DA5 Review

manufacturer: Vox date: 10/24/2014 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Vox: DA5
The new DA5 Digital Amplifier from Vox delivers high-quality guitar tone in a portable, compact and affordable package. In addition to heavy good looks, the 5-watt DA5 boasts some killer digital sounds. Plus, the versatile DA5 offers battery power making it the best sounding, most versatile, truly portable guitar amp.
 Sound: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 9.1
 Reliability & Durability: 9.1
 Features: 8.9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (8) pictures (1) 34 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
DA5 Reviewed by: Guitar Freak 86, on june 26, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 180

Purchased from: Henri's Music

Features: This amp is good for any styles with it's style switcher, some styles that are on it are rock 'n' roll, rock, metal, blues, jazz, and almost any style possible. It includes a headphone jack that works very well, and extra jacks for multiple guitars. For features I would want I can say shouldn't be on it becuase of it's low price and it is a somewhat begginer amp. I wish there were more built in pedal effects, but it is good for begginers for sure! I love effects for a more rich sound. I never use the blues or Drive styles on the style switcher. I use this amp in my home and for practice, it has enough power for a meduim room and practice, not for on stage though. It can be switched onto.5 watts, 1 watt, or my sweet 5 watts, wich can be a lot of power. It has a stereo sound or a some what surround sound. Those are the features for my Vox DA-5 amp. // 10

Sound: The pickups I use are just plain Gibson pickups. For guitars I use a Gibson Epiphone, and a Gibson SG. It is incredibly when it comes to different styles and surly suites my style wich is rock to low metal not heavy. It is loud on crunch and the highgain setting, mostly in small to medium sized rooms. Wow, the variety of sounds is a ton with like 30 different varities from auto tremelo, delay, reverb, wah, chorus, flanger, and about 5 more. They can also be combined for richer sounds! The clean channel is not distorted at high volumes or low (unless you want it to be). The distortion can be low or high, how ever you want it to be with nice udjusting knobs. Overall the sound is awesome. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I think this amp has high durability, it won't break on you. It is made out of a Nasa material tough plastic and metal sound gate. I would use it in a gig becuase I know it wont break but I am not sure it would loud enough. If my gig is small it would the perfect amp for any small gig, practice, or a small family gig. My amp has never broken down, also becuase I don't treat it badly. Buy it, it will last. // 10

Overall Impression: I play rock and a little metal like Metallica's Enter Sandman. I think it is a wonderful match for this amp. I have played for about 3 years (self-taught) and I also am about to purchase full Marshall Amps and review them. Becuase this is so good I don't wish I would have asked anything before buying it. If I were to lose it or it gets stolen I would buy it back but I am going to purchase the Marshall amps, but other wise I would buy the Vox back. I love all the styles and sounds and effects you can make and the multiple jacks. I don't hate anything about it but my favorite feature is the effects switcher. I did not compare it to other amps becuase I just focus on the amp itself and realized how good it was. I wish it had nothing more becuase it is awesome. Please buy one, they rock! // 10

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overall: 9.3
DA5 Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 10, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 74.86

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: First off, this amp is just awesome. The Vox tone is just my favorite above all. It has 11 Effects, and a bypass. Depending on batteries, the life-time on batteries is fairly long (according to stats it lasts 3 hours on 5 Watts, but there is a switcher so it might last longer). It has a headphone jack (you might need a converter though), and it works very well. Has an Auxiliary in for MP3 play-a-longs. Controllable Master volume, tone and gain. // 9

