Hybrid - Software UI and Limited Top Panel Controls
This is a good sounding solid-state digital modeling amp. The only other amps which I think sound this spacious with clean tube amp emulation are the analog Hughs & Kettner Edition Blue, digital Fender Mustang IV V.2 2x12 Stereo, analog Frontman 2x12 (BF model), and Behringer LX-210 Digital Stereo Modeling amps. Only the Mustang is easy to come by as a new product, and it is three times the price, heavy, but is more than adequate for gigging with 2x12 speakers and plenty of volume.
I definitely needed the free software, INSIDER, to tweak EQ and amp settings for BF Twin clean jazz tones. The amp didn't come with a USB cable, but I was fortunate to have a spare cable the day the amp arrived.
Out of the box, the amp did really well without the software for strat and tele tones. I still used the software to tweak the amp models a bit.
Placement of the amp matters. It sounds good when you are sitting right in front of the amp or a bit to one side, tweaking the controls. It sounds fantastic when placed on the floor against the middle of a wall. The wide-spacial stereo image and bass response is exceptional when the amp is placed properly. I found several placements that impeded the acoustic image, but the best placements allowed the player/listener to be anywhere in the room.
For clean tones, this amp will have volume/distortion limitations given the smallish speakers. I would consider it a practice and home recording amp rather than a gigging amp. And it is exceptional for this purpose, if you have the patience to use the relatively new software to optimize your tone and amp models. Not everyone is ready for software deep editing, however.
Also, the current software/firmware apparently does not allow using one amp model (voice) for the other five preset voices. The voices seem to essentially be hard coded/wired to amp models. I would like to see this change, so that I could save the "bright clean" voice on the other five presets.
Using the input for CD audio, the system sounded reasonable, but not as clean or high-fidelity as a home music system, PA, or acoustic guitar amp. It would be interesting to see this concept integrated into a multi-purpose electric, acoustic, and vocal amp.
For someone needing a portable practice amp or who has limited space, this amp should be on the audition shortlist.