Firstly, it's important to appreciate what this amp is meant to be. It's not a mega metal monster. It's not a vintage fender (although the green channel is very close). I really feel this amp is the ultimate 'Marshall', i.e. what a modern marshall should sound like if was designed and built properly,... i.e. as a modern extension of the great Marshalls of yester-year. Now, from my description above, it sounds like a very complex amp to work, and in some ways it is, but once you've decided on the options you want for each channel and the power amp, it's actually got a real vintage vibe, and almost a 'simplicity' to it. It's like the soul of a vintage classic trapped in the body of a modern optioned amp. But unlike a vintage amp, you have 6 gorgeous sounds ready to use at the flick of a (foot)switch.
Sounds? Stunning. The clean was so beautifully balanced. A great test of a clean channel is to hit it with an overdrive pedal. Some amps sounds dark, others shrill. The ecstasy was breathtaking. Can get quite shimmery with the gain turned down low and the brightness switch set to the brightest position. With the presence up, it's almost piezo-like, but not in a harsh way. It just makes you realise just how much is going on in those upper frequencies that you don't normally pay attention to. At about half-way gain you get a hint of breakup, which is so organic and natural, it's sometimes hard to recognise as breakup (until you really dig in). With the gain dimed, you get a great blues tone. Of course, backing off the guitar volume tames things. With the boost engaged, and the gain maxed, you get a fantastic spongy lead sound. So with the guitar volume and the boost switch, you can go anywhere from clean to blues to vintage lead.
The Blue Channel is stunning. Turned down low, and with the brightness (pre-EQ) off, you have an alternate clean channel, but a bit fatter than the green channel). But once you engage the brightness pre-eq, you push the top end into OD. VERY VERY VERY touch sensitive. Boost on, and with the gain higher, you're into hotrodded JCM800 territory. This is a lot of people's favourite channel, and I can see why. Very articulate overdrive, and each guitar really does sound like itself.
Red,... Oh my God! Probably has about 20db more gain than the blue channel. From crunch to serious lead. And the tone is very very tight. Not mushy at all. The only mush I got was with the gain maxed, and boost on. Harmonics just leap off the guitar. The tone is so complex and 3D. You can hear harmonics fight for dominance in a sustained note.
Needless to say, the louder you play, the better. But still sounds remarkably good at lower volumes.
Plexi mode on the red and blue channels reduces the gain to about the same levels as the green channel unboosted (a touch more). This is designed for people who like to get their OD the old fashioned way,... by cranking the volume of their amp. I tried (with ear-plug on!) turning the master volume on the plexi channel to max (to simulate a non-master volume Marshall), and then used just the gain to control get OD. This is THE sound of rock'n'roll. Period.
Now the brilliant thing is just how flexible this amp is. You can literally dial in 3 clean channels by keeping the gain low on the blue channel, and setting the red channel to plexi mode. By assigning the feedback B controls to the red channel, you can get very different tones for the red and blue channel. So you can set your amp up for a fendery clean on the green channel, a fat clean on the blue, and a punchy plexi clean on channel 3. Alternatively, with no plexi mode engaged, you can get 3 different OD sound out of the channels. A spongy vintage lead from the green, a serious crunch from the blue, and a high gain lead from the red. And regardless of how you want to use each channel, the sound is beautifully organic.
For the power amp options, I initially was interested in them as power reduction mechanism, but soon learnt that each mode really does change the character of the amp. With class A and triode (old style), the sounds really smooths out, and the top end seems a bit more relaxed.
Have only had it for a month, but by all reports very well built. The transformers are huge! Should only expect the usual things to go wrong with it over time, tubes, maybe a pot here and there. There are no Australian retailers for Bogner stuff, but I feel confident that if I were ever to run into strife that they'd be more than happy to help me out.
For what it's meant to be, this amp is quite simply perfection. Only separate EQs for the Blue and Red channels, and perhaps MIDI switching, but this is really being pedantic. With all the options, you can set up a huge range of sounds ranging from all clean to all OD, with all the characteristics and feel of a vintage amp. This is everything Marshall should be today, but sadly is not, and will probably never be. In my opinion, this is the bench mark by which all other 'rock' amps should be based.