Valvetronix VT50 Review

manufacturer: Vox date: 01/04/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Vox: Valvetronix VT50
This amp is no older than a 2008 model, because these are the newest line of tube/solidstate valvetronix models.
 Sound: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.7
 Features: 9
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 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (3) pictures (2) 27 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
Valvetronix VT50 Reviewed by: sg4ever, on august 11, 2009
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Features: I know this amp is no older than a 2008 model, because these are the newest line of tube/solidstate valvetronix models. Vox certainly threw in everything but the kitchen sink on this new design. It boast 22 amp models and I find about 8 out of 10 models highly usable. Not bad considering how many there to choose from. I play many styles including rock, classic rock, hair metal, blues, punk/pop, alternative, Indie, grunge, jazz, swing, funk, metal/core, modern worship, CCM, and singer/songwriter. With the exception of the more Acoustic driven singer/songwriter stuff (the instrument covering that is obvious), there is an amp model to satiate my desire to play any of those styles. It also boasts 12 highly usable effects that are mightily convenient, for they sound close enough to a quality pedal that they would definitely work in lieu of one. Another nice thing is that reverb is it's own separate effect from the rest so you don't have to sacrifice it to use another effect. Other cool features include a headphone jack, external speaker out, the usual Vox power level knob, and eight (count em') slots to save your tones onto. And because it's packing 50 watts, it definitely can handle the average gig. I use it regularly and it fits well within the mix. It's definitely a loaded piece of kit. To be fair I found some of the modulation to be a bit cheesy (minus chorus). I also wish that the power level lowered the cranked master volume sound a bit lower. These are probably just minor quibbles, but it comes to show that nothing is perfect. These are fairly solid features for an amp in this range. // 9

Sound: I play a Greg Bennett AV3 with humbuckers and an MiM Strat with single coils through the amp. It definitely handles my above listed styles with those two guitars very well. The cleans are warm and round with humbuckers and can also be made to sound quite crisp and brilliant. The single coils obviously handle that edge of the spectrum better though. Overdrive runs the gamut from slightly dirty cleans to blues to classic rock bite. Switching between my two guitars it always gives me the sound I want. With the louder humbuckers the distorted tones really take off and can go from chunky 80s grind to searing modern high gain. I mostly play more ambient styles mixed with alt/rock in my band and the tape echo mixed with reverb definitely gives me that impressive body to all my cleans and distorted tones. I like the improvements on the clean and high gain tones. You can control the gain on clean sounds better than the last models and it' easy to get a very clean tone at high volumes. The high gain tones are noticeably tighter than before and the overdrives have a less digital sounding breakup. I was impressed that although this is a modeling amp, it managed to stay reasonably far away from the digital bite that most modeling amps have. If I found any strange artifacts while playing, they weren't noticeable in the context of a Live performance. Again, to be fair, nothing is perfect. The tones are less impressive if you crank the amp too high. However, I find I don't need to crank the amp so high anyway because of mics and PA systems. // 8

Reliability & Durability: No complaints, but valvetronix amps never have been amps to break down on me. The only problems I encountered with valvetronix amps were do to the tube needing to be changed or the amp needing a master reset. However, I do believe in a backup no matter how tough the amp is. Even if this amp were ten times more resilient than it is now, I would still have a backup handy for practical purposes. // 8

Overall Impression: My styles are very diverse and they are listed above. I would say this amp is a very good match for me. I've been playing for 4 years and I own the older AD series of valvetronix, two electric guitars, and an Acoustic guitar. I knew everything about his amp before I bought it so there are no regrets. I would definitely replace it if anything happened to it, as it's all I can afford. I pretty much use all the features and can't find anything to hate except that it's not a real tube amp. If I had the money for a tube amp complete with all the delay and overdrive pedals I would surely need, I would surely get them. I would say this is the best alternative though. I don't wish it had anything and I think it smokes other modeling amps except in metal tones... But it comes mighty close to the better metal amp models and beats the crap out of a Spider metal tone. // 10

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overall: 9.5
Valvetronix VT50 Reviewed by: Ritchguitar, on november 11, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 250

Purchased from: Daan Smit Musichouse

Features: I walked into my local music shop, holding my Boss Me-50, on my way to try out the new model, Boss Me-70. I could try it on a Vox Valvetronix VT50. I don't know which I loved more, the amp or the effects. - The amp features 11 ampmoddels and 11 additional effects for you to go crazy on