Pathfinder 15R review by Vox

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  • Features: 7
  • Sound: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (79 votes)
Vox: Pathfinder 15R

Purchased from: Online

Features — 7
Standard single channel solid state combo with three channel equalisation, gain control, tremolo, reverb and boost switch. Very lightweight with single 8" Vox Bulldog speaker. Black Tolex finish with signature Vox grille-cloth. Good selection of jacks on the rear with line-out, headphones, extension speaker and footswitch (no effects loop). The Jacks have plastic mounting rings/nuts which concerned me, but unlike some of my Fenders, have never failed. Surprisingly decent volume level for such a lightweight amplifier but only suitable for the smallest of live venues.

Sound — 8
Compared to other budget lightweight solid state combos, this is a no-brainer. The drive stage is pretty warm and natural for transistors and the reverb is great. I mainly play early Japanese (JV) Fenders and look for that chimey-twang but gravitate towards a more mellow tone with less aggressive highs. My Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is perfect for that, but the Pathfinder is also excellent. I have to tweak the eq substantially to suit different rooms (more so than the Fender), but that's part of the fun. I like the tremolo but rarely use it. I have tried plenty of other budget combos and none have come close.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I would have perhaps given this a low score on first impressions, but I have been using these for years now including tossing them in the back seat of the car, jamming leads and pedals in the speaker cavity and generally handling them pretty roughly. There's barely even any nicks in the Tolex, and they are structurally a sound as ever. I am going to try piggybacking two of them together to see if they will handle small-scale live work. One in each hand will be easier to lug than a single heavy tube amp.

Overall Impression — 9
The one I'm using was made in Vietnam. I don't know if that's where they are all made, but I have bought 3 and they have been universally well made and consistent in sound. I have been playing for 30 years. Started out with a Fender Bandmaster piggyback tube amp (ex Dingoes) in my teens and have since had a Twin Reverb, a couple of Roland JC120s and a tweed Fender Deville (2x12) among others. I prefer the sound of Vox and Fender to the sound of Marshalls for my playing style. Currently I use a USA Fender Hot Rod Deluxe for live work and the Pathfinders for work and home. The 15R is absurdly good value for money. It's super-lightweight, has a beautiful responsive sound - for single coils in particular, and is so cheap, I can have one at home and one at work (for noodling in my lunch hour). The third one I bought as a gift.

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