Hello to all.

A couple weeks ago I spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon at Guitar Center plugging into as many practice amps as I could before the place literally closed down around me. I've been searching for a great little combo amp with a 10" speaker that actually sounds good at lower volumes (just enough punch to be heard without that uncontrollable low end that usually makes turning the amp up just-a-little, too loud in a brick/block basement).

I thought I had it narrowed it to the VOX VT40+ until FENDER re-introduced the G-DEC 3 in the new "Blues" variation with cream tolex and a dog bone handle. I'd heard the original G-DEC when it was first introduced, but the digital controls, cheap construction and 'average-to-good' sound quality kept me from buying one. So, I'm wondering if anyone out there has compared the new G-DEC 3 - thirty to a VOX VT40+. They're both 10" speaker amps drawing around 30 watts (VOX claims 60 with the variable volume). I'm primarily concerned with driven but clean tone. I like to crank up the gain once in a while but it's not my focus. Neither really is the spanky clean country stuff - something the FENDER Mustang II does very well.

In the interest of abiding by the forum rules as much as possible here I offer a little background:

I own quite a few high quality 'classic' or 'vintage' amps that I now prefer not to drag out of the house unless there's a big enough gig of some kind. Therefore, I'm not looking for "the best tone ever heard in a combo amp" or an amp that only does clean and dirty. I'm looking for a "passenger seat" practice amp with just enough "oomph" to actually handle a small club, house party or blues bar gig plus the ability to give me lots of amps, effects and some extras (though these looping, usb and recording functions don't interest me much).

I play mostly clean-with-a-bit-of-edge (Beatles/Stones/Who/Tom Petty/Steve Miller/Steve Winwood/Dylan/Dead/etc) so tone will win over bells and whistles - I just like it when the whistle blows!

So, there you have it - I'm trying to decide between the Vox VT40+ Valvetronix 10" 60watt combo or the FENDER G-DEC 3 Thirty watt combo. Does anybody know if the new G-DEC 3 Thirty sounds good with the volume down like the VOX? Tonal opinions anyone? Thanks! I live quite a drive from the GC so it would be nice to get this comparison ironed out. I might buy or trade for this amp next week or two...
Last edited by TORSPASS at Apr 2, 2011,
I don't know much about the new G-DEC's, but I had one a few years ago and I hated it. One of my biggest gripes, though, is that the speakers were terrible (the G-DEC sounded much better through a good set of headphones) and, therefore, ruined my sound without hope of making it better. However, I had a VOX Valvetronix AD30VT-XL for several years and LOVED it. It takes effects well; it has a very nice clean setting (which is what I would keep it on and just stack effects on top of it); and it's amp models are pretty useful (I usually used manual mode, though).
I also had the chance to play the VT40+ at Guitar Center, and my brother and I both agreed that it is a fantastic amp. It's much more in depth than my old VOX.

In short: I recommend the VOX.
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Quote by bAngiel01

I also had the chance to play the VT40+ at Guitar Center, and my brother and I both agreed that it is a fantastic amp. It's much more in depth than my old VOX.

In short: I recommend the VOX.

+1 for the Vox
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Quote by FatalGear41

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Thanks to all! That was exactly the kind of info I was looking for bAngiel01.

In between my posting the question and coming back to read answers today I talked to a friend who owns the LINE6 Spider Jam. He loved it in the beginning but the love affair wore off in three ways:

1) First, all those backing tracks and fluff recording novelties wore off in a matter of weeks since they're pretty basic and just loop forever. He just got sick of them - something I always figured would happen.

2) The basic effects and amp sounds are kind of sterile sounding on the Spider Jam, mainly because of the crap speaker and bullet tweeter which puts an imitation-glossy-sheen on all the treble frequencies and makes the amp sound like a "recording of an amp". I got to play it side-by-side with the LINE6 Spider Valve and there's just no comparison - the Spider Valve is a MUCH, MUCH better sounding amp at literally every type of tone (and the Spider Valve is even kind of sterile as tube amps go)!

3) They're all supposed to be a light, portable practice/small gigging amps. But, the Spider Jam weighs in at 42 lbs. The Spider Valve claims 45lbs. That's at nearly the same footprint as the 25 lbs VOX VT40+. Well, now I've heard the Spider Jam in action and can tell you there's not much (if any) difference in volume between these three amps. They can all get louder than any vocalist screaming through an SM58.

...long, short... I'm sold. The VT40+ has so much going for it and at 1/3 the price of the Spider Valve it sounds easily as good if not better and won't break my back at the end of the night!!! Plus, it's actually got more amps/pedals/effects to play with. I'm going to try the new G-DEC 3 the day I buy (just to be 100% certain they haven't found the golden fleece, but I'm pretty sure at this point VOX is going to win the "perfect practice amp package" war.

Thanks for all the responses - I'll post back when I make the final decision!
Are you familiar with the Vox hiss?? If not you might want to read about. Im not 100% sure what it is exactly,but I was talking to a guy at guitar center and he said a few people returned the 40's because of it. I would do a search.
Hey Maximan. Thanks for bringing up the hiss complaints...

I have read many posts about VT+ hiss. Some flaming that the 40+ is just unusable, but many stating it's noticeable but mostly gone when you start playing. It sounds to me like one of three things is true:

1) Some VT+ amps may have been shipped with an electrical/wiring defect.
2) Some peoples' buildings have electrical problems that are amplified by the VT+.
3) If it's not one of the two above... then, some (or all) of the VT40+'s are just inherently noisier than the average amp.

If that's true, it makes me wonder if there isn't a cheap shielding fix (tin foil shield around the electronics)?

It was also my own experience when I tested them in the store. I liked the soft balanced tone of the 40+ but had to admit that the 80+ was much quieter when you weren't playing (hand muting strings / volume open). In fact, the VT80+ in the store was dead quiet (as if it were off). And, much fuller and powerful with power chords and strong leads. However, overall, I thought the 40+ beat it slightly on tone/touch.

The thing is, when I was playing (even in soft, quiet passages) I didn't notice any hum, hiss or buzz on either amp. At least, it wasn't any worse than any other amp in the store. Which brings me to a point about hiss: it seems to make a huge difference which models you select on digital amps. This goes for all amps that include this many choices (tube or not). When you open up multiple gain stages in an amp (preamp/effects/power sections), more noise starts showing its ugly head.

I don't know yet if the hiss is enough to discourage me from buying one or the other, but I know I spent an incredible amount of time thoroughly enjoying the tone of these amps. With all the things these practice/gigging amps can do - I can live with a little hiss. I'll be paying close attention next store visit! Thanks again.
No problem, Im glad I could help. I was doing some reading on it and if it were my money,based on what Ive been reading, I think I would pass. I guess if you can buy it somehwere that has a 30 day return policy it might be worth a shot. Anyway,good luck with your decision.
I have a G-Dec 3 Fifteen. I really like the amp for practice and with headphones it sounds awesome (my wife makes me wear them). Without headphones is doesn't handle bass very well. And now that I have active pups it seems even worse. I've never played through a Vox but I have heard them on youtube and think I should have went with one of those instead.