Price paid: A$ 349
Purchased from: Shire Music Centre
Sound — 8
I own several guitars, both a variety of single coils and humbuckers. The main two guitars I use with this amp is an Ibanez RGA72QTMZ and a Squier Classic Vibe 50's Tele and both are truly voiced through this amp. Every guitar sounds different through it. I play a bit of everything, I will say my two main styles is fingerpicking/bluegrass and metal and this amp, surprisingly for a Vox, handles both amazingly. The clean channel offers a great sharp chickin' pickin' sound through the Tele and a raw, powerful distortion for the Ibanez. No noise at low volumes, except the normal hum from single coils on distortion. Cranked it does hum through feedback, but it's no different to any other amp. A noise gate effectively relieves this problem. The Bright channel activates the two band EQ (Treble and Bass) to get anything from a deep rich clean to twangy, crisp cleans. You can Drive this channel into some nice, classic crunch by pushing the Gain knob up and the volume down pushing into nice natural overdrive. Perfect for the blues and classic rocker. The thick channel is where it gets interesting. The two band EQ is deactivated on this setting and the result is a raw, powerful distortion. When the gains cranked up you get a lovely Mastodon, Isis, Neuorosis, etc type of tone. Gainy, raw, growling distortion. When an overdrive pedal is chucked in front of it it tightens up the low end and makes it a bit crisper, perfect for satchurated lead tones. Only concern is there is no way to get to clean but to roll your guitars volume back, nightmare for active pickup users. The clean sound naturally distorts at high volumes, but you if balance the Gain and the Volume the clean can remain solid at very high volumes.
Overall Impression — 8
As I said earlier I play a lot of different genres and I haven't needed a new amp in a year. I've been playing for four years now and own various effects pedals, having recently sold all of my distortion pedals because I loved the sound I got from this amp. All my questions were answered when I heard it. And when I found out it came as a pack I bought it on the spot. I would buy it again in a heartbeat. For someone looking for a small valve practice amp at home at an affordable price, look no further. I love the versatility regardless of it being a Vox, I love the look, the sound, the price and it's size. It's perfect for me as I live in a small rural area. The channel switching, lack of effects loop and mid control is a bit of a shame, however it's a small setback compared to what the amp is. My favourite feature is definitely the Thick setting. I've never heard anything like it on a small amp like this. I compared it to the AC4TV (which alot of people do) and found this to be a lot more versatile. Easier to get gain at low volumes as well.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Owned it for almost a year now without fault, so I would say it's reliable. Though I can't vouch for every amp out there, there's always going to be a dud in the batch no matter what. No service as been required yet, no valves replaced. It's functioning fine. Head is made of durable metal, protecting the delicate valves and transformer. Cabinet is durable, can't see it breaking down on me. Though as I said I wouldn't gig with it, only because of it's wattage not it's reliability.
Features — 7
The amp was built at the tail end of 2010 as well as the cab which is included in the whole bundle. For a 2 watt single channel amp, this thing is pretty versatile. I play anything from fingerpicking to Mastodon and the amp has a wide variety of tonal capabilities. Though for the regions of metal, an overdrive is essential. Incredibly simple layout, from left to right, Gain - Treble - Bass - Volume. There are two voicings which is accessed via a switch inbetween the Gain and Treble knobs, you can choose Bright and Thick which essentially acts as two channels, Clean and Crunch. Features that would be desirable on the amp would definitely be a footswitch to go from Bright and Thick, an effects loop and a mids control. But is a small price to pay for a good amp! I use this in my bedroom and wouldn't dream of gigging with it, 2 Watts valve is perfect for home. That lovely valve sound without the volume! Don't be fooled though, 2 watts valve is still quite loud and I use this as a recording amp as well which fits it perfectly. The amp comes as a package. The Head, 1x10 Cab (With a celestion speaker) and a good quality speaker lead comes all together in a neat little kit. Portable, storable and overall looks killer!