VP30 Review

manufacturer: Ashton date: 11/19/2008 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Ashton: VP30
The VP30 is a compact valve amp perfect for recording or playing small live gigs. All the warmth and character you expect from a valve amp are here in this quality unit, which also features an effects loop and two foot switchable input channels, each with their own 3 band EQ controls to tweak your sound to perfection.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 8
 Reliability & Durability: 7
 Features: 7.5
 Overall rating:
 6.1 
 Reviewer rating:
 7.7 
 Users rating:
 4.5 
 Votes:
 2 
reviews (2) 2 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 6.5
VP30 Reviewed by: weeping_demon, on august 18, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: A relatively new model, the VP30 is very similar to it's big brother, the VP50, minus a few features. - 30 Watts RMS @ 4 ohms - High Voltage All Tube Amplifier - Pre-amp Valves: 12AX7 + 12AT7 - Power-amp Valves: EL34 - Single 12 Speaker - Spring Reverb (footswitchable) - 2 Channels: Clean (footswitchable) or Mean (footswitchable) - 3 Band EQ with Push/Pull Tone Shift - Extension Speaker Output Jacks (4 or 8 ohms) - Optional Footswitch FSW200 The amp produces a beautiful clean tone, great for "jazzy" sounds or finger picked tunes. Though when on the mean channel, and the gain is up this thing can be a hard rock monster, depending on the type of sound desired. It does not have a very good crunch to it, so would not, in my opinion, be very good for heavy metal unless you were going to use an FX pedal with it. If you're looking for that thick, tube-like distortion though, this is just what you're looking for. I hardly use the push/pull tone knob; but when I have, the tone change has been quite dramatic, an interesting feature for anyone looking for an original tone. The secondary tone can be described as a lighter sound, and almost comparable to the tone of BB King. Both the clarity and amount of reverb on this amp are impressive, if you love your reverb, this amp is for you. I haven't gigged with this amp yet because it actually broke a few days before I was performing, so I've only used it at home. As such, it provides sufficient power for me, although undoubtedly this would have enough power for small to medium gigs, you may want a backup though. // 7

Sound: I'm using an ESP with an EMG 85 on my bridge with this amp and it can pll off most of the genres I play. I mainly play metal and for the crunchy sound I'm after (similar to Machine Head) this amp is not very suitable, although when combine with my metal zone it sounds amazing. When I play jazz I get a thick, clean sound which works marvellously for the genre. It also suits blues very well, whether clean or a little gain, chances are it was made for the latter two genres as it suits them very well. With the reverb set to full on the clean channel I can achieve a Pink Floyd sound (although this cannot be replicated as well on the mean channel). As I play through a metal zone (with gain set high), an EQ (to scoop mids) and a reasonably high-output pickup, unwanted noise is going to be unavoidable, and although it has reasonable control over this, I do think the amp is a little too noisy. Even set to its own mean channel with no extra effects the amp is a little noisy. In terms of the clean channel, at high volumes I've yet to hear distortion yet. The clean sound has great clarity and sharpness. // 7

Reliability & Durability: As mentioned above, I haven't been able to gig with it yet because it broke. My first VP30 broke about 3 times and I kept getting it repaired until finally it got irritating and I asked for a new one from the customer support. This would lead one to think that they aren't very reliable, and I would agree in a way, but ever since I received a new amp from Ashton I've had no problems with the model. I guess my first one was just faulty. The customer service people were very helpful. Each time they took the amp, no hassles, called me in a day or two when it was fixed and there were no problems with it. After I decided to ask them for a new amp they did not put me through piles of paperwork or try to start an argument about whether I haven't been looking after it correctly. The customer service bloke just said "sure, fair enough, wait here and I'll get you a new one", so I was very happy with the customer service of Ashton. // 5

Overall Impression: Despite the amp not being suited to my main style, heavy metal, it works well with my secondary styles; blues, jazz, rock. The only thing I really regret about this amp is that the distortion isn't vicious enough for my liking, but to each their own. If it were lost or stolen I may not buy it again, I might look around for a model up or a more metal-orientated amp. // 7

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overall: 8.8
VP30 Reviewed by: nick dixon, on november 19, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 90

Purchased from: Online Auction

Features: The amps Brand New, bought it described as "used", but infact the sellar had a job lot of them that someone had clearly *cough*, written off. Mine arrived with both transformers bent over as it had a drop. Easily fixed. The amp does what I want, a loud clean combo that I can use effects with if I want. Seeing as just noodle around I can gig and record with this amp no problem. (see the other review for specs) I will say this is a poor man's Fender. // 8

Sound: This is a tube amp, and it comes fitted with Electro Harmonix Valves which have a good clean sound, and distort pretty good. I'm tempted to fit JJ's when it needs servicing, but then it will probably need Re-Biassing. I play classic rocky / bluesy / jazzy stuff, I'm not particularly fussed about the on-board distortion, which I will be honest about; it's utter shite, but it does the job. I would seriously recommend a decent overdrive pedal. However, this is easily forgiven as the amp has a brilliant clean channel that does the job great. Translates what you are playing and very dynamic.. you play soft and quiet, it sounds it, twang the strings and play percussive and it will sound it out great. I will comment that while running, the amp is whisper quiet due to well thought out electronics and quality transformers, but the reverb adds quite a lot of noise to the circuit when turned past 12 o'clock. The reverb isnt fantastic, but bloody handy to just add a little softness to the sound without loosing the presence etc. Now, what is bloody handy on this amp is a knob on the mid pot that pulls out. This is effectivly like a Top Boost like an old Vox AC30, really makes the mids and highs jump out of the speaker. The amp comes fitted with a generic chinese clone speaker. It sounds good as it is, but I'm tempted to whack a Celestion Vintage 30 in there! For the price I paid for this amp, I can't really fault the sound it produces, and ignoring the shitty OD channel, which by the way is called "Mean"... I'd call it the "awful button". Avoid pressing this button if you can! // 9

Reliability & Durability: Well like all Valve amps, since when have they been reliable?... I'm keeping hold of my Spider II as my mates use Spider III half stacks, and have never had a problem. With the noise and terrible acoustics of a Live venue, Who gives a toss if you can't hear those elusive second harmonics? Surprisingly, this amp is bloody well made. infact, one of the best made amps I have seen for a long time. Very similar to a Hughes And Kettner. It has a thick plywood body and bracing inside. metal grills, and an alloy chassis, not pressed steel. The PCB inside is well laid out with good components, and everything is spaced out so nothings going to get too hot in there... The pots even have little buttresses on the sides of the chassis to stop them from twisting around, and the power transformer has a thermal cut out. Seeing as the valves are doing most of the work, they are the only real liability, so I think it would be a little unfair to call it unreliable if conked out. For 90, I really can; t fault this bad boy. // 9

Overall Impression: If it were lost or stolen, I'd probably buy something like a big old Fender or Vox, or when I finally get round to it, build my own amp. I've been playing guitar for nearly 5 years, but I'm still crap - but I do know what sounds good. I wish this amp would have a little more crunch on the Overdrive channel, but sadly that's the compromise with a 30 watt amp. I will probably buy a smaller 50 Watt single ended Class A amp for this. For the price, I don't know how anyone can complain? // 9

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