Sound: It has a lot of different tones you can achieve, such has a High Gain with a lot of bass and another with one with more treble (there are three higains in total). 2 Clean Channels (Overall these are pretty good however it sounds distorted when the batteries are low but what doesn't right?), 3 Blues (which in my opinion for pretty awesome as well, perfect for those Jimi Hendrix songs), 2 Crunch (I don't generally use these, but they're very good for stuff like Deep Purple, and the 3 Higains (I prefer the first because it sounds more metal for me) and last but not least a Overdrive (Sounds great for hard rock, and does wonders for Guns N' Roses. 11 Effects The Reverb is outstanding, I use it for everything The Delay is perfect for Tears Don't Fall - BMFV Rotary is a little wild sounding, but very cool The Tremolo is overall ok The Flanger is crazy sounding, its just plain and simple awesome. Auto Wah is alright I wouldn't use it legitimately. The rest is pretty awesome, just wanted to point those out. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Honestly I'd use this to take on trips with me and to bring to school. The batteries are my biggest concern. The speaker looks easy enough to replace. It has a, what feels like, a steel guard over the speaker so it protects it. I wouldn't exactly gig with it however. // 9

Overall Impression: This is just everything I was expecting, and hoping for so I am extremely satisfied with the quality and abilities this amp has to offer. I play Metal, Alternative, Hard Rock, Country, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Abstract Sounding stuff. Suits me very well. Only had it for about 3 days, and even brought it to school all of my friends like it, even want one. I compared this to a Micro Spider, Roland Micro Cube, and an Orange Mini. None could compare to this amp. // 10

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overall: 9.5
DA5 Reviewed by: bluemoon05, on april 04, 2007
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 183

Purchased from: Harker & Howarth

Features: I bought this amp around 4 months ago and it has been a great acquisition for me. I like to play indie rock and things like Oasis and the three different hi-gain options all having their original sound also there are crunch options and nicer softer options. It has 11 different 'style' options and a lot of effects to go along with it. It also has a headphone jack which is very useful when you are living with other people. There aren't really any features I wish this amp had, it is everything I need, and for 100 it is great value. // 10

Sound: I am using this amp with my Fender Mexican Strat and it works very well with it. This combination works perfectly me it can provide some great hi-gain for the solos I want to play and the softer settings also sound superb. In my own house I have only ever turned it up to full volume, full gain once and it nearly blew my ears off. I never have the need to turn it up to more than one-quarter of the volume it has. For such a small it packs one hell of a voice. One aspect that some may not be happy about is the distortion can never become that 'heavy', I don't find this a problem because I do not play metal music but some Who like metal may not like this amp. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This amp is very durable I have never had to service it and it is fine. It has been dropped a number of times and still doesn't show any signs of me having done so. The amp has never broken down on me whether I was using it on mains power or on battery power. It is a very reliable amp, I would definitely play a gig without a backup. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp has been great ever since I bought it and has worked perfectly for me, I have been playing for 9 months and also own a Fender strat, as I mentioned before, it works well with this guitar. I love the hi-gain and crunch features; they have a wide range of sounds to work with. The only thing I dislike is the inclusion of the 'drive' sound; it seems like a pointless add-on. My favourite feature is the tremolo which sounds superb on the hi-gain settings. If it were stolen or lost I would save up and buy it again, it is just such a top quality amp. It was between this and Roland Micro Cube for a practice amp, I had played the Micro Cube at my Guitar Teacher's house and it doesn't come close to the Vox DA5. I chose this amp because of all the great features and it was a great choice. // 10

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overall: 9
DA5 Reviewed by: dzaerpoor, on march 26, 2008
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 140

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This amp is somewhat versatile. It has 11 amp settings with eleven effects. I'm not going to list them all out because you can look them up but they are pretty good. Mainly I use clean 1 and Hi-Gain 1 because they sound the best to me. They are pretty adjustable by the tone and gain knob. It has 11 effects which are all pretty good. They have tap tempo and an effect "intensity" knob. It is really loud when turned all the way up and the guy at the store said it sounds a lot more like 15 watts. // 8

Sound: I'm using a standard hss strat and it has pretty good overall control. It has a lot less hum when using it with the bridge and middle pickups. it's a pretty versatile amp overall. The high gain settings can be noisy but you wont hear it when playing. Pretty good distortion. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This amp probably isnt loud enough for gigs (large ones) but it could play in a small cafe. It seems realiable though I've only had it for a week or two. It is reliable though. It has a strap attached on it to make is easy to carry and it seems very strong. It would probably withstand a few drops. // 10

