I use this with a Les Paul Classic, 9200 Marshall Power Amp, Alesis Comp/Gate, BBE Sonic Maximizer, and (2) 4x12 GT-75T Cabs. When I first got the thing,(4 years ago) I didn't have the Gate or the Maximizer. I bought it on faith because I got the power amp real cheap and needed a preamp to start using it. I figured I should get a marshall to go with my marshall. I didn't even try it out. I brought it to rehearsal, plugged it in, and decided in about twenty minutes that this thing is the worst thing I ever heard. I was using the factory presets. Whoever came up with the factory presets should be fired. But I don't give up. I worked with this thing hardcore trying to come up with a sound I liked. It took me months, but I kept getting closer and closer to what I wanted. When I eventually threw in the Alesis unit and the Maximizer I had it. In my opinion, I haven't come across anyone elses rig that sounds as good as mine for the type of music I play (metal type stuff, a lot of palm muting). A lot of people make the mistake of using too much gain. It just gets to fuzzy and muddy. Sound guys have always complimented the sound I got.
As far other applications of this unit:
Clean: I think it sounds pretty good, not the best ever, I haven't been able to get a real glassy sound from it. But maybe its my Les Paul.
Leads: You have to use OD2 and push it to get smooth lead distortion, but its in there.
Punchy OD: This is what I use it for. I think its perfect. You need to use OD1 and crank the gain or use OD2 with 60% to 75% gain. When the power amp is cranked up it'll put you in the floor.
I give it a 9 because no amp ever invented can match the sound you truly want. But this comes the closest for me.
I've had it for four years, played probably 175 shows with it and had no trouble. But, just the other day I was fooling around with it and found out my right stereo output didn't work. I don't wkow when it happened because I never use it. But this might be a big issue for someone who uses stereo outputs from their preamp.
I'd like to credit this preamp with being the best ever, but I thinks its the combination of the surrounding gear, and just working with it relentlessly until you get what you want from it. I've also recently used a Peavey 5150 II with basically the same gear surrounding it (except the Marshall power amp) and worked with it for a while and got more or less the same sound from it as my Marshall setup. It took me months with the marshall and days with the Peavey. Hopefully thats because I know what I'm looking for now.