Great "bang for the buck" preamp for both live and studio use.
I ordered this pre-amp several years ago from this site and was blown away by the sound! I primarily use the unit for direct recording into some decent cabinet impulse responses, however I have used it live on several occasions with a power amp or slave head.
Cleans: Fantastic clean tone, sparkly, lots of high end, great character. Tone controls are incredibly effective here. Sounds great with a neck pickup for a bit of warmth.
Crunch: Classic crunch tones! Using the clean channel with the Hi Gain setting gets you some lovely breakup, especially when paired with some hot pickups!
Lead: TONNES of gain on tap here, though it does get a tad noisy when pushed to it's limits. It has a very distinctive high gain sound, not like a Marshall, not like a Mesa. Again, as with the clean channel, the tone controls are incredibly responsive and musical. It's worth noting that the high mid acts more like a treble control, and the treble more like a presence control. The contour button works brilliantly too, at enhancing the mid-range for a more cutting tone.
It connects effortlessly to other gear with line outputs with gain control on the back, and I've used it with a wide variety of equipment with no issues.
When it comes to a question about tube sound there can be doubts about buying an expensive tube amps or digital ones - here comes the solution as preamps.
I think its a perfect way to construct your own beloved sound when you can collect everything you need at one unit.
The main thing which i like the most about 530 - its suits in many ways of combining digital and analog types of sound usage.
Im using it mainly for studio - getting a signal from the line output and mixing it with a rosen cab impulses for mesa and it still sounds perfect as if it would sound with a real cab.
The 1.5 watt built in amp is very useful. You either can connect it to a guitar cab or even use this preamp as a pedal for your combo at home!
Another fantastic thing about this preamp versatility is that you can even record a bass guitar through a clean settings and achieve a massive tone.
Also the gain amounts and settings can suit any kind of guitarist needs - you can rock it, you can djent it, or do anything you want - it would still sound awesome! It holds perfect the lowest notes of the 5 string bass or 8 string guitr - still sounds crisp and tight.
Looking for buy an engl power amp for it - im sure that it would be a nice combination!