The Vox Night Train 50 is the biggest incarnation yet of Vox's popular line of "lunchbox-sized" amp. The Night Train 50 is an affordable 50-Watt tube head that brings plenty of what makes classic Vox amps great to the modern age.
Night Train 50
unregistered, on may 16, 2011 5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Features: The Vox Night Train 50 is the biggest incarnation yet of Vox's popular line of "lunchbox-sized" amp. The original Night Train was a huge hit for those that wanted tube tone in a low weight and easy-to-handle package, that didn't need to be cranked to earth-shattering volumes to enjoy fully saturated sound.
This newest version is a 2-channel amp, offering both a clean tone (the "Bright" channel), and a "girth" channel for gritty blues and classic rock tones, up to hard rock tones with a turn of the gain knob. The Bright channel is meant to deliver the classic Vox chime, but it also has a "Thick" Switch which fattens up the tone, and pushes more towards a loud classic Fender tone. Each channel has its own 3-Band EQ, Gain and Volume controls. There is also a very functional master volume, which has a nice sweep and allows you to achieve tube tone at very low volume, or open it wide for a live performance. There is also a master Tone Cut knob, and a master Tight knob which seems to operate somewhat like a compressor in the final tone signal. There is also a series FX loop with a hard bypass switch, and an input for a traditional switching-style footswitch. On the downside, there is no reverb, and the footswitch must be purchased separately.
The Night Train 50 is a Class AB amp running 4 12AX7 preamp tubes and 2 EL34B power tubes. This ratchets up the volume to a full 50-watts that can be sent through an 8 ohm, 16 ohm, or two 8 ohm outputs to any compatible speaker cab. A nice added bonus is the inclusion of a speaker cable, which is typically not provided with amplifiers. // 7
Sound: This is a LOUD amp, and it lives up to its 50-watt monicker. Running through a Marshall 2x12, the amp produces room-filling tube tone even at lower volumes, and it shakes the house down when cranked. It was very easy to use the Gain knobs and Volume knobs on each channel, in conduction with the EQ, to find great tones and then balance them to the same volume, using the Master Volume from that point onward. The EQ was very responsive, and the Tight Switch had a very noticeable effect on the Girth channel, although less so on the Clean channel.
The clean tones are very good. While you may miss the reverb on classic tones like this, there is a lot of variety to be had with the gain knob and EQ, and it responded well to humbuckers or single-coils. The "Thick" tone boosted the gain and volume, but also created a "larger" sound, with a slightly gritty Texas blues feel. This is where you may spend the most time on the amp, as it's a lot of fun to play!
The Girth channel offers a lot of variety as well. Low gain provides classic crunch tones, but cranking the gain offers up rock distortion. The lower gain sounds felt more refined on this channel, while the higher gain settings evoked a pushed Plexi tone. The string articulation starts to get lost here, but that's standard of most amps at higher gain settings. // 8
Reliability & Durability: The Night Train 50 is the big brother of the Night Train family, and it comes in a similar chrome "small box" head, with a convenient, sturdy carrying handle on top. The chrome feels thin, but it looks amazing, and would look even better reflecting stage lights. This form factor allows very easy access to the tubes for replacements, unlike larger heads where a tube change takes time. The inputs all seemed solid, and the general build quality was very good. Especially nice is the solid, even feel of the sweep on every dial, and the solid "thunk" of every switch. // 9
Overall Impression: The Night Train 50 is an affordable 50-Watt tube head that brings plenty of what makes classic Vox amps great to the modern age. It comes loaded with stage-ready features, and for those who own the previous Night Train, but want to move up to the next level, this is a great choice. With a powerhouse set of features and tone like this in such a light weight head, it's hard to justify lugging a full-sized head to gigs with an amp like this delivering tube tone at a reasonable price. // 8
Night Train 50
Kajinaga, on december 18, 2012 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: Willis Music
Features: I bought this amp new as I was looking around for my first tube amp and this really caught my eye. It contains three channels, a clean, a thick, and a girth channel. I will go over these in the sound section. It also contains an effects loop, an optional foot switch jack, and can be used as 16 ohms mono, or 8 ohms stereo. The Vox Night Train 50 watt head is plenty loud enough to drown out a drummer. The only thing that worries me is that it did not come with a case and the head has that signature Vox look but has holes where you can see the tubes on the inside. I have had an issue with unloading it in a moist environment. The pre amp tubes needed to be changed as well as they weren't the best. Overall though, the design is nice and it looks like it can take some damage. // 7
Sound: I generally play metal, but I love me some blues and rock. I bought this amp because I thought and felt it would be versatile enough for everything I wanted. Although that wasn't fully the case. The clean channel is quite amazing. I dare say that it sounds just as good as an AC30. It has Low-Mid-High EQ knobs with gain for the clean channel. It sounds amazing. Onward to the thick channel which is actually just a switch you flip that takes over the clean channel. The thick channel does not have an EQ and basically is only controlled by the gain knob. Vox did this because they were confident in the sound but honestly, I must say I was disappointed in it. I was hoping it would my ticket to a fantasy blues world but sadly I found this channel quite sad. It's okay, but it could have been a lot better. The more gain you put the more fuzzy it really gets and you end up with a "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones sound. It's okay if you're looking for that though. Last we have the girth channel which is the channel I use the most. The girth channel has its own gain knob along with its own EQ and a volume knob so you can adjust it along with your clean channel. I liked this channel at first a lot, but once I really started using it, I ended up really disliking the distortion for what I was using it for. It's more of an 80's hard rock distortion than like modern metal. If you're into that, then it's great, but if not it's hard to find that tone you want. Off to the side there is also a tone cut knob which affects the tone a bit as well as a tight switch which cuts the low end and gives you a slight change of sound. It has a bit of versatility, but overall it wasn't truly what I was looking for. // 7
Reliability & Durability: So far I have not had any problems with it besides the small pre amp tube problem. But that really didn't affect too much even when it was going on. It's been nice and reliable at all times and I have and still will gig with it until I find something that suits me more. I still stress concern over how the amp is so open and wonder why they would do that. The amp does get kinda HOT when played but what do you expect when driving some tubes with distortion? Overall I say it's safe, reliable and I would use it whenever I need it! I've owned it for a little over 2 and a half months and so far it's been my main weaponry for practice and gigs. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall this amp is okay for what I do. If you like metal, it might be better to invest in a Peavey 6505+ or something else rather than this, but if you want a good 80's tone (cleans and distortion) then this is perfect for that. Right now I run from a Godin Freeway into a Hardwire Tube Overdrive into a Hardwire Valve Distortion into the amp on the girth channel. I obtain a Dual Rectifier sound this way. (not an exact, but close enough to where I'm happy) I checked out every video I could and really studied this amp before I bought it and still ended up not 100% satisfied. Although I am slowly learning more in the world of tone I think that my ears tricked me this time. Although no matter what, I do plan on using this amp for my cleans in my band and get a brutal amp like the 6505+ for my distortion. I would definitely recommend this amp if you want that AC30 clean sound without having to fork out the extra dough.