"Peavey Gets It Right Again!"
I have had this for a week. One thing to keep in mind is that it will take a little time to break in the tubes. The clean channel will do nicely for almost any tone you need. It is a little dirty but my Schecter's tap switch clears that up nicely. I have always found Peavey to be legendary with their on board distortion. This amp is no exception. I however use a DX-7 pedal which also eliminates the problem of the amp not including a footswitch. For those who know what I am talking about; I took the tubes out. It runs with two 12AX7 Electro Harmonix preamp tubes (0608's) and one JJ ECC83 preamp tube. For the power tubes it runs four Ruby 6L6GCM-STR's. Not bad but a future upgrade for me seems likely. The two Valveking 16ohm speakers are quite nice. I may upgrade later to some Celestions.
Some people will say that the a/b dial supplies no difference. I have found this to be untrue. Lets be logical. Any selector knob that lets you increase or decrease the power going through the tubes is going to make a difference. Maybe it just takes a more skilled musician to really feel this feature out. The master reverb seems a little weird. Again, it is a Peavey. Don't expect Fender quality reverb but do expect it to work just fine. The addition of a dampening knob is nice as well as presence adjustments. I also like the buttons that let you increase gain boost, volume, and a bright boost for the clean channel. Just something else to mess with. The lack of a footswitch will annoy those who use on board distortion. It isn't a big deal since there is only two channels. I could easily use the pedal from my bandit 112. I won't pay 50$ for Peavey's version for the Valveking footswitch since I do have a distortion pedal. Some people want more channels, but I don't mind so that's not a real concern for me.
Ease of Use:
Tube amps naturally require more dedication to dial in and locate the tone you desire than solid state amplifiers. What you see is what you get with solid state. You can modify more things on a tube amp to get a desired tone. However, once you find that tone it is a thousand times better than running through a solid state amplifier (my opinion of course). That being said the features listed above make it certain that you will find the sounds you want. It is very straight forward. The manual is there if you need it. I browsed through it but found nothing I couldn't figure out by just turning it on and messing with it for five minutes. There is a learning curve for any amplifier so just find what makes you happy. It has a great adaptive range. Whatever sound you want it can make.
All I have to say is it's a Peavey, it will be fine. They do a good job guarding the tubes in the back and covering the preamp tubes with metal housings. I am sure if you drop it you could easily break a tube, but I highly doubt you will mess anything else up. At 65 pounds not much is going to ruin this thing.
Only had to deal with them once a few years ago and they were great. They are pretty well known for good customer support. I wouldn't worry about that.
Even if this thing sounded terrible (which it doesn't come even close to sounding terrible) you are paying about 600 dollars for an all tube amp. At the very least you slap in some new tubes and some new speakers. Then you still pay the same if not less for the best out there. It is a great platform to play stock and a great platform to upgrade.
The Wow Factor:
If you don't at least consider this amp you are making a huge mistake. It all comes down to what kind of sound you like. You may not like this amp. But, I guarantee you there are a lot of people that are going to fall in love with this. I definitely fell in love with it. For the money, it is absolutely amazing. Almost (and very closely) comparable to a 6505+.
I will keep this setup for a long time. The only change I will make is adding the Valveking 4x12 cab. If I had it to do over again I would have just gotten the half-stack with the Valveking 100 head. No harm done though. The main reason I chose this amp in place of the Mesa Boogies and the Marshalls I looked at was the price. How on earth can you beat that? It stands up to those quite nicely. The biggest con of the amp is the dual channels and no footswitch included. I easily overcame both of those. If you are smart you will overlook them too.