Price paid: $ 595
Purchased from: Marshall Music
Sound — 9
I play this through a 2001 Ibanez S470 (the discontinued version), with a DiMarzio F2A in the bridge and stock pickup in the neck position, in line with a Boss MetalCore and NS-2 noise supressor foot pedals. This amp is very quiet for a tube amp, all the while cranking the most brutal distortion I've ever heard from an amp this small. I play mostly progressive power metal, with black and death metal overtones, and this amp has yet to let me down tonally. This thing is only 100 watts, and our other guitar player (running a Yamaha Drop 6 through a 150 watt Line 6 Spider III) had to drop a 4x12 cab underneath to keep up, this thing is loud, absolutely beautiful distortion, and the clean tone, this is where this amp blew me away, it is just so warm and rich, you entirely forget your playing an amp made for heavy metal. Perfectly crisp, without that annoying treble ringing in your ears, keeps the Low knob at about 8, the mis at about 4, and the treb on 6 and this amp's clean channel will blow you away, clean or distorted.
Overall Impression — 9
This amp is perfect for anything you can throw at it, Peavey reputation and sound are both very apparent with this amp. If it were stolen, I would cry, take $600 out of the Mesa Boogie fund and buy another one. A major downside is that the footswitch is seperate, and that when you turn the texture knob, about midway, the volume level is a bit lower than full tilt to both sides, but in general, denfinitely one of the best amps I've heard in this price range in a long time.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Well, I just bought it, so I can't say much about reliability, but a funny thing happened the other day. We were all jamming when one of our other guitar player's kids got hurt, keep in mind, we're broke, we have both of our amps are plugged into the same surge protector, and his amp is solid state, so he runs out of the room, switching the surge protector off on the way out, this is the second time he has done this to me, both times, I cringe and wait for that dreaded awful "pop, popopopopopopopopop" from the tubes powering down too quickly, waiting for the speakers to blow, and waiting to go spend $200 on brand new tubes, both times, nothing, no pop, nothing, it may as well have been in standby for a least a minute and you wouldn't have known the difference, so that's gotta be a good sign, by the way, do not attempt this immediate power down at home, I just got lucky, you will blow your amp up.
Features — 9
First let me start out by saying I originally went to test Drive this and the Bugera 6260, both the 212 combo's, and I have to say, despite all the rave reviews for the Bugera, this thing blew it entirely out of the water. This thing is packed to the brim with features. It has 2 channels, Clean and Lead. The clean channel can crank out any kind of tone you want, from warm, rich bluesy tone, to the sharp twang of country, it also has a bright Switch for all those pickups with too many mids and not enough highs. I absolutely love the clean channel on this bad boy. The Lead channel is impressive, still not up to par with the XXX series or anything, but you can still get just about anything out of it. It also has a seperate Volume and Gain boost for the lead channel, the gain boost changes the overall gain from overdriven and crunchy to the sweetest metal tone you can get for 600 bones. The volume boost is not necessary. It also has resonance and presence knobs, which respectively give more apparent low and high end. The most amazing feature of this thing however, is the "patent pending" texture knob, located on the back of the amp (which is kind of annoying when you first begin tweaking with it), full tilt to the left, and you have a genuine class A power amp, made more for overdriven crunchy tones, full tilt to the right, and you have a max-power class A/B power amp, more like the modern metal type sound you hear from bands like Disturbed. You can roll this knob anywhere in between these 2 settings, making almost any tone ENTIRELY POSSIBLE. now the nifty thing about this knob, however, is that the closer you roll it to the class A side, the more power it cuts from the tubes, to maximum decrease of 60% of tube output, without disturbing tone. The only thing I don't like is that the footswitch is sold seperately, but the footswitch also has instant, channel Switch, bright Switch, volume/gain boost, so still very convenient to have.