Valvetronix VT20+ Review

manufacturer: Vox date: 07/28/2014 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Vox: Valvetronix VT20+
A versatile modeling amp, the Vox Valvetronix models are great for practice, home recording, or even small gigs. The addition of the optional VFS5 pedal gives you even more control.
 Sound: 8.3
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Features: 8.8
 Overall rating:
 8.7 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.5 
 Users rating:
 8.8 
 Votes:
 44 
reviews (4) pictures (2) 27 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
Valvetronix VT20+ Featured review by: UG Team, on july 28, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 179.99

Features: When you start labeling the features of a modeling amp then you can get a long list pretty quickly - and the Vox VT20+ is no different. In addition to being a richly-featured modeling amp, the VT20+ also sports a 12AX7 tube in the preamp section of the amp, making this a hybrid amp and giving the overall tone a warmness you won't normally get from full solid-state amps. I will briefly touch on the features offered: 20 optimum watts driven through an 8" Vox speaker, the Valve Reactor circuit is ran by a 12AX7 tube, you get 33 basic amp models, 33 amp models with effects, and 33 song presets pre-loaded, 25 built-in effects, 3 band EQ, Power level control (essentially a wattage attenuator), built-in tuner, auxiliary input and headphones output, and 8 user editable programs for custom settings. The most accurate amp models on the VT20+ are definitely the ones based off of the Vox amps, and especially the AC15 and AC30 models. Some of the "negative" of this amp, and others of its type, is to really get the most out of this amp you have to absolutely spend some time with the settings and reading the literature. For those wanting to jump straight in, you can absolutely take advantage of the presets to get you started. The optional VFS5 VT pedal gives you some added control on the fly, and can be purchased for $59.99 (which is significantly cheaper than the foot controllers for some of its competitors). // 9

Sound: I tested the VT20+ out with a few different guitars - basically a high output HH, a mid-output HH, a mid-output HSH, and a low-output SSS configuration. I tried to make sure I moved through as many settings and sounds on each guitar as possible to get a good idea of what the VT20+ is really capable of. At first I was going to my own familiar ground with tone, trying to find a good modern metal tone, then a '90s grunge, then classic rock, then a good tone for ultra-clean passages, and then effects-drenched tones for different types of psychedelia. Pretty soon I was trying to match tones from songs on the radio or some of my favorite songs. You have to give Vox credit - they've made a seriously versatile amp, here. I couldn't find any tone that I couldn't get a fairly close approximation to. I really got into moving between really vintage tones to modern tones and how easy it is to transition between some very different sounds. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The Vox VT20+ is a close-backed combo, which definitely helps in the overall sturdiness of the amp. The one 12AX7 tube in the Valve Reactor circuit seems to have a very long life from all of my research, though I haven't had the amp long enough to say anything from firsthand experience on this subject. It has 4 rubber feet and a tough faux-leather handle on top, which are both nice features. If I'm being critical, I would like to see corner caps on an amp, because I feel like that adds a little bit of extra protection in case of accidents. The closed-back is actually one of the features on this amp that would have me rate it higher than some of its competitors on the market today. // 8

Overall Impression: I'm reviewing a "loaner" from Vox, and it makes me sad knowing that I have to send it back. A lot of people dismiss modeling amps because they get in their heads that if an amp isn't full tube then it isn't worth having, or the whole saying "jack of all trades, master of none." I'm not saying you couldn't get a specific tone better with a high-priced tube amp, but I absolutely do believe that you aren't going to get this type of versatility and quality at this price point anywhere else. I also think that most non-professional musicians could meet their needs with the VT20+. Not saying you aren't "allowed" to have more expensive equipment if you want, but if you are home recording, practicing, or even playing small gigs, then the VT20+ is enough amp and also helps to keep your rig somewhat simplified. There are also larger models of the Valvetronix series available for people who need more volume or headroom - this includes the VT40+, the VT80+ and the VT120+. In closing, I would recommend this for anybody from the bedroom practitioner to the guitarist playing small bar gigs and pretty much everyone in-between for three reasons: This amp is super versatile, it is super affordable, and it is conveniently sized for those with space constraints (such as those in dorms or small apartments). // 9


- Brandon East (c) 2014

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overall: 7.8
Valvetronix VT20+ Reviewed by: matt8819, on july 11, 2011
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 170

Purchased from: Axe Music

Features: This is my first review, so it may be a bit wordy.

The Vox VT+ series is an update of the original Valvetronix series of modelling amps Vox released a few years ago (the exact date escapes me). Released in 2010, the plus series has 33 amp models, each model has the basic amp, the tone from a classic song, and the amp, plus effects, for 99 different preset sounds. Add to that 25 effect models, 3 different reverbs, 8 channels to save your favorite sounds a built in tuner, and the optional foot switch, and holy hell this thing gots it all.

There's a headphone jack, and an auxiliary input jack, so you can play along with the music on your mp3 player without waking anyone.

The amp has a 12AX7 tube built in to the power amp, and the power level control lets you lower the wattage of the amp without losing the sound of a cranked tube amp.

The foot switch(totally optional) is loaded with features, too. You can Switch between all 8 banks on the fly, and if you tap the button of the bank you're using, it acts as a tap tempo for the delay, phaser, flanger, and probably more that I've yet to find out. // 9

Sound: I play an Ibanez S570DXQM (all stock), and an Ibanez AS73 with Seymour Duncan pickups, through a DigiTech Whammy, a Vox Wah-Wah, and a Boss CS-3. I play whatever I feel like at the time (usually Queen, Dio-era Sabbath, or a small amount of the easier Satriani songs), and this amp is literally built for that. The sound quality isn't as good as playing through, say, a Triple Rectifier, or an AC30, but it's a good jack-of-all-trades amp.

