Price paid: € 200
Purchased from: Muziker
Features — 8
There are many reviews here telling what this amp can do, but basically it has 99 presets - 33 amp models of some of the most beautifully made amps in the world... Almost none of which I have played through because this amp is made to allow you to play amps worth thousands of dollars but only pay a few hundred. It also includes 33 amp model presets (including effects) and 33 more that are preset to specific famous songs. It includes a smattering of effects, including several types of overdrive, fuzz, delay, flanger, etc etc. It also includes 3 reverb modes and a noise suppressor.
The amp also allows you to create 8 user settings to create your own preset sound. It includes a line in for cd/mp3, as well as headphone jack.
The amp uses one valve in the preamp to provide a level of tube tone, which makes it a bit warmer sounding than other modelling amps. It says it goes up to 60 watts, however, the difference I could distinguish between the 40 watt level and 60 was very minimal. It is played through a Vox stock 10 inch speaker, of which I have not been able to determine the actual wattage through several searches, but I assume it is 60 W.
It is very feature rich, however to a point I see some of it as unneeded cheap filler - particularly in some of the onboard effects. For that I give it an 8.
Sound — 8
I have played rockabilly, country, folk, blues, pop, rock, alternative, funk and jazz on this amp and there is a sound to be found on this amp for any of those, as well as metal, and harder stuff - although I don't usually go that route. The band I play in plays rock, alternative, pop and blues mostly, and for 90% of what I need the amp for, I have found some very nice sounding tones. The Fender Twin, Matchless and Dumble models are really nice, and the Brian May AC30 has amazing high gain sounds!
The key to getting good sounds out of this amp is the valve. My experience is that none of the amp models sound really good a low levels, but turned up high, the amp can really sing. I play an Epiphone Les Paul Classic with Seymour Duncan PRail pickups, and this amp rings beautifully like a bell on the clean models and provides amazing tones with the overdriven models. Took me some time to find the sound I liked (especially since I was playing with it the first full in just in an apartment and at low levels... Remember I said you need to drive the tube to make it sound good), but I really love the sound it puts out.
As for the effects - I have to be honest that I don't get any pleasure from using too many of them and generally don't. The only effects I use on this amp are the multichorus, reverb, compressor, and pitch shifter - if I want to have a bit of fun. However, I found that the dial to dial in the effects is very fiddly - not sure if my model is a bit faulty. Instead I prefer to create presets (I have the footswitch which can be bought seperately), and play through an array of other pedals for a higher quality effect. The amp plays well with stompboxes in general - although depending on the amp model used, and the effect pedal, they could react badly to each other. But this is the case with any amp. I have a delay pedal, fuzz pedal, dual overdrive, wah, and tremolo... all which work well with this amp on the models I use.
Is this amp loud enough to compete in a band? - Close, but not quite. The other guitarist in our band plays a 15 W all tube head through 2X12, and we have quite a loud drummer. I was able to compete in the jam space if I placed it properly. However, live... well I was always drowned out. I needed to be on all 10s, and the end result was nobody heard me anyways... and I blew the speaker. I would recommend it for a good practice amp in a decent jam space, but it definitely needs to be mic'd up for live performances, or nobody will hear you.
I am not a player that needs the 99 presets. I don't need 70 % of what is in this amp. I just need some beautiful sounds. I get that from this amp, and if it weren't for the cheap sounding effects, I would give the sound a 10 - for a modelling amp, it sounds amazing! But filler makes this amp less than it really is and so I give it an 8.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This amp is built very well. It is sturdy, and can withstand lots of bumps. As a basic amp, using the basic tones on basic "models," I would say it is nearly unbeatable in quality - after all it is a Vox. I have played it for over 2 years and nothing too wrong happened with it... until that the speaker blew. Of course it is obvious it will blow when you are playing for a few hours on all 10s. So I can't totally fault the build. It does get other marks against it though for the faulty effects dials which make effects like delay and chorus unusable unless you want it on full. Aside from that, I haven't had any trouble with the electronics, and pulling it apart, it looked very well put together - clean and tight.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I have played with this for about 2 years. I love the sound it makes and the reaction it has to the SD PRails switching from P90 mode to single coil, to HB - it just sings. Friends were skeptical when I brought this to practice as well but were very impressed when I turned it up and revved up the tube inside. When I compare the sounds other modelling amps like Line 6 and Fender - this one just beats them hands down.
What I love about this amp is simple - it gives me the opportunity to find the tones I like from several different amps - all in one box. And the sounds that come out from it are extremely pleasing to the ear. It is extremely versatile and works well in many different genres, so I am not worried about not being able to find the sound I want, no matter what I am playing from twang to scream rock.
What I hate about the amp is the built in effects. I would rather have the amp with the models well done and the reverb dial included and that is all I would need. But they are there, and if you don't switch them on, you don't notice them so who cares.
I thought about selling it to get an all tube head. Instead I decided to keep it and just save for the head... Mostly because I just love the sounds it can make and it is a great size for practicing and jamming. If it were lost or stolen, I would most likely buy it again when looking for another practice amp.