peavey-vypyr-15 practice amp

Comparison: Fender Mustang 1 vs Peavey Vypyr 15.

Fender Mustang 1 vs. Peavey Vypyr 15 – which is the better modeling amp? They are so similar that it may be difficult to choose.

If you’re looking for a new modeling amp and have a budget of $100 you’ve probably asked yourself this question. It’s easy to see why – two of the best selling modeling practice amps at this price point are the Fender Mustang I and the Peavey Vypyr 15. As I write this, each retails for $99 new, and has loads of features. In fact at first glance, they are so similar that it may be difficult to choose one over the other.

Here’s a guide to help highlight the specific strengths and weaknesses of each and help you decide which is best for you.

Features Overview


The Mustang I has 24 total amp presets. They consist of 8 different amp models, each with 3 different effects and mod settings. Each of these presets allows for custom effects and reverb/delay settings as well as EQ volume and gain control.

The Vypyr 15 also provides 24 total presets, modeling 12 popular amps in both clean and distorted channels. There’s also 11 editable post amp rack effects with parameter control.

Both support headphone out, and MP3/CD/Aux input. Both also feature a single 8″ speaker, a tap tempo switch, and peavey-vypyr-15 practice ampUSB port for high speed recording.

The Peavey Vypyr 15 features Peavey’s patented TransTube technology which provides “true analog distortion”. This is meant to simulate tube sound and response in a solid state amp.

The Mustang I features Fender FUSE software that allows for tweaking the living hell out of the amp and the Mustang’s modeling of a vintage tube amp is very close to 100% accurate.

Now with the basics out of the way, let’s dig into the details.


Control Panel and Interface

The Mustang I has 5 knobs:

  • Gain
  • Treble
  • Bass
  • Volume (of the amp being modeled)
  • Master Volume
  • Amp Preset Selector
  • Effects
  • Reverb/delay

Even though there is no knob for Middle EQ, the Mustang I is so customizable that you will rarely miss it.

While the Mustang I does not have a separate channel for clean and dirty, you can use any of the presets to store a clean preset and another to store a dirty preset.

The Vypyr 15 has 9 knobs:

  • Stompboxes
  • Amp Preset Selector
  • Effects
  • Pre-Gain
  • Low EQ
  • Mid EQ
  • High EQ
  • Post Gain
  • Master Volume

The Peavey Vypyr 15 is a bit more customizable through the front knobs, but the Fender Mustang I provides much greater customization through it’s software package. More on that later.

Fender Mustang 1 vs Peavey Vypyr 15 – Which is a better 1st amp?

Neither the Fender Mustang I or the Peavey Vypyr 15 really makes a good choice for your first amp if you’re just starting out learning the guitar. This has more to do with modeling amps in general, than either of these specific amps.

If you’re looking for the best amp for beginning guitar players, look at straight, traditional amps and skip the modeling. You can always get an effects pedal to add on later, once you’ve become a better player.

If, however, you already know how to play acoustic guitar and are looking for a great 1st amp to branch out into electric guitar playing or you’re looking to get into a more sound variation with a modeling amp, then the Mustang I is the best choice in my opinion. It’s also a great choice for a practice amp or if you’re looking for an amp to play while song writing.

However, if you’re only interest is Metal or you wouldn’t use the Fender FUSE software and you’re looking for a rock solid modeling amp for Metal that will suit your needs out of the box with no additional effort beyond the occasional turn of a knob, then stop reading right now – the Peavey Vypyr 15 is for you.

Vypyr vs Mustang (general)

Some Peavey Vypyr 15 owners have complained about a lack of “clean distortion” and muddy clean tones. This sort of criticism is limited with the Fender Mustang because you can overcome almost any such problem with the FUSE software.

In my opinion, the Mustang I has better tones – overdrive and clean – and playing dynamics than the Peavey Vypyr 15, which makes the Mustang a much more flexible amp. And that’s before you factor in the FUSE software!

I believe that Fender has raised the bar on modeling amps, while maintaining their fabled Fender cleans. The Vypyr 15, however, missed the mark on delivering a good clean tone.

Still, many Vypyr owners swear by them, but most tend to be heavily into metal. The Peavey Vypyr 15 is a great amp for playing metal or hard rock but if you even think you want to play other styles, then the Mustang I is the better choice.

Fender FUSE

What really puts the Mustang ahead of the Vypyr is the software package that it comes with. The Mustang comes with Ableton Live and IK Amplitude, but what truly makes it rock your way is FUSE. FUSE is where the Mustang series amps leave the competition in the dust.

What you can’t edit and tweak with the top panel control knobs on the amp itself, you can edit to your liking with the FUSE software package, then save it straight to a preset on the amp.

Along with the ability to fully customize your amp’s sound, FUSE also enables you to download presets from the fender site and owner’s forum. There are hundreds of community created and supported presets for a variety of popular bands and musical styles.

FUSE gives you – the owner – full control over how your amp sounds, but it also keeps it fresh: Stuck in a rut? Feel like you just keep playing in the same style? Just download a preset that’s out of your comfort range and experiment with something new. Don’t like it? No worries, just overwrite it with another one, or go back to the factory presets. It’s this ability that makes the Fender Mustang the amp that keeps on giving.

