Price paid: $ 499
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
Amazing sound. Can be crystal clear, or straight up raunchy. I put JJ tubes in the preamp and it has made a ton of difference. So much that on the normal channel I can get an impressive amount of gain with my Ibanez RG2EX with passive EMG style pickups on the bridge settings. The Celestion is an amazing speaker and has a smooth but husky tone. This is my first tube amp and if most tube amps sound like this, then I'm never going back to solid state. I can play speaking level tones in the normal channel and get good crunch with my Big Muff Pi pedal. When I do crank it up, I just love the pure sound of tube crunch with a touch of overdrive on my pedal. The highs come out very sharply so I turn down the tone on my guitar and crank the treble down to about 10:00.
Overall Impression — 9
Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Black Keys, Phish. The Vox works great with these styles and a fuzz or distortion pedal. I've only been playing for 1-1/2 years, and I probably spoiled myself with this amp, but I've had solid state amps that I just couldn't bond with already. Even though I'm a beginning guitarist, I'm an experienced musician and have an ear for the good stuff. I love the looks of the Vox, old school ya know, but I can totally take it in a blues or hard rock direction. The price was right, and I would probably get another one, or the AC15C2 which adds another greenback. The only thing holding me back is that I did replace the weak sounding AX7's, and that I had to go back and get another amp. Can I give it a 9-1/2?
Reliability & Durability — 6
For all of my ooh-ing and ahh-ing of the sound, I have to report that I did return the first one I purchased. It had a terrible rattle in a few places on the amp, and the tubes were rattling (sounded like a hiss) that was super annoying. Also had a noise when I adjusted the volume. Went back to GC, got a brand new one that they just opened out of the box, and all of those issues disappeared. Rock solid, just wish it came like that the first time. I don't gig (guitars anyways... I'm a 25 year vet on the drums though!) but I would have to bring a backup. True story: Went to see U2 in Michigan at MSU last year and, sure enough, after a few songs they had to replace one of Edge's AC30's!
Features — 8
It has the reverb, tremelo, top boost, normal channel, bass, treble, master volume, foot switch input, ext. Speaker, Celestion G12 Greenback 12" speaker. It's built like the proverbial tank. Weighs around 50 lbs. Comes with three AX7's in the pre amp and two EL84 power tubes. I have read these give the Vox the infamous "chimey" tone. They are Chinese made tubes. Going to shoot for 8 on the features, because of the lack of footswitchable channels, middle EQ knob, each knocking off a demerit. It has 15 watts, but I only play this in my basememt, and therefore is plenty loud. I usually don't have it above 1:00 setting on master volume on the top boost channel (top boost volume maxed out), but probably around 2:00 on the normal channel.