Despite their claims to the otherwise, the amp does not really sound like a tube amp. The digital frontend gives the tone an artificial quality that never really goes away. That being said, the Bogner designed poweramp is great with a true tupe-pre. Good as a practice amp and for just jamming around, but I couldn't see myself gigging with it.
When this amp was released I thought that it was genius to bring together valve goodness with digital effects.
And it was / is.
However, whilst I've been able to shape some amazing tones that I'm really happy with (from sumptuous cleans to soaring leads), especially for recording, there are some issues that make the amp fall short of everything it could be.
Ease of use. Because you can access 9 user banks, each comprising 4 patches, from the FBV shortboard (sold separately), you'd expect the real value to be in the ability to switch between widely varying tones from song to song, set to set or band to band. However, because there is of course only one set of knobs on the front panel (the positions of which don't necessarily correspond to the parameters you've set - they're not like flying faders on a mixing desk), setting up patches is a bit of a ball ache. You can't really just tweak what you've got, you either have to build a patch from scratch - turn the knob all the way down to reset it and then up to wherever you think it should be - or you have to start with a preset and do the same thing.
Volume management... So, speaking of presets... By God they are loud. It's ridiculous. You can't feasibly be within arms reach when you move between presets without turning down the master volume every single time you're about to browse to the next patch. This serves to put yet another barrier in your way to creating sounds you're going to use.
The volume issues don't stop there. The amp is either "off" or "a bit too loud" (even for a 5-piece). Yes, you could try and set the Channel volume lower and give yourself more headroom on the Master, but the original advice from several reliable sources was to set the Channel volumes high and tweak clean and dirty patches to manage drop-out, and control overall volume with the Master. I have tried swapping this over, but it didn't seem to work - none of the patches would sing, tone-wise if the Channel volume was reduced.
So I have very mixed feelings about this amp. It's served me well for many many years, but of the 36 patches I could and should be making use of, I've got three in one bank that I rely on for everything, and have added to with other multi-effects units... The modulations on the amp just aren't that usable, because everything is so arbitrary, and - like the volume - they either seem to be too subtle or too over-the-top.
In summary, for getting some fantastic core tones, it's amazing. But usability / interface issues (for someone like me, with limited time / patience) have prevented me from getting everything I hoped to out of the amp, and I've had to spend money on other equipment to really get there.