Price paid: $ 624.03
Sound — 9
the sound quality is excellent for what I play currently in a band which is a mixture somewhere between GNR, Muse and Blink 182. Guitar wise, I'm playing it through a Jackson DK2 and a Japanese Tokai Love Rock guitar (check these out, far superior sound wise to the 3 Gibson LP's I've owned). It's a bit of a Jekyl & Hyde as there's a few 'niggles' which aren't an issue for me but may annoy others. First off, the clean channel is very warm and has lots of headroom but anything above volume 6 and it will start to break up slightly. I tend to have this on about volume 8 as the cleans sounds I require don't need to be crystal clean and very tiny breakup is great for me. To balance out the distortion volume, you will only need to run the overdrive channel volume at about 3. If you click on the boost, you will get more breakup and a bit more volume. Overdrive on this amp is absolutely awesome and is the best I've owned (I've owned loads including a Marshall Slash Stack, various Marshall valve rack gear, Hughes & Kettner, Line 6, Marshall JTM etc etc) and the crunch is huge! The sound is quite compressed (just how I like my overdrive) but this may be a reflection on running through a 2X12 and not a 4X12. I always run through the low gain input as this thing has more distortion then you would ever need! I tend to run the gain on about 5, Bass about 4.5, mid about 9, treble about 6 and reverb about 4. Crank the master volume up and it's absolute crunch heaven somewhere between Angus Young and Slash. I never tend to run more gain then this as I just don't need anymore despite it being on tap. The only bad bit about the overdrive channels is the 'channel 3'. It only has a seperate gain control and everything else is shared but you can't use it as a lead boost as no matter how high you set the gain, there is absolutely no difference in volume when you Switch channel so I can only presume this is for someone to use if they prefer the shape of the sound on channel 3. I'm currently using a Behringer preamp booster through the FX loop(which is excellent) and gives me a massive volume boost that I need for soling without tainting my sound. I'll give it a 9 as sound wise it's perfect but the features ain't perfect Randall should have left this as a straight 2 channel amp.
Overall Impression — 9
I love the sound of this amp as it is perfect for what I play but some of the features aren't required like the gain 2 channel or possibly even the high gain input as there is absolutely loads of gain! If you need a hard rock valve sound then this is perfect. Metalheads may want to look elsewhere as although it has the gain, the EQ voicing on this goes as extreme as early Metallica although with a good parametric, dare I say, you would easily obtain the Dual Rectifier sound as it has the gain but just not the scooped mids required in standard guise. If this was stolen, I would be absolutely gutted and would go straight out and buy another one. For the price paid, this is a very very good amp indeed and although I got it at a discount (now the standard price), I would have paid the original price based on the sound.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I've had this amp for too short a time to tell. Randall's reputation dictates that this amp will last me a good long time before any minor/major maintanance or repairs are needed. Randall is usually known for their solid-state amps, which are good, and quite popular here. I have no reason to doubt their abilities with tube amps. Customer support. We'll see. The amp was packed with everything but an owner's manual. That's right. No owner's manual! I've e-mailed Randall about this. So far, no response. I'll call tomorrow and see if I can either get them to send me a manual, or at least talk to a tech-guy or tech-gal about things I may have questions about. It's a 5 year limited warranty. I suspect that the tube's aren't covered past 60-90 days.
Features — 9
I believe this amp was probably made in 2004 or 2005. It's 50 watts RMS, with all-tube power (4 12AX7EH and 2 EL34's, 4 and 8 ohm mono outputs).I play metal (death, black, doom, thrash, industrial, and some '80s). This amp can do all that, plus classic rock, blues, and even jazz I'd imagine. It has 2 footswitchable channels, overdrive and clean. The clean channel has a "clean boost" Switch (another Switch on the 4-button footswitch), which is great for bluesy stuff. Without the boost, the clean channel just plain sounds good! The Overdrive channel has two settings, classic high gain, and the modern high gain. The modern high gain sounds very healthy with the low-tuned stuff I usually play. The classic high gain sounds almost like that. This amp has an effects loop with a level control button, and also reverb. Since I'm a metal-head, and this amp has all the distortion I need, I will tend not to use the reverb, or any other effects. The 4 button footswitch (channel select, gain select, clean boost, and reverb/effects loop on/off) is a beauty that works as good as it looks. To make this amp more "metal", I'd have included a mid-shift/scoop Switch. But it really doesn't need it since this thing has gobbs of crunch anyway. For less than $500 (purchased from AMS), the features this head has makes it worth owning for a long-long time.