I have used this with a Gibson explorer and a Robert Cray strat, both sound good, although the Gibson will yield better overdrive, but is darker sounding. Very quiet in terms of noise and with a good cabinet can be quite loud. I bought this to use for practice and for back up should my old Fender showman go south at a gig. Clean sound is not bad, although not a whole lot write home about, cranking it up gives some awesome power amp distortion, but can be pushed even further with an OD pedal of your choice. I use an Me 50 in front of it, so along with some chorus and reverb this thing can sound pretty damn good. Tone snobs who have said its muddy, or lacks bass or too shrill. Come on its only 130.00. If you want to get in on a class a Circuit design with natural overdrive then this is the bargain of the century. You can't hardly buy a better sounding tube amp for the asking price. I know people buy these to mod, but out of the box even with the stock Sovtek's it sounds nice. I am using a 2x12 closed back with vintage 30.s If you have a decent guitar, the simple signal path design really lets you hear it without coloring it much. I would have to say that even though it is only 5 watts, its loud. I used it for band practice in a small room with another guitar player, drummer, and bass player and at half volume was getting the dirty looks. So if you must keep the volume down, prepare to have a good pedal in front of it. I give it a seven only because a tone rating of 10, would just be overstating what this can do. Again its awesome for the money.
No problems as of yet, bought new tubes for it, but the stock Sovteks are not bad. With a 5 year warranty it can't be too bad, although that goes out the window if I take my soldering iron to it. lol. Not sure I would trust it without a back up, but anyone who has ever gigged with a tube amp will tell you always bring another or at least a set of tubes. Even for a China made amp, this one looks pretty good, the cabinet is well made and the circuit is simple enough should not be any problems.
I have been playing for about 20 years, currently in a cover band doing mostly classic rock. I have a Dual showman head, a Marshall Dsl 401. I have always wanted a class A low powered amp, but the boutique stuff is just to far out of the budget. try convincing your wife to spend 2000 on an amplifier and see what happens lol. I have grown quite fond of this and it were stolen I would buy another or two for the money its great. For you tone snobs, it is what it is, you can't compare it to a high end amp, but if you desire some great rock and roll power amp distortion at manageable volume levels on a married with kids budget you can't go wrong with it.