Valvetronix VT40+ review by Vox

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (52 votes)
Vox: Valvetronix VT40+

Price paid: € 200

Purchased from: Muziker

Features — 8
There are many reviews here telling what this amp can do, but basically it has 99 presets - 33 amp models of some of the most beautifully made amps in the world... Almost none of which I have played through because this amp is made to allow you to play amps worth thousands of dollars but only pay a few hundred. It also includes 33 amp model presets (including effects) and 33 more that are preset to specific famous songs. It includes a smattering of effects, including several types of overdrive, fuzz, delay, flanger, etc etc. It also includes 3 reverb modes and a noise suppressor.

The amp also allows you to create 8 user settings to create your own preset sound. It includes a line in for cd/mp3, as well as headphone jack.

The amp uses one valve in the preamp to provide a level of tube tone, which makes it a bit warmer sounding than other modelling amps. It says it goes up to 60 watts, however, the difference I could distinguish between the 40 watt level and 60 was very minimal. It is played through a Vox stock 10 inch speaker, of which I have not been able to determine the actual wattage through several searches, but I assume it is 60 W.

It is very feature rich, however to a point I see some of it as unneeded cheap filler - particularly in some of the onboard effects. For that I give it an 8.

Sound — 8
I have played rockabilly, country, folk, blues, pop, rock, alternative, funk and jazz on this amp and there is a sound to be found on this amp for any of those, as well as metal, and harder stuff - although I don't usually go that route. The band I play in plays rock, alternative, pop and blues mostly, and for 90% of what I need the amp for, I have found some very nice sounding tones. The Fender Twin, Matchless and Dumble models are really nice, and the Brian May AC30 has amazing high gain sounds!

The key to getting good sounds out of this amp is the valve. My experience is that none of the amp models sound really good a low levels, but turned up high, the amp can really sing. I play an Epiphone Les Paul Classic with Seymour Duncan PRail pickups, and this amp rings beautifully like a bell on the clean models and provides amazing tones with the overdriven models. Took me some time to find the sound I liked (especially since I was playing with it the first full in just in an apartment and at low levels... Remember I said you need to drive the tube to make it sound good), but I really love the sound it puts out.

As for the effects - I have to be honest that I don't get any pleasure from using too many of them and generally don't. The only effects I use on this amp are the multichorus, reverb, compressor, and pitch shifter - if I want to have a bit of fun. However, I found that the dial to dial in the effects is very fiddly - not sure if my model is a bit faulty. Instead I prefer to create presets (I have the footswitch which can be bought seperately), and play through an array of other pedals for a higher quality effect. The amp plays well with stompboxes in general - although depending on the amp model used, and the effect pedal, they could react badly to each other. But this is the case with any amp. I have a delay pedal, fuzz pedal, dual overdrive, wah, and tremolo... all which work well with this amp on the models I use.

Is this amp loud enough to compete in a band? - Close, but not quite. The other guitarist in our band plays a 15 W all tube head through 2X12, and we have quite a loud drummer. I was able to compete in the jam space if I placed it properly. However, live... well I was always drowned out. I needed to be on all 10s, and the end result was nobody heard me anyways... and I blew the speaker. I would recommend it for a good practice amp in a decent jam space, but it definitely needs to be mic'd up for live performances, or nobody will hear you.

I am not a player that needs the 99 presets. I don't need 70 % of what is in this amp. I just need some beautiful sounds. I get that from this amp, and if it weren't for the cheap sounding effects, I would give the sound a 10 - for a modelling amp, it sounds amazing! But filler makes this amp less than it really is and so I give it an 8.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This amp is built very well. It is sturdy, and can withstand lots of bumps. As a basic amp, using the basic tones on basic "models," I would say it is nearly unbeatable in quality - after all it is a Vox. I have played it for over 2 years and nothing too wrong happened with it... until that the speaker blew. Of course it is obvious it will blow when you are playing for a few hours on all 10s. So I can't totally fault the build. It does get other marks against it though for the faulty effects dials which make effects like delay and chorus unusable unless you want it on full. Aside from that, I haven't had any trouble with the electronics, and pulling it apart, it looked very well put together - clean and tight.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I have played with this for about 2 years. I love the sound it makes and the reaction it has to the SD PRails switching from P90 mode to single coil, to HB - it just sings. Friends were skeptical when I brought this to practice as well but were very impressed when I turned it up and revved up the tube inside. When I compare the sounds other modelling amps like Line 6 and Fender - this one just beats them hands down. 

