Price paid: $ 599
Purchased from: Local Guitar shop
Features — 9
Made in China 2013. It's a 45 watt tube amp with two channels. It is powered by 6L6 tubes so it really nails that American sound. It has an effects loop, reverb and presence control. The Eq on the amp is shared between two channels which is deal breaker for a lot of people, but I'm not bothered by it. Being a bedroom jammer the most important feature is a master volume. It does lack a resonance control, but the bottom end is not all that bad. And it is awkward to have to reach behind the amp to tweak the reverb.
Sound — 10
Well let's get to it. The Clean channel on this amp is actually not that bad. A lot of the high gain amps that I have played are not that useable, but this one actually has some musical function to it. It's more like a Marshall where the cleans are not crystal but do sound really good. The Distortion side of the amp is where this thing comes alive. It does not do a good crunch sound to my ears unlike the 45 watt head version. It gets that '80s metal tone pretty well and has good sustain for a 1x12. The gain characteristics do not change all that much as it is increased but when the boost is kicked in it really takes on a different sound. I wouldn't say it quite sounds like a Dual Rec, but it is definitely in the ballpark. It is really tight sounding probably due to the closed back design. The EQ is very responsive which I like. It also has a fan on it which I guess is supposed to help with overheating. The inclusion of reverb on this amp is a HUGE plus for me and this thing preforms well on low volumes due to the master volume control. This amp is light years better than the previous model... Thanks Mike Fortin.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The amp seems to be well built. I will only see my apartment so I have no idea how it will hold up on the road. The dials on the front of the amp do look cheap, but I was surprised at how sturdy they feel. It feels very solid and the feel of the tolex and the metal grill on the front really give it that metal look. I'm wondering about the speaker quality, but at this point I have not reached that breaking in point and since the volume won't go past two I don't think it really matters. I notice a fan on the back so I guess this thing won't overheat, but I rarely play it beyond an hour.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a decent match to the style of music that I play (metal). It is one of the few amps in this price range that can really get a heavy sound without some sort of distortion box in front of it. I have been playing since I was 13, but I have only started playing tube amps in the last 2. The best thing about this amp is the master volume and onboard reverb, but the lack of a resonance control really is a disappointment, but not a deal breaker. It is under 700 bucks so if something did happen to it I could save up for another in no time.