Price paid: C$ 279
Purchased from: Steve's Music, Ottawa
Sound — 4
Okay. This is where the advantages and flaws of the hybrid-type amp system show themselves. I play through this amp with an LTD EC-50 (humbuckers) and through a Jay Turser 'Colonel' full hollowbody (also humbuckers, but quite low output). Although the factory presets sound horrible, you can EQ some great sounds out of this amp on various channels. My personnal favourites are the Black 2x12, Tweed 4x10, and AC15. With a bit of reverb and perhaps some chorus, these channels make your clean playing come alive, and are great for blues, rock, etc. I love playing the Floods outro with reverb on the Black 2x12 channel. It really booms. The distorted channels (anything past AC30TB) are not nearly as appealing as the clean channels. The only ones I can stand are the UK modern and numetal, which can be used for most metal playing if properly EQ'd. The distortion is ok, but tends to have a very 'dampened', nasally sound regardless of volume or EQ. Still, they sound decent, and most beginners may not notice the difference. My major problem with this amp, which I did not realise until well after I purchased it, is that it does not accept pedals well at all. I bought a DigiTech Death Metal pedal in hopes of improving the stock distortion of this amp, but when I plugged it in, the pedal produced the same crappy, dampened distortion (but with more noise this time.) Thinking the problem might have been in the pedal, I plugged it into my Fender Frontman Reverb, and got amazing, truly bone-crushing distortion. Do not use pedals with this amp!
Overall Impression — 3
Overall, this is a good first amp. If you just want to have an inexpensive, versatile piece of equipment that you don't ever plan on upgrading, this is a perfect amp for you. I bought this as my second amp and was extremely disappointed with it. After the first two weeks, I got tired of the abhorrent distortion and have relegated it to clean playing only. In reality, it simply does not sound as good as my Fender Frontman (which is pretty sad, really.), although it is more versatile. If it were stolen or lost, I'd save up and invest in a mid-range Randall or Peavey instead. I did not purchase this amp expecting it to sound phenomenal. I would have settled for average, but even there I was disappointed. A cheap solid state amp and a cheap multi-effects processor will serve the same purpose as this amp. Not designed for the discerning musicians!
Reliability & Durability — 8
My amp has never broken down in any way, but that may be more a reflection of my caution than of it's sturdy build. My amp never moves and only rarely has the cord removed from it, so I really can't judge it's 'roadworthiness'.
Features — 9
This 30 Watt modelling amp has typical 3-knob EQ, eleven switchable and adjustable effects, and can model 11 different classic amps. These effects and amp models can be stored on two different switchable channels. It has a headphone jack, standard input, and a footswitch jack. It is important to note that this is NOT a tube amp and that anyone Who seems to think otherwise is clearly new to this game. It uses a solid-state pre-amp with a tube power amp, which is very far from a true tube amp. This has some advantages, namely that it can simulate a tube amp's 'responsiveness' (ie: You play harder, it gets more distorted) while maintaining a solid state amp's cost-effectiveness, and some disadvantages, namely that it lacks the 'punch' of dedicated tube and solid state amps (though this may have more to do with Vox, specifically, as opposed to the Technology). The only thing I find it could use is a CD/MP3 input, which would give this 'practise' amp a lot more versatility.