Purchased from: Gak.co.uk
Sound — 10
There really is not much room for improvement with this amp. Considering the price, and the fact that it isn't full tube, the sounds are extremely satisfying. The clean/light bluesy gain sounds really do emulate a valve amp of old, and the distortion, even though it may not satisfy the most hardcore Godsmack fans, is indeed very decent. The only time it gets 'noisy' it with headphones, and theres not much point in that anyway, seeing as it has the adjustable output wattage. This means that unless you are very picky the noise reduction is not really necessary to use. The music styles I play range from old and new blues (B.B. King, Clapton, Hendrix, etc.) to Joe Satriani and Metallica, but also Jazz, like Pat Metheney etc. This amp can pretty much nail all of those, especially the Hendrix tones like you can find on a Vox AC-30> I was surprise at the level of quality of the Hard rock and classic rock settings, a little like Satriani's tone, but like Led Zep. and AC/DC, the crunch comes across like a wall of sound. Harmonics also come off easily. My guitar is an Ibanez Radius, with a S/S/H pickup configuration. It may be useful to take note that, although on this guitar, there is next to NO noise on the neck single coil, on my old Ibanez, which cost me 180, there was a lot of hum, so bare that in mind. The humbuckers pose no problem for noise / fuzzy-ness, unless they are really bottom of the pile.
Overall Impression — 10
Pretty great match for my style of music (see 'Sound'), with pleasing gain settings and beautiful cleans acclaimed to Vox so often. I have been playing for five years now, and I have two other amps, which are both very poor: a Fender Frontman 15G and a Marshall Micro-stack (4W), and this owns them all. I did extremely extesive research before buying this amp, so know a lot about it, so I got what I expected, just a very versatile and great sounding amp. The cliche question merits the cliche answer: If it were lost or stolen, I would get another, just because it suites my very well. I don't hate very much about it except the fact that it kinda messes up when you are using headphones, although this could just be my headphones, so don't take that too much to heart. I love the sound and the capibilities it has, although I wouldn't mind more channels that I could save, but you can't have everything! I really do think that it is the best in its price range, it beats the Line 6 Spider II hands down. And although it doesn't quite compare to a Marshall JMP-1 overall, I think there are certain things that you learn to like personally about this amp that do beat it, but those things are very much to do with the player. I chose this amp on recommendation, and 'the people' were right, if you don't have much cash, or just aren't rich enough to afford a real tube amp, but want something so close to the sound, then this is it methinks. Very good indeed.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I think it is built very solidly, with a metal grate covering the speaker, and a casing all the way around that does not feel in any way flimsy, I would gig it without a backup. Not much else to say here, although I have heard that the input jack falls into the amp sometimes, but if you know this then you can tighten if when you get it, to prevent this problem.
Features — 9
To be quite honest, I was very dubious when I heard the sound samples on the Vox website. I was wrong. It has 11 amp models to choose from, ranging from the bluesy Black 2X12 clean-ish model to the bassy and crunchy 'Nu-metal' setting, all of which are pretty excellent. It also has 11 different effects, that (basically) include: Chorus, compression, flanger, reverb, delay, rotary speaker, tremolo and phaser. Although these are not the best effects you've ever heard, there is no doubting that it helps the player to have the effects on hand when needed, to stop you faffing around with a pedal board or batteries. It is 50W, which, even though people are always going on about 150W etc. is really pretty loud, and with adjustable output wattage on Celestion speakers, you can always Drive the tubes as hard os you want on full volume, without the decibel level to go with it. It has a headphone jack, external speaker out (very good), and a footswitch out. It also has two channels for you to store the best sounds you find, which is nice, so you don't have to fiddle around for ages with the buttons etc. There is one tube in the amplifier, which helps to get that beautiful glassy sound of Hendrix or Clapton, but also the roaring distortion of bands like AC/DC and even Metallica. Extremely versatile.