It's not a terribly noisy amp, and it has a noise gate built in, so any hum can be cancelled out fairly easily.

I won't get into the specific sounds it can make, or the quality thereof, but there are a couple things worth mentioning. First, the reason I bought the amp is one of the presets is a model of the Brian May signature AC30, and it sounds great. Actually, the best sounds the amp has are the Vox amp models. They're also the only ones they can actually name without getting sued. The other thing that sold me on this amp was he quality of the distortion you can get, especially at this price. Seriously, this box has some savage distorted tone, even at low power levels.

I only really have 2 problems with the amp, one being that the cleans tend to break up, even with lower output pickups. Any time I need a totally clean tone, even on the clean models, I have to roll the volume back on the guitar to less than half.

Problem 2 is really not major, but on most settings, any wah-wah I put through it sounds... broken. The sweep seems almost divided into 3 or 4 parts, with no modulation between them. There's a chance it's my pedal though. Still something worth checking out before you buy it. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I've had it for a few months, and use it for an hour or 2 a night, usually, and no problems with it yet. I don't gig, but I assume it would be good for a smaller room, it seems reliable, and the footswitch seems pretty durable.

One small note, even with the power level turned totally down, if you leave the amp on and leave it alone, it makes the occasional pop and crackle sound. Nothing major though. // 7

Overall Impression: Overall, if you're still learning or need a versatile practise amp, this is a great option for the price. I've been playing for a hobby for a few years, and this amp is everything I need and more. I whole heartedly suggest buying it.

Side note, I wanted to give it a 7.5, but I rounded up. // 8

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overall: 8.5
Valvetronix VT20+ Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 20, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 129

Purchased from: Andertons Music

Features: The Vox VT20+ is a hybrid modelling amp introduced in 2010/11. It hass 33 amp models in 11 catogries, 11 pedal effects, 11 modulatio/delay effects, 3 reverbs and noise reduction. It feature 1 12AX7 in the power amp to make it sound 'real' and a power attenuater so you can crank it with out you parents sacrificing you to the god of silence (maybe a tad extreme). // 9

Sound: Overall this amp sound awesome. The cleans can be sparkling, vintage modern or weird and otherworldly and the crunch/distortion models can be raw, raucous, crushing and searingly insane, being into Vintage rock and roll, garage punk, blues, mod, proto metal, punk, new wave etc (preferring garage type trash tones). For my forays into metal and hardcore punk the distortion is great and the 'org distortion' (BOSS DS-1 replica) makes for great Husker Du tones. Some times you get noise particularly with tremolo on high. Basically whatever you play you can get good tones, one complaint is the fuzz is based on a fuzz face and that is note to my particularly to my tastes and I can't get the true trashy tones I seek. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I have had this for 6 months and it seems fine, eventually I'll have to change the valve and I'm not sure how to access it, also it seems the frame may not be sturdy, it seems to be cheap wood, but treated with respect it should be fine. But as far as I can tell its built to last and last it will. I gave it 9 as I've only had it 6 months. // 9

Overall Impression: As I said I play garage rock (The Sonics, The Seeds, Count Five, The Gruesomes, The Gories etc) and have been playing over a year but would like to think I am an intermediate in skill terms I possess a hand made PRS copy (my first guitar), a Strat copy I painted black and red and an Avon SG Copy from the 60's with two single coils and a humbucker I use for hardcore/metal. // 8

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overall: 9
Valvetronix VT20+ Reviewed by: ctlscout, on april 07, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This is a modeling amp with built in effects. Most of the models are pretty good, but a few really shine. The effects are nice but relatively impractical unless you have the footswitch. I wish the footswitch was included, I would definitely use it to switch from clean to dirty channels. The Valvetronix series are hybrid amps, meaning part tube part solid state. I think this amp has two tubes. The tubes definitely give some warmth to the tone. The amp has many knobs and buttons to dial in effects. The tap tempo switch is nice for delays. It also features an aux in and headphone jack. This comes in handy. This amp is small, but it cranks. You don't need a bigger Valvetronix. Just mic this one. // 8

Sound: I play a little bit of everything, but mostly U2 style-worship-pop-rock. Washed out delay, overdrive, swells, that kind of thing. The Vox AC30 and clean Fender models sound fantastic for this. Leave the volume, gain, and master volume on a lower setting and turn up the power level for a great clean sound. The dirty sounds are great too, especially when boosted with an OD pedal. I don't use the effects that much. Sometimes I'll add compression from the amp but that's about it. My pedalboard is a TC Polytune 2, Ernie Ball VP Jr., Boss Blues Driver, and a TC Flashback Delay. I play a Fender Squire Strat. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I perform usually twice a week with this amp, but I practice with a band for at least 6 more hours per week. I don't have a backup amp because I can't afford another amp. Plus I don't need one. I clearly depend on this amp. All the knobs and buttons are solid. The aux in and headphone jacks are flimsy, but I rarely use those. I've had this amp for at least two years, and it's taken a lot of abuse, but it's sounding better than ever. It hasn't worn that much either. Just a few nicks here and there. // 10

Overall Impression: Fantastic amp for the money. No, it doesn't sound like an AC30 or a deluxe reverb, but it sounds really good. I've been playing for about 8 years. If this amp was stolen, I'd think twice about buying something different, but I think I would get a Fender Blues Jr. Not because I don't like this one, but just to try something different and simple. If you are a beginner and don't want to spend a ton of money on an amp but still want a quality piece of equipment, get this. If you are a pro, you probably should only get this for practice or as a backup. You probably have something amazing already. Love this amp! // 9

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