Price paid: C$ 180
Purchased from: local shop
Sound — 8
I play with a low end Jackson DK2 and a PRS SE Single cut w/ stopbar. This amp pretty much will cover any style of music, but it won't necessarily do it great. These line of amps, along with a couple other modeling amp series (Peavey + Roland) are generally considered (by UG that is) to be the most versatile and best sounding solid state amps on the market. The clean channel stays pretty clean up to about 75% volume, but I haven't been able to put it past that yet (I've had the amp for about a year). The distortion channels will not work for metal unless you turn the compressor effect on, however they will still work fairly well for hard and classic rock without the comp on. Channel by channel sound: Boutique clean: This is a very well rounded clean channel, but therein lies it's flaw; it doesn't excel or fail at anything, and ends up sounding pretty sterile. With the gain dimed, this channel gives a very light OD Black 212: The first thing you notice about this channel is that it has a volume drop, other than that, it sounds a lot like the boutique clean, with a slightly tighter sound. Slightly more OD than the boutique with gain dimed. Tweed 4x10: This is my favorite clean channel, it sounds very close to the typical Fender clean. Almost no OD when gain is dimed. AC15: See AC30, only difference is less gain and less mid/treble AC30: Well, Vox had to do it's own amp justice, and I think they succeeded(keeping in mind this is solid state and will always sound like a solid state). The channel breaks up somewhat smoothly, and sounds very british. Enough gain for classic rock sounds. UK '70s: I think Vox kind of failed on this one, it just sounds like the UK '80s with less gain. UK '80s: Ah the JCM800, how we love thee. I think they did very well with this model, it goes from a light crunch up to some almost-heavy rock sounds. Perfect for hard rock, not enough gain for metal. UK Modern: Same as UK '80s with more gain and less mids. Handles metal well, as long as the compressor is on. Nu Metal: By far my favorite channel. Sounds exactly like a dual-recto should sound if it were solid state and not tube. Goes from light OD ala Santana's rhythm sound, to high gain death metal noise. Needs compressor effect to sound good, without it, this channel sounds floppy and way too loose US High Gain: I don't like this channel all that much, and as such I haven't spent much time on it and can't give an accurate review, sorry. Boutique OD: ***ing awesome overdrive channel, has the best OD I've ever heard from a solid state amp. Not enough gain for metal, sounds good with any effects.
Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for 2 years, I've owned 3 amps (the other two were crap practice amps), and I've played a bunch of expensive amps at guitar stores when I'm bored. If this amp were lost stolen, I'd definitely buy another one, but more likely a higher wattage one, as I'm starting to get an urge to join a band. There are two things I don't like about this amp 1. solid state distortion (but it's a trade off for versatility) 2. the lack of ability to use any combination of it's effects.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Well, I haven't gigged with this amp, so it hasn't seen hard days in my hands. However this was a used amp when I bought it, and it's still working 100% perfectly. I would gig with it without a backup, assuming the audience was small enough for a 15 watt amp to be loud enough for.
Features — 9
This is a very versatile amp, mostly because it was designed to be versatile (go figure! ).. I play metal, hard-rock, classic-rock, blues, pop, and a bunch of other stuff in similar styles. The amp has a solid state pre-amp, and a tube power amp. Two savable channels, one manual channel, one factory-preset channel for a total of 4 channels (3 user programmable). No effects loop, has line out/headphone, and lots of other stuff, just google.