As a full time player /instructor Ive owned just about every amp out there including many vintage Fenders and boutique tube amps. I wont say this amp is the best thing Ive played, but Ive reached a point where Ive changed one too many hot tubes in the dark and thrown my back out one too many times pulling a tube combo out of the trunk of a cab. This year I decided to take a long hard look at current state of solid state. I guess Im a little backwards because Im looking mostly for a great clean tone and if the drive is good then so much the better. I figured I could always use an 808 for overdrive and get tone. This amp has a great clean tone ( I know a few submissions ago someone hated the clean tone but I really cant imagine how, I guess different strokes ...) I recently did a jazz recording session where the producer suggested using the in-house Trademark 60 and it blew me away. I got this amp the next day. I used a great arch top with a short George L. We miked the Tech 21 with a condenser about a foot away panning hard left and used the direct XLR out to go hard right. Its just an amazing recording. Warm and round but with perfect definition and sparkle. Think: Tuck Andress. I use the overdrive for lessons once in a while and its very impressive as well. The range of drive tones in channel two seems to stay a bit more on the British side of things but using the clean channels gain you can cross the Fender county line with ease. The reverb is really really good as well. It doesnt drip like my old twins but its pretty darn good. Unlike when I last thought Id try going tubeless 10 years ago, this newer bread of transistor amp actually sounds better as you turn it up. I havent found an unusable tone in it. I know a lot about tube amps and Ive spent a lot of time hunting down NOS 6V6s, Jensons and so forth but the truth is I dont think most vintage geeks ( like myself ) would pass a blind folded taste test if we did some playback of recordings. Maybe a little bit by feel, but then again this amp responds better than most class AB amps Ive used and one or two class A amps as well. Im very excited to try the new Trademark T60 acoustic amp and Ive great things about the trademark10 as well. This is really a big step forward for going tubeless.
I have much more confidence in solid state than in tubes. Every amp problem Ive ever had has been tube related. Is it built like a tank ala Mesa? No, but its under five bills and the construction appears to be very very good.
All in all its really a great little amp for a very little money. Its got a lot of great tones and responds very well. It weighs in under forty pounds and has plenty of muscle for club work. I understand you can get a powered extension cab from tech 21 for cheap. This seems like an amazing idea to increase power, sound dispersment, let along going stereo.