Price paid: $ 299
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I am using this with a Gibson Les Paul Studio with a Bill Lawrence L-900XL in the bridge and a Bill Lawrence L-900R in the Neck. Both are Blusa pickups, not from Bill And Becky (don't get me started on that topic). The clean channel is stunning. The gain channel is not very brutal, but pretty rockin. Plug a distortion pedal in the clean for supreme evil.
Overall Impression — 8
For those of you Who have been wondering about Raven amps, I thought I would post my thoughts, since there is not a lot of information about them. First off, about the company: (as told to me by a manager at Guitar Center). Raven Amps is owned by Guitar Center (Who also owns Musician's Friend, Music123, and tons of other brands). The amps are made specifically for Guitar Center and it's other branded companies. Apparently they are manufactured in a Crate amp processing facility. Guitar Center hired a few people with amp design experience to create a line of entry-level solid states at a very low price point. That's pretty much all I was told. About the amp: I find the RG100 to be an exceptional amp for it's price. I tried many, many amps in the 300-450 dollar range, and I honestly believe the Raven is the best I came across. It is a straight-up, old school solid state amp. There are no amp models, not effects, no useless "transtube," "valvetronix" or any other single-tube preamp. Now, the reason I detested the other amps in the price range was their lack of potential. That is, if you buy a Spider III, you're absolutely stuck with the tones inside the amp. Every effects pedal or modification I tried with it sounded terrible, and there is no effects loop. The Marshall is also too emulated to positively change the tone- even a basic Boss MT-2 on the clean channel sounds fat and squishy. The Vox Valvetronix have the same problems. In my opinion, if you're looking to buy a cheap solid state amp, you're also looking to play with some versatility in pedals and effects. If you're buying an amp that is trying to be something it's not, it has a much lower likelihood of sounding good with any external modification. The RG100 reminds me of the basic Fender solid state I had as a kid, nice, dependable clean, some reverb, a Drive channel, and that's pretty much it. It's 100 watts, so it's decently loud, but it does start to lose definition and clarity as you crank the volume. The "lead," or gain channel, is pretty weak, but good for a middy old school fuzz sound. The clean is a perfect blank state, and really does remind me of that old Fender. Anyway, I suggest you check these out if you're in the market for a new amp. Try them, and try not to be seduced (brainwashed) by the huge brand names. Believe me, I have returned enough amps in the past month to be more or less banned from Guitar Center, and I have settled on the RG100. I gave it an 8 for an overall practice/small venue amp under 500 bucks. For an amp under 300, it definitely gets a 10.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Reliability and Durability? Seems pretty durable, nothing special, but not overly shabby. I haven't broken it yet. The built-in tuner becomes useless in a matter of seconds after opening the box, but whatever.
Features — 5
Any Raven you come across will have been made in or after 2007. It's not a verstile amp in and of itself, but accepts pedals and effects wonderfully. It has two channels and a reverb, both of which are footswitchable, but no footswitch is provided. It has a great effects loop, and an external speaker jack. I do wish it had a line out/headphone out. Oh, and there's a built in tuner, which is terrible.