Great! With a little love...
The stock tubes that come in this amp are absolute rubbish. I put in some quality valves (JJ), set the bias properly (I doubt this was done from the factory) and this amp just came to life!! I was dumbfounded at the transformation. Just a reminder to me how important tubes are in a tube amp. Sounds absolutely glorious, now. Equal to any of the vintage amps I own. With the factory tubes the sound was overcompressed, harsh, and weak in the bottom end.
The other problem was the speaker cable is very poor quality, and needed to be replaced. The amp was cutting in and out. I am amazed that Fender puts a molded plastic cord in such a crucial position on an amp that costs as much as this one, but, oh well, at least I found it.
One of the speakers died, too. Still sounds good with three, though. This amp was bought brand new.
The last problem that this amp has is common to virtually all newer production Fenders in the past 30 years or so using circuit board construction, rather than point to point. Circuit boards are an elegant way to construct an amp, but, the plastic board mounted jacks Fender uses are of poor quality, and start to go bad after a few years of normal use. They are hard to replace is the other problem, compared to the easy task of replacing a standard guitar-type jack on a vintage amp. Both jacks on my Normal channel need to be replaced. The amp is about 6 years old. I think they could at least take the time to wire in some decent jacks in an amp as nice as this, for a lifetime of use.
In proper order, this amp quickly displays its legendary qualities. I think the 30-40 watt range is magic for tube guitar amps. Loud enough to gig, but not so loud that you can't crank it up a bit and get the goodness happening without deafening people and drowning out everything else. It's still pretty dang loud, though. You have to love the Fender effects as well, the tremolo and reverb. Another chunk of genius from Leo and company.