Recording is beginning in earnest for the followup to last year's The Motion Demon, tentatively titled Apophenia.
The final equipment upgrades are in place (an Ibanez RGHRG1 to complement the Parker P-42 I was already using, and a Line 6 Spider IV to replace a Peavey Vypyr which in addition to the sound upgrade will allow me to do direct recording much more effectively). More on that below...
I have 5 songs demoed now to my satisfaction: two pretty long ones and a couple of comparatively shorter ones, plus one ambient track created primarily with guitar.
The Peavey Vypyr is pretty close to being a really awesome modeling guitar amp. Three things hold it back, which is why I have ultimately decided to get rid of one of them for the second time.
1. There is a bit of "fuzz", most notable on several of the clean amp models and also more pronounced when the power soak (basically emulated tube responsiveness) is turned up high. It's the kind of sound defect which, once you hear it, can't be unheard. Peavey has more or less acknowledged it as a defect, and it is specifically coming in the post-gain stage just prior to the output speaker in the component chain. The good news about that last bit is that it would not be heard when direct recording (since the speaker emulation and line out are before that particular post-gain stage). The bad news, however, is....
2. ... the speaker emulating output jack sucks. First off, it is a mini stereo jack, which means it has lower sound quality off the bat. The mini jack also basically requires an adaptor or two to hook into any audio device that is actually worth recording with, which adds more noise and lowers the quality further. Finally, the output level on it is so low that the need to turn up the input on your recording device results in way too much extraneous noise. But hey, at least it doesn't have that annoying fuzz even on channels that are supposed to be clean.
3. Both of the two foot switches that work with the Peavey Vypyr series are way too 'clicky' when changing channels/banks for use at low volume, and the volume pedals move around too much on their own. The whole assembly feels cheap, and the use of a hard-to-find 8-pin MIDI cable means you owe Peavey (or somebody else who can custom make one) another $40 if anything happens to yours. Kudos to Line 6 for switching to a plain cat-5 cable years ago for all their peripherals.
Don't get me wrong, the Line 6 Spider IV isn't perfect either, but at least it doesn't have any of the issues that were bugging me the most about the Peavey.