Price paid: € 199
Purchased from: verkkokaupaa
Features — 10
It's a practice amp like no other. It is identical to the other THRs but only has a tone control and doesn't have the presets to save like the 10 or input volume control for a CD player or computer. You use the volume control of the device. That said, for what it is it is awesome. It's an amp that you can play on that really reproduces the tone and response of the big tube amps of old. I can adjust the tone or gain or volume and it reacts like my old Fender and Peavey tube amps without having to be loud. That's a hug plus. I have a Roland Micro Cube and although it is a good practice amp it doesn't replicate anything great. It is like listening to a CD instead of and old 33 LP of something. The LP has the analog sound of the music. It is rich and vibrant and picks up all the sounds and characteristics of the music, a CD does not. It reproduces the music. It's not the same. There's something missing you could say. The Yamaha reproduces the feel, warmth, character, and sound of the old tube amps but at a lower volume when you want it. Even small tube amps, although sound great, still have to be turned up to get that sound and feel and when you are in an apartment or in your living room its just too loud sometimes. With this, you can play at lower volumes.
Sound — 9
I can only say it sounds the way the old tube amps sounds. A very faithful recreation of the character and feel of a tube amp that you can listen and play on your desktop or in a classroom. The delay and reverb are great and work very well. It also has the normal fx like phaser and such as you expect. The really great part is the amp editor you download from Yamaha. With this you can change the amp modeling to many other amps or create your own sound. Just plug in the USB into the amp and computer and there you go. The THR5 doesn't have the ability to save the edited amps on the amp, the THR10 does though. Don't miss that function as the amp sits close to my laptop anyway. The tone is awesome in that it totally reacts to your playing and guitar just like a tube amp would. The 5x5 speakers can get loud if you want them to but its not designed to be a gig amp. It's for home or classroom use, home recording also. If you were to mic it, you could I guess gig with it just like many who have with a Roland Micro Cube or Pignose.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Reliability is spot on, its from Yamaha, one of the most respected brands in music instruments. It is made of metal and plastic and although should last many years it has no rubber for banging around on. Like my micro cube I could just through it in the back of the car and not worry about it, but this no. I don't see it lasting long if abused, like you wouldn't just through you Gibson LP in the back of a car without a case, its a fine musical instrument, as this is also. I give it a 7 here because many amps are built with more ruggedness in mind. If you get a case for it like you would a stage amp then you would be fine.
Overall Impression — 10
Highly impressed with what Yamaha has done here. They have made an amp that reproduces all the sound and tone and character of the tube amps, and done it well. I can say I have tried many modeling amps before getting this and all left me feeling as though something was missing. Yamaha has made what is the best amp for home practicing and recording. It's attractive, retro, can run on batteries (6 hours on 8 AAs), and customizable. It's a little pricey but you get what you pay for. I couldn't be more pleased. Have looked long and hard for an amp like this, something that acts and sounds like my old tubes but I can listen to at my desk or in the classroom. Plus it's great for teaching also. I teach guitar to 5th and 6th graders and this is a great instrument for them to understand how an amp reacts to the guitar, how and why it distorts, the theory of the sound that comes from their pickups and goes through their amps. What happens, how, and why. All this without having the windows rattling.