Sound — 9
I use an old ESP James Hetfield Explorer from the early 90s and 3 ESP Michael Amott Ninja V guitars W/ the Kerry King EMG pick up set, 81 and 85s with the PA 2 booster Switch in all of them. I have the gain at about 6 and its more than plenty. Its also not too noisy on the tube channel for being a high gain amp but I still use a MXR SMART GATE pedal and the amp loves it. Its dead silent. Its a gain monster that can get any tone you want out of it. You just need to tweak the graphic EQ, watch the gain knob because its got so much of it. And Dont Dip Out The Mids In The Graphic Eq.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing in metal/thrash bands since 1992 so I have used quite a few amps in my day, this one is a keeper. I was a MESA/BOOGIE user for 13 yrs. For me to stop using a Mesa says alot of this amp.I had the Triple Rec and A Dual Rec. I also had the coveted Mark II C+. I also used Marshall amps before the Mesa amps (JCM 800 and 900). I sold my MESA amps because they were not too reliable after awhile, and everytime something goes wrong its $250.00 to fix. So I went looking for a new amp. I tried everything you can imagine, I am a tone freak and I try anything I can get my hands on. I tried the Diezel VH4, Splawn NITRO(which would have been my 2nd choice, Great amp), Marshall JVM, 5150 III, Peavey 6505, Framus Cobra, the Bogner designed Line 6, Bogner amps, VHT Pitbull, Diamond amps, and Egnater. This amp was the best one on the market with the features and cosmetics to match. Find me an amp that looks this cool, with the blue V2 Logo lights and LEDs besides a H&K amp.You wont! One of the coolest looking amps as well. If it were stolen? I loved the head so much I bought the second one as a back up just incase it WAS stolen. This is a full on METAL amp but it can deliver various tones. I've seen country players use this amp. No kidding!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have never had one concern with my amp and I have had it and gigged with it for over a yr now. I haven't even changed a tube. I contacted the Randall staff with questions about the amp after I purchased it and got replys back the same day. So I would say Customer Service is impeccable.
Features — 9
I own 2 of the Archetype V2 heads that Christian Olde Wolbers from Fear Factory designed. One was was made in 2008, the second in 2009.This amp does NOT sound like a regular V2 or Ninja V2. I tried out all of them side by side at my friends store with the same exact cab configuration and EQ settings. The Archetype was modded by Wolbers to have more low mids, more sensitive pots, more gain and a tighter bass response.He speaks of it in the Metal detector article when the amps came out. The NINJA 2 was modded by Amott and has a great sound also but it is more thinner/treble sounding. Not as much gerth as the Archetype.I play in a thrash metal band. We play all diferent size venues in Southern Cali. This amp in my opinion is the end all be all of hard rock/metal amps. This amp has a 6 band graphic EQ and 3 channels. Its a hybrid amp, meaning it has a full tube pre- amp and half tube/solid state power section.The clean channel is a good solid state sound, it just needs an FX pedal like any other amp without built in FX would.The second channel is a solid state overdrive. This channel has a treble push/pull knob for an extra gain stage. It is a great channel for rock or thrash metal. The 3rd channel is the main reason you buy this thing. All tube preamp section with RUBY 12AX7 pre-amp tubes. Has a bright Switch and attack Switch for a more aggressive picking attack. The amp comes with a fully programmable midi foot controller and FX loop. The amp is 280 watts at 8 ohms, 400 watts at 4 ohms and 480 watts at 2 ohms. This amps sweet spot is at 4 ohms. It has enough headroom for Madison Square Garden and the LA Coliseum. It will blow your drummer away its so loud. I use the Randall Kirk Hammett XL cabs with the cross pattern Celestion speakers, V30s and 75 watters.