Valvetronix VT40+ review by Vox

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  • Sound: 4
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 6.5 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.9 (53 votes)
Vox: Valvetronix VT40+
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Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 4
I've played a few different guitars through this amp, my main one being an Ibanez RG3EXFM1 with a duncan distortion pickup set. Here's where the amp falls apart. I don't know if I just got one with a bad speaker or something but I really can't find a single one of those 33 models that really sounds good. The cleans all sound fairly anemic and the distortion amp models mostly sound very muddy. I bought this amp to play metal, ska, and punk rock. The cleans weren't bright enough for ska but were passable. I did manage to find one metal amp model that was alright, still a bit muddy but doable (the AC30 red model). This amp is completely hopeless for a Marshall type punk tone, everything is either way too clean or too distorted. Overall this amp sounds quite terrible on most of the models. I spent a lot of times frustratedly trying to dial in a good setting to no avail, and plenty of other times where I stopped practicing or practiced unplugged because of how much I disliked my tone. My standards aren't high really, right now I'm using a Marshall MG15CDR I paid $40 for (an amp commonly accepted to be trash) with an Ibanez Tubescreamer for punk rock and ska and that gets the job done infinitely better. The Valvetronix series gets a lot of acclaim on the forums and reviews and stuff but for all that, I think mine sounds awful and everyone I know who has tried mine agrees with me completely. I've tried others at stores to see if I just got a bad speaker, they all sound exactly the same.

Overall Impression — 5
I play a lot of thrash metal, punk rock and ska. This amp, while it should be able to do all of those with the insane amounts of combinations of models and pedal effects it has, can't do any of them well enough to be worthwhile. I've been playing for about a year now but I bought this amp when I was just starting out and giddy to own any amp that had enough distortion to not need me to use my Boss ST-2 distortion pedal. I bought it because I wanted a Peavey Vypyr tube or Peavey 6505+ Combo but didn't have the money and felt my skills didn't justify such an expensive amp. I'm correcting that now by selling this amp and putting the money in my 6505+ 112 fund. If it was stolen I would be annoyed that I lost something worth money but would not care otherwise. I have not touched this amp in months and the only reason I still have it is that I haven't found a buyer yet.

Reliability & Durability — 7
This amp seems fairly reliable, I've given mine a fair amount of knocks and abuse (carried it to band practice twice a week on public transportation) and besides a few scuff marks on the corners there's been no effects. The knobs and the casing both seem indestructible. I wouldn't gig this amp without a backup because I wouldn't gig it in the first place, but I would expect it to do alright, provided I just used one setting for the show. The reason I give this section a 7 is because of a few quirks related to the sound. This amp is a bit strange because changing the eq or the gain doesn't seem to take effect except when you turn it on/off. So say I decide to scoop my mids halfway through band practice I need to turn it on and off for that to take effect. This was frustrating before I figured it out because it felt like my eq changes were doing nothing. The amp also changes stompboxes/effects slowly by cycling through them. Again, the solution to get it to work right away is turning the amp on and off.

Features — 10
This is the strong point of this amp. 33 amp models from super clean to brutal Soldano and Peavey 6505 models, piles of stompboxes and pedal effects, 3 types of reverb, programmable banks for your settings, and everything else you can possibly imagine. If it sounded good this would be a great all in one amp for a beginner because of the huge amount of versatility it gives you at a low cost. My favorite feature is the headphone output, this amp has an actual headphone jack. Unlike other amps, you just take your headphones and plug straight into the top or take an aux cable and plug it into your computer and you're ready to record. Easy and convenient.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    MaggaraMarine
    MaggaraMarine wrote: Mr E Meat, I agree with your review. We had a VT30 at our band practice place and the sounds were pretty bad. Cleans were boring, distortions were muddy and bassy. And of course the effects were pretty bad but built in effects are always pretty bad. I don't get the hype. I even think that Marshall MG that we had at the same practice place sounded better. It sounded more like a real amp. This just sounded fake. I agree with you completely.
    I knew all the Vox fanboys started to hate me when I said this But really, the distortion sounds had huge amounts of background hiss and sounded muddy. I tried to tweak them but didn't get anything that I liked. Cheap digital amps are not for me. They sound boring and fake. The Marshall MG had more "presence" than the VT30. Not saying that MG was good but I actually preferred it, maybe because of its simple sound. Go try a tube amp and then try the VT (or any digital amp in the same price range) again. You'll see that it lacks something.
    MaggaraMarine
    Mr E Meat, I agree with your review. We had a VT30 at our band practice place and the sounds were pretty bad. Cleans were boring, distortions were muddy and bassy. And of course the effects were pretty bad but built in effects are always pretty bad. I don't get the hype. I even think that Marshall MG that we had at the same practice place sounded better. It sounded more like a real amp. This just sounded fake. I agree with you completely.
    dre93
    Mr E Meat, I experienced the same exact thing with mit VT15. The distorted channels sound just awful, every single one of them. The only amp sim which doesn't give earaches after 10 minutes, but stillt sounds bad though, is the AC30. I would not recommend this amp to anyone that wants to play distorted stuff.
    _0R10N
    Hi! I'd like to know if someone has recorded with this amp connected to the computer and how did it go. Thanks!