VC30-112 Review

manufacturer: Laney date: 02/20/2009 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Laney: VC30-112
The range of VC30 combos offer classic British class A tone in a variety of speaker options. The VC30 features a single channel with footswitchable gain, with its own level control, three band EQ and a bright switch. If you're looking for that elusive living tone then look no further than the VC30.
 Sound: 7.8
 Overall Impression: 8.4
 Reliability & Durability: 6.6
 Features: 8.2
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reviews (5) 14 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
VC30-112 Reviewed by: rhcp_freak, on december 28, 2007
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Imuso

Features: I've owned this amp for 5ish months now, and I gigged with it three times so far. This amp gets a 10 for features, as it's amazing what you can do with only a 3 band EQ. It has two channels (clean and Drive), clean volume, drive, drive volume, bass, middle, treble, bright on/off, reverb, and FX level. I don't make use of the FX level, as I run my pedals in front of my amp. The valves that came with it seem to be pretty good, so there's no need to replace them now. The speaker is probably the only letdown with this amp, though it can be replaced. // 10

Sound: Laney lied, as this amp is not class A, but class A/B. Cleans sound very voxy, and can get close to an americany Fender sound by going easy on the mids, and using the bright Switch. The Drive at low volumes (drive: 10, volume: 1) is really thin, with a sort of fuzzy quality to it. It sounds great turned up though, and is also rather Voxy too. I don't make use of the bright Switch anymore, as I prefer Marshally OD to Vox OD. I set the Drive to 5ish, maybe more, with volume as loud as I can go, then roll back the guitar's volume for cleans. I turn it up when I want OD, and for solos, I use my LPB-1 as a gain boost. I set my EQ at bass: 6 mids: 8 and treble: 3.5, and it stays that way. I play heaps of RHCP, and I nail John Frusciante's clean/slightly OD'd tone. Both the cleans and the OD are immense. The amp is quite bright and middy, and is most definitely British. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Built like a tank, and looks as though it could survive falling down the stairs. I'm pretty sure I could use it on a gig without backup. So far, I've not had any issues with this amp as reliability is concerned, so I can't say much here. However, I've heard of many other people having problems with their Laney's. People Who have owned the amp for less than I have. // 10

Overall Impression: I play classic rock, modern rock, alternative rock, blues, funk, funk rock, that kinda stuff. This amp is really versatile, and sounds great for such a low price. The valves are fine, though the speaker could be replaced. IMO, even stock, I'd take it over any other amp around the price range. I've heard other owners of the amp complaining about reliability, but I've not had any problems yet. Tonewise, it is a tremendous amp that is capable of any music genre you throw at it, though it'll need a boost to get to higher gain stuff. If it were stolen/lost, I'd hunt down the guy Who stole it, cry for weeks on end if I failed to retrieve it, then buy a new one. // 9

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overall: 6.3
VC30-112 Reviewed by: beckyjc, on september 10, 2007
1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 585.6

Purchased from: Back Alley Music

Features: 2 Channels (FW), effects loop, reverb (FW), bright Switch, class A valve, 30 watts, 1 12 inch celestion speaker. It's realtively new, but it was an off the floor amp, I would've tried to get it for cheaper, but my dad came home and suprised me with it. Extremely versatile amp, EQs like a dream, I'm a complete whore for tweaking it. Does most things I want it to; too easily. Blues, jazz, Indie, Classic Rock, Light Metal, gain isn't up too much, that's not what it's made for, I'm looking for an OD just to push it a bit harder atm. But it's great for the money, and it really is a blues amp. Feature wise there isn't much more I could ask for. I was originally planning on gigging this thing before my band fell apart. Anyone with basic amp knowledge will tell you that 30 watts valve is enough to deafen your entire street. So I don't get much of a chance to crank it to its full potential. // 8

