Price paid: C$ 180
Purchased from: Lee's Music
Sound — 8
Right now I have a PRS SE EG with 2 single coils and a humbucker, tuned down to mostly D or even drop C. I'm mostly into rock and metal, and to this end, the amp suit's me very well. This is one loud amp. I was suprised I was hurting my ears and it was only on 5/13. This is easily the loudest 15W amp I have ever heard. This amp mostly excels at high-gain metal tones, and the 505 setting is the most high gain. I have found that I have never been able to coax a proper pinch harmonic out of my guitar with any other amp I own. I thought this was because I was doing it wrong, but with this amp my guitar squeals like a pig. The 505 setting and the JSX are kind of noisy, but I just dial back the gain a bit and it works okay. The clean tones are... Okay. But that's it. I've yet to find an amp that doesn't distort clean signals at high volume, but you really have to back off the gain to get a smooth clean tone. The effects are really cool. You get a nice watery chorus, a reverby slap back, an auto wah (which really isn't strong enough), a flanger, a tubescream, a phaser, a reverser, a tremelo, an octaver, a rotary speaker, and a few more but I havn't really used them much. The ones I want to talk about are the tubescream and the reverse. Everything else works fine but these ones I don't really like. The reverse can be fun to play around with, but it only samples about 2 or 3 seconds before it plays them, so big long reversed sustains are out of the question. The tubescream would works as an overdrive, but don't try using it on any setting other than a clean one. It amplifies any noise at all (and I mean any), so as soon as you go to play something you get a whole Shwack of feedback and string noise. I can't even play a good vibrato without unleashing a torrent of noise with that setting. The distortion is definately brutal. It can be a smooth tube growl or a raw solid-state bark. I mostly use the rec setting for low end rythms and the k-stein for a bright lead tone, but the distortion is definately this amp's strong point.
Overall Impression — 8
If you play anything from rock to metal, this amp definately kicks ass. I have been playing for about 2 years. The other gear I own consists of my dad's Gibson L6S, an old 1970somethin' Traynor and a Peavey blazer. I tried this out in the store, So I knew what I was getting into the moment I played it. If it were stolen, I would be choked, but I would definately buy another one. Maybe a 30W version with the stompbox effects. I love that it has such metal versatility, from harsh mid death tones to scooped thrashyness to classic crunch. I don't hate anything about this amp. It was a kind of hard to get a decent clean tone, but you can just save it. It may have benefited from a foot Switch, so you don't have to bend over and hit buttons on it all the time. This is a great amp. And I'm not just saying that. I also tried a Line 6 Spider that they had there but it didn't have nearly as many options. The spider may have more versatility (I mean across genres- blues, country, rock, metal), but I would still pick the Vypyr anyday. Overall, if you like to shred, this is one of the best practice amps for it. I would definately recommend this amp!
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have used this for about 6 months, toting it back and forth between school and my house, I've dropped it once or twice, and it still works okay. Sometimes it wont turn on, or it just flashes green, but I just reboot it and it works fine. It has never crapped out on me while I'm playing, so I would definately use it on a gig. I've only ever gotten the volume meter to about 9/13 and then the bass rattles a lot. I'm not sure if this is because I dropped it or If a 15W wasn't meant to be that loud without consequence.
Features — 10
Well, for starters, it looks pretty cool, with the fancy colored lights and such. It comes with 12 different amp sounds programmed into it, each of which can be switched from clean to overdrive. It also has reverb controls, as well as pre and post gain controls, along with a whole mess of effects like tubescreamer, chorus, reverse, and (my personal favorite) the phaser. You can dial in and change these effects with the 'edit' mode. All this, with the added bonus of a tuner. It took me a few hours to play around with all the buttons and effects to get the right sound I need. The first time I dialed in the effects it saved them, but I don't know how to overwrite what I've already put down. I shouldn't need to, it has 4 different memory slots for your settings (I Have 1 channel on Mega-gain, 1 on Crunchy, and 1 on clean). The clean tones were a little hard to get at; you have to knock the pre gain down really low to avoid distortion. So really, for features, this amp has a lot of options.