Price paid: A$ 850
Purchased from: Allans Music
Sound — 9
I currently have a Fender Standard Fat Stratocaster with the standard pickups. Although this guitar isn't really designed for The Music I play, paired with this amp it does a very convincing job! The amp is very quiet, the only noise it gets is from my pickups. If you know how to adjust the EQ properly, you can get a very balanced tone even at high volumes. I play with plenty of mids, and treble and bass are adjusted to keep the tone sounding even. The amp can make a large variety of sounds, clean, crunchy, and heavy distortion. The clean channel can be very loud before getting distorted as a result of the power amp circuit that Vox designed. The distortion has the potential to be very brutal, it sounds different with different models, I like to use the UK Modern amp model, and I only have to have the gain up a bit over half way, which is plenty for rhythm guitar, crunchy palm muting and loud harmonics. You can always turn it up more for the lead (manual) channel as well.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a great match for the music I play. I don't own much other gear, just an old solid state 0 Watt amp and a Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah. I actually wish I bought the 50 watt version instead, as it is still plenty of volume for gigging and it would be slightly lighter. This amp weighs 30kg or so, so it is a bit of a drag to carry around. If it were stolen or lost, I would probably buy the 50 watt version. Overall, I just like all the features, the sound, the fx, the volume, the distortion, it is all really good, and for a really cheap price. Of course this wouldn't compare to a top of the line Marshall or Peavey amp, but it must be one of the best amps in it's price range.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I have never had this amp show any signs of not working so far. It has tubes in the preamp, but most of the circuitry is solid state I think, so it should be rather durable, although the preamp tubes would inevitably have to be changed eventually. I would use this at a gig without a backup... However two of the three handles on it have broken, they don't seem durable enough, this is the only bad thing I have encountered so far.
Features — 8
A relatively new amp, introduced a few years ago, not entirley sure which year, I bought it 3 or so months ago. I play Progressive, Power, Thrash and Death metal, and this amp is great for all of them. It has 11 amp models, so it is useful for anything from clean Opeth like passages to brutal sounding bands like Nile. The guitar has 3 channels. You can write the amp model, volume, gain, fx and eq settings to channel 1 or 2, I use channel 1 for clean and 2 for rhythm. Then there is a manual channel which is whatever the knobs are pointing at. I also purchased the footswitch which is available seperatley, this enables easy switching between channels. It also includes an FX loop, a line/headphone jack and an 80 watt 8ohms speaker out jack. This amp has all the features I want on an amp, the built in fx are good, but there isn't really a way to manage switching between them as you can only have one per channel, I would just get a multi-fx processor and use that in the FX loop if you like to use lots of fx. I like to use a little bit of reverb and chorus however. I use this amp at jams with the rest of my band and it has more then enough volume, and it would easily be loud enough for gigs. It has a built in attentuator as well, which you can turn from less then 1 watt to 100 watts, so you can have decent volume and distortion without deafening yourself. This is a modelling amp, but includes tubes in the preamp circuitry, resulting in some warm sounding clean tones and decent saturation. Power amp distortion is also possible with this modelling amp, of course it isn't the same as a full tube amp cranked up, but it is good enough for me.