FUSE opens up a world of possibilities and puts you in control of virtually every aspect of the amp.

Fender Mustang 1 vs Peavey Vypyr 15 – Conclusion

Some have said the Peavey Vypyr 15 is a waste of money and you shouldn’t look at anything less than the Vypyr 30. The Vypyr 30 though is about twice the price of the Vypyr 15, so in my opinion if that’s even an option than you should really be comparing the Vypyr 30 and Mustang II amps.

Personally, I think if you need to spend an extra $100 to get “anything resembling good tone”, then you’re probably looking at the wrong product. I say this because the Fender Mustang I truly does deliver good tone at the same price point as the Vypyr 15.

Others have been critical of the speaker choice for the Vypyr 15, saying that 8 inches is too small. This of course depends on what you plan on using the amp for. I’d say it’s definitely too small for performing a gig, but it’s plenty big for practicing at home or in an apartment. The Mustang I has the same speaker size, but few owners complain about it’s volume. I suspect this is because Vypyr 15 owners tend to be looking for a louder sound, while Mustang I owners are looking for better tone and more versatility.

The Peavey Vypyr 15 is a solid amp for metal and hard rock right out of the box, but the cleans are not as good as the Fender’s Mustang I and it lacks the versatility of the Mustang. If you have no desire to play blues, jazz or classic rock then the Vypyr 15 is a good choice. If you’re looking for maximum versatility and excellent tone, then the Fender Mustang I is the choice for you.

24 thoughts on “Comparison: Fender Mustang 1 vs Peavey Vypyr 15.”

  1. You really can write well! Very nice reading.
    Mustang is highly versatile. Agreed. Can it be tweaked to get the sounds in Vypyr? This is something I’d like to know.

    1. dspRRado: Thanks for the kind words. In answer to your question, the Mustang is HEAVILY Tweak-able and can get some serious crunch and metal tones. If you’re in love with the Vypyr sound and only play hard rock and metal, then you’re probably going to like the Vypyr a bit more. But the Mustang is a far more versatile amp, and can provide many tones quite well.

      If you’re really unsure about it, you should try each one in a local music store and decide for yourself which suits your style best.

      Good luck in your amp shopping experience!

    1. The Fender Mustang I is more versatile and does a pretty good job of modeling some hard rock and metal amps (Think Marshall Plexi, Peavey 5150 and Mesa Boogie) but if that’s the majority of what you play then the Peavey Vypyr 15 is probably a better choice.

  2. I had both, the mustang is too digital, and it does not take pedals, just too much feed back,but i agree with the best cleans, andfor the vyper,it is still a good begginers amp, but the noise filter kills your tone. If you ask me it all depends on you, if you like cleans go with fender, if you like crunch, go with vypyr, but neither of then ar perfect, for the price why not buy the two of then.

    1. @Humberto: The Mustang DOES take pedals and takes them well! It won’t take them on the many of the over-effected presets, but the basic models take them fine.

      Also, you can customize the amps being modeled, and have a basic rig… just a Marshal plexi for example, without any modeled effects. Then you can use whatever pedals you want with the basic plexi modeled amp. But if you have the onboard effects on with the pedal, then it’s likely to sound like crap. But that goes for any modeling amp. The cool thing about the Mustang is that it let’s you take all the effects out of the modeling if you desire.

    1. @John: Unless you’re in dire need of an amp now, I’d say it’s worth waiting a bit… there are new amp models and some new effects in the v2 and they’ve fixed some problems as well (see RE: “FIZZ” for more). The “Fizz” problem only affected the larger models (IV, and V).

      The v1 models of the Mustang 1 and 2 are solid amps for the price, but they will likely be sold for a lot less once the v2’s come out…. so you could also wait and pick up a brand new, older model for a lower price too.

  3. VYPER 15 Y? the peavy rep for rugged, and this was available 1st… The plexi, awesome, never wanted to get a marshall, so…
    i agree that the speaker is small and “tinny” if you are in a group. SO…use it for practice, use for recording. Not an efx dood, so for me they are great, extremely fast to use and mod, i like that there is a mid and a pre….started using it for keys and its adequate!
    Ironically, i use the mid only to get a funky e. piano sound and the really slow phase to get a ‘passable’ Leslie organ with a cheap keyboard. it will be the last 10 watt amp i own. just 2 small…

  4. How does the new Vypyr VIP 1 20watt factor into the discussion? Too early to know? It’s about 20 bucks more than then Mustang, but has the same wattage now. I’m comparing the two and could use help deciding. I am interested in mostly metal and hard rock, ala guns n roses….

    1. Yeah the Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 is just different enough that it isn’t a direct comparison. It’s versatility is geared towards different type of amps (bass, electric, acoustic..), where the Mustang and Vypyr 15 emulate different amp models. I think if you’re looking for something that can work with a bass, acoustic and electric guitar then the Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 is a great choice. I’m just not sure it’s best for someone who only plays electric guitar and wants top of the line effects and amp modeling. The difference between 20 and 15 watts for a solid state is virtually unnoticeable, so that’s not a defining difference.