Overall Impression: This is a pretty good overall amp for me, it's my first amp. If it were stolen I would get a better amp for an upgrade but in a budget I would get a Roland microcube. It has a amp models but the DA5 has more effects. Depends what you want. In this price range I would go for this amp, a microcube, or a Epiphone Valve Junior. The DA5 and microcube are excellent practice amps but no more. // 9

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overall: 7.5
DA5 Reviewed by: jtbull, on june 30, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 95

Features: I do not know when the amp was made, but it was made in vietnam. There are several built in effects including reverb, phaser, tremelo, wah, flanger, chorus, most of the effects have 2 going at a time such as chorus+delay, flanger+delay. You turn a knob to select the effect you want you can't really chose the combos you want like you could not choose chorus and flanger. The flanger and reverb effects are decent. It is 5 or 10 watts and has 2 clean tones, 3 blues tones, a couple crunch tones, three high gain tones and a overdrive tone. It also can be used just with batteries but I have not tried this yet. // 7

Sound: IT sounds decent. I am using a 1991 Peavey Tracer and a 1994 Hamer totally stock. The distortions sound pretty good not super but good especially for the begininer. The effects sound decent but I prefer to have more control over my effects. I have found it to be very noisy when you try to connect effect pedals because it only has one channel and you need to select a gain on that channel so when you go to distortion with your pedal it sounds a bit hazy but mostly while you are holding it. It still sounds good during the actual playing. There is not much in the way of an EQ. You just get a tone control and gain control along with the volume. // 7

Reliability & Durability: It seems to be built pretty good I have not had to fool with it and it is pretty sturdy. It appears that it will take one or two drops without a major problem. It also can be used with a CD plug in and you can put a mic in the back and sing along. // 9

Overall Impression: I am mostly into classical and older '80s metal (Motley Crue and Kiss) it is a decent match for me. I did not pay top dollar for it. At the price I paid it was a good deal. I think that at $100 you could find a used Peavey, Crate, or Randall with some reverb and worry about the other effects later. The other thing is that I really like to control my distortion with pedals. // 7

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overall: 8.8
DA5 Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 03, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 80

Purchased from: PMT

Features: Great choice of effects and the choice to use battery powered. A choice I've never taken up but could come in handy. I can play any style of music with the amp and is great for my favourite style - indie. For me the only downfall is that you can't manually change the bass, treble and middle levels of the amp to change it's built in styles to your taste. The built in effects are as good as I've heard in an amp with although I've never really used the auto-wah due to my personal preference. // 9

Sound: I use a telecaster with double Fender pick ups. I like the amp as it can produce a range of different styles from sweet clean to dirty distortion. I only use the amp in my room so the 5watts is just fine, most of the time I take up the option to use the amp as a 1.5W amp. At high volumes the sound produced is just as good as low volumes. However, personally I find the clean channel is to bass filled and lacking treble. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've had the amp a couple of years and it the quality of it is just as good now as when I got. However 2 years is nothing. The amp isn't difficult to maintain. It just needs a wipe every now and again. I have don't use the amp for a gig as it lacks the volume to fill a room and I prefer the fresh sound of an amp rather than one through a mic. Saying this I take the amp to all of my gigs as backup to my Fender frontman and I'm fairly positive it would perform if needed. The amp came ready to play from the box, (without the inclusion of a battery) // 9

Overall Impression: For rock, indie, and a mix of everything else this amp sound brilliant. For the 7 years I've been playing this has been my favourite amp - by far. Before buying the amp I was looking at my friends Roland Micro Cube amp but I'm glad I bought this as it sounds - and looks, so much better. I would definitely buy the amp again if it got lost or broke. I wish it gave me the choice of altering the bass, treble and middle volumes but apart from that it's great. // 9

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overall: 7.8
DA5 Reviewed by: GuitarTom1995, on september 27, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 70