What I love about this amp is simple - it gives me the opportunity to find the tones I like from several different amps - all in one box. And the sounds that come out from it are extremely pleasing to the ear. It is extremely versatile and works well in many different genres, so I am not worried about not being able to find the sound I want, no matter what I am playing from twang to scream rock.

What I hate about the amp is the built in effects. I would rather have the amp with the models well done and the reverb dial included and that is all I would need. But they are there, and if you don't switch them on, you don't notice them so who cares.

I thought about selling it to get an all tube head. Instead I decided to keep it and just save for the head... Mostly because I just love the sounds it can make and it is a great size for practicing and jamming. If it were lost or stolen, I would most likely buy it again when looking for another practice amp.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have several amps and own 2 of these vt40+ amps. I. Have the pedal which if your playing live or studio recording its a must. You can in having 2 of these have a wide combination of settings on both amps and recording options. You see I like to always have a flat setting so in having both amps this provides several options with the 1 pedal modified to split the 2 amps. Also with different microphone positioned on the 2 amps your experimenting and expanding allowing more creative tone ability to the table. The amp settings and effects options are what make this amp but the ability to create and save your own tones is where this amp shines and becomes a great studio amp. I have a night train head and I must say both the vt40 and night train have a bit more of a thin o less bottom sound than my Ad50vt the older bigger brother to the 40v. Trying them both through different speakers still the ad50vt brings more bottom to the table. The 10 inch speaker I'd consider changing. For me 2 different speakers for more to work with. This amp needs a deeper tone so match the speakers to your taste. Over all great little amp that has a lot to offer. It at not be my first amp of choice to bring to the studio but without effects at hand and having its setting options it would be considered - close second having both amps yes and gig worthy too. The ad50vt I'm adding a swamp thang which should be an option with amps. Getting the speaker that best suits the amp and your playing style. Great amp for the money. Get the extended warrant though. I'm happy I have 2 of them. Mainly for recording. Although I am a stomp box effects and sound guy tho. Good luck in your
    Have had a VT40+ for a year now. Didn't care for the amp straight away (had a horrible hiss and just did not sound all too well w/either my Stratocaster or Telecaster). Took back off and sampled some different 12AX7 tubes (none of which offered any improvement). Then, for the hell of it, I installed a New Old Stock GE 12AU7-----not only did the hiss go away, but the amp seemed to come to life. Very tight signal and expectedly killed some of the gain---in which case I just cranked the gain up a bit and use the on board Tube OD pedal effect-----very, very nice.... Pretty much stays on the AC15TB on channel 2 (orange light) w/tube OD effect dialed up about halfway..... Keep the back off of it too and the amp seems to breathe better...
    Thx, I'm going to try your GE 12AU7 tube change. There's quite a few on ebay. Even saw one made in 1964
    Beginner here. I would really like to know what the actually names of the overdrive pedals in the tone room editor/librarian are. I'm trying to learn the solos to comfortably numb but I'm struggling to get the tone just right... Some help might be appreciated PS I have the VT20X
    Stick a Celestion G10 in it and a select gain 12AX7 and you will be able to hear the AC15 and AC30 amp functions like they are intended to be heard. The OEM speaker is a $40 Korg cheapy and the tube is a random choice, off the shelf variety and not a hand select like this amp requires. You'll need both speaker and tube to experience what the amp's circuitry and power can do.This amp has power and many features yet the speaker and tube are not worthy of these features.The On/off switch is on the back and all the controls are recessed on the top back making them tough to see and dial.Several buttons are multi use and require that you remember that. This amp can get complicated but like I say it does a lot of things very well if you update speaker and tube. Spend another #110 on the amp and you will have a game changing sound.Simply off the showroom floor though. it's just another amp. The $110 cost of updating by aftermarket is stunningly worth it. This amp is very close to being exceptional.
    I have a VT30 that I have played for the past two years on many gigs. It is one of the best amps I have ever owned over my past 40 years of professioal playing. It takes a decent amount of patience and time and a number of hours to tweak the settings into something that works for your style of playing but it does all and is a bargain pricewise considering what is in it. It's not an amp you pick at the store, run home, plug it in and play. It takes a little work, but the best modaling amps all do. In my opinion if you can't find a tone for your style on this amp, you aren't spending the right amount of time with it.
    i read all the comments..but icant decide about one thing i want buy this amp + a distotion pedal(like boss ds-2) do u think it is good idea? or i buy pathfinder 20watt + distortion pedal?