Firstly, just to clarify my "status" as a guitarist, if there is such a thing. I've been playing guitar - acoustic and electric - for over 30 years. Sheezus, I'm old. Anyway... Suffice to say I've played through a gamut of different amps and PA systems over the years and currently own a Marshall AS50D acoustic amplifier (I used to own an AS100D) and a Yamaha Stagepas 500 PA and I bought this little amp for my son to get him gigging.
Well, what can I say. Impressed is not the word. Well, it is, but if you could incorporate impressed and surprised into one word, that would be the word - imprised?
The tone is not really like the AS50D - in some ways it's a better tone, in different ways not. For example, it has a mid on the guitar input which the AS50D does not so you can alter the tone quite a lot there even if you have an EQ on your acoustic. Also, the AS50D just has one reverb setting while this has 2 plus a delay and a chorus. The AS50D wins on the chorus stakes though as it has a dedicated chorus function, however it's handy having a delay - I actually prefer delay over reverb if given the choice of one or the other - although the delay on the amp is not adjustable in any way other than level, it's useful all the same.
Those differences aside, if comparing them side by side I'd say that the Marshall has more of a spectrum to the sound, but the Harley Benton is somehow "clearer", more of a focused sound, especially when finger picking. In isolation they are both excellent and there's not a whole lot between them if you EQ them to sound similar and when in isolation you'd be happy with either.
I've had both the AS50D and the AC Pro 60 on a Thomann amp stand (which is also excellent) cranked up with a guitar and Shure SM58 plugged in and seated within 1.5 metres of the amp and feedback is minimal - in fact it's a lot worst on the Marshall - to the point where they have a "feedback elimination" control, but it's not needed on the Harley Benton at all!
Cranked up they are both clear and distortion free - providing you're careful to turn down the bass at high volume levels of course. I'd be totally happy gigging with this amp with no problems at all, and if my Marshall gave up the ghost I wouldn't hesitate in replacing it with one of these. All you need for a small acoustic pub gig.
Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that this is identical to the Tanglewood T6 amplifier. Certainly looks it, and that's had rave reviews, except this is a third of the price!
Fully featured with excellent sound qualities, I'm gobsmacked that such a good amp is so little money. Both channels are excellent, even the effects are very very good! Okay so it is not an AER, but you can get 6 or 7 of these for the price of the small AER. DO IT!