Price paid: C$ 650
Sound — 3
This is where the amp falls apart. The clean channel is decent, but nothing special. It has the clinical clean feel that is commonly associated with solid-state amplifiers. This is, however, a very good base for effects and the rest of the amp is solid enough to handle whatever is put into the front end of the amp. The controls work well to help control the tone, but there really isnt much tone to control, its more balancing volumes. The reverb works well and is a major bright spot on the amp. The chorus is pleasant enough and has a good range of abilities. The distortion channel is, suprisingly given Randalls reputation, where this amp dies. With the gain all the way down, the amp can make a Fender-esque sound, but there is no warmth at all. Turn the gain up and you get a fizzy sounding cruch that just sounds far too fake. Up the gain again and you start to get enough saturation for the distortion to begin to smooth out, but the distortion seems like a weak sibling of the more powerfull (and tube driven) Randall stacks. There is simply no body to the tone and the distortion itself is rather unpleasant and harsh regardless of the guitar used. Once the amp reaches modern, scooped metal gain levels, it has a decent sound, as these tones do not rely on warmth whatsoever. However, a hum begins when the Gain 2 knob is pushed beyond the 1 o'clock position and become a full on scream after the 3 o'clock. This is completely unmanagable and happens regardless of the guitar and I've had it happen on other amps. This noise goes away once you start playing, but for all pratical purposes it renders the amp useless.
Overall Impression — 4
I play in a professional functions band and I will not bring this amp on gigs. The tone is so poor with both my main guitars (Epi Les Paul with EMG's and a Gretsch Electromatic) that the amp has been relegated to being my kid brothers practice amp. I bought this amp as a first gig-worthy rig, and I have been dissapointed with it ever since. I am not buying another one, ever. I would recomend anybody looking at this amp to reconsider and try ANYTHING else. I've replaced it at rock gigs with a Vintage Traynor and even that has far more usalbe gain.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The amp is sturdy, not much else to say. The cab is well built and can take a solid beating with no difficulty at all. The amp itself is cooled quite effectively and therefore I have never had any issues with the electronics. My only issue durability wise is the vinyl covering. Its garbage and peels very quickly, but this is eassy to fix.
Features — 9
This was Randall's standard issue combo amp 5 years ago when I bought it, having since been replaced with the much touted G3 series. This amp was made in China, has 100 watts through two Celestion 12" speakers (since upgraded to ceramic JBL's). There are 2 channels (it is advertised as having 3, but this is simply not the case) with 2 separate gain levels and voicings for the Drive channel. The clean channel has standard 3-band eq, along with its own reverb control, level and a foot-switchable boost function (fixed amount of gain). The Drive channel features separate controls for Drive 1 and 2, a voicing control (presence really), a mid-scoop button, 3-band eq, level control and a reverb control. I say this is a 2 channel not 3 channel amp because though the two gains are somewhat different, they operate on the same channel and render one and other useless (more on that later) The reverb is a short tank spring reverb of unknown origin. The amp also features a stereo chorus (not channel asignable)with controls for depth and rate. There is also a master volume. The amp comes with a 5 button footswitch controling Channel, Gain, Reverb on/off, Chorus on/off and clean boost. There is also both a parallel and series effects loop, a ground lift and a 4 ohm speaker out. The features are overall pretty good for the price and for the intended usage of the amp. Though it would have been very nice to have channel specific chorus control to minimize the need to tap-dance.