Purchased from: E-bay
Sound — 9
I use this with a Strat with S.D. TB-4 into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. It is not noisy at all, and has a F.E.T. buffer which makes the guiar sound good even in bypass. What I really enjoy about this is that it really does preserve the original sound of the guitar. With the mid and low boosts you can really thicken up the sound. The distortion is not over the top like metal, but is really crunchy and raw sounding. If you don't know Kurt Cobain used this in the In Utero days and it nails that sound. Not all songs were recorded w/it but I can almost guarantee Heart Shaped Box was, so that will give you a reference as to what it can sound like. that's with my settings though. Make a couple of changes and you have something totally different. I think it can do pretty much everything execpt over the top metal/shred. Works well with other distortion pedals placed in front of it and other effects behind it. Nothing is perfect, but this thing is certainly awesome.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly rock and it is perfect for it. I love the thick raw distortion I get out of it. Very versitle. But also pretty damn expesive. If it were stolen I'm afraid I'd have to save up and buy another one because I just love the sounds I can get from it.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The second line of the manual says "it is not a distortion pedal or a fuzz box". It is made to simulate various tube amps, to plug directly into recording consoles without an amp hence the name Sans (without) Amp. But can also be used a stompbox. Made of metal and seems sturdy enough, but wouldn't stomp on it like it was a Boss. I have a trusty Boss DS-1 and wouldn't leave home without it.
Ease of Use — 9
The SansAmp Classic is fairly easy to use like most effects if you have some common sense. Has input switch with three different sounds, lead for Marshall type preamps with mid-range and highs emphasized, normal for Mesa type preamps with basically a flat EQ, and bass for what they say is Fender type preamps but basically it just makes your guitar sound like a bass and is useless for me. Has eight character controls that are all labeled and self-explanatory. Also has four knobs presence drive, shapes preamp contours in upper mid-range, amp drive, shapes power amp contours for distortion, output level, and high balances final EQ to compensate for extra high end in guitar amps when played Live. The manual is helpful but not necessary. With all the different options it takes some time to get the sound you are looking for, but that's also the beauty of it. You can get so many different sounds it makes it very versitle.