While some guitarists may go their entire lifetime without ever picking up a bass guitar or softly strumming an acoustic, to the rest of us they are a quite natural extension of our playing. Never before, though, has a manufacturer thought to build an amp capable of amplifying all three types of guitar. Enter Peavey and the Vypyr VIP 1.
This really is an amp quite unlike any other you'll see for the money. Utilising Peavey's Variable Instrument Performance technology, the VIP 1 can handle any type of guitar you choose to throw at it. Not only that, but it's stuffed with digital modelling and effects, and has an associated foot controller, which allows you to access all that goodness remotely.
But is it any good? The short answer is yes, but you're not looking for one-word reviews, so we shall expand. Upon choosing your axe of choice, you simply select the input - be that electric, bass or acoustic - select an amp model, and you're off.
Thanks to Peavey's TransTube circuitry, the amp models, which include Twin, 6505, British and more, are distinct entities that hold up pretty well to aural investigation, while the intuitive dial control system means it's easy to get the sound you want quickly.
Electric guitar has the most models, but acoustic and bass are well served, too, and they sound pretty damned good to us. The bass channels are particularly effective, packing a surprising thump.
The VIP 1 is light and compact, perfect for bedrooms and rehearsals, but it's far from light on features: every amp model can be tweaked, and the setting will automatically stay put. There are effects and instrument models galore, accessed via their own controls, which are essentially portals to brave new worlds of tonal tinkering.
On top of all that, there's a built-in tuner and a bi-directional USB input. The latter is a particular stroke of genius, because it allows you to control the amp from a Mac or PC, or alternatively, use the amp as an audio interface.
There's also a headphone input to use for monitoring. It's quite the box of tricks, and provided that you're even reasonably tech-savvy (as basically everyone in the world has to be these days), then you'll have no trouble navigating your way round it all.
The additional Sanpera II foot controller is a beast of a thing that allows you to control the amp without going near it, and it is seriously heavy-duty. Once you've wrapped your head round the functionality, it's a very handy piece of kit that further expands the capabilities of the amp.
The Vypyr VIP 1 is an awful lot of effects-laden, valve-emulating, multi-input amp for the money. For home use, it's a no-brainer - a space-saver that would be handy for anyone practising multiple instruments, searching for 'the sound' or recording in a home studio setup.