Purchased from: Gift
Features — 8
The amp is about 13 years old, I've had it for 4 years. It is made in China - the sticker is somewhat hidden unless you are working on the amp. The workmanship is fairly good, other than for the use of plastic - more on that later. it is amusing that "designed in USA" is written on the front, but the China label is hard to find. The Amp has two channels, clean & lead (distortion), pre and post-gain, three tone controls, a vintage/modern switch, and volume. The vintage switch is - as someone else mentioned - rather subtle, giving a bit more treble.
Sound — 7
I play pedal steel & electric, mostly clean. I had had limited success with this amp as it has been very noisy even with humbuckers. The last time I gigged with it, I ended up using a 10 watt silvertone instead. I choose to use these tiny amps because my Peavey Session 400 is simply too heavy to lug around and 400 watts is overkill in small venues. I find if I use the lead channel with very low pre-gain and high post-gain, I still get a clean sound without too much noise. My ears are still sore from the volume. Coupled with a reverb pedal, this might work in a under 1000 square foot setting.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The rage is well made, although the plastic corners get beat up easily. The instrument input is also plastic and has cracked on my Rage, and it has not seen much use. This really should be metal. I've gigged with it twice but the noise (hum) is unbearable. I checked all the grounding internally and replaced the power cord, but found using the lead channel on low pre-gain, low treble, and vintage on, seemed to cure that. I have tried humbuckers and single coil pickups without improvement. I'm rating this high because i am pushing the amp beyond what it is intended for.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly country, playing pedal steel and electric, since the early '80s. When I gig it can be in a smaller hall or room, or in a large venue - i hoped this amp would do well in the smaller rooms. With the work-around mentioned above, and with a decent reverb pedal, it just might work. If this amp were stolen, I would try to find an amp with 25-50 watts and reverb. I would not likely purchase the Rage 158. I would recommend it if you do not need reverb and are looking for a practice amp, which is what it is.