Price paid: $ 200
Sound — 10
I'm playing this with the following gear: 1997 Fender Strat Plus (American made), Ibanez AFS75 (Hollowbody), Metro JTM45 (all tube; KT66 tubes; Boutique Marshall clone), Monsterpiece Two Headed Monster (fuzz). It sounds fantastic with both of my guitars. I needed this pedal to make up for the reverb I had on the Deluxe Reverb Reissue I had. When I got my JTM45, I missed the reverb dearly. So decided to make up for it. The only time it's really noisy is when you have the controls maxed. And it's a very faint buzz, totally tolerable. As this is only one effect, it is not weak, I would hope buying a 300 dollar pedal it would sound nice.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a lot of Blues, Classic Rock and Jazz. and this is a great match for reverb needs. I've been playing guitar almost 7 years now, and as stated before; I own an American Fender Strat Plus, Metro/Marshall JTM45 and Monsterpiece 2 Headed Monster. If it were stolen, and I had the extra cash, I would buy an actual tube driven reverb unit, but you cannot beat this for the price. Something about the tone of this inspires me, it adds a certain presence to my sound, and brightens the tone up.
Reliability & Durability — 6
The enclosure of the pedal seems to be in a tolex covered wooden box. It feels sturdy but I would be afraid of it stomping in after a lot of use. As of now, I would use it without a backup, but would probably think differnetly with time. It's a great sounding unit. Also, if you use it the way I do, such as just leaving it on top of your amp always on. The enclosure issue is not a problem.
Ease of Use — 10
The VanAmps Sole-Mateis a reverb unit; and a very good one at that. The Sole-Mate is Vanamps take at a true reverb tank unit in stompbox form. Unlike most reverb pedals around today, the Sole-Mate is an all analog unit. Truth be told, unless you have the knobs maxed, it's hard not to get a good sound out of it. There's only two knobs; dwell and output level. it's a very simple pedal to use and sounds fantastic. If you haven't noticed by the dim., this pedal his huge, and is not fit for more pedalboards. Mine sits on top of my amp always on.