In the 25-odd years I've been playing, all I've ever played are Fender or Fender-inspired amps. Never owned an amp with EL-xx power tubes...never even spent much time plugged into one. I play rootsy rock, blues and country, and the blackface tone has always been "it" for me. So recently I decided to try what I'd never had and got a Hayseed 30 head. I'm playing it through the only cab I have, which is a Carr 2x12 with 2 12" Emi Wizards. I was totally underwhelmed at first. I guess I spent the first 30 minutes trying to make it sound like a blackface. The second and third times I fired it up, I started trying to find the tone that the amp wanted to make, if that makes sense. And things started to happen. I found not one, but two really nice tones in the amp, one from each channel. And both of those responded really well to rolling off the volume on my strat. Now, it seems, I'm getting somewhere. I'm falling for the responsiveness and sensitivity of the thing. I'm learning to "use" the tremendous low-end I'm getting (though I'm thinking that 2x10 may be a better fit for this amp). Here's what I'm using now: -- Half-power mode, Master at high noon -- Channel 1, EF-86 bright setting, volume at 10:30, low-gain input -- Channel 2, volume at 11 o'clock, high-gain input, bass and treble each around 9 o'clock, Cut all the way down. Channel 1 is an edgier, punchier and more broken-up tone, similar to what I think of as a cranked Marshall tone. Channel 2 is giving me a rounder, juicy tone that is closer to a tweed tone. It is still pretty hairy when you lay into it but overall it feels less pushed. They both clean up nicely as I roll off the volume. I'm working on an A/B box to switch between the two, and I'm looking forward to getting this rig over to the band space to see how the amp fits in with everything else. It's so PRESENT that I feel like I'll have to learn how to play it. It reminds me of playing an acoustic instrument, in that it's so much more sensitive to my attack. It's all too easy to squeeze out the odd REALLY LOUD note. At the same time, single notes and double stops seem so big, especially in the mid-range, that I can see how someone's style might develop around using that to his advantage. My only tonal complaint is on the top end. The B and E strings played up high seem to be lacking the personality and character of the lows and mids. Maybe this is why Vox-heads are so particular about the kinds of speakers they choose? So, for those of you who have more experience using these kinds of amps, I'd love to have some pointers. What speakers tend to work best? Are there any secrets to taming the amp, or learning to control the touch-sensitivity in a band setting? Any other great tips? I appreciate it.