Price paid: $ 127
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Features — 8
- Patented TransTube technology
- Acoustically ported semi-closed back
- 10 instrument models including Acoustic simulators, 12 String, Mandolin, Seven String, Baritone, Resonator, Electric Violin and Bass
- 16 presets
- 12 amp accessible stompbox models plus delay reverb and wah
- 36 onboard amp models
- Six bass models
- Six acoustic models
- On-board looper
- WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) controls
- Amp accessible real time dual parameter controls
- Amp accessible global reverb and delay
- 26 Total onboard effects
- Bi-directional US - Data
- MIDI - Audio record out
- Studio quality headphone out
- AUX/MP3/CD input
- Up to five effects simultaneously
- One 12" custom voiced speaker
Credit to musiciansfriend.com for the list.
All in all I find the control scheme to be very easy to navigate. There's really about zero need for a manual because everything is clearly labeled and edited. I find the eq to be adequately responsive, and it really just is a souped up version of the previously released Vypyr series.
Here's a mighty fine gripe for you; by and large, the USB recording feature is not usable. You can record with it, sure, but the playback will skip and pop more than it's worth to try. If you're looking for something to use in that capacity, you're going to have to expect working around it. I'm going to be using the headphone out through a mixer for recording. You will need a similar solution. Fortunately for the amp all of the modeling features make up for the poor USB support.
Sound — 9
I haven't had trouble getting what I want out of this amp. I will say for sure that if you are a one dimensional player, there are going to be things better suited for the areas this amp covers (metal player wants a metal amp, blues players want a blues amp) but for me and how all over the place my style can be, this works out great.
I've been tinkering with this amp for a few months now, and the speaker is moderately usable. I tend to use headphones (Sony MDR V6 or something like that) to monitor the sound and I really haven't been disappointed. If you have a background in manipulating controls on an effects processor or any of these modeling amps of recent years, this one isn't going to disappoint you. I can get vivid approximations of anything I'm after from Floyd to Metallica and if you know how to tinker with the sound on it you're just plain not going to be disappointed.
The cleans are great, and messing with gain settings you can coax a nice overdrive out of it. Selecting the crunchy and lead settings on the amp leads to the heavy distortions. I personally find them a bit treble heavy by default, so I usually have to modify them to my liking, but there's no reason you couldn't craft the sound you want out of these channels. The biggest issue might just be being overwhelmed by the number of options you have with the amp models. My advice is to take the time to learn each of the amps you've got at your disposal. They each suit a different need.
BASS PLAYING. I've read a lot of negative statements about using this amp for bass, and my conclusion on this is they're probably not using it right. You are going to have to eq this amp, and often. If that's a problem for you get something for your niche. I've used this with a bass guitar with great success. Use the effects, use the eq, and do your thing. If you're only playing bass, you should go elsewhere. If you're liking the idea of this guitar amp with the add on of bass support, grab it and learn it. Really doesn't take much.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This thing is solid, but the plastic clips they used for the corners are absolute garbage. If you buy one of these, buy it in person, and check the corners. The processor itself is solid, and the box seems as solid as any other amp I've used. The clips, though, really take a quality build and make it look like crap. That's just cosmetics though, and I'm not insanely concerned with cosmetics on an amplifier. The knobs feel solid to me, and the buttons are fine. I don't think I'd use any amp live without a backup, but I'd use this to the same capacity as any other amp this size. That said these days I'm more likely to just use this amp for home recording projects, and for that I definitely believe it to be able to last a long time. I have a Peavey 15 from years ago that's still up and running, if anything, this one seems like an upgrade.
Overall Impression — 9
I play whatever comes to mind. This amp has some inspiring sounds that should work out well for players with a diverse style. I've been playing for 11 years, and have a few guitars and a bass to my name and I've found this amp to be useful and appropriate for all of them. I do wish I had known about the shoddy USB recording before I'd gotten it, but I doubt it would've made a difference in the end. If it were stolen I'd probably replace it with the same model. I love the diversity this amp has, and the effects it offers. I've had no trouble getting what I want out of it. I don't really hate anything about it, but my biggest issue with it is the problem with the USB, followed by the cheap corner clips. On the flip side I really like everything else about it.
I compared this to Line 6, Roland, Fender, Marshall, etc. Big draw for this one was the ability to use it with a bass guitar, and it has delivered on every level besides the USB issue. If I could pick one thing this amp could've had, it would've been better support for that feature. After having this amp for a few months, I've really got to say I'm pretty satisfied with it. At this price point there's really not much chance you're going to beat this amp on versatility and if you've got a clue about modeling parameters, this amp is going to be a good friend to you for sure.