Price paid: £ 120
Purchased from: local advert
Sound — 2
I play classic rock and blues, at low volume on my own it sounds pretty good. When the rest of the band get together - the tone is dreadfully muddy and is impossible to clean up. I play Ibanez S5470 prestige, a Gibson Les Paul Black top and a Fender "David Gilmour" strat with a variety of pups from Di Marzio to SD's to Irongear. Nothing cuts through the "mud" of this amp tone. The amp is quiet and reliable when switching settings, so no problem with build quality. It just can't produce a tone that cuts through the mix.
Overall Impression — 2
I think that this would be a good bedroom amp, some of the effect are better than others. If you want to gig, forget this amp. Go for the Line 6 range if modelling amps are your thing. The Peavey Valveking range is a whole step above the Vox Valvetronix. If it were stolen, I'd be grateful. I'd collect the insurance and put it towards a better gigging amp that offers primarily a good clean tone, then more flexibility in output/crunch settings. I believed the Vox hype because of the pedigree of Vox with The Beatles/Stones etc... This range just doesn't do the business.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Never had a problem in two years of gigging. The single tube (AX7) is fine and cabinet is robust. Knobs are solid and quiet. I do use it to gig with (not from choice but from current budget) and it needs to be miked to a PA, it just cannot handle being max'ed out. However conversely the tone is better when everything is at "10", but then offers no flexibility in output other than guitar volume knob.
Features — 3
It is advertised as the low budget valve modelling amp. It is like saying low cost first class diamonds - sorry folks, they just don't exist. If you want valve sound - expect to pay a great deal of money. If you want a clean sound and a reliable amp - buy solid state. The amp is reliable, but tries to do too much and fails on everything. At stage volume, any gain setting past 9 O'Clock becomes muddy, if you use overdrive pedals (tubescreamers etc) the tone becomes muffled. You are then relegated to using only two amp settings - the Black 212 or the Boutique Clean, both of which lack punch. It doesn't have a completely clean channel so does not have a personality of its own. Some of the effects are better than others. The Wah Wah is terrible, the phaser difficult to set. Perhaps the best setting is the tremelo/reverb ala "Gimme Shelter/Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" type sound - but pretty specific. The compressor and comp/chorus is useless, just turns the tone to "mud". The writable channels are a waste of time, the master volume needs to be either at max/attenuator low or at low/attenuator at max and volume at 1 O'Clock to make use of any output differential.