Price paid: $ 799
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I play mostly blues and classic rock, with frequent forays into modern rock, alternative, and Indie, and less frequent forays into jazz. This amp can cover all of them. As has been frequently stated, it's not especially good for super-high-distortion metal, but I get a pretty decent Rage Against The Machine and System Of A Down tone out of it. The AC30 and Bassman models are perfect for classic rock and blues. All these tones come from the use of a double-humbucker Les Paul Studio. The VT series of amplifiers has 11 amp models, the VTX has 16, which of course lends more versatility. Vox models some of their own amps (AC15s and AC30s), Marshalls (Plexi, JTM 45, JCM 800, 900, 2000), Fenders (Bassman, Twin, others), as well as the Peavey Recto, a Soldano, and a few others. Given such a range of models, just about any sound can be had from this amp. The Peavey model gets high distortion (RATM and SOAD), and the Fender models can give those famous Fender cleans, or at least a good imitation. And yes, it has a solid-state preamp, so the valve elitists will never believe it gets good tone, but it does. It's not all-valve tone, that I will grant, but it's a fair good imitation. Onboard are also plenty of effects. There are stompbox models, complete with Tubescreamer, ProCo Rat, compressor, univibe, and others. There are also three types of reverb, tremolos, delays, and modulations (flanger, chorus, etc). A built in noise-reducer helps clean up the buzz, which is programmed into the amp model: the Peavey has more buzz than the Bassman.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I believe this is a good amp for those of us Who don't gig frequently (if at all), and Who have diverse styles of music. Yes, you can buy an all-valve combo for the price. Yes, it will do that coveted all-valve tone better than the Vox. But without investing in a bunch of pedals, it won't be as versatile. And since the preamp is solid-state, you can get all the distortion you want at quiet volumes, since not all of us gig. It, to my mind, has the best combination of tone and versatility.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I would gig without a backup with this amp. I've never had any problems with the functioning; that is, the actual amplification of the guitar. I did have some trouble with buzzing, however, and I know some other UGers did as well. The cabinet would resonate at low A (or Bb, for some), and there would be a mechanical buzzing sound. This isn't a problem with the amplifier or speaker, so it wouldn't effect adversely the sound from a listener's standpoint. You can only hear it from close up. But I took it to a shop and had them take a look, and I think everything got sorted out.
Features — 10
Like the other Valvetronix amps, the AD60VTX is a modeller with a solid-state preamp and valve poweramp (this is how it is; if anyone tells you the preamp is valve, they're mistaken). A great feature of the VTX series over the VT is the memory. As far as I know, the VTs can only store two presets. The VTX stores thirty-two. It comes pre-loaded with tones designed to imitate famous guitarists or songs, with mixed success (Clapton's "Badge" tone is right on. The Led Zeppelin tone, not so much). Each of the thirty-two presets can be tweaked or erased, so you can save tones you particularly like. The amp also has a power-selection Switch. You can choose among 60, 30, 15, or 1 watt, so you can get that valve poweramp distortion without the full force of 60 watts. There is an effects loop, headphone jack, output jacks for attaching cabs, and two inputs, high and low impedance.