Price paid: $ 349.99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
I've spent over 100 hours with the 11 models and the effects. I really think all 11 are usable models but every guitarist has a tone that they're looking for. I really think no matter what you like you could find it with this amp. I've used it with single coil and humbucker guitars. Even mexi-strats and epi les pauls. Both guitars sound great with this amp. As I said before the tube really gets used on this thing. You can here it in the clean channel which, especially with a strat, gets really chimey tube tone. The array of overdriven models get that thick creamy overdriven tube tone. You know what I'm talking about. By the way, don't forget, this thing costs less than $400. Will this sound just like a high end Marshall, Fender, Mesa, or even Vox? No. Of course not. With that said, I could record some demos right now using this $350 amp and a $2500 Marshall JVM and I guarantee you wouldn't know the difference. Would I recommend you don't buy the Marshall? Of course not. It's the king. The thing is, if you're reading this and considering the Vox Valvetronix then you're not in the market for a Marshall anyway. At this cost you'd be comparing this to Marshall and Fender's solid state stuff and it blows those away. Not even close.
Overall Impression — 9
I play blues, blues rock, southern rock, classic rock, and classic metal. I play SRV, Hendrix, Cream, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Metallica, Pantera, Ozzie (Randy and Zakk), Rush. In other words, a wide array of music. I have been satisfied with the tones I can find on this amp from Pride and Joy through Master of Puppets. Have I reminded you lately that this thing costs $350?! At under $400 I really don't think this amp has a competitor. I haven't found one. It's not a high end tube amp but if $400 is your budget you will not be disappointed with this amp. I will always own one.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's actually got some durability features I love. No pesky cloth on the front that can get easily ripped when you're dragging it around. You know what I mean. The metal grate is built like a tank. Every corner comes with a thick plastic protector. That is very nice as well. I haven't had any problems with it and I've used it as much as I can. I'd say 3-4 hours per day, 4-6 days per week. No problems yet.
Features — 8
In each category the first, and most important, point I'll reiterate is that this amp only costs $349.99. The features are really good. 11 amp models that are all above average, you can find a usable tone on each. No throw-aways like some of the modeling amps with 32 or 64 models. The EQ changes with each model. You can save two of your tones. 3 if you count manual mode. A great feature of the 50-watt model is the closed back. A lot of people underestimate how much that improves the sound quality of combo amps. Much better than open back amps. That's the reason I bought the 50 watt'er instead of the 100 (open back). Now the effects. The really nice thing about these is that you get 3 parameters for each one. That's way better than Line 6. Each effect is very tweakable. The value here is that none of these are throw-aways either. This makes them usable. Now the tube. The great thing Vox did here was not make the tube a throw-away like Marshall did with the AVT. Vox uses it in the pre and power amp depending on your chosen model. The Valvetronix is the only hybrid amp to do that. It makes a world of difference. Bonus feature: Power setting on the back allows you to keep amp volumes (channel and master) cranked up but cuts the power. You can set it from 1-50 watts. I've really liked that. 50 tube watts is way too loud for the house. My only disappointment with features is you can store only two tones and the footswitch isn't included. It'll run you $30 and I recommend you get one. Button 1 switches between your two stored channels and button 2 toggles the effects on and off. A great feature is that Vox lets you Switch button two to toggle manual mode on and off. That way you can set your manual settings on another tone you like then the footswitch basically gives you 3 channels of stored settings. If you need more than three channels for any show then you're playing in a cheesy cover band and you should quit right away.