Price paid: $ 899
Purchased from: Quilter Labs, Inc.
Sound — 9
I am a Fender man normally. I own a reissue '52 Tele with Seymour Duncan pickups (lil' 59 neck/Hot Rails bridge); a Classic Player Tele Deluxe; and a clone Stratocaster made by GK. I also play a Fender CD220SE through it at times. I tend to keep the Gain down around half as a sort of mild break-up, using the Limiter to really clean it up when necessary. I've tried a variety of OD and Distortion pedals through the main channel, which makes them sound a little different than through Channel 1 (which I'm using for a mic, as a singer). I've found a number of great combos, including the EHX Metal Muff w/ Top Boost, DigiTech Bad Monkey, Boss OD-3 and Boss DS-1. Surprisingly to some, the DS-1 is currently what I am happy to carry along right now; as a main heavy crunch, it rules through this amp and either of my humbucker-equipped guitars (haven't tried the Strat with this combo yet). When I turn on the boost (set to Loud), it increases the volume/saturation very nicely! If you crank both the Gain and Boost knobs, you can get feedback and noise; however, the amp runs fairly quietly in general. As mentioned, I use an external pedal for rhythm distortion (Bad Monkey cranked up works well with hi-output pickups, too). I find that with the Gain knob cranked, the boost on Loud is less discernible (think the Satchurator pedal, for those of you that have tried it). For metal players, one thing you might try is using the HOT boost as your rhythm setting, as it has enough gain to riff. When you turn it off, there is less gain but more midrange, which makes the perceived volume jump somewhat. An OD or EQ in the loop would also work as a huge lead boost... Just watch the volume.
Overall Impression — 9
I love Jimi Hendrix, Iron Maiden, the Foo Fighters, Billy Talent, Metallica, Van Halen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and a nearly endless list of other artists. This amp handles almost all styles very well on its own, but plays very nicely with external effects. I have been playing and singing for ten years; aside from my guitars, I also own effects by Boss, DigiTech, Dunlop, EHX, Behringer and Radial. I held an email correspondence with Chris Parks, Quilter's CEO, prior to buying this amp. All my questions were answered, and he informed me that he personally checked my amp before shipping (!). It is fairly obvious to me that these guys care a lot about their customers. If this were stolen or lost I would work very hard to retrieve it; failing that I would surely re-purchase, finances permitting. For people who want a solid-state amp that sounds pretty awesome and costs less, check out the Peavey Bandit 112. I owned one prior to this, and had to sell it when I moved provinces due to a lack of room. In retrospect, though it was a great amp, it was larger and heavier than the MicroPro 200 but had more aggressive distortion. As you can probably tell, I am more or less in love with this amp. I wish the regular Gain went a bit higher and interacted with the Boost (Loud mode)a little differently, but overall it is an unbelievable combination of features and quality for its size and price. I've played some amazing tube amps, but I will likely never buy one again when I have this to work with. Players who crave piles of distortion can buy pedals at reasonable prices that will give you what you need. If you have the opportunity to try/buy one, I would heartily recommend it!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I can totally rely on this amp; it is a bloody masterpiece of engineering. Since it has such a huge volume range, and no tubes, I am not worried about it going on the fritz at a show. I haven't owned it long enough to neglect it, but I don't think I ever will. It is light and solidly built - because the reverb is digital there is no worry about a spring tank malfunction. It comes with a thick slip cover, though you can also buy a deluxe bag with a shoulder strap (which I did). When I go to practice or a gig, I have my guitar across my shoulders in a gig bag, this thing over my shoulder or in one hand (<20 lbs.!) and my pedalboard bag in the other hand.
Features — 10
This amp was built in August 2012 - I know because it was built on the day I ordered it (!). I play a wide variety of music, having done projects that required blues, pop, classical elements, rock and metal. The MicroPro 200 needs some tweaking to get a metal rhythm tone, but it can be done; everything else sounds delightful, no pedals attached! It has two channels: the first is a neutral, "clean" channel that is meant for two things. First, it is designed for pedals. Second, it has a balanced input/XLR mode for plugging in an acoustic guitar or a mic! The effects loop and reverb functions work on this channel, as well. The second channel is the "main" electric channel, which comes with the usual 3-band EQ. It has a Gain knob which accommodates up to a "hard rock" amount of overdrive. There is a Boost feature with 4 flavours of boost: HOT (good for metal rhythm tones), Loud (more volume and gain - solo mode), Bright (more treble), and Scooped (more bass and treblish). Obviously, there are a lot of options SO FAR, but there's more. You also have access to a Limiter (cleans away the distortion, keeps the sustain! ), Tremolo, Reverb (as mentioned - with a path selection knob), and Presence (which allows you to tame/unleash your guitar, as required). There is also a Mode switch, which allows you to select what type of sound you have wen the mode switch is off (Mini, Tweed, Classic FullQ and an ability to use Channel 1 as your clean channel). Finally, there is a Master Volume. This amp, despite its small size, is bewilderingly loud; the 200 stands for watts, after all! On the back, there is an effects loop; a direct out for recording/PA usage; a footswitch jack which uses an ethernet cable (!); extension speaker out, and a snap-in jack for the mains. All in all, this thing is feature-JAMMED. It comes with a 2-button programmable footswitch (any two features), or you can upgrade it to a deluxe 6-button model with buttons for Mode, Boost, Limiter, Tremolo, Reverb and FX Loop. I have used this amp at home and in rehearsal so far - my new project is getting material together so no live shows yet. I have yet to Jam with it with the master volume above half - it's a f***ing beast. As per Quilter's ads, it uses a newer form of solid state technology they call "3rd Gen" power; it sounds really damned good.