Great unit..when put in perspective
What this is, is a budget solution for recording and for bundles of multiple tones and effects.. After all, at the newer discounted price ($199) it is about par with the price of two cheap pedals.. so a total bargain, and with this perspective its a solid 5 stars.
This is not a giggable/live solution however.. you need the $199 proprietary foot controller to control the looper and scene or fx changes and so if you are looking to gig, a 300HD-500HDX is the way to go.. I suspect that even if you simply jam alone or with friends, the lack of control will eventually get to you...
Sounds and authenticity of the amp models?.. Great for recording, after all only fellow guitarists are neurotic about the tone of what you are playing...but in absolute terms the sound are just a bit better than ok.
Now, given one of the issues with our hearing is perception related to volume, I played this multiple ways..
1. I have tried this with headphones (ok..but only use if the non-use will wake the baby or po the significant other),
2. through my (quite expensive) 200wpc home stereo (loud) and it was a bit better.. still sterile and cold and I lacked any emotional connection to what I was playing (mind you, my "friends" would say that's a good thing..lol)
3. A 500W powered 12" PA speaker. The best of the bunch. The ability to simply push air made a large difference.. the cold/sterile feeling is still there, but its useable.
So, in summary,
A. to get the best (aka most lifelike) from this, you need to play it through something sizeable.. dont think headphones/pc speakers/home stereo..think at a minimum some 60w+ ss amp with 12" speaker..or better, a tube based rig... If you have the rig already, great...but this isn't a substitute for one..sadly.
B. At the price, you get a huge amount of stuff for the money, so buy it if you NEED the recording function, or WANT a large bunch of effects at a great price... There are enough amps/cabs/effects/tweaks to get a large range of tones for recording.
C. The amp/cab modeling imo still has some large way to go to be a solid 100% substitute for the real thing.. I have tube amps by Fender and Orange, and they still get the playing time... So buy this if you WANT lots of flexible tones, but don't, please DON'T buy this thinking you are going to get true 100% valve tones of your iconic amp without actually buying said amp.