Price paid: $ 320
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
I'm using a fairly heavily modded Epiphone LP for funk, post-punk, and hard rock. The Trademark 60's ability to meet my needs really depends on which channel we're talking about. Channel 1 is the Fender-esque channel, which sounds AMAZING both in clean and overdrive. The Growl button here is sort of like a mid range EQ control, but it also changes the nature and character of the distortion on the channel. You can go quite easily from a light, clean twang all the way to full-on, heavy blues rock (or, in my case, punk/funk). Channel 2 is supposed to be the Marshall/Vox side - and, in my opinion, it was a bit of a mistake to try to cover that wide a range in one channel. The Growl control, kind of like a "contour" control, can get you a raunchy scooped mids sound reminiscent of a Big Muff, but the channel really just sounds kind of muddy; the channel sounds like it's coming from behind a really thick blanket unless I have treble at max, in which case channel 1 sounds like an ice pick. I think it would have been much wiser to have either separate Bass/Treble controls for each channel, or to have separate the channels by Clean and Overdrive (with three-way Fender/Marshall/Vox selector for each channel). Overall, I give channel 1 a 10/10 and channel 2 gets a 6/10.
Overall Impression — 9
While I specialize in a very sharp, jagged post-punk/funk sound, I've had to use clean tones, heavily distorted tones, and sometimes even semi-acoustic tones via a piezo pickup. They all sound amazing on the first channel - arguably the best channel of any amp I have ever heard. As for channel 2, I could see it working in theory if you're into heavily distorted power chords in dropped tunings; that's not my thing, though, and the muddiness of the channel tells me that it won't be of much use outside that field. As much as I like to rag on channel 2, though, I have to admit that channel 1 is so good that I would buy a new Trademark 60 in a heartbeat if my current one were stolen. As long as I keep it on channel 1, it's the best amp I know of.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's only thirty-five pounds, so it's very portable for a sixty-watt amp, but it's actually one of the sturdiest amps I've ever seen. In fact, if you remember those enormous Peavey amps of the late '80s, the Trademark 60 feels even stronger than those amplifiers. So far, nobody has had to do any maintenance on this amp in its decade-plus of service, not even so much as a dab of contact cleaner on the pots inside. This amp has held up very well and looks like it can continue to take a heavy pounding.
Features — 10
My amp is v1 (the Tech 21 speaker, rather than Celestion), so I'm guessing it was made around 2000, give or take two years. It's a solid state 112 with two channels that cover a lot of ground, and it's certainly loud enough to be gig-able. On the back panel, you get an effects loop, a headphone jack, and a direct out jack for Tech 21's famous SansAmp equipment. One distinction of the Trademark 60 (and Tech 21's combo amp line in general) is the heavy use of active EQ controls - meaning that you can cut and boost, whereas standard passive controls only allow you to cut. Thus, the Trademark 60 gives you a much wider tonal range than one finds on a standard amp.