Price paid: C$ 899
Purchased from: Long-McQuade
Sound — 9
I play an American Standard Strat and Tele, as well as an Epiphone Les Paul Studio and Hagstrom Viking. The YGL2A's sound is very versatile and has so far allowed me to dial-in the specific tones I'm wanting, or just plug in and play. I haven't come up with a tone I don't like yet, and lots that I love. My favorite setting so far is a nice, bright moderate overdrive in the clean channel with the volume at 2 o'clock and the Master at 8 o'clock. The amp is plenty loud for my bedroom studio with the master that low. I imagine this amp would be plenty loud for club gigs, but I got it for home recording; I wanted something with lots of clean headroom and lots of good tube drive. This delivers.
Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for 20 years, though I'm no virtuoso. The music that speaks to me is 70s rock, with Pixies and The Cure tossed in for flavoring. The YGL2A covers so much ground that it allows me to play totally clean and loud, or really dirty. It's the juice for very high gain too, but I'm not so much into that so don't take my word for it. I've been shopping for a tube amp for a while, having previously had a Peavey Bandit 112 60 watt amp, and a Line 6 Spider III. Not surprisingly, this one leaves those in the dust, but that means little. More significantly, I bought a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 which sounded great, but had to be returned (speaker issues): I like the sound of the Traynor better. I then bought a Dr.Z Maz 38 1x12. The sound was terrific, but the reverb picked up a radio broadcast in the studio, so it went back. I think the Maz had a very slightly crisper sound than the Traynor, but just would not break up on single coils. It had lots of headroom on clean, but no dirty. I also tried the Dark Horse head and cab: the YGL2A could do all the things the Dark Horse could and then some, and with more headroom. It might have been a draw for me between the Maz and the Traynor, who knows. Throw in the $1000 price difference, and I took the Traynor. So far, I love it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Too soon to tell, but it fells solid and the components look good and well put together. The only reliability issues I've ever had with an amp were a Mesa Boogie that I owned for 3 weeks. More below on that. Judging from the track record for Traynor's other products, I'm looking forward to this amp having a long life.
Features — 9
This is a two-channel, all-tube amp (well, it has an accutronics reverb tank) good for 30 watts. It has a Celestion Vintage 30 12-inch speaker. It's brand new, made in 2012, and not even listed on the Traynor website yet. I play mostly classic rock and blues based punk/alternative, and while I've only had the amp a week, I'm so far very pleased with the tones that are on tap. The tone stack contains a Bass, Mid and Treble control that is shared with both channels, as is the reverb. The clean channel has a volume control, and a pair of push-button toggles; one switches from USA to Brit modes (which change where the tone controls enter the chain: USA is Fender-ish, Brit is Vox-ish) and a toggle called 'Bright'. When engaged, the bright mode slightly increases the mids and highs, to help them sparkle a bit. The clean channel starts to break up very nicely as you move past 12 o'clock with single coils, and it gets up to moderate overdrive when cranked. The Master volume control allows you control the overall volume very well, and being as this is a 30 watt amp, there's lots of headroom for playing very clean, even with humbuckers. The Drive channel as a Gain control and it's own Volume control so that you can make sure the two channels are at the proper decibel ratios to one another. There's also vintage/modern toggle in the Drive channel which changes the tone a bit. In terms of versatility, the YGL2A covers a lot of ground. The cleans are very bright, with very nice lows. You can dial in just the right amount of break-up, from a bright crackle to downright distorted. The Drive channel allows for some over-the-top distortion, probably more than I need, but it's on tap if I want it. The footswitch has a channel selector and a reverb-defeat.