Price paid: C$ 665
Purchased from: Long & McQuade
Sound — 9
I run a 1964 Gibson Melody Maker D (DC) and a 2008 Epiphone Les Paul Standard (both completely stock) through this amp, in addition to my Seagull SM6 acoustic when I need the extra volume (yes it makes a great acoustic amp too!). This amp takes both the low-medium output single coils of the Melody Maker and the high-output humbuckers of the LP very well. I play alot of country, rock and blues, and every combination thereof. This amp is perfect for the styles listed, and Can do Hard Rock with a decent OD/Distortion pedal. Nice chimey Fender-esque cleans on the USA mode with incredible headroom for a low-wattage amp. Even with the gain cranked using high-output humbuckers, the most gain you'll get out of the USA mode is a very mild crunch. Still, the gain is very smooth. You can definitely hear the focus on the mids in the Brit mode. It breaks up earlier, much like a Vox AC15. The gain on this mode is definitely coarser, more grind than the USA mode. Kind of reminds me of SRV's "Cold Shot" tone. You can get a nice classic rock distortion with the gain dimed. The Pure mode bypasses the tone stack entirely. There's a noticeable volume boost, and more of a focus on the lower-mids. It breaks up the fastest out of all of the modes; You can easily get an AC/DC type distortion with the gain cranked. It can get a little noisy with the gain knob past about 3:00. Before that you just get the typical operational hum (which is barely noticeable). On stage nobody notices it, and in my bedroom it doesn't interfere with my playing. Overall, great quality of sound, and great versatility.
Overall Impression — 10
I was really impressed by this amp when I got it. It gives me all the clean headroom I could ever need (and if needed, I could always mic it up). It provides nice bluesy/classic rock overdrive at reasonable volumes, as well as gig-level. I've been playing for about 3 years and I've played a few hybrid and modelling amps, but this is the first tube amp that's really given me everything I wanted. If this amp was stolen, I would definitely buy another. Although I doubt anybody would get away with this heavyweight. I compared it to a few other low-wattage amps (a Fender Blues Jr, Pro Jr, and a Marshall Class 5), and one higher wattage amp (the tried-and-true Traynor YCV40) and chose this one. Overall, great amp. I would recommend it to any blues/rock/country/funk guitarist. It's not a metal amp, and it's not a jazz amp. But it fills a nice space in the middle.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've used this amp on several gigs without a backup. It's been dropped, banged into doorframes, kicked and jumped on. It hasn't failed yet, and I don't see it failing any time soon.
Features — 9
This amp was made in 2011. It's 15 watts, all-tube Class A. It's a single-channel amp with Gain, 3 band EQ, Volume and Reverb (which is digital). It also has a 3-position mode switch, which relocates the tone stack relative to the preamp. In the USA mode, it places the tone stack Before the preamp. In the Brit mode, it places the tone stack After the preamp. The Pure mode bypasses the tone stack completely, effectively running your guitar straight through the tubes to the speaker. Series effects loop, external speaker jack, footswitch jack and a single 12-inch Celestion Greenback. Tube complement is 2-12AX7's in the preamp and 2-EL84's in the output stage. 2-button footswitch for a 6db boost and reverb off/on. Even at only 15 watts, it's got Plenty of clean headroom and more volume than you would expect. It's an open-back cabinet, so it really fills the room. It's got enough clean headroom to compete with a conservative drummer in small-medium gigs (pubs, halls, auditoriums e.c.t.). I've used it in both small pubs and some pretty big auditoriums, and it had volume to spare. And for the smaller gigs, the reverb definitely gives that "auditorium" feeling. As good as any reverb pedal I've ever used. If I could change one thing about this amp, I would add an extra button to the footswitch to change between the USA/Brit/Pure modes. Not to mention it's pretty heavy for the 35lb's Traynor lists on their site.