Price paid: $ 219
Purchased from: new from eBay dealer
Features: The Rocktron Velocity V50C that I am reviewing actually belongs to a friend who purchased it new from an eBay dealer, and I believe it was made in 2011. My friend and I were both shopping for an amp that would be good for bedroom practice and small jams, and he ended up with this model. The V50C is a 50 watt solid state amp with 2 channels clean and distortion. It is loaded with two 8" custom-voiced (whatever that is supposed to mean) speakers, built-in chorus and reverb. The channels are foot-switchable, but the amp also has a button on the front channel as the foot-switch is optional and sold separately. There are actually two options for pedals if you purchase them, one for just switching the channels, another that also allows you to turn on/off the chorus and reverb. There is a 3 band EQ and Presence control shared for both the clean and distorted channel. Each channel has its own Gain control and Level (volume) control. The Reverb is controlled by one know and the Chorus has both a "Depth" and "Rate" control. The Chorus sounds really nice, and the Reverb sounds nice as well but seems slightly under-powered. There is a "Low" and a "High" input, as well as a headphone output on the front. On the back there are inputs for 2 footswitch pedals, 2 speaker outs and 2 line outs. The amplifier is relatively light I would guess about 30 35 pounds.
I would have liked to see independent EQs for each channel on this amplifier, as well as an effects loop, but again this is a 50 watt amp just over $200. Something else I prefer which is just being picky, is I would like for the control panel to be angled upward especially on smaller amps. Another option would be to have some type of "kick stand" on the back to allow you to angle the amp upwards. Since this amp is sitting on a stand which brings this up much higher the control panel isn't a problem, but it would be a pain to use sitting on the floor. What I really like about this amp is it is small enough to not take up a lot of room, it is light enough to move around to go Jam with friends and loud enough for jamming, also. That is sometimes a hard balance to find especially in anywhere near the price. All in all, you can't complain about the features on this amp at this price point. And hey, the logo lights up real nice and pretty when the amp is on, which is kinda neat even if it does remind me of the TRON logo. // 7
Sound: Before my friend purchased the Rocktron V50C, we were going to a little local music store that is really almost more of a pawn shop with a lot of instruments and amps, etc., and the V50C they had as a "floor model" they had bought used and I think everyone who was test playing guitars was using it. We both played it several times for the past several weeks and to be honest it didn't sound great in the store, but I think now it must just be the acoustics of the building. I didn't try out any other amps there, so I can't say for sure. I do know it sounds great in my friend's den as well as in our "jam" space which is just a glorified single car garage.
The clean channel on the Rocktron V50C is pretty transparent, which makes it awesome for stacking effects on. This is my friend's amp and he has been running a Behringer V-Amp 2 (I think that is what it is called) through it, and has been using an Ibanez RG and a cheap LP copy through it and really has got some interesting "textures" on the clean channel with effects. I played my G&L Tribute S500 through it, and was really impressed with the clean channel. It doesn't have the same type of character as a Fender clean tone, but it does have something indescribable but pleasant about it. I also ran an EHX Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi pedal to it, but just used the Big Muff Pi side of the pedal. This created a really nice tight sounding distortion. I also ran a Vox Tonelab ST to it, which I use for the majority of my effects, but my friend didn't let me play with it as long as I wanted. It seemed to take pedals very well from what little I did get a chance to play around with it. I was arpeggiating chords on the clean channel with just the reverb and really got a nice pleasant tone for alternative rock, etc. By messing with the EQ. My friend has not had to try to push the volume too hard on the clean channel yet, but I'm interested to see how clean the tone stays when it is competing with an aggressive hard-hitting drummer.
The distortion channel is nice and aggressive, actually much better than I anticipated. If I could go back in time, I might have bought this amp as well. I will have to wait and see how it stands up during a loud Jam with our drummer friend. The distortion has a very specific type of sound, almost like a cleaner nu-metal type of distortion. I'm having a hard time describing the tone, except maybe to say the bottom end is VERY tight, and I know that isn't always the most desirable sound for all situations, but I am really enjoying it. With the Gain rolled back a little bit I got some good overdriven blues tones, but this amp will never get you to sound identical to SRV, Clapton, Hendrix, Trower or Gary Moore. The Velocity V50C has a sufficiently gritty sound for blues, but it isn't this amp's strongest point good clean tones, good heavy distortion, but not spectacular with the tones in-between. Now, getting into hard rock, thrash metal, etc. I really enjoy this tone for these genres. Great tone for thrash metal especially, as the tighter bottom end seems like it keeps your tone from getting muddy which seems to allow for great single string articulation with heavy distortion. You might want to put a distortion pedal in front of this if you are into black metal, death metal, etc. I don't know, I'm not really into those genres, but seems like you would maybe want something like a metal muff stacked with the built-in distortion for stuff that heavy. I absolutely love the transparent clean tone and the great aggressive distortion you can pump out of this amp, especially at this price. // 8
Reliability & Durability: My friend has had his Rocktron Velocity V50C for less than a week, so take that for what it is worth when I rate in this category. We have played the same model amp at a local store for several weeks, where according to the store owner it gets played for probably several hours a day and he says he has had it almost 6 months and he acquired it used. His floor model still looks practically new. The corners have metal corner caps, which appear very sturdy. The construction seems very tight and the housing feels like it could take a beating despite the fact that the amp is relatively light for its size. The handle seems sturdy. If anything went out on this amp I would expect it to be glowing "Rocktron" on the front, but that is just speculation on my part. // 7
Overall Impression: I really enjoy the Rocktron Velocity V50C for what it is, and as far as "budget" equipment it is a stand out value. What I was annoyed with is moving from the clean channel to the distortion channel I always had to tweak the EQ. I think it would be better if you ran an EQ pedal to it and kicked it on when changing channels to get the EQ right. It would be a lot less of a hassle, anyway. Really, this is only inconvenient when we're jamming. I guess it wouldn't bother me so much if you were just using it for practice. On the other hand, my friend who actually owns it leaves the EQ the same for clean and distortion and he doesn't have a problem with it so I guess it is a matter of personal taste. I know I don't like my mids scooped on clean stuff. I know so far it has been effective as a good practice and jamming amp for just over $200 USD and that is pretty impressive in and of itself.
Just as a summary, the clean is pretty transparent which allows for good coupling with effects and the distortion is very aggressive sounding with a tight bottom end. The amp does well with bedroom practice and jamming in the garage, and is relatively light and tough. I was satisfied with how it paired up with the effects I ran to it, though I would prefer an effects loop. The footswitches are sold separately which kind of gets on my nerves, but at this price it is expected. My only concern that I wish I could answer is if the clean channel is able to stay clean at volumes loud enough to Jam with a truly aggressive drummer. It looks cool with the light up "Rocktron" logo, but seems would have been better to have an angled control panel or a "kickstand" to set the amp up at an angle instead. // 6
- Brandon East (c) 2011