Great tube sound at a great price!
I was all set to purchase a blues junior when I picked up on the buzz about this amp. My other amps are half stacks and I wanted something smaller that I could carry to small bar gigs or jam sessions. I also needed something that had enough juice to cut through in a band setting on a small stage. This little 30W amp fit the bill perfectly.
It has a surprisingly big and warm tone for a combo amp. When I got it, I plugged it in and just started playing the clean channel with the EQs all at 12 o'clock... it sounded fantastic. Once I started messing with the EQ's, it got magical... the EQ is very expressive and subtle adjustments have a significant impact on the sound.
The boost provides a good solid bump, and I've found that I really prefer just leaving it on all the time as it really fattens the sound up and brings out some of the faint harmonics that aren't as easy to hear otherwise.
The TS circuit is good, and sounds pretty much like the stock TS9 pedal. Thankfully, the good folks at Ibanez had the foresight to add send and return jacks after the TS circuit, so it's easy to introduce compression and time based effects after the TS circuit. I've experiemented with putting OD's both before and after the TS circuit and using it as both a first and second stage OD. Haven't decided which way I like best yet, but it works good both ways.
The speaker included is not my favorite speaker, but it does not sound bad. I will probably purchase a separate 1x12 cab down the road to use in conjunction with this amp... probably an avatar cab with a hellatone 60.
If there is one improvement that Ibanez could make (and they should SERIOUSLY consider this), it would be to put out a head only version of this amp. They don't need to change a thing about the head... just get it out of the speaker enclosure. Mine has a significant amount of tube rattle, even after I added silicone dampers to the tubes. This doesn't take away from the amp, but it does get annoying when playing in a small room at low volumes. This problem isn't exclusive to this amp... I think it exists to some degree in most, if not all, tube combos. Still, the fact that there's not a head only version is what keeps this from 5 stars (which probably isn't fair to this particular unit).
Anyway, for the price, you are not going to find a better sounding tube combo amp for blues, southern rock or "bar" rock. If you're a metal player, this one will not be for you.