This thing rips. Make sure to get a two button foot switch for channel switching. It may not look like it, but it is 2 channel. Channels are kind of weird. The clean channel is strictly controlled with the "Pre" knob. All this does is change the volume. Once in the drive channel, you get a lot more interactivity with the knobs. The pre adds a bit of drive, the "Pump" knob controlla a built in boost, and the "Post" is a master volume. The pump circuit is fun to mess around with, but isn't needed to sound good. I mostly play stoner metal (think Sleep or Black Sabbath's Master of Reality for an idea of the sound), so I run it on max. You'll need an overdrive or boost if you're planning on playing something more modern. However, this thing nails most any rock tone from the 60s to mid-80s just fine. The clean is loud as hell and stays pretty clean all the way up. I have no trouble dialing in a surf rock tone, jazz, blues, country, you name it. It's a seriously versatile amp.
The amp has a few things that buyers should be aware of that I did not know when I got my Encore:1. The power tubes are mounted directly to the PCB. It's an old Peavey, so it's going to last a lifetime, but keep your eye on the board. It may need attention from a tech depending on how hot you run the amp and how often you play at loud volumes.2. This amp appears to be VERY picky about the 6L6GC power tubes you put in. I bought a pair of brand new Groove Tubes when I picked this baby up, and a fuse went out after about an hour of jamming with my friend. Thankfully, I kept the tubes that the amp had to begin with, so after a trip to a hardware store for a fuse (position F5: 3 amp 250 volt fast blow, by the way), it was running fine. To make a long story short, make sure you get known good tubes in here and that they have a good amount of reliability. No other problems other than things found with old age.
$150-$200 for a combo that can emulate a Marshall? It's a no brainer! Buy one if you find one!
The amp is a little finicky here and there, mainly when it comes to the tubes, but the Peavey reliability, quality, and no-frills attitude is here in spades. It's the best amp I've had. I bought it after the Windsor Studio didn't quite meet what I needed, and the Encore is like the grandad of that amp. If you've ever played a Windsor, this is similar but better EQ'D and made in the USA. It's a classic rock and doom/stoner machine, but is flexible enough for most any genre. Some of the older Peavey combos weigh like 70 pounds or more, but this amp is surprisingly lightweight. It's probably about 50 lbs or so. It weighs far less than my Triumph 60 combo did which is something I am very happy with.
I'm a bedroom player, and friend jammer. Constantly looking for "my tone" and rarely being satisfied with gear. I'm not a cork sniffer, but I know what I like