I love it. It's pure tube goodness and has quite a bit of flexiablity.
It may not be able to out muscle a high wattage tube amp so don't expect to play large outdoor arenas with it without a mic and PA. For moderate indoor jams and gigs it's perfect. The attenuator lets you set the gain as high as you want and control master volume for full gain at bedroom volumes.
The only way I could suggest a change is with either channel switching, an effects loop or a second speaker output for stereo operation. The flexi 50 has all of this so if you're willing to pay the extra $500 for the flexi, it may be a better amp for you. I'm fine without any of that though so it's perfect. I won't give it a lower score because it lacks these aspects. This is the way it was designed and other models were made with the other features.
Where Obtained: THD forum classifieds
I had heard the sound clips from THD's site and was absolutely floored by the tones that ED Degenaro was able to squeeze from this little beast.
Like the other review said, just the very basics with this amp. It's all about the pure class A tube tone without the useless bells and whistles to get in the way or color the natural tone.
An effects loop would be nice but that's what the bivalve and flexi 50 are for.
I use the low V setting effectively making the amp 7 total watts output and this is enough to drown out the rest of my band through an avatar 2X12 cabinate. I can go from smooth buttery blues to Steve Vai in a heartbeat. It's incredibly versatile.
I use a carvin DC135 with a peavey wolfgang humbucker in the bridge and a fender texas special single coil at the neck and factory AP11 carvin single coil in the middle. These pickups along with the amp offer an immense range of tones.
I'm mainly into classic rock but do enjoy playing van halen, steve vai and eric johnson's music and this amp can deliver that with ease.
This amp is classic rock and blues all the way. It has the most beautiful pure classic rock tone. It is very similar to Rush's "Working man" tone. That tone immediately popped into my head when playing. The low gain input with the fender pickup offers a dead ringer for SRV's "Texas flood" tone.
It's extremely quiet and even has an ingenious noise filter built in the form of a light bulb that can be turned on or off.
Low gain preamp tubes will give you gobs of clean headroom. The amp came with a pair of Sovtek 12AX7's and these were high gain that offered a nice medium gain overdrive with the roll imput and gain cranked all the way up. Plugging into the rock input was much more gain.
Switching to a very low gain pair of preamp tubes, a 12AT7 and 5751 took nearly ALL the overdrive out of the rock channel up until the gain hits 1 o'clock, then it begins to overdrive. This effectively gave the amp nearly twice the volume and still remained clean. This is the way I use it with a Carl Martin Plexitone pedal for overdrive. I couldn't be happier.
This is very subjective because the cult-like following that this amp has is incredible. If you are using the rock input for overdrive then you will notice that once the power tube is really pushed, little nuances of the tone of the amp begin to become apparent. The high quality new old stock tubes have a more organic and lush overdrive to them and sound better. Each one has it's own tonal characteristic. This is why guys spend hundreds of dollars for expensive tubes.
I'm using an RCA blackplate 6L6 power tube and I love it. The amp is very VERY easy to use. Tube swapping requires no re-biasing unlike virtually every amp in existance.
The gain knob and attitude knobs can shape the tone in numerous ways to get a good variety so in that aspect along with the simplicity of tube swapping, yes it's a very easy amp to work with.
On the other hand, once you begin using different tubes and experimenting with the different tones offered with various power/preamp tube combinations and amp settings, the flood gate of opportunities opens up and you realize how much flexablity the amp has. So in that aspect, the amp can be a bit daunting to use due to the wide possible array of tones.
It might not have the oomph that the 100 watt tube amps have but that's nothing that a PA and a microphone can't take care of. It'll drive a 4X12 cab with ease though. I've used it with my 2X12 cab in large gigs and not had any trouble being heard or cutting throught the mix for solos.
It appears to be very well constructed. The metal perforated cage looks sweet and you can see the tubes glowing in low light conditions.
I blew the main high volt fuse by switching the high/low voltage switch while the amp was powered on. That was my own fault and could have been avoided if I had read the user manual all the way through. That can also kill tubes which happend when the fuse blew.
Only thing that's gone wrong is that the line out volume knob on the back, it's nut that holds the pot to the chassy got stripped when i accidentally bumped the amp into the wall and the knob took the brunt of the impact and I guess the force of the hit stripped the threads. THD sent a replacement pot and even offered to repair it for free if I sent it to them. AWESOME!
Overall a very nice amp for the money...i sold a carr imperial after purchasing the thd, cause i couldn't hear the difference on my recordings. the carr is a big bad clean amp with headroom until the house caves in. i needed something a bit smaller and had the ability distort, as i like rocknroll too.
THD has been a responsive company, answered all my emails promptly, and took care of business.
Where Obtained: EBAY
Volume, treble, bass, presence, power soak (hot plate), high volt on-off, full power, standby. no switching. tube powered (one power tube, two preamp tubes.)
lots of features (line out) that help achieve the sound you're looking for.
I'd like to comment on the ability to swap out tubes for a range in tone and timbre.
i've found after about a year of ownership, that the different power tubes (EL34, 6L6, 6V6 etc.) don't make a huge change. there is a subtle difference, but hard to hear in the final mix. the preamp tubes, however, really do make an impact. 12AX7's distort at a much earlier stage than 12AU7. having the 12au's in, you can push the amp to 10 and get a much larger, fuller clean, just to the point of breaking up. now take a volume pedal or distortion unit and push it just over the edge, and you'll get a nice organic keith richards tone (for lack of a better term.) much richer and fuller, and that's the tone i look for. however, the amp will get a nice rocknroll distortion on it's own from the ROCK input. i don't hear metal, however.
i'm old school rock (allmans, aerosmith, humble pie, johnny winter, mountain, cream---it's a long list).
i'm using all manner of guitars: solidbody w/humbuckers, semi-hollow w/humbuckers, strat, tele..etc. the THD responds as it should.
i hear a sponge or sag or a rubbery bounce in there...think bluesy strat neck pickup tone. i'm not sure i've found the ac/dc CRUNCH/KLANG tone yet.
it's about 15 watts max, but it's very loud to my 49 year old ears. don't let anybody kid you that you can use a 15 watt amp in an apartment! i live in a house and i've built an isolation box (it's kinda homer simpson quality, but works). i don't think a 1x12 cab will match up with up drummer very well, but i know it can push 4x12 cab and that will probably do the trick.
Easy to use. swapping out tubes is very quick and easy. just remember to let'em cool down before you grab hold.
Seems to be very well put together, with the perforated metal cage uptop to protect the tubes.