Purchased from: Local music shop

Features: There are plenty of affordable practice amplifiers on the market, but with eleven built-in effects and styles, Vox's DA5 may well be the most impressive and versatile. It certainly backs a punch for what it is, with an unbelievable range of sounds, and a "tap" button helps you refine your tone by setting the delay time or modulation speed. The DA5 can be powered by its AC adapter or by six C batteries; there is a built-in output power switch (5W, 1.5W and 0.5W) to help extend battery life by play at lower volumes. You can connect external audio devices such as CDs or an MP3 player, while the combination line/headphone output can link up to headphones, mixers or recorders. // 8

Sound: Using the equally versatile and great value Yahama Pacifica 15V, it suits all my need, from impressive clean sounds to blues and heavy overdrives. There are eleven different "styles" to select, while the effects to compliment them are as follows: auto-wah, chorus + delay, chorus + reverb, compressor, compressor + chorus, compressor + phaser, delay, flanger + reverb, reverb, rotary + reverb, and tremolo + reverb. Some obviously sound more impressive than others, but you can't really complain about the overall package. If you want an "Appetite for Destruction" era Slash tone, even just to mess around with "Sweet Child O' Mine", try this out: Style: HIGAIN1 Gain: 11 o'clock Tone: 1 o'clock Master: preferably as loud as possible! Effects: reverb EDIT1: 1 o'clock // 8

Reliability & Durability: It hasn't broken down for me yet, and doesn't look like it's about to either! I wouldn't particularly recommend it for gigging with, but only because of its size and power. If you're out busking or jamming, though, the DA5 is a very reliable and impressive amp. // 7

Overall Impression: Playing a variety of music, but mainly classic to modern rock, this suits me very well for home use and practicing. I'm not a hugely serious musician - it's just a hobby for me - and am glad I got the DA5. I initially looked at the Vox 15R Pathfinder, but the built-in effects and price swayed me. When buying the DA5, the only real difference between it and more expensive amps I looked (aside from price) was the power and size. The basic tones aren't too different to what I was getting from amps almost two or three times as much. My only regret is the design. The shop didn't have the Vox Classic design, only the less aesthetically pleasing black with a chrome grill. Looks obviously aren't too important, but they go some way into your overall impression of an amp. Other than that, I can't pick too many flaws in the DA5. Well done Vox! // 8

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overall: 9.8
DA5 Reviewed by: ggrechen, on october 24, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 109

Purchased from: Music Store

Features: I have been playing this nice little amp for 3 years now, used it for weekly band rehearsals, at home for practice and even gigged it several times via line-out through a pa. The Music Store guy recommended this model to me, because it is so versatile and sounds great at bedroom levels, the staff was using it all the time to try out new guitars without blowing the whole store apart.

- Bought new in 2011
- 0,5 / 1 / 5 watts switch
- sounds great at bedroom levels
- sounds ok when pushed to compete with a pretty loud drummer
- sounds crap when pushed to maximum volume
- line/headphone-out (disables speaker)
- aux-in
- mic-in + separate volume control
- power supply included, also runs on batteries
- ultra-lightweight 4,2kg (9.3lbs) including batteries
- controls: gain, tone, master volume, effect volume, effect speed
- advanced controls: noise cancelling etc. 
- sounds really good with pedals

+ 11 amp styles, unofficially based on the following models, says the interwebs:

  • Clean 1: Dumble 100w head (clean channel)
  • Clean 2: Fender 'Blackface' Twin Reverb (clean channel) 2x12
  • Blues 1: Fender Bassman 1959 4x10
  • Blues 2: Vox AC15 (Channel 2 / 1962)
  • Blues 3: Vox AC30 Top Boost
  • Crunch 1: Marshall Plexi 1969 100w head (high treble channel)
  • Crunch 2: Marshall JCM800 1983 100w head
  • Higain 1: Marshall JCM2000 DSL100 head (hi-gain channel)
  • Higain 2: Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier 150w (modern high gain channel)
  • Higain 3: Soldano SLO100 Head 1991 100w (hi-gain channel)
  • Drive: Dumble Overdrive Special 100w head (overdrive channel)
Those give a rough idea of what character of sound to expect. Of course NONE of the models actually sounds like the real thing, and nobody should expect that from a modeler in this price range. Vox is wise to not even name any actual models in the manual but instead describes the sound. You can check it out here (or google Vox DA5 manual).

