Purchased from: Reverb.com
Features — 8
Earlier model ValveKing. This amp is a multi-functional, budget tube amp with multiple useful features, a good sound, and a durable, lasting build. With the stock build, the amp's preamp and power sections are powered by 6L6GC and 12AX7 tubes, which drives a 12'' ValveKing Voiced speaker. It has: two input jacks, clean volume, "bright" switch, channel select, 3-band clean eq, lead distortion knob, boost gain switch, volume boost switch, 3 band lead eq, reverb, effects loop, speaker extension port, footswitch port, "texture" knob, resonance switch, off/on switch, and on/standby switch.
Sound — 7
It sounds moderately good. It couldn't hold its own compared to higher-end Peavey amps, but for the price it goes for currently (I bought the one I have for $300) it is a swell amp. One of the main issues with the sound is the inherent muddiness with the stock ValveKing speaker, more on that later. The clean channel is responsive and dynamic, preferably using the bright switch and the resonance switch pushed in. The EQ isn't very responsive, but not totally useless. The "resonance" switch is more or less a bass-boost kind of thing. The A/AB "texture" parameter emulates the different amp classification, listed as going from "LOW PWR" (towards the "A" side) or "FULL PWR" (towards the A/B side). It sounds somewhat like a boost, although subtle. The clean is probably the best sound from the amp, if not a light crunch. The lead channel sounds okay, allowing you to go from a light crunch to saturated grind. You'll want a boost pedal with the more distortion you use, if not it will sound shrill.
The lighter OD settings were workable although I still wanted to use an OD pedal with it. I was able to milk some EVH-esque tones out of it with a heavy crunch setting and the "Boost Gain" switch activated, along with the EQ dimed. The EQ is a bit more responsive on the lead channel. The volume boost switch is just a clean boost for the lead channel. The reverb is meh, it doesn't follow very well; I wouldn't use it past 9 O' clock. You are almost absolutely positively going to want to buy a new speaker. The stock speaker is garbage, and it hinders this amp from being the wonder-machine it so longs (and I so long) for it to be. It sounds like mud looks and feels. You can get some good sounds out of it stock, but you're going to want to fork out another ~$70+ USD to replace the stock speaker. I'm probably going to go with a Vintage 30 clone myself. Secondly, the EQ doesn't seem to do all too much. It works, but from 0-10 (value) on any one of the EQ parameters, there isn't a very versatile difference. Lastly, the lead channel leads much to be desired. Luckily, I've (barely) survived GAS 2014 and I have 3 boost (clean, OD, etc) pedals now, so the lead channel is workable with such equipment.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's built fairly well. The back is open with caging on the tubes and a lower brace to protect the reverb. It will withstand movement and live playing. It shouldn't have any reliability issues, unless your seller sold you a broken amp. The majority of ValveKings being sold used are always in a great condition. Amp parts are sturdily place in but easy to adjust and customize. The stock speaker might not last too long at louder volumes, and that speaker is the only thing that's actually the only real problem with this amp.
Overall Impression — 8
The popularity of this amp, and the more recent productions, make this a recommended choice for a guitarist's first tube amp. But, it does also have some problems that can be fixed with some extra effort and $$$. As my actual first tube amp, I'm happy I bought it. It was worth it. For $300 in prime condition, minus the logo (you might could find one cheaper) it was a good buy. But, you're going to have to pay at least $370 to make it a great buy. It has a lot of volume and headroom on tap, and endless potential versatility. It does sound really good as a budget tube amp, you just need to know how to coax it and work with it. I'm going to put in a new speaker, so that it will have more versatility, clarity, and mid-range punch. I'll be using the clean channel mostly, with a boost pedal on the lead channel for a solid OD. I use a dummy jack in port 1 and my instrument plugged into port 2 as well to clean up the amp a bit. FX loop utilized. Clean Settings (clock positions): Volume 8, Bass 1, Mids 12, Treble 9. I use a Vox AC30 emulation from the Digitech RP-155.