« Workhorse Amp. »Published on 11/19/11 at 13:44
This amp is a gigging machine. I’ve used it time after time with no issues at all. You do not need to adjust the bias on the amp when changing out tubes, which saves time in case you would ever blow a tube at a gig and need to replace them. Tube life on these amps is great though, so no worries there. The footswitch will let you seamlessly change between clean and dirty sounds and the added effects loop lets you put your time based effects where they belong, after the preamp. The amp chassis is built strong and the knobs, jacks, and controls all seem very sturdy. It’s great to have a small combo that sounds good on its own, but sounds even better through a larger speaker cab. The added 16 ohm speaker out is a great plus. The Boost feature is a waste of space really. The boost is not only a small volume boost, but it is very nasal in the EQ. It’s such a harsh peak in the mids that I find it unusable. This is not footswitchable like most boosts, but I would never find a use for it so that doesn’t bother me a bit. The only issue I have with this amp is that the controls and input jack are on the top of the amp instead of on the front. A lot of combos are like this and it’s a give and take really. The controls are easier to read, but plugging in your instrument cable at that angle creates a downward strain on your cable. Over time this leads to shortened cable life and usually an untimely crackling sound. This can be fixed using a right angled plug on the end going into the amp. Other than that this amp has all the basic tube amp requirements without a bunch of things going into the circuit that muddy up the sound and waste space in the design.
This amp sounds great. It’s hard to find an amp that has a good clean sound and dirty sound but this amp does. Now it doesn’t sound like a Fender clean, it’s rounder and fatter with less sparkle, but it’s a good clean tone. The clean channel is very accepting of pedals, drive pedals put in front of this amp sound very good. The dirty channel is not what I’d call a Marshall distortion, but it’s British sounding for sure. It’s easy to get a Marshall-type sound out of it, but it doesn’t nail it. There is plenty of gain on tap and with an outboard boost metal is possible, but this is mainly a clean through rock amp. The The shared passive EQ section is very usable. It has a wide range of control, but the knobs aren’t as touchy as some amps I’ve used. Blue Marvel that comes stock with this amp is a little stiff and mid sounding. The amp opens up and blooms so much nicer with a 25 watt Greenback style speaker in it. The effects loop works great and the reverb, while once again not a Fender Twin, is very nice. This amp sounds great for about anything, just be sure to leave that boost switch off.
Overall this is a great sounding amp at a decent price. If you can pick one up used they are an extreme bargain. I wouldn’t worry about picking one up that has been around the block either, because they are tough amps. The features are just enough to get you by without needing anything else, though pedals work great with this amp out in front or through the loop. Would I buy this amp again knowing what I’ve learned from owning it? Well I’ve had two different Classic 30 combos, a Classic 30 head, a Classic 50 212 combo and I’m looking for a Classic 50 Head. They are just super amps and can be had for cheap. I would and have gigged it for several years and haven’t had any problems with any of them. Peavey amps usually make me stick my nose up in the air, but they nailed this one pretty well. Upgrade the speaker and tubes and you’ve got a nice amp that can keep up with anything in its price mark and then some.