+ Effects, those are all available settings:
  • Auto Wah
  • Comp
  • Comp+Phaser
  • Comp+Chorus
  • Chorus+Delay
  • Chorus+Reverb
  • Flanger+Reverb
  • Tremolo+Reverb
  • Rotary+Reverb
  • Delay
  • Reverb
// 10

Sound: I mostly play alternative rock like The White Stripes, Foo Fighters. I really like the Blues 1 (Bassman-style) setting with my Fender Strat single-coils in pickup positions 2 (bridge + middle) and 4 (middle + neck). I use those settings for a nice clean sound and add distortion / solo boost with pedals: Big Muff / Jackhammer / Bad Monkey. The amp takes pedals like a charm. Sounds really good as long as you don't push the volume too hard.

When I have no pedals at hand, I also dig the Crunch 2 (Marshall-style) setting. My bandmate plays the same amp with a Les Paul (humbuckers) and loves the Clean 2 (Fender Twin) setting, also boosting with a Bad Monkey.

Every setting sounds really diverse and has it's right to be there.

  • The clean settings are pretty touch-sensitive and react nicely to your playing, but you WILL notice the difference to a good tube amp. Don't expect to get super-punchy response to your picking or a fat, powerful lower-end in your sound. Mids and highs are delivered fairly good though.
  • At bedroom-level, the sound is great. 
  • Yes you can compete with a fairly loud acoustic rock-drummer, the sound is still ok. Not like 'wow that sounds great' but still fun.
  • Yes you can use it in band rehearsals with 2 guitars, a bass, 2 singers and acoustic drums. Been doing that for years now. IF you keep the volume at sensible levels aka no ear protection required. If your band is *really* loud - get a different amp.
  • Yes you could still hear yourself over a madly loud drummer (tried that just for laughs) - no it will not sound good and be no fun at all. If your bandmate plays a stack, get a stack. When pushed to its maximum, the DA5 gets absurldy lout for its size but sounds terrible. No suprises there.
  • You can NOT gig this amp UNLESS you plug it into the pa, which sounds surprisingly good with the headphone-out directly into the mixer. Not like a properly mic'd tube amp, but good enough to get compliments on your tone after a show. If you do this, you must rely on monitoring boxes, the speaker is silent when line/phone is connected. Yes, call me crazy for doing that - and I am aware of the limitations - it works. PS: your ego may or may not allow to do this on stage - it does look a bit ridiculous, thats for sure. It SOUNDS good though. ;)
The effects all sound fairly good to me, but I'm not an effects guy. I do really like the reverb and always use a little (10 o'clock). The tremolo also sounds very nice, I like to use it on a few songs (has tap tempo). // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've been transporting it for 3 years every few days to band rehearsals. I even gigged it, I carried it through a rainstorm ... a few times I took it with me on my bike to play in the meadow. Please go ahead and try that with a Vox AC30. Well, don't. Everything still works just as fine as the day I bought it. That's as reliable as it gets. Same with my bandmate's DA5 who bought it 1 year later, he only managed to break off one of the pins holding the carrying handle. His fault, not the amp's ;) // 10

Overall Impression: The DA5's purpose is not to be your signature sound amp, definitely none of the many sounds it offers can really compete head to head with a decent tube amp, but who would expect that? This is probably the best truly portable amp and offers outstanding value for the little money it costs. It sounds much better and is much louder than you would expect from its looks and price.

At several times I got the chance to directly compare it so several other small practice amps and none sounded nearly as good as the DA5, just two examples I remember vividly: Mega Amp Vl-10, Harley Benton HB-10G. I would buy it again immediately if it ever broke. The sound is really good, very versatile, all the features are easy to use and the whole package is tons of fun. // 10

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