Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
I'm playing through this baby with a Gibson Les Paul Studio and it sings and sings! It fits every music style I've tried to play through it. It has virtually no noise untill you turn the gain all the way up on the thick channel. And even then its not enough to be worth any bother. Really it does what you want... If you want high volume clean you got it, if you want an overdiven clean sound you can get it, if you want ripping tube overdrive no problem. Just dial it in, which is almost too easy to do.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall this amp is just crazy. It has me written all over it. Good tone... No... Great tone... No... Great toneS. I've been playing for 3 1/2 years now and I have played through every amp I could find. And this compares with some of the greats! Its well worth the buy and you will not be dissapointed...unless of coarse you want to play death metal but then I would understand why you chose this amp in the first place. My favorite feature has to be the thick setting with the gain all the way up. It roars and screams and just plows its way through any venue. It sounds a lot like an dirty amp overdriven with fuzz at this level of gain. I do hate how the EQ section is cut out of the thick channel because it could really mold into so many sublime tones, but I also love that the EQ is cut out of the thick mode because it is a dependably fantastic tone whenever I need it! On a final note, it takes many pedals well like overdrives and fuzzes and if you want to play metal with it get an eq pedal and then put on the thick mode and chug away. So all in all a great buy, although lacking in features and its a downer if you want to play metal as well as everything else because you have to spend a little more money but its ok. If your a tone junkie Who doesnt have the money for a Mesa Boogie. This is for you!
Reliability & Durability — 10
Well so far nothing has happened in the month that I've owned this thing and you just can tell its built like a tank from its pure weight. I was astonished at how much that little thing weighed. And tubes seem like it will be pretty easy on the wallet when they need to be changed since there is only 4 total unlike some 100watt ultra high gain amps that have like 15. I see this being one of my better more reliable guitar related investments.
Features — 6
Made in 2009 this amp is a small package with huge tone. It can cover everything from jazz to rock to metal to country to anything really. It has only one channel which has 2 modes, bright and thick. The bright channel starts at clean with the gain rolled back and as you go up in gain it gets to a more AC/DC type of gain. Even with the gain cranked a roll of the guitar volume cleans it up quite well. On the thick channel all the EQ section is bypassed so you just cannot make it sound bad. Although this mode doesn't clean up well at all. With the gain at about noon it picks up where the bright mode left off and then from there you get to more modern gain levels and even get to like a Paul Gilbert/Racer X type fuzzed up overdrive distortion which is super powerfull at high volumes. It also has a switch for Pentode (15 watts) or Triode( 7 1/2 watts). The triode mode is fantastic for room levels and even a quiet band practice, but when the voume gets to high it starts to sound choked off and nasty. Pentode is just a balls to the wall let the animal loose type of sound! It will punch you in the chest on a clean setting! It sounds huge and powerfull and it puts the triode mode to shame! (at high volumes) The downside to pentode is that at low volume its super bright and sounds really awfull...its meant to sound great overdriven and so unless thats what your trying to do then you better just leave it in triode. Unfortunatly this amp has no foot switch for the Bright/Thick modes and there is no effects loop. There also isnt any reverb which really this amp doesn't need any, but it would be nice to have. IT has 2 EL84's and 2 12AX7's which sound better the louder you get. It sounds good in virtually any cabbinet but the more speakers the better of coarse! It also comes with a padded toat bag that makes it easy to keep the head its power cable and a speaker cable together and protected. So all in all it is rather lacking in features but it has just the right amount to satisfy...and I don't forsee any any problems putting in a foot Switch and effects loop myself.