I bought the TB50R 50 watt 1x12 combo last year. I was in the market for an inexpensive practice amp that could double as a backup stage amp in case my Carvin X100-B ever took a crap at a gig. I tested the TB against other solid state 30-50 watt combos in the $250 US price range. I listened to Crate, Behringer, Marshall, Vox, Fender, Peavey, Kustom and H&K.
The Ibanez beat the others hands down when comparing the sound of the on-board distortion channels. The distortion ranges from a nasty crunch to full blown heavy metal. Butch is right on the money when comparing the voicing of the distortion to a solid state Mesa.
The clean channel produces a nice tone as well. There is a gain control on the clean channel that adds a nice bluesy kick to simulate the feel of a vintage Fender being pushed.
Only one amp had all of the following features I was looking for. Some had a few, while others only had 1 or 2:
- $250 maximum price tag.
- preference for at least 50 watts - some manufacturers didn't come close to 50 watts until you hit the $400 mark.
- 2 channels - Footswitchable, clean & dirty.
- 12" speaker - Since this amp was going to double as a backup gig rig, I was looking for at least a 1x12. Most of the other brands in this range only offer a 1x10. Behringer, Kustom and H&K had a 12". The Ibanez was the only one with a closed back.
- Effects loop
- External speaker jack - Needed to drive my 2x12 stage rig on the fly.
- Headphone jack
As a bonus, the TB also has a boost circuit that gives a nice kick for solos when you engage the INCLUDED footswitch or push the boost button on the front panel.
If I'd had $350 to play with, I could have gotten a 100 watt 2x12 combo w/ closed back. Behringer was the only other brand to come close in the 100 watt category. The other brands started at $500.