Price paid: $ 899
Sound — 10
Lets talk about what guitar players are striving for-TONE! This is a trans tube amp; it allows the flexibility to push the amp at 10% to 100% power output, allowing for a natural compression of the tone allowing a sweet round articulated sound that can be incredibly clean, blusey overdrive, to driving feedback even at low volumes- you have to go try it to hear it. I was not a believer in Peavey nor have ever owned any, I have always owned fender/musicman tube amps and wanted something more than one tone amps. I was also tired of hauling a variety of pedals and or pedal boards around to get that TONE- most of you know exactly what I mean. I took my TEX MEX Strat in to demo the transformer 112 amp- I also have an LR Baggs acoustic bridge pickup installed. I was completely blown away by the sound with the Tex Mex pickups- you still get the strat noise on high gain, but in between setting on the strat were fairly quiet- in fact the amp even turned up did not have any HISS unlike the line six stuff. The tone is rounder and more tuby that the line six stuff in this price range, even more so when I switched to a Gretsch I have with humbuckings- talk about sustain. Then I tried the LR Baggs- this is the only electric amp I have found that could make the sound of the Baggs sound "correct", like an acoustic. It is very similar to the sound with an acoustic amp I have. I found this tone and sound to be truer with a Takamine I just sold, and that the amp sounds even better with my new acoustic, a Taylor 414ce with Fishman electronics. The variety of the effects is small- 5 plus delay and reverb-- but I find them very good, especially the rotary and delays. I play in a church that seats about 550 to 600, and my biggest problem is always being told I am to loud (typical setting is about 1 1/2 on the master) and too much bass- pretty good for an open back cabinet. The clean remains clean on the clean channels even at high volumes with maxed pre and post gain, the crunch models are dependent on the pre and post gain offsets- so are the lead models. This makes for a variety of endless tweaking because the lead models can be made to sound clean, edgy, ect--- also there is the ability to change cabinet styles (15 other choices besides the preset)which do make a difference to the tone as well- I am still coming up with new tweaks and changes as I listen to differences- keeps it fun looking for the elusive tone/sound or the new one I want to make up.
Overall Impression — 10
I have played since I was 13, seen lots of amps and guitars- heard countless bands and concerts. Today, the ability to mike an amp or line out to the PA makes it far simpler to look for tone in a smaller 2 by 12 package, one that can be heard on stage with authority as needed. This amp can do it. I love the fact that I can have such a variety of sound ready at my fingers without a lot of time spent editing, that the sounds are tasty, the effects are good enought to put away the pedals- as Frank Zappa pointed out shut up and play your guitar! that is what the Peavy lets you do. The Cyber Twin is great, so is the Vetta- but those are way above the price of this amp. The editing on this amp is so simple, as well as setting the effects. It does not sound harsh like the Line 6 stuff does, nor does it have the solid state hiss sound that a lot of products do such as Crate or Line 6. Given the opportunity, I would donate this to my Church when a newer improved Transformer 212 came out- for the money (which includes the food pedal) this amp is a very good deal- for the sound and the TONE, it is a bargain.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Very reliable and dependable so far- no problems, other than it is heavy and I got myself a little trasport carrier for it.
Features — 10
I have had this amp for about a year and 1/2, and I honestly believe it is the best unknown bargain among current modeling amps. The reviews prior to mine have fairly well documented the features. It is versatile enough to cover everthing from country twang to in your face gutty distorion, but with an ability to change and edit even while you play, other tweak types should love this- saving the new settings is super easy as well. The ability to see your settings with the LED readout in semi darkness or with stage lighting in your face- wow, it is all right there, no problems!! The amp has 16 user and 16 presets, the only thing I could have wished for would have been a foot toggle switch arrangement to go between the user/preset patches- it can be done by quickly moving your left hand and tapping the user button back to presets, but if you like the preset you can easily make it part of your user patch setup. The user patches are very musical, allow for a wide variety besides showing off what this amp can do. Hendrix, U2, ZZTop, Jazz, and Santana licks ripped off the presets as some of my friends went through the settings. Another feature that might have been nice to have would be a way to adjust the drive of the distoriton on the various lead models, but hey, in all fairness for the most part you can back off your guitar volume and do this on most of the models- and that is pretty cool in itself. I use this amp at my Church where in a 1/2 hour we span the range during Praise from pop, rock, funky, blues, boogie shuffle to very quiet refective material during Worship. Powerwise, I have not had a direct shotout with the ASx2 line six the other guys have, but in fairness at 1/4 output I have no trouble hearing myself andI get motioned to turn down- almost the same results at higer lvels but now I am moving lots of air too. It easily keeps up with the Line 6- this is a very powerful amp with strong output when required. It is also the only modeling amp I have found that can work with success with acoustic pickups (American clean model- read Twin Reverb). I searched for an amp that could meet both my acoustic and electric needs, with a variety of user friendly good sounding effects- at this time, this is the amp.