Purchased from: Sound Control
Sound — 8
I'm currently using a Vintage Les Paul with Wilkinson pickups. I play a wide range of music but mostly rock and some metal and it's very good at those kinds of tones. It also has gorgeous cleans on any of the channels up to UK '70s, and all of the clean channels can be turned up to get some crunch. Generally speaking the further up the list you go the more crunch you get. The heavier distortions can be a little fuzzy but for a nice warm overdrive this amp is probably one of the best in it's price range and type. For really heavy metal tones it can be a little loose but it's not impossible to get decent metal tones out of it which some people suggest. It might not be as easy as other amps, but it can be done to great effect.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, if you want an inexpensive amp for a variety of classic rock and clean tones then this is your amp. If you're into heavier stuff then it is also thoroughly usable, the only problems one might encounter are a lack of tight distortion for modern metal.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I've had this amp for quite a while and I've never had a problem with it, however, there have been quite a few complaints about durability, most notoriously reports of the income jack being lost inside the amp. Going in to fetch it breaks your warranty, and paying a trained electrician just to stick it back out again is not appealing. Although this has not happened to me with this amp, I also own a Vox DA5 and this problem has occured. Fortunately as it is a battery-powered amp I can simply reach inside and screw it back in place, but it can be a hassle. The metal grille that many people boast as being very durable seems very flimsy, but I have not tested it violently.
Features — 7
Ok, you can tell what the features are by looking at the other reviews, so I don't need to go through them again. Someone was asking for a more unbiased review, so I decided as I've been using this amp for more than one and a half years I would make the attempt. The amp moddeling section is overall quite good. You can get a wide variety of tones just from changing the modelling knob. With extra tweaking of gain, volume and EQ the range of tones multiplies. For the purpose of variability in tone this amp is an excellent buy. The only problem with the models I found is the AC15 which is a slightly quiter somewhat less toneful version of the AC30TB which is provided and makes the AC15 model obsolete. Apparently the amps models sound very litle like their conterparts, but as I have limited experience with a wide range of amps, this does not bother me and I can simply enjoy the sounds that the models produce. The effects section is much better than you'd expect on other amps in the price range (MGs etc.), but the way in which the effects are arranged in groups can be rather annoying if you want combinations that aren't already provided. If I wanted chorus and tremelo for example, this would be impossible without the use of a pedal. The auto-wah is not as bad as it's made out, and is a usable effect if you know how to set it up to satisfaction. The controls on the effects section can be quite confusing at first, but once you understand and are used to them you realise they are quite ituitive. The channels are, simply put, not enough. I use a clean channel and a heavy overdrive channel, but sometimes I want something softer or some light crunch, and I have to use the manual function to get these without altering my already saved effects. If I wanted to use the same tone with different effects I would have to do the same. If there was simply one or two more channels or a manual button on the footswitch, this problem would be solved. Contrary to other reviews' claims, this amp is not tube. It is technically a hybrid, but unlike most hybrids which are in effect a marketing scheme, this product uses a solid-state pre-amp, which allows the range in tones, and then uses a pre-amp tube in the power-amp section to emulate tube response and warmth. This amp can go extremely loud, and I have never tested it at anywhere near full volume (all three volume controls at full). It can also be conveniently quiet whilst still retaining tone, and it has a line out/ headphone jack for extension speakers and obviously headphones for private playing.