  5. I realize this is an older review, but hopefully you’re still monitoring it. It was very detailed and helped me narrow my search (hopefully) to one of these amps. It answers all of my questions, except for the most important one.

    I live in a duplex and am often practicing at night (insomnia). I can’t wear headphones. I play mostly ballads, classic rock, and classic metal (showing my age). :-)

    I have a Line 6 Spider IV 15w. It’s very good at playing clean tones at all volume levels, but loses the proper distortion tones for metal and hard rock unless cranked up more than I can get away with. I barely have the master volume turned on to avoid upsetting the neighbors. I also use a Zoom G5 pedal, so a clean channel is somewhat necessary for that. In a perfect world, the Vypyr 15 or Mustang 1 would replace my Line 6, but I can keep it for its clean channel preset if necessary, to go with the Peavey.

    Do either, or both of these amps maintain distortion tones well at very low volume – as in a Marshall amp simulator with my Les Paul actually sounding like a Les Paul and Marshall amp instead of sounding like a nasty slight fuzz?

    1. David, Thanks for stopping by!

      If you’re comfortable plugging an amp up to your computer with a USB cable, then the Fender Mustang will get you what you need. You can fully customize the amp this way… what it sounds like you’re looking for is an amp model with very little head room, so it distorts while the volume is still relatively low. You can definitely achieve that setting through Fender Fuse. You could also emulate a different speaker cabinet, which would also create a distorted breakup at a lower volume. Plus, you’d be able to get rid of your Line 6 and offset some of the cost! :D

  6. Sounds like the Mustang is exactly what I’m after then. I’m a system builder (computers), so very comfortable with connecting to PC. I’ll research emulating a speaker cabinet. Thanks again for review, and for the quick reply Mike. :)

  7. No problem David.

    You’ll have no trouble with Fuse then…it’s a complete WYSIWYG graphical representation of a guitar rig… turn the knob on the compressor pedal, and the effect adjusts as if you turned a physical knob on a real pedal. It’s pretty impressive.

    Best of luck!

  8. Hello Mike! Thanks for the great review.. I just found it!!

    I play some acoustic guitar. No electric guitar experience here, so please excuse me for any stupid questions!
    I bought my first electric guitar a couple days ago.. its a Squier Classic Vibe Tele. Now I got around 150$ to spend on an amp. I need your advice.. Basically I wanna play blues, jazz and classic rock, but I’d love to play some hard rock, metal and modern stuff too.

    Having read your review, I guess I should buy the Mustang 1 amp , right? Now here lies my question.. do I have to connect the Mustang to a laptop to access the full effects? If so, then what sounds could I get from just the Mustang itself without any PC connectivity? I just don’t wanna reach for a laptop every time I wanna play..
    I really wanna get all/most the sounds that I need from just having the amp around.. so what do I choose.. the Mustang 1 still or the Peavey Vypyr 15?

    Thanks a lot for the help

    1. Hello lee,

      What I love about the Mustang series of amps and how they work with FUSE is that you can tweak it to your heart’s content. Jacking into FUSE on your PC is not required. It makes it easier (in my opinion) to create the presents you want stored to the various selections on the Amp, but you don’t need FUSE. It simply takes the tweaking to the ultimate level. For example, I’ve replaced all the stock presets with ones that cover my diverse interests – everything from classic rock (1957 through late 60’s model amps) through the hard rock of the 70’s and 80’s, to more modern high gain models. I use these as starting points, and usually end up applying or removing effects and tweaking EQ and such on the amp. I only ever jack into the computer when I want to drastically alter the basic model presets. Otherwise, I just use the control knobs on the amp.

      I hope that helps.

      -Rock On!

  9. i just saw that the new peavey vip 1 is 20 watts now, did anyone else see that ?
    would that make them even a closer match. im leaning toward the peavey just basing it on other forums and reviews

  10. wait now im really confused, i got a vypyr vip 1 20w, is that different from the vip ? sorry mike be patient im new at this , its my first amp ,lol

  11. I would agree with your assessment, except in stronger tones. I bought the Vypyr then returned it. Couldn’t get a good clean tone or clean with a bit of distortion. The Mustang is a great compromise. The Mustang does something no other amp can do – deliver medium distortion at low volumes. The secret is using the Fender super sonic and turn the distortion down nearly all the way. You get great medium distortion that you don’t need to cover up with bass and drums.

    1. To control the Mid range tone from the Mustang 1 just hold down the Exit button while turning the Treble knob. A little known but handy tweak!

      To bypass ALL of the Preset models and start with a perfectly clean tone, hold down the Tap button while turning on the Mustang 1. Works like a charm and is another little secret tweak that is almost unknown! Both tweaks also work on the Mustang 1 v2 and the Mustang 2 and 2 v2, as well.

      You’re welcome! ;)

      1. @Todd,

        That’s very interesting – and helpful!

        One question – When you say “to bypass ALL presets…” is that only for the duration of your session, or does it wipe the presets out and reset the setting on the amp?

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