Can pull off some SRV with the right guitar, but not ultra clean tones.