Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 9
At the moment, I'm using an Epi LP Gold Top with Swineshead pups (neck - Runaway, bridge - Warthog). I also use a black strat with scalloped frets. This really suit a classic rock players style, from Floyd to Straits, AC/DC to Led Zep, tweaking the knobs can bring all these tones out a lovely warm clean, I like this clean just as much as the Fenders. The Peavey has a much better crunch though. The only thing this doesnt suit, is heavy metal as the gain is nice and gentle, blusey if you will, but seeing as most metal players will have a few pedals, this can be of great use to the face melting, heavy riffers aswell. I have recently put a whole new set of JJ Telsa valves in, these suit the amp well, thsese or EH valves are best for the amp in my opinion. The amp is quite noisy, but only as noisy as any other all valve amp, so nothing of surprise here. I don't really like the Blue Marvel stock speaker in it, the amp really comes alive with a speaker change, I'm putting a Celestion Vintage 30 in it a the moment. I have cranked this a few times, and it really does sing. It starts to crunch up on the clean channel with the normal at 7 or so, depending on the valves, with higher gain valves, it will crunch at 5. Then past that, it just gets crazy, in a good way.
Overall Impression — 9
In conclusion, I feel this is the best 30w valve combo I have ever tried, and I've tried alot. Some may prefer the cleans on say the Fender Blues Junior, but I found the C30S just as silky and warm, with the right speaker and valves. As I say, I dont see the point of the boost switch, and a standby would be a much loved added extra, these are the only reasons why I can't give the amp top marks. If this were lost/stolen, and I had the same budget, I would defiantly get this amp again. This is my ultimate reccomendation for a 1x12 combo amp, It beats the Fender BJ, the Laneys and the Traynors in my opinion, plus it looks uber cool in all it's tweedy glory.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This is a very dependable amp, it's good for the players who need a workhorse of an amp. With the required TLC, it will last a life time, change the power valves (EL84) every year or so on average and it won't let you down. This thing is very heavy for its size, so your back doesn't really thank you when going up stairs, but there are just some sacrifices you have to make if you want a rugged amp with a valve guard, it makes the C30 even more durable.
Features — 7
My Classic 30 is an early model, it doesnt have the valve guard as standard. This amp has a nice and simple array of features. Master treble/mid/bass and reverb. It has pre and power amp gain knobs, and a normal channel volume. I love the master EQ, I find this exteamly usefull when switching channels, it saves so much faff. Even less if you buy the optional footswitch. The reverb is lovely and springy, may nt be long enough for hardcore 60s surf players, but it's long enough for most people. If you are a surfing Strat player, a new long spring tank is easy to install, and won't set you back too much. One thing I don't like is the boost switch, I've put it on once, and never used it again. I just can see the point of it, it adds way too much treble, and just makes the thing sound tinny. Another thing is the lack of a standby switch, this would be a very usefull mod, as on stage, there that annoying amount of time, which is too short to turn it off for, but you dont really feel like leaving it burning up for that amount of time. The next thing which brings it down to a 7, is the lack of a valve guard on this model, if you're buying a recent one, then this will be an 8 for features. I'm looking into buying a valve guard at the moment, as I find having to remove the valves every time I want to travel with it a bit tedious.