Price paid: $ 700
Purchased from: MusicMate
Sound — 8
I play an Ibanez SA 160 fitted with the standard pickups and fitted with 0.10 gauge Elixer strings. Like I wrote above in features, name a music genre? Well bring it, the RG50TC will eat it up like it was no one's business. It is surprisingly versatile for a Randall, the metal/ ultimate distortion stereo type. I play anything from blues to metal and everything in between and the RG50TC does it all really well. When you crank up the volume it gets to noisy which is irritating and the feedback is deafening, because you run out of cable. I'm not sure if it could be my pickups, but I imagine having actives making this worse. If you play at respect-for-your-neighbors levels it won't be a problem and when cranking it having a quality, 30foot cable will help. The variety on this amp is what drew me towards it. I was looking towards a Peavey Valveking 112, but my budget increased so I chose between a Marshall DSL401 (great amp but not enough gain), used Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (Gain??? Is it similar to slight Drive? ) and the Randall. The cleans is amazing for an amp not claiming to have crystal clear cleans and the BOOST button gives the clean lots of color. You can instantly hear how it gets warmer and grittier when the boost button is on. The reverb button gives body and character to both the Drive and clean channels. The clean channel gets distorted easily in comparison to other amps. Don't buy this amp if you're playing a lot of cleans. I like this, but I can imagine people being annoyed by this. Well you guys go buy Fender then. The distortion is not as skull piercing and eye bleeding as you might expect out of Randall. Pinch harmonics is not leaping out as with an Engl and other high gain amps. More than enough distortion for most metal styles, but Nu-Metal fans would prefer more gain. Stick a tube screamer into the Drive channel, set gain to about 3 (out of 10) on the amp and max out the gain on the tube screamer. You will achieve great distortions. I rate it an 8 in this department, you'll get better Drive out of an Engl, cleans out of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, but hey that is two separate amps. Think value for your money.
Overall Impression — 9
My overall impression of this amp can't be described in words. I'm not writing this review like the typical fan boy, I'm considering other amps and keeping open minded. I have been playing for just over 3years and my playing skill doesn't justify this amp. Hopefully I'll improve and my playing complementing and justifying this marvelous amp. I also own a Cort AD860 acoustic, owned an Ibanez GRG series (recently sold it), Ibanez SA160 and a Roland Cube 15. I wish I have asked about the footswitch, that is an extra expense now. I love the character of the amp, some people might find it dreadful, I love it. My favorite feature of this amp must be the bang for your buck, the value. The only other amp that can compare in terms of value is the Peavey Valveking series amps. I hate the feedback though. If it were lost or stolen I would probably buy it again or save up more to buy an Engl Thunder or Screamer 50. I compared it to the Valveking, DSL410, Hot Rod Deluxe and for my needs this won. Overall rating speaks for itself, please let me know if anyone finds a better amp in that specific price range.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Like with ALL valve amps, the valves itself has reliability issues. They tend to break and blow up. The RG50TC doesn't run excessively hot, but still you would probably need a backup amp when gigging. The construction is hardy and it looks and feels strong. It's fairly heavy, which is a good sign. Since I don't gig I won't really have reliability issues.
Features — 10
The amp I own was made in 2006 as far as I can recall. It's designed in the US, but assembled in China. Thus making it an affordable alternative to amps such as the much higher priced Marshalls etc. I play mostly hard rock (think Metallica), classic rock (Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Joe Satriani), blues and country (Eric Clapton, Brad Paisley) and Metal (Nightwish, In Flames) and I can get the right tones for all of that. I've read in other reviews that this amp is "all out metal", well that is completely untrue cause you can play anything on this amp and it sounds awesome. I especially like the break up off the clean channel at a certain level, great for blues, country and classic rock. The RG50TC has 2 input sockets, high and low. The high output favors higher output humbuckers and the low output Vintage humbuckers and single coils. It has 2 channels, overdrive which has two gain stages (gain stage 1 is a bit tighter than gain stage 2) and clean which has a boost button. It includes an effects loop which I don't use and a footswitch which I didn't get with the amp (music store bastards). It has the most normal amp features, the equalizer, channel switching and reverb. It has a master volume dial. Headphone jack? Hahahaha, don't use headphones on 50watts of tube power running through a 12" Celestion Seventy 80 loudspeaker, Two 5881 power tubes and Four 12AX7EH's. I use this amp in my bedroom and to jam with friends (I don't play in a band, don't have the time) and surprisingly I can get that special valve tone at a relatively low volume, but it begs to be turned up and then it just screams with a voice only to be achieved by quality valve amps. This amp has all the right features.