Price paid: $ 799
Purchased from: Sam Ashe Music
Sound — 9
I have owned many many amplifiers over my 45 year history of banging on guitars including 4 different models of Fender amps. I have owned Twin Reverbs purchased in the 60's and 70's, a Fender Showman and more recently a Frontman 212-R which I had for about 2 months and traded it in on this little sweetheart. Never had a Marshall. No gigs for me for quite a few years but purchased this amp for a home based studio. I wanted a tube sound in compact pkg that could rival more expensive boutiques and I am happy I bought it. Like all Deluxe models this one is a classic and a lot to be said for oldie but goodies. Those who aren't into head banging metal styles but still want to crank up the Drive channel and pretend when no one is around will appreciate the versatility of this amp. No Fender is designed specifically for that chore or style but they are getting closer all the time. Most of you would be surprised at what can be done with distortion fine tuning. You can certainly emulate the grunge, metal etc. Fairly close even without additional pedals and muddy up your leads just a tinge for that almost creamy description so many folks like to use. Be patient and not scoff at first impression. Take a little time to play with her knobs and fine adjusts before lumping this into most other Fender Combos. This is true for the digital reverb, which gives you great sounding 60's surf, Ventures without going above 3 or 4. Chorus is basic but not at all bad sounding. I am more than satisfied with the Delay. (I put my Electolux Memory Man back in the box). All day today I found myself bypassing the effects loop with the Vox unit and enjoying the amp alone with all it's useful toys. A good compressor and you are all set for musical mayhem. The Vox is adequate but not my first choice for that tool. I use this amp with a Morley Quad and Triple box routers set up to allow it be dualled with a Bose PS-1 with dual bass speakers and ToneMatch Audio engine system. I have a Vox Tone Lab ST coming out of the rear positioned effects loop of the Deluxe VM and a POD DXT Live off the Bose. Most of the time now I'm playing the Deluxe VM alone without any external effects and loving it. Played together both of these systems mate up beautifully and a virtual tonal factory without all those little pedals all over the place. The amp's clean channel is Fender and that's what they do best. Everything is super quiet. I have one Ebtech Hum eliminator in the system for good measure but that's on the Bose side going out to a Korg DG3200 Digital Recorder. I love that Bose system too by the way but that's another story for another day. I play classic and present day rock, country, blues and the Deluxe VM is certainly a great way to have your cake and eat it too sorta deal. Can't say how it would be out there performing on stage but it's breathren has been a great amp out there doing just that and also in the studio all it's life. I miss the looks of the metal corner protector plates, but that's because I'm older and set in my ways. What I really like about this amp more than any other specific feature is the way it allows each of my guitars to come alive with their own special distinct sounds. I have a Fender American Deluxe Strat and Amer. Deluxe Tele as well as Tom Anderson Classic T and Classic, a Taylor T5 and a '52 Reissue Tele.
Overall Impression — 9
Not a regular gig guy so don't need a backup. Did I want something else when I bought this amp, yeah sorta.. I was looking at a Rivera Venus -6 and would still like to have one but we are recession bound and just couldn't justify the $2799. I use to like 20 something hotties too but doesn't mean I'm missing them just because I haven't tried one on for size lately. I plan on playing the dog doo doo out of this one!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Reliability and Dependability..can't say as new to my collection. It's a Fender and my past experience has always been good. She's louder than I'll ever use and volume adjustments opens other world's of tone just like other good tube amps. There is no dedicated line out for recording but there is the effects loop. Thank you Fender.
Features — 9
40 watts (Two 6L6 power tubes, two12AX7 preamps with one for distortion, one for phase inverter). Single 12" Celestion G12P80 spkr. Fender Clean Channel with dedicated pre-gain tone controls and a second Drive Channel with dedicated post EQ for tube distortion shaping. Digital Reverb Chorus/Vibrato with controls for rate, depth and mix. Tape emulation Delay with delay time, repeat, and mix controls Effects Loop 8 ohm Extension speaker output 4 button footswitch included for Channel, Reverb, Delay and Chorus/Vibrato