Hey all, Just thought I'd share my opinions on some high-end amps I tried out today at the Long & McQuade here in Toronto. I used my Ibanez SR505, and all tone controls were set to 12 o'clock (or flat, in the case of sliders). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to really crank any of the amps, as there were quite a few customers in the store. I tried all the amps with the same gain and master settings; specifically, the gain was at 9 o'clock, and the master between 7 and 8 o'clock. First off was the SWR Working Pro 700 into a Son of Bertha and a Goliath III. Transparent tone, really clean & punchy. I was able to conjure up some tube-like growl, and for the most part, I loved the tone I got out of this amp, which is sort of scary because it's completely solid-state! As such, it's very powerful, but I wasn't too impressed with the on-board compressor, although it did have a very nice sliding EQ. Next I tried the Mesa M-Pulse 600 with a Powerhouse 1x15 and a 4x10. The first thing I noticed was that tube warmth, even with the gain at 9 o'clock. Significantly louder than the SWR at the same settings, able to be just as clean as the SWR, but also able to get serious tube growl by using the shelving bass control. With all tone controls set to flat, it was louder, had more bass and warmth and the same amount of clean, fast response as the SWR. By turning down the bass slightly and boosting the mids slightly (using only the shelving controls), I was able to get it to sound exactly like the SWR. Any doubts I had about this amp being able to handle slap style were eliminated. It is tight, focused and POWERFUL. After that, it was the Big Block 750's turn. This was hooked up to a 2x10 and a 1x15. To be quite honest, it sounded almost exactly like the M-Pulse 600. It's really a beautiful amp; spartan, mean and purposeful-looking. With the overdrive control turned up around 1 o'clock, I was able to get some really fat, old school rock tone. It would be a definite contender for my next amp, were it not for the fact that it puts out its full power into a 2 Ohm load. Then came the Ampeg SVT-CL and SVT-AV's, hooked up to Ampeg 6x10's. With tone controls set to flat, they sounded... like mud. Plain and simple, it was the worst sound of any amp I've tried in the past two months. No definition, notes were not articulated; it sounded like somebody hitting timpani with big afro-headed mallets. I guess I'm just not a fan of all-tube sound, because the SVT-3 PRO sounded much, much better. Gallien-Krueger was next on the list with its 1001RB & 18'' combo. This was the amp of the bunch that sounded most like the SWR, since it is also all solid-state. Accurate and punchy, if you blindfolded me and I played the SWR and the GK, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference, save maybe because of the fact that the SWR was hooked up to two cabs, while the GK was a combo with an 18''. I don't really like GK's setup, with respect to the Bi-amp action; one for the woofers, and a separate 50W for the tweeter. Unnecessarily complicated, but I do see its uses. Nothing a parametric EQ wouldn't solve, though. Finally, I tried out the Yorkville BassMaster 800 (not sure if I got the model number right) into a Yorkville 8x8''. Wow. For $855 CAD, I wasn't expecting much, but I was definitely impressed. It was somewhere between the Mesa BB750 and the SWR in terms of its tone. Able to sound clean or overdriven thanks to its tube overdrive controls and preamp selector switch (tube or SS), it really was very versatile. And 800 W! Not bad; that's basically a little over $1 CAD/Watt. Hope this helps! Peace.