While Peavey regularly releases electric guitars, like the excellent AT-200 for example, it's perhaps best known for its amplifiers. Five years after unleashing its Vypyr line of modeling amps, the company debuted three new additions at NAMM earlier this year. The first to sport a variable instrument input technology that allows them to be used for bass, acoustic or electric guitars, the Vypyr VIP amps are now shipping.
The new Vypyr VIP amps allow a bass player to plug an instrument into the same input that the lead guitarist has just been using. Electro-acoustic instruments can also take advantage of the amp's single jack. The player selects the appropriate instrument by pressing one of four buttons next to the input jack for access to corresponding amp models. Moreover, Peavey has given players the ability to access instrument simulations – meaning an electric guitarist can mimic bass or acoustic tones.
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Peavey says that the combination of 32-bit floating point SHARC processors and TransTube analog circuitry offers players "the most diverse and best sounding modeling amplifiers available."
The VIPs benefit from an intuitive control surface with LED indicators for an easy visual status check, and include digital models of more than 70 amps, instruments, stompboxes and rack style effects. Global reverb and delay are available, with tap tempo for the latter. All three amps feature a chromatic tuner, acoustically ported semi-closed back enclosures for a fuller sound and an onboard looper. Allowing you to play along to your own rhythm backing, the looper is activated and controlled by the optional Sanpera foot controllers via the built-in MIDI port.
Though there's no need to connect a computer to the amp to gain access to the various effects, amp models and engage in parameter tweaks, there is a bi-directional data and audio USB 2.0 port. This allows a player to record riffs directly to a favorite DAW, store presets, use the Vypyr Edit software, or feed in backing tracks from a digital music library to jam along with. The speaker mutes during USB output to allow for real-time headphone monitoring. An auxiliary input jack is included for those who prefer to feed in tunes direct from a CD or MP3 player.
The baby of the group is the VIP 1. Rated at 20 W RMS, this modeling amp should offer a bit more output oomph than the recently-reviewed THR10C (something that I thought a little lacking in Yamaha's otherwise excellent home/studio amp). Peavey's new Vypyr features an 8-inch speaker, has 22 effects direct from the amp itself and has 36 included amp models, including six bass amp and six acoustic amp varieties. Up to four effects can be activated simultaneously (when using the optional Sanpera foot controllers). This model has a list price of US$199.99, though the street price is likely to be a lot lower.
Next up is the 40 W VIP 2, which includes a custom-tuned 12-inch Blue Marvel speaker. In addition to the bass and acoustic instrument models of the VIP 1, this amp also gives electric guitarists access to other instrument simulations, such as 12-string, 7-string, baritone, resonator, electric violin, sitar and synth. This unit also boasts a choice of 36 amp models, and has 25 guitar effects, including 12 stomp models, five of which can be used at the same time (with the optional Sanpera controllers). The VIP 2 has a list price of $299.99, but it's a pretty safe bet that the street price will be substantially lower.
The big daddy of the bunch is the VIP 3, which is rated at 100 W RMS and also includes a 12-inch Blue Marvel speaker. This unit has the same instrument simulation options as the VIP 2, but also gets Peavey's PowerSponge power control that allows players to adjust the power output to suit different playing situations. More than 400 presets are available from the amp itself, with 36 amp models to choose from and 25 effects. A two-line LCD display compliments the LED indicators to help with preset, effects, and amp model selection. This leader of the pack has been listed at $399.99, with a similarly reduced street price almost a given.
Each of the VIP amps is designed to be used with passive electronics. Users of instruments with active circuitry are advised to turn down the instrument volume to prevent clipping.
All three Vypyr VIP modeling amps are available now and are given a quick overview by a Peavey rep at NAMM 2013 in the following video.