Sound — 9
I'm using this amp with my Ibanez AG95 that has hand wound pickups in it, so it sounds pretty good for a miniature solid state amp. It'll go from super clean to super distorted if you want it to. You don't have an EQ available, only a tone knob to tame the highs if you wish. But that's fine as the preset EQ on each amp model is pretty dialed in already. Each amp model has it's own flavor available and, in my opinion, their all very usable. The acoustic model doesn't really sound like an acoustic (surprise, surprise). It really just changes the tambre and attack of your guitar signal to make it 'feel' more like acoustic tone, but it's still a pretty cool clean. The jc clean model is my favorite clean. It's very even sounding, not really favoring any frequency, and can be coaxed to be either smooth or snappy. The black panel model is very boomy. It sounds better with a bridge pickup to my ears. Trying to wield that tone with a neck pickup is simply too muddy for me. The brit combo model is cool for some in between sounds. Turn the gain knob all the way down and it's clean, turn it to about 1/3 and you've got just a little hair, turn it up and you've got a nice saturated (in the neighborhood of brian may) tone. The classic model is one of my favorites as well. I love to keep this model with the gain at about 1-3 for just a smidge of hair on my tone. In my opinion this is the most versatile model. Turning the gain knob all the way down yields wonderful plexi-style clean, turning it all the way up will get you full on raging distortion. The r-fier model is wonderful in it's own right as well. Does it sound just like a rectifier? No, but someone would have to be the greatest engineer of all time to make a tiny 5 watt practice amp with a 4" speaker sound like a 100 watt half stack. But regardless of the 'accuracy' of this model, it's pretty stinkin' brutal. It won't get you uber death metal distortion (unless you have uber high output pickups, mine are p.a.f. style), but it will get you firmly into the Metallica tone camp (just as a reference). I haven't had the opportunity to use the mic'd model just yet, and probably never will. However I have used similar features on other amps before and didn't like the results. But Who knows, I may have to use this one one day and I just might like it. But to sum up, this is a very versatile sounding amp. And anyone Who might complain that the models aren't accurate enough needs to save their pennies and buy a vetta.
Overall Impression — 9
This little amp has helped me play jazz, blues, rock, metal and a few other styles I'm not sure have names yet. It's a wonderful little experimentation machine that can give you a very good idea of the overall tone you'd want in a larger amp (if you're having trouble deciding). I have no intentions of getting rid of this thing (unless I decide to buy the Cube 60).
Reliability & Durability — 9
Obviously there aren't too many of us Who would gig with a five watt amp, but if I ever had to I'm sure it would keep up just fine. It's a pretty loud five watts. And I've run it at about 8 on the master volume for a couple of hours straight before with no problems. I'm sure that miking this little thing would do just fine as a backup, or if you just needed a different tone than what you brought.
Features — 9
Loads of features. Built in effects, several different amp models. You can only use one 'effect' at a time (I.e. chorus, flanger, phaser and tremolo), but you can add in reverb or delay from a separate knob if you'd like. I use this amp at home, in my super tiny practice space and it has plenty of power for that. Even though it's only five watts.