Peavey Sanpera II Vypyr Controller Review

In my review of the Peavey Vypyr 75 I pointed out that to get the full functionality of the amplifier you would need one of the two Sanpera pedals. The larger and more feature rich version – the Sanpera II – is the feature of this review.

The pedal board is housed in a sturdy metal chassis that feels like it could cope with some hard gigging. The two expression pedals also feel tough and all the foot switches are solid. It certainly seems a sturdier system than one might imagine at this pricepoint and the build belies the slight silliness of the design.

While the Vypyr allows you to store and recall 12 presets, adding the Sanpera II opens that up to 400 presets. The Sanpera also opens up the functionality of the looper and gies you pedal control over volume, pitch shift and wah.

The looper functionality is somewhat disappointing but Peavey has promised to address this in the next firmware update for the amp. The problem is that the loop always play back too loud, even almost muting it via the volume pedal while recording is not ideal. This isn’t an actual problem with the Sanpera II though, and the pedal controls for recording/play and stop/reset work perfectly well.

So to do the other pedals which allow you to change the delay tap tempo, move memory banks up and down, and choose from one to four presets in each bank. Pushing forward on the volume pedal allows you to enter tuner mode. The other pedal is initially inactive but pressing down on it enables the wah, or pitch shifter if that’s what you’ve selected via the amp effects section.

My favourite feature of the Sanpera II – and in fact one that makes the Vypyr 75 twice the amp it initially seemed is the manual mode. By engaging manual mode in any preset the #1 to #4 buttons change functionality to allow you to switch off stompbox, effect, delay and reverb for that given preset.

Even better, you can then save presets with any of these items switched off via the Sanpera Pedal. This opens up a much more varied approach to preset creation especially for using the amplifier in a live setting. For example I’ve got a preset using the Brit amp red channel – which is based on Brian May’s hot Vox AC30. The preset also features the tube screamer stompbox, chorus, a strong echo and a dab of reverb.

However all the effects are switched off by default. I can switch to the preset and play the crunchy Vox sound, but thanks to the manual mode at any given point can engage the tube screamer for some extra power when soloing and easily add chorus, delay and reverb too. When disengaging manual mode the settings remain until you choose another preset – so selecting your current preset again will return it to the saved version.

I love this ability, I even have one bank of four metal tones set up using the XXX, 6505+, JSX and Dual Rectifier sounds each with X-boost (for soloing), flange, delay and chorus ready and waiting to be engaged via manual mode.

Saving tones via the Sanpera II is easy, you navigate the bank location where you wish to store the sound, then hold down one of the four preset switches for a few seconds until save mode is activated then press the numbered switch where you wish the sound to reside. You can copy presets in the same way and using the bank and loop buttons can name your presets.

I do find the LCD screen on the Sanpera a little hard to read at times, but it is possible to change the contrast on it. I’d have preferred the LCD to reside on the amp as is the case with Line6’s Spider range. One other problem is the wah isn’t particularly great. The physical pedal is fine, but fans of the CryBaby aren’t going to retire their pedal while using the Sanpera II.

Some users have reported that the Sanpera II can cause lockups on the Vypyr requiring the amp to be switched off and on again. This isn’t something I’ve come across in the months I’ve been using the pedal.

In conclusion, although I’m not a great fan of the Sanpera II’s styling I am a fan of its functionality. The ability to manually control effects and save their state to presets is what really makes it a great system, as is the very rugged build quality. You can pick the pedal system up for around £125, which is much less than the similar system for Line6 Spider amplifiers.