I've gone for years without a pedal setup of any kind partly due to the wondrous versatility of this amp, whose modelling of other amps and effects gives me a huge variety of sounds, even if the ability to fine-tune and control effects precisely is limited. The overdrive, chorus, delay, various amp models, and other goodies combine intuitively, and it becomes dangerously easy to record a bank of presets and never experiment with your sound again. The knobs feel flimsy, but so far this beast has proven rugged and travels well. It's heavy for new amps, but not at all relative to the traditional monster I used to lug around.
The customizable channels make it great for gigging, especially if you're travelling light and don't need a whole array of stompboxes. I've played shows with nothing in my signal path but the guitar going straight into this amp, and it's more than done the job of filling a bar or a small venue. It's a great workhorse amp, a must-have for the studio if you're on a budget and lack the money or the space for a wide range of Fenders and Marshalls, and this amp or the scaled-down 75W amp would spoil any beginner player too.
I think the Spider IIIs have been discontinued in favour of the Spider IVs, which are basically the same build with better software and more effects options are on board. If you have a choice, go for the IV; but the Spider III series is just as well made and will serve you well if you come across one.
I bought this second hand in early 2015 and have no complaints. I know there is a lot of people that dislike this series of amps or modelling amps in general but I only paid £100 for this. I was in need of a new amp and wanted to have a wide range of effects form pedals as well. While I would still rather have that kind of set up I just did not have the money as this a great cheap alternative. I also have the Shortboard with it that acts as a switching system between 4 different channels. I love the fact that there are 26 customisable channels that allows me to really get the all the tones I need for various songs. For the money I paid I simply cannot complain about it.
I have used this amp for quite a time and I really enjoy it. It has a great sound and gives any guitar a great boost, as well as extra effects directly from the amp. Easy to control and great to play with!