« One of the best deals in tube amps »Published on 12/23/11 at 14:10
Four EL84s and three 12AX7s
12" Blue Marvel speaker
Pre- and post-gain controls on lead channel
Normal volume control on clean channel
3-band passive EQ (bass, middle, treble)
Reverb level control
Footswitch selectable channel switching and reverb
External speaker capability
Made in the USA
I think the first thing that needs to be noted about the build of this amp is the fact that it's made in the USA. The fact that you can pick this up for around $450 if you look around is a real testament to how great a deal it is. That said, there is a bit of learning curve to this amp. While the controls are fairly simple, you kind of have to learn what it likes and doesn't like.
I'll start with the clean channel. It's probably the best channel on the amp. The Classic 30 is good to think of as a Vox AC30 with a little bit of plexi mixed in. It's not as vibrant and harmonic as the AC30, but is has the mids of a marshall. It's not quite as angry as either of those amps...it's more versatile than that. It has a pretty neutral voice. The clean channel is very balanced and has that EL84 vibe going on pretty heavy. It takes pedals extremely well. You can get this amp to sound about like anything with the right pedals. I think the neutrality of the clean channel is what makes it so useful for pedals. It basically becomes what ever you feed it. It's very warm.
The lead channel is something I don't too often use. It's not high gain. More like plexi to jcm800ish levels of gain. It's not as aggressive as an EL34 amp. It's just sort of flatly voiced. If you want high gain, you should probably just use a distortion pedal on the clean channel rather than use an overdrive for this channel. I use the lead channel for my mid gain sounds usually. The clean channel + pedals can do everything else.
The speaker is about the only thing about the Classic 30 I don't like. But that's no problem. A lot of people like to put a Vintage 30 in these but in my opinion there's a bit of a mid spike. I have tried a number of speakers in mine and I'm pretty impressed with Greenbacks for the most part. They seem to warm up the amp. Other than that there's really no gripes about this amp at all. It has some of the best all around tone I've ever heard. Extremely versatile amp...and probably would be part of my desert island rig.