Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: Online
Features — 7
5 watts (rms) - One 8" custom voiced modeling speaker - Four channels - WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) technology - True analog distortion - Tap tempo switch - 24 amp channel models - 11 editable "Rack" effects - Dual parameter FX control - 12 Onboard programmable presets - Up to three FX simultaneously - 32-bit floating point Sharc processor - Patented TransTube(r) technology - Studio quality headphone out - MP3/CD/Aux input
Not much else to say here, plenty of effects to get your knowledge on. At this price point, hard to beat the feature list on this guy, but truth be told this was a rough draft for their current line of Vypyr (the VIP series). Still, a lot of fun to mess around with, and okay for amature recording.
Sound — 7
This is going to be the huge point of debate for so many years, but you can get completely usable sound out of this amp. You have to learn to tinker with settings and really commit yourself to getting the most out of it. The reality of this amp is it's a practice amp. You're not going to lug it to a show and mic it up to the PA and proudly jam out unless you're doing a cousins birthday party.
That said, comparing it to other practice amps, this one is a solid win, with modern amps in this range you now have to compete with the new series Vypyrs, the Fender Mustangs, Line 6 and their incarnation, and a slew of other folks on the modeling bandwagon. Comparing it with all the modern amps, it's going to boil down to a matter of personal taste. I love the cleans I get from this to this day, but more often than not, it's a struggle to find a legitimately enjoyable distortion. The effects though, are a huge factor here, and they really did a great job on the reverb and delay, as well as the phaser, flanger, chorus, and a handful of others. They're not rack mount quality, but they are awesome to play around with.
So sound wise, it can cover a lot of ground, and you can fiddle with it to get decent distortion, but it's not at all a stage worthy amp, and I wouldn't use it in a serious recording setup. For a practice amp, which is what it's designed for, it's great though.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I've had mine for something like 4 years now, and it's been abused quite nicely. I'm missing knobs and all that and it still works like it always did. The knobs are my fault, I misplaced them, but they are seriously some cheapo looking knobs. The LED lights on it are all still fully functional, the editing functions are all still fine, and really, not much has changed. The actual box is still in peak condition, and hasn't suffered at all through several moves, and it really hasn't been treated too kindly.
So long story short, it's really solidly built, but I'd never take this to a show seriously.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall I'd have to say that it was totally worth the investment. I needed to get a better grasp of effects and what they do, and I wanted something I could cover a lot of ground with and this delivered once I learned it. I can loosely get the sound I want for metal, and cleans wise I can get pretty close to anything I'm after. These days I'd take any of the VIP series over this easily, as they're really figuring out modeling well enough so all us poor folks can have some admirable tone. This is always going to be a stand up practice amp for me though.
I've played 11 years, I've had a Valveking 212, played around with the 5152 in a band for a while, had a Crate, etc. This one didn't quite have the distortion down, but I'd say for damn sure they tried, and it's a good A for effort. It's just a reality that it fell short on that aspect. It's outdated, but for it's time, it was a nice amp. Nowadays you'd better check out the VIP line, the Fender Mustang line, Roland Cube, and Line 6 looooong before you come to this guy. Compare it, and you won't be picking this.
At this point I wouldn't bother replacing it if it were lost or stolen, but it is a staple in my rig for practicing and I would miss it. I love the versatility, not fond of the distortion, and my favorite feature has got to be the delay. They really hit a home run with the delay. I compared it mostly to the Line 6's of that time, and sided with this as I've had good experiences with Peavey up to that point. This certainly didn't change that. If I could add something to it, it'd definitely be better distortion modeling as that would have really made it a 5 star product. Unfortunately in my book it's going to have to settle for 3 and a half.