My buddy picked this up for his dad as a birthday present, but since the old man is on vacation for the next two weeks, we had to give it a little test. You know, for quality assurance purposes.
The amp fucking slays. It has this awesomely thick and musical crunch with the gain dimed, the midrange is thick as hell, and all at bedroom volume. IT drives a 4x12 beautifully, and putting an overdrive in front of it doesn't change the character of the amp, even if you use the gain on the pedal; you just get the same sound with more saturation. I also spent some time with a Mexi Strat at low gain settings, and the cleans are pretty damn good, too--you can get that bell-like chime on the bridge pickup, and the in between positions quack almost as good as a Fender amp. Run the gain at noon on a Strat, and you can cop some of that SRV "Pride and Joy" sound.
It is absolutely an amazing steal at $300 new, and I am totally getting one next month. It makes the Orange Tiny Terror seem honkey, and absolutely obsoletes the Blackheart. There is simply no reason to get absolutely anything else as a practice amp. If you played in a straight up rock band, you could gig with this thing. Mike Soldano knocked it out of the parking lot around the park. I have played plenty of practice amps I have liked, but this is the first one that floored me right off the bat with a no-compromise tone.
Noo, my one weakness: small EL84-powered low-cost amp heads