A forgotten modern classic
This amp was surprisingly a huge flop in the sales department, its failure can be largely traced to the reintroduction of the Marhsall DSL range, as well as the Fender Blues Junior III. What it lacked in sales, it more than makes up in mojo. This is a 15 watt, all tube amp loaded with two 6v6 power tubes, and two 12ax7s preamp tubes. It is equipped with a short reverb tank, and a serial effects loop. The combo comes with a 12" Celestion 70-80 speaker. The best feature of this amp is none of the previous items. It is the wonderful, 3-band Bandexall eq. This eq section allows for complete reshaping of the voice of the amp, going from the warm, bright fatness of a deluxe, to the throaty, karang of a Marshall to the chime of a Vox, this tone stack can do it, or get really close. Also, if the preamp gain is all the way up, cranking the mids and bass adds gain and punch. The amp is also equipped with a dual power switch, going from 7.5 watts, standby, to 15 watts. The 7.5 watt mode is about 25% quieter, but also 5% darker and thinner. I usually use the 15 watt mode all the time. Since there are only two pre-amp tubes, there is not very much pre-amp gain on tap, with a moderate output guitar, one can get slight breakup. As the volume is increased, the pillowy sag and punch of the 6v6s comes into the equation, adding some breakup, and lots of volume. With the mids all the way up as well, it will be fairly well into crunch territory. It has slightly more breakup than a Princeton, but less than an AC15. The reverb is not like a very popular american amp's. It lacks the "splash" and long decay. It is however, more usable than that certain brand's, in most situations. Finally, there is a myriad of speaker output options on the back, allowing for one 4, 8, or 16 ohm cab, or two 8, or 16 ohm cabs. Overall, this amp is perfect platform for pedals, thanks to that eq section; as well as to be turned up and rocked. Its loud and beautiful clean sounds are to die for as well. It looks super 70s retro cool, and it has a compact cabinet to boot. All of this can be yours for under $550 if you can find one. If you find one keep it.
Ugly but Tasty
This is my fifth amp and second gigging amp currently. I have small practice amps that I use most, and a Peavey Classic 30, which I drive at the few occasions I play live on stages. Recently I only have the opportunity to play in pubs and cafes, where 5 watter practice amps fail and the C30 may be too much to carry and drive. I was negotiating on a used Super Champ, that I knew well, than I changed my mind and ordered a new GVT for the same price. I cannot comment on its live performance yet, but I feel like sharing my first impression. 1. It's HUUGE for a 15 watter amp.Take the Super Champ, and double it in weight and size. May be due to the shape, closed back and dimensions but it even feels harder to carry around than the C30. 2. The design is very functional and robust, with minimal effort to look nice, if any. Apart from using the tipo and colors typical of Ampegs, I don't see they tried to make it look like a vintage amp either, which is, in a way, good. But the quality of the materials and the assembly is so high level you hardly see in mass produced units manufactured n China. It looks like a Custom Shop amp. 3. Features are more than outstanding. I don't think I'd use the effect loop, I prefer serial, but the various options to add external speakers are tempting to experiment with them. No experience with vintage Fenders but to my ears the reverb is beautiful. I've never heard such a spacey reverb in a combo amp, sounds like fresh mountain air. An onboard trem could come handy too, but it may not be an Ampeg thing 4. Both the clean and the dirt sound, and all the shades in between, which you can fine tune with the volume, gain and EQ are very pleasing to my ears. The clean is like how I imagine blackface clean, bright, without being harsh. That's the only option I'm missing from my PV Classic 30. I never use the dirt sound from the PV, which start to sound natural only at breakup after a certain volume, and also needs some equalization, so it's hard to switch back to clean without fiddling with the controls. I believe that's what Neil Young does with his Whizzers. Pedals give me more flexibility, but the higher gain sound of the GVT is so musical that I can't wait to try it live, or just by boosting it.
Summary: the only downer is the weight and size, which are kinda disappointment to me. I think if I had the opportunity to see it before ordering, I may not have bought it. But on the other hand, it appears to be a much better quailty amp, than I expected, capable of sounds that make a lot of fun to play and hear.