This thing is great for silent practising as you can play straight into the unit with out an amplifier using head phones. I found when I play through my Fender frontman 15G there is a lot of hiss which can't be cured by the noise reduction . I tried using a Roland 30watt Amp which I use in my Church worship team and found the noise was not a problem due to a couple of reasons. The first is being only a small venue of about 250 people we don't play at a million decibels and the other is with ambient noise it is not a problem.
I tend to use the blues settings on the dials with reverb as you can get a slightly overdriven sound without hardcore distortion and the factory preset channels. One has a bright chorus sound and the other a moderately heavy distortion. I have housed my effects unit in a small box with removable lid, together with my tuner with foam rubber, so they dont move and have drilled the holes so I can plug in all the cables. I run it with a mains voltage adaptor otherwise they tend to get through batteries. It is great as I can store all my guitar cables, spare batteries picks etc. and have them to hand easily.
I have my guitar looped through the tuner with double plug socket and short patch lead so all I have to do is turn down the effects volume turn on the tuner and there is no unplugging cables necessary to tune up.
I am using a home built Les Paul shape guitar with Steward Macdonald "Golden Age" overwound humbuckers and 24 fret neck which sound really nice even without effects. I also have coil taps on them but I prefer the gruntier humbucker sound.
Well I haven't had it that long but I use it every time I play on our Church worship team now without problems. The worst aspect is when changing preset channels the volume is louder on some channels than others so you have to be aware of that.
I think you actually need to own a multi effects unit so you can decide on what type of effects suit your style of music. Many of the effects I would never use. I would probably settle for a Boss distortion/chorus/reverb effect pedal if lost or stolen probably. Value for money the Amp Works is hard to beat though and I bought it from Sweetwater and they shipped it to me in NZ within a week. Great service and it cost including freight about half the price they sell for here.