VOX Amplification Ltd AC15HW1X by radiospace
The Vox AC15hw1x -- hw for hand-wired, and x for Celestion Blue -- would be an amazing guitar amp if it cost twice as much (as it likely would if it were manufactured by a trendy boutique manufacturer). As it is, I think it's a stupid good bargain, but completely apart from that, it's just a great, great amplifier.
Part of what is so great about it to me are the huge variety of tones (albeit all within the general Vox tonal range) you can get out of it, because it has essentially three completely different modes:
---- Normal Channel
---- Top Boost channel
---- Top Boost channel with the EQ bypassed (i.e. "Hot mode").
You can also disengage the master volume which will have its own tonal differences -- in addition to making the amp incredibly loud.
If all the amp had was the normal channel (with a bright on/off switch) it would be a fantastic sounding amp -- punchy, chimey, Beatlish, flattering to every pickup I've thrown at it. But the Normal Channel on a Vox AC amp is actually sort of an afterthought -- it's the Top Boost channel that gives you the classic Vox tones. Thirdly, bypassing the EQ and putting it into 'hot mode' creates an incredibly snarling mid-range, nasty blues sound that kind of reminds me of the Vox version of a cranked Fender Champ. Run a Gretsch Falcon into hot mode and you are in Crazy Horse territory right away.
To compare the Top Boost mode with the EQ engaged and the Normal channel, the Top Boost mode is more scooped, while the Normal channel has a warmer midrange. Both sound great, and whichever you choose would have more to do with the song, the characteristics of the guitar you want to bring out, and so on, rather than one being "better" than the other.
There is, additionally, a 7.5 watt mode, which will keep the amp a little more bedroom-friendly, while also taking away a touch of the treble bite. Since it has a master volume, I generally leave the amp in 15 watt mode, even when I want to play very quietly. I find the master volume on this amp is great, no matter how low I turn it the amp maintains its character. (I have never bypassed entirely the master volume other than for 2 or 3 seconds to demonstrate the immense loudness of the amp for passersby).
In conclusion -- a completely inspirational amp to play through, a wide array of tone shaping options that will let you explore and experiment to your heart's content, and let's add, a beautiful amp to look at in the studio or on the stage. Probably the best indication of how much I like this amp is that I almost never use pedals with it -- not even a touch of reverb, I just love to hear it raw (and actually something about the good-sized cabinet adds just a real nice touch of space around the speaker so it doesn't sound the slightest bit boxy). A real winner.