Sound: Using it with my SS jag primarily, it suits pretty much everything I want to play. Blues, Funk anything else I can think of. There is some slight background humm, but it's to be expected, especially in my gadget filled envirnment that is my bedroom. Clean, it's thick and sweet, smooth, really gives you that AC30 sound with a bit more oomph, some playing about with the EQ you realise it can really accomplish alot. Activate the bright Switch and you start hearing that shimmery Fender clean-esque tone Shine through, with this you can pretty much hit the hammer on the head of say Razorlight. Anything from the Chilis too Clapton is possible with this. The bright Switch is a really nice extra touch. You get a good fair bit of hadroom, there's no obvious break up till about 2 o' clock on the dail. Trust me, that's plenty. Distorted there's a nice thick satisfying crunch about it. Very Vintage, very warm, very british. It's quite a rough fuzzy distortion, which is what makes it good for blues, turning up the Drive it gets into the hair metal territory, but it sounds it's best on lower gain settings, there isn't really much Drive untill about 11 o clock on the gain knob, so you can't expect huge amounts of distortion, in my opinion this thing would work great being pushed by an OD. But as for metal, it doesn't really have the voicing. If you're a metalhead, look elsewhere. There's two things which I wouldn't miss though, the trebelyness. It is a warm amp, by all means, but it can get harsh, especially with my jag, not just limited to that though, I've tried it with all sorts in store, you need to spend some time understanding the EQ, it can get ubeliable harsh, especially distorted. Personally, I think the best thing you can do for this amp is buy a new speaker, another flaw. Very poor celestion speaker is used in this model, and the 212, the 210 and 110 have jensens, which in all fairness, still aren't a huge imrpovement. The speaker is harsh and brittle, it would really benefit from a new speaker. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've never had a problem with it, I've only had mine for a number of months, so I'm biased, but I've heard horror stories. A few occasions where the amp has totally broken down, hopefully this wont be the same here, but I wont review this part as I haven't had it long enough or gigged it or such to be sure. // 1

Overall Impression: Overall probably the best 300 will get you. And even then, it is superb. I've played a number of amps, it didn't stick out to me, but for the money, the versatility and the sound, I couldn't say no. If it were lost, I would probably get another one. Maybe the VC15 though, the 30 is retty god damn loud just for using in my room. I love this amp and reccomend it to anyone on a budget that wants some true Class A british warmth. Of course there are minor setbacks. But hopefully nothing a speaker/valve upgrade wont sort. // 8

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overall: 7.8
VC30-112 Reviewed by: MrCarrot, on february 18, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from:

Features: I presume, having bought it in late '07, that it's an '07 model. Fitted with a 1x12 Celestion Seventy80, probably the lowest end Celestion. The amp weighs 22.2kg, and is a 30w EL84-powered Class AB (not A as Laney claim, can you spell marketing ploy) Vox AC30 derivative. Two channels: clean and drive; the clean channel has just a single volume knob, and the Drive has a pre and post gain volume. It has a single shared EQ, that is rather unusually placed before the gain stages, which gives me a little less response than I'd like. It's fitted stock with a matched quad of TAD EL84STR power tubes (which are excellent) and TAD 12AX7s, with V1 being a hi-grade 5751. It also has a slightly edgy SS spring reverb and an FX loop which I don't really care for. It works for anything upto Rock, pretty well. I've gigged it 4 times, once in a small cafe; twice in a main hall seating 500 and once in a gymnasium seating 1000 and it handled it fine every time. 30w of this kind of power is pretty much enough. // 8

Sound: I use this predominantly with my (H)SS MIM Fender Stratocaster, and it works great from cleans to classic rock. Starting with the cleans; thanks in part to the TAD EL84STRs (which sound more like 6V6 than EL84) they're very very nice. Lots of jangle, aggression and a nice amount of mids. Bass is pretty tight but you can do the SRV thing if you want. For cleans I tend to use the EQ: (bass 7; mids 4; treble 7) and this gives me something towards a Silverface Deluxe Reverb type of sound. When cranked, you get natural breakup from both the pre and poweramp, but it needs more careful EQing as in this setting it is very easy to have too much treble or bass and kill your tone. What works for cranked clean won't work on normal clean or drive. Speaking of reverb, the amp has a lot of it but it's a bit harsh, I'd rather they didn't skimp out and put a very nice tube reverb in, but tbh for Live use you get natural reverb anyway. Now, the Drive channel. There isn't much gain here, it tops out at about Queen, which is a tone I love, but it won't get much further. You can either go the Vox or Marshall route with this channel, to get the Vox AC30w/TB tone you whack the Drive right up and set the EQ to something like mine: (bass 4; mids 10; treble 7) and hear that Queen or Rory Gallagher-like attack; or for the Marshall route you set gain to 2/3/4 (at this point on the dial there is barely any gain, don't go much higher than this, mud prevails yonder here if you're boosting it) and boost it with a Tubescreamer, this gives you more midsy crunch and a lot more gain, while also tightening the bass. What's great about the Marshally type tone is if you remove the OD from in front, you get a slightly broken up clean that is great for Frusciante etc. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Well, a fuse blew once. But otherwise, it's absolutely solid. There are a lot of horror stories but when reading reviews you always tend to pick up these as more extreme and ignore all the perfectly fine users. It does run very hot, this. Hotter than any other tube amp I've tried. But the cab is solid and very nicely finished, also very sexy, and the stock setup is pretty good, so I'm impressed overall. // 7

Overall Impression: For upto classic rock in the UK, buy it. It does the Hendrix, Froosh, Brian May and Rory Gallagher kinda thing great. In all honesty do prefer the Classic 30 as it has a warmer more Marshally crunch as opposed to the VC30's own Voxy treble-boosted crunch, which is more usable, but for stuff like Queen the VC30 is great. In the US I'd have bought the Classic 30 as it's a much better deal. Been playing for just over 2 years now. (eleccy guitar wise) I own an Epi Valve Jr, a MIM Strat, a Squier Strat and a DigiTech Bad Monkey + Vox V847a. You can tell Laney have tried to impress with the stock tubes and speaker, the tubes are generally excellent, although rather trebly and aggressive in nature, and the speaker is better than most at this pricerange although it has a treble spike and I want to drop an Eminence Private Jack in there, They're decent parts but don't compliment the VC30 very well. If it were stolen I'd claim insurance money and go build something better. I love the Voxy tone and the versatility and features. And at that price, it's a bargain, and better than for example the Marshall DSL401 which is a ton more, cleans are also exceptional. I compared it to the Classic 30, DSL401, Hot Rod Deluxe, Laney VC15 and PV Delat Blues. The Delta Blues and C30 were very similar: warm cleans, nice Vintage crunch, but way above my budget for what they were. The VC15 had similar tone, but I needed the headroom. The Hot Rod had marvellous cleans but piss-poor overdrive and was way overpriced. The DSL401 is way overpriced, has crappy features on everything and sounds bad. So a no-brainer basically. // 8

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overall: 8.3
VC30-112 Reviewed by: Blompcube, on september 23, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 215

Purchased from: eBay

Features: I got this amp used off ebay so I don't know what year it was made. This amp is great for anything from clean to classic rock overdrive, and with the help of an overdrive or distortion pedal will work great for hard rock or grunge. I wouldn't recommend it as a death metal amp, for example, as it is very Vintage voiced. But it is an incredibly versatile amp on it's own if you want to be able to go from jangly cleans to led zeppelin style overdrive and do anything in between. The amp has 2 channels, which are footswitchable (the footswitch is not included) - clean, and overdrive. Clean has a nice chimey sound controlled by just a simple volume control and a bright Switch (which affects both channels), whereas overdrive has volume and a "Drive" knob (gain) and has a much more punchy, mid-heavy tone. The amp has a basic 3-band EQ which functions for both channels, a reverb level knob (reverb can be switched on and off with an external footswitch, too), and FX level for the FX loop. this amp isn't loaded with features, but it doesn't need to be. At 30 watts it's very loud. people Who think you need a 100 watt stack take note. the amount of power this amp pushes out will surprise you! For reference, it is a tube amp, containing 3 12AX7 preamp tubes, and 4 EL84 power amp tubes - I believe all stock tubes are Sovtek. The speaker is a Celestion seventy 80, which I've been told isn't great, and the amp would really benefit from having these replaced. // 8

Sound: I use various guitars with this amp, mostly with single coils and humbuckers, as I currently don't own any guitars equipped with P-90s. I have also used a guitar with lipstick tube single coils but it is a 12-string so I can't really tell how it compares to traditional single coils. With single coil pickups this amp really sings! it's nice and jangly with a Fender Stratocaster. The cleans are sparkly, and the overdrive is nice and punchy, with a lot of clarity and definition. It is a very bright voiced amp, I'll point out. With humbuckers, however, the cleans are quite nice, but I'm struggling to get anything other than a dank, muddy tone out of the overdrive, particularly with the bridge pickup. Some tell me this is because of the stock speaker, mind. it's still a usable tone, just has potential to be better. It could also be an issue with my guitars - my Epiphone Sheraton sounds lovely on the neck pickup, but very dull and almost muffled on the bridge pickup, whereas my Ibanez JTK2 sounds pretty nice on the bridge pickup, but incredibly muddy in the neck position. This could be something I'm doing wrong, basically. Not many noise issues so far - when I got the amp first I was getting a strange sizzling noise for a short period of time at seemingly random intervals, but it seems to have stopped now. that's about it. As this is a valve amp, the clean channel does start to get some natural overdrive when it is cranked up loud, but luckily, this is what makes valve amps so great! it sounded like it was getting a bit crispy with the volume at around 5 or 6, but by this point you will be playing louder than the average guitarist will ever need to. It can compete with a drummer with the volume at about 3 or 4, and once you turn it up past this point, you don't get much more volume, you get a more compressed tone, before gradually getting more and more overdriven. At 10 you'll get a wonderful screaming blues lead tone on the cleans. This is a Vintage voiced amp - the distortion isn't meant to be brutal - it's meant to be rich, lush, dynamic and smooth, and it is. The overdrive channel sadly sounds a bit muddy at low volume, however - again, this could be the stock speaker letting it down. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I've had this amp about 8 months and never had any problems with it. However, I would only use it without a backup if I had some spare tubes handy - things like faulty tubes have to be taken into account. With that said, I don't know what I'd do if I did have to use a backup amp - it would have a major impact on my entire rig as I have set up pedals to work with this amp, and I don't have another tube amp - my only usable alternative is a Vox AD50VT, which wouldn't like my pedalboard very much at all. Luckily, I've not had to bring out the backup amp yet. // 9

Overall Impression: I play blues, rock, punk/grunge (they are the same thing, really), a bit of many other styles occasionally too. I've found this amp to be a good match for just about everything I've thrown at it - except brutal metal tones - if metal brutality is your thing, look elsewhere! I have been playing for about 10 years, though only seriously for about 4. I own a lot of guitars and pedals, but my other amps, apart from the Vox Valvetronix, are not even worth mentioning. If this amp was stolen/lost/broken, I'd definitely do my best to get another - it's been the best addition to my rig since getting a guitar in the first place. The only fault I can find is that the tone I get from humbuckers is ok, but not entirely satisfactory - I absolutely love the sound with single coil pickups, and look forward to finding a solution to the humbucker problem - it could even be that I just need to get some new tubes. All in all, a great amp, I just don't think I'm realising it's potential at the moment as I have the stock speaker and some pretty worn out tubes - I haven't heard it with Brand New tubes as I got it off ebay. // 9

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overall: 7.3
VC30-112 Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 20, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 250

Purchased from: Second Hand

Features: I guess you all know by now - two, footswitchable channels, shared eq, spring reverb, effects loop, bright Switch, 1x12" Celestion Seventy80 speaker, 30 watts, TAD EL84-str driven. Not the most well appointed amp, but what more do you really need? The only thing I'd change to the lay out would be to have separate eqs for the channels. The hardware is upgradeable. // 7

Sound: I play a US Strat+ with SD Hot Rails pup in bridge, Zvex Fuzz Factory, Boss CE5, DigiTech Digidelay, exclusively into the clean channel. I'm in a punky, experimental Indie band in Brighton (UK), play lots of Live shows in clubs and pubs. I am so fond of my little amp. I see people lugging big rigs around, and there I am with my little Laney, knowing it's going to blow their tit's off. The clean channel has a rich and lively tone, retaining clarity at surprisingly high volumes. The speaker isn't the best, and the distorted channel is a bit gritty and not that satisfying, although I'm informed that it would be significantly improved by a speaker upgrade. I'm not bothered, I don't use it. The clean channel is ballsy, and handles effects really well. It's an AC30 type tone; chiming, full, clear highs, but aggressive in it's way. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I gig with it all the time and thankfully it has never broken down mid show. However, it is prone to blow the power lead fuse. It's happened twice now. I don't know much about electronics, so I can't tell you why it's happened, but I can tell you it's dead easy to replace them. I have to be fair, so can't score it that highly here. // 6

Overall Impression: I just think that if you're after a ballsy little amp with a great fundamental clean tone, and you don't have loads of cash, the VC30112 is one you have to try. I was lucky enough to find mine second hand, but the prices in the UK shops aren't prohibitive (a shade under 400 quid, I think). There's a smaller and a bigger version in the range, but the 30 watt, 1x12" seems to me the most sensible option. It's big enough to gig, but not such a big expense that you can't reasonably upgrade speaker/tubes, or hinder purchase of an even better amp in the future. I'm looking at the Laney 4x10 Lionheart as my next purchase, although I'm smitten with my little VC, so it wont be for a while. // 8

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