VC30-212 review by Laney

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (2 votes)
Laney: VC30-212

Price paid: € 633

Purchased from:

Features — 9
2 channel 30W class A amp with 2x12" Celestion Seventy 80 speakers; 4xEL84 power Tubes and 3x 12AX7/ECC83 preamp tubes; Hi & Lo inputs, FX loop, reverb.

This amp is really simple feature wise. It has Hi and Lo inputs. Probably made for single coil pickups and humbuckers respectively, but works fine also the other way around. The amp has clean and dirty channels. Both share the bright switch, EQ and reverb which is what makes this amp simple. Just plug in and play. Each channel has separate gain/volume controls. The FX loop is series and works great with delay pedals like DD-3 that have no kill dry option. It can be bypassed or switched between -0dBu and -20dBu. VC30-212 comes without the footswitch for channel switching and reverb, but you can buy it separate for a reasonable price. The amp can be connected to a extension cabinet (8-16 OHM).

This amp is not for the players who need separate EQ for both channels and other options. Laney VC30-212 has this rock 'n' roll and punk feel to it feature wise. As I said - plug in and rock out. The features are perfect if simplicity is what you are after. The only downside is that it comes without the footswitch. If they would throw it in the box with the amp, I would give it 10 for the features.

Sound — 8
I play progressive rock/metal with my main project but I have always liked old-school drive tones, and this amp is perfect for that nasty, gritty but not too saturated drive. And this thing is loud - more than enough for small venue concerts without miking amps. You have to crank this thing anyway for the best tone on the dirty channel. The dirty channel works great with boosters/overdrives in front of it. The distortion that it pumps out might not be enough sometimes, but with a booster or overdrive you can push the amp and get the saturation you want (keeping in mind that this amp isn't for high gain ultra saturated tones).

From time to time I also play some jazz or pop music tones. This is where the clean channel shines it stays crystal clear up to serious loudness and it is really nice sounding clean tone. I use this amp with a Les Paul through the high input andeith the bright switch on, so that i get a good bite out from both channels, and if I need more jazzy tone, i work with the volume and tone knobs on my guitar. The 3 EQ knobs don't change the tone dramatically. Together with the bright switch and general tone knob you can dial in the exact tone you want, but generally this amp highlights each guitars tone. The reverb is really subtle. I set it around 75% and leave it on at all times.

This amp responds really well to players fingers or pick attack. The bright switch adds a lot of top end and bite, but doesn't take away the overall warmness. You can dial in tones ranging from soft clean to punk-ish drive that bites. With the right pedals in front of it you can push it to sound it more like modern rock. The overall sound can be improved with better tubes and speaker replacement. But for the relatively low cost this amp sounds amazing.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I have had this amp for a year and so far, so good. I play it almost every day and during this year it has seen quite many live shows The amp feels really sturdy (maybe because it is so heavy). I expect this amp to work without any major problems for years. Everything including knobs, finish and handle seems well made and put together. This amp will definitely withstand live playing and being on the road. It is made for that. If it would come with a cover which would protect it from moisture and if i knew how it would withstand 5 years of playing i would give it a higher mark.

Overall Impression — 9
This amp inspires me. The tones and looks of it gives the extra old-school punk rock feel to my progressive rock playing. Yes, it can be improved, but I want to push this amp with the original valves and speakers before switching to better parts. I bought this amp because I have played on Laney Lionheart 20W head and cab, and i wanted that sound but was on a budget. I am glad that I was and didn't spend extra for the LionheartVC30-212 is just as good. This amp won't give you modern metal sounds (with exception of gain and saturation coming from a stompbox). But if you have a nice boost/overdrive pedal to push the drive channel the only limitation of what can come out of this amp is the player himself. If it was stolen, I would replace it and I recommend it.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Absolutely these amps! Got mine a year ago and not disappointed with a thing! It even sounds better than alot of dedicated acoustic amps for acoustic guitar, iv been playing mine through it for gigs where im playing slide guitar and it can switch from acoustic to overdrive beautifully! The UK acoustic player Ben Howard uses these live and his sound was excellent when i went to see him.
    I have now gigged this combo about forty times (eighty hours) and have used it for three-hour practice sessions for about one hundred weeks (three hundred hours) = 380 hours and almost certainly more than this... for example time switched on for days in the recording studio. After two very early problems (failed poly-swith and break in conductivity between the amp and speaker at one of the speaker tags) it has performed without fault. Both initial problems were fixed under guarantee by DV247 in Essex, who have a great amp tech. In use the amp has to fit into an 11-piece sould band with a horn section. I find that to do so I need the Bright Switch on all the times, the Presence and Treble knobs both on 10, Bass minimused and Mid. set to 6. By using a volume pedal it is possible to switch between rhythm and lead playing and be heard at the right level in the mix. I'm not a believer in Reverb so never use it. I love the sweetness of the amp which benefits from the added definition provided by an Harmonix 'Wiggler' (valve driven) effects unit. My suggestion to anyone using the VC30 in a large band would be to get the 2 x 10 version for more punch and definition. On stage I mostly use a Steinberger Spirit which is very practical because the neck, middle and bridge pu.s are set to give volume increases in five steps. The Laney and Steinberger seem to like each other. Sometimes I use a 1989 Fender Standard Delux (Lace Gold pu.s) but this induces more hum than I like when standing close to the Laney - which I have to do because stage space is always crammed in an 11-piece band. It is possible to get the Laney to spit grit, but I don't use it for that, preferring grit free harmonic distortion which it does well. As the beastie is quite heavy I will be replacing it for stage use probably with a Victory 40 'Duchess' and a 2 x 10 cab. This is no fault of the Laney itself but only because I'm finding it difficult to load it into and out of the back of my hatchback in its flight-case! But I won't part with the Laney which has years of studio use ahead of it. If only 'Soul Rites' had roadies...!
    An update 7 months later: The handle starts to tear, so now I have to carry the amp lifting it up from sides with both hands. Which is actually more comfortable. Anyway, -1 for Reliability & Durability
    Ive owned my VC 212 for about 4 years and love it. I reckon its a cross between a Vox ac30 and a Fender twin.... really clean with loads of headroom on the clean channel like a Fender Twin. I didnt like the drive channel as much, as other reviewers have said - very punk/ Marshall/jagged, I replaced the pre-amp valves with a slightly less agressive version (sorry, cant remember the number)it became sweet and creamy. I wouldnt trade this amp for anything. Twice as reliable as a Vox - half the weight of a Fender Twin.