Price paid: £ 35
Purchased from: eBay
Features — 7
This is another version of Vox's popular AmPlug range, this time (somewhat oddly) based on a Fender Twin amp. For those who don't know, the AmPlug simply plugs into the input jack of your guitar and then plug your headphones into the unit and play away without annoying the better half.
The AmPlug is pretty straight forward. It has volume, tone and gain controls together with an on/off switch that can also be put into a third position which engages a chorus effect. There is then a headphones out socket and an aux in socket so you can plug your MP3 player in too, which is a nice touch. I personally would have preferred reverb over chorus and there are no dedicated controls for the chorus effect (rate, depth etc), it's either on or off. Still, its a nice bonus and the AmPlug is very straight forward. Plug it in and start playing.
Sound — 7
For the money, it sounds pretty good. No, it doesn't sound as good as a "real" amp but it would be unrealistic to expect something this inexpensive and this small to be able to replace your full size Fender Twin. I'm using a Gibson SG Special with this and it works really well. The clean channel is quite nice, if a little sterile. The gain is also usable, up to a point. Once it gets over about 7 though it does seem to get quite muddy. The chorus, although not that versatile, sounds surprisingly nice and is very usable. Vox seem to have found a nice middle ground whereby the chorus isn't too overbearing bit isn't overly subtle either. Again, a nice bonus. I don't plug this unit straight into my guitar, rather it goes int the output jack of the last pedal on my board. This approach works really well and pedals seem to work a treat with it.
One complaint I have about the AmPlug Twin is that it is quite bassy. Be prepared to re-EQ your dirt pedals and/or use the bridge pickup on your guitar. Even with the tone control set at max the AmPlug is still on the bassy side. Some people might like this but I personally prefer a brighter sound. As I said though, using the bridge pickup on my guitar seems address this issue. Using my pedals I can still get a very usable sound out of this.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have to admit, as much as I like the AmPlug, it does feel a little on the cheap side, quite "plasticky." I'm really not sure how much of a kicking it could take. Shouldn't be too much of an issue however, given that the vast majority of people will be using this exclusively at home. I wouldn't take it to a gig but, then again, I don't see any reason why anyone would. I haven't had the unit all that long so I guess time will tell on this one.
I would have been quite happy to pay a little extra (say £50 in total) for a unit that was slightly better built. I know Vox are aiming to make these things really affordable but I imagine most people would be happy to pay that bit extra for something that is built a little better. Saying that, its not actually as cheap feeling as I expected it to be. So long as you don't throw it at a wall or stand on it it should be fine.
Overall Impression — 8
I bought this having recently had a baby so practice in the evenings on my Marshall JCM2000 DSL50 was a no no. I considered many other options, namely the Line 6 Pod HD and the Zoom G3 for quiet practice. In the end I went with the Vox AmPlug Twin. It was by far the most inexpensive of the options and I really didn't need the extra effects offered by the alternatives, having a full pedal board set up already. There are plenty of people around moaning these AmPlugs don't sound exactly like the amp they are modelled on. Hardly surprising given their price and their size. For the money this is a great product and does the job I wanted it to do perfectly. No, it doesn't sound as good as my amp but for the money, these things are hard to beat.