Price paid: A$ 240
Purchased from: Allan's Billy Hyde
Features — 7
My amp is a 2013 model Vypyr VIP 1. These are made in China and are loaded with features, great for marketing to a beginner guitarist like I was. Awesome that it can amplify a standard electric guitar, a bass and an acoustic. The amp on paper looks like all a bedroom guitarist would need.
The vast array of options for simulated amps and effects is rather daunting, and the dual labels on each of the knobs can make it quite confusing to adjust your tone. I found myself simply finding the two amp sims I liked and switching between the clean, drive and distortion channels. I don't think I ever really touched the EQ knobs, and when I did, I never left them like that and always returned them to the original setting.
The amount of available tones is quite daunting and hence, as a beginner to electric guitar, I never really figured out how to use this amp. It has only been in the past year (after about 4-5 years of playing) that I've really seen what this amp can do.
The aux-in and headphone out have proven to be exceptional features for me. As you will read later, the amp is actually quite loud for a practice amp and I found myself using headphones most of the time, with tracks running from my laptop into the aux input.
Sound — 7
With the boatload of features it has, the amp will sit well with anyone from the jazz guitarists to the blues guitarists to the metal guitarists, and when you want to straight away from your normal tones, the options are there for you. This amp sat with my through a pop-punk phase as well as a school mandated jazz phase. The amp is now used on the Fender simulation, which actually isn't that great, as with most of the simulations. As with most modelling amps like this, the tones are nothing to be desired for. The main selling point is simply the sheer multitude of sounds available at the twist of a knob. At a volume of just 2, the amp is plenty loud enough for the neighbours to hear, but at about 6 or 7 the cleans start to distort. Why you would ever need this amp to go that loud is beyond me so that shouldn't matter.
Reliability & Durability — 5
This is where the positives end. My amp lasted about a year before the input jack began to loosen. It's been a slow and painful ride of 3 years, and now the input jack has fallen into the amplifier itself. Taking the risk, I've opened up the amp to try and re-attach the jack, however the threads have stripped just enough so I can't use it again. The amp itself still works, however i simply cannot plug a guitar in and play any longer, which is rather disappointing. Additionally, the tolex has started to peel on one side. For some reason, the tolex on the sides only goes half way up the side of the amplifier. The overlapping piece lifted off the amp maybe a year ago, and since then there has been a gap between that and the piece under it.
At best guess, I'd say the amp was used for an average of about half an hour a day, and has never left my bedroom. The amp has never even been lifted off the floor and never abused in anyway, so when things started to go wrong, I was shocked. I supposed the price should say something about the build quality and materials, however given that everything BUT the input jack seems to work, I am quite disappointed.
Contrary to one of the other reviews, I think this amp is quite fragile. The knobs at the front seem like they wouldn't just come off, but take the potentiometer itself apart. Everything else seems pretty solid, however I don't think I would take anything from the Vypyr VIP series out to a gig. I think the previous generation of Vypyr would stand gigging much better.
Given what I paid, I thought it wouldn't be worth sending off to a repairer to fix. This amp will probably end up being donated to my school who can figure out what they want to do with it.It will probably end up being thrown around and labelled one of the crappy practice amps.
Overall Impression — 6
Overall, the spec sheet of this amp is pretty impressive. Ideally, I'd replace this amp with another combo, maybe a Roland Blues Cube or one of the new Vox AV series amps, however to save floor space (and money) I'm looking at Yamaha's THR range.
My experience with the Peavey's hasn't been great enough to warrant purchasing another one or even repairing my current one. However, my school has a Studio Pro 112 which I adore, so this is no bad mark on Peavey as a brand. I believe poor choice in materials and low quality manufacturing to go with the low price point haven't done much for this amp.
If a young beginner guitarist came to me and asked what amp they should buy either to upgrade from their starter pack amp or to simply get something with more versatility, I would be more inclined to recommend the Roland Cube series. With similar features in the same price bracket and better reliability/durability, I'd say it's hard to beat. If only 12 year old me realised that I'd never use the 30,000 effects or whatever the salesman told me it had...