Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I bought this amp because its the best sounding modeler on high gain settings. There is no noise to be heard, except on a few of the effects, which is to be expected. The amp does clean ok, but it doesn't really have a lot of sounds you can make with it as theres only one clean model. It has little headroom, probably because its 15 watts. The distortion, however, is surprisingly thick and natural sounding when used correctly. It can get a convincing Master of Puppets tone with some tweakage. Sadly, a good bit of the models are not useful as they sound digital and fizzy on anything heavier than "The Trooper". However, the Vypyrs I've played don't get tones as good, and I doubt any of the other modelers could. Bottom line, this amp is not amazing sounding, but it beats its competition in terms of tone.
Overall Impression — 8
If you want a modeler that sounds the best rather than has the most features, the Vox Valvetronix line is for you. If you play mainly metal, the Valvetronix XL series is for you. This is was my first and is my only amp, so I don't have a huge point of reference. If I somehow lost it, I would probably save up for a smaller tube amp rather than buy another modeler. This amp sounds great for Metallica-ish stuff, but for extreme gain, the tone reminds me of an MG (which is bad). Also, 1 or 2 more clean models would have been nice. I also played several Vypyrs, but I chose the Vox because it sounded better. If you want a small modeler that does high gain well, get this.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Mine stays in its spot in my room 99% of time, and it only leaves for lessons (all of which have been at my house) and recording to my PC. It does this without problems, and I doubt it will have problems ever with this. I wouldn't be afraid of it breaking down on the road or at a gig, but it isn't loud enough to even keep up with a drummer cleanly. You should take my rating with a grain of salt because I never push it.
Features — 8
Mine was made in 2008. It has 11 amp models and 11 effects, with speed and amount controls. Unlike most of the modelers, it has a single tube in the power amp. 3 band EQ, gain control, volume control, and master volume. As the name would suggest, its 15 tube-powered watts, plenty for loud bedroom practice. It has a 10 inch Vox speaker and it runs at 8 ohms. There's footswitch and recording outs on the back. I would imagine the footswitch adds several features, but I've never seen one used and can't really comment on it. Nice features, but I would expect a modeler to have these.