ok, sound quality. i've read here people saying this "sounded hollow and lifeless"...well, i can agree on some of the presets, but this is where e.q. and tweaking the presets, along with a good tube poweramp comes in.is the preamp gonna get you into VHT or bogner- ville?well,with major tweaking and closed back cabs, a definitely, 100% kinda,sorta but not really(yuk-yuk).less organic.this brings me to my rig: i'm using(or have used) this with a les paul classic,carvin dc-127, ibanez rg550 and s540, carvin t-100 tube poweramp and 2 1-12 cabs with vintage 30's. dead silent rig ( just be careful dialing in the gate too much. you can kill your sustain very easily with this) effects are great ( except the wah which blows donkey balls. this is a waste of chip space)but so incredibly effective in range that you can overkill very easily.the distortion, for instance on the heaviest settings(grunge or saturated tube). one who loves lots of gain may think" oh.this goes to 11. kewl!!" well, except for seriously grinding thrash chords,most people who are playing at any real volume probably won't really need the distortion past 6.6.-7. especially for leads ( does anyone still play leads? please?) and yes, i love gain.
The reverbs are outstanding. again, very easy to overdo.you have total control over the parameters, so don't blame the unit.( read the manual) i don't know how someone could complain about the cleans on this unit. with proper e.q. and the gigaverb program, you can find pristine tones worthy of any professional recording. additionally, here are the other effects:
delays: clean and very flexible
tremolo: pulsing and sexy. i have some great presets with this. i don't know how anyone could dislike this if properly tweaked.great for blues or country.
phaser: very flexible, wide sweep
flanger: the same.
wah: sucks, sucks , sucks...but who bought this for the wah?
chorus: good on dist.great on cleans with delay. yum-yum. very good gilmour tones here.use in stereo with a panner to seperate cabs. magnifico!
distortion: ah, so subjective. i think very good on tube saturation and the grunge circuit is excellent for solid state. it really does seem based on a randy rhoads type of distortion!
anyway, my advice is always check wet/dry mix level and you can keep your effects under control.( at least until ready to dive into heavy parameter manipulation.)
well, i've owned this for about 9 years. haven't changed a tube or a battery, and i play everyday. have and will gig without a backup.(have no choice at moment,my wife let me get the les paul classic this year. next year another amp. yay!!) i once had to do a hard reset ( lost all my presets) because i pulled out the cord for the footcontroller while the unit was on ( this aspect really sucks. they should have put a family-size warning about this on the manual).
i've been playing about 18 years, mostly fusion-y,hard rockish metal type stuff(?),with forays into jazz, flamenco,funk, etc...this can adequately handle anything i have thrown at it.
if stolen...i'd get my insurance money and look around at whats out there. for an all in one unit,the sound and versatility are hard to beat. i would probably go the boutique amp route with some high end petals.( which i plan to do anyway, but i don't think i'll sell this ). most modelling amps i've tried don't actually sound as good as i've managed to tweak this, but i guess they may ultimately have more versatility. ( altho' the valvetronix sound was very nice,the line 6 stuff has done nothing for me.not even the vetta.haven't tried the zentera yet, but i'm sure i will.does this hurt or help in making music? it helps in that you have a lot of flexibility to try to achieve the sounds in your head. the thing that hurts is that you end up micro-tweaking a million parameters.( this could just be my problem.yuk-yuk)and may find yourself never satisfied. but some weirdos (like me)sorta like that about this unit. i guess you can't have it all ( even when your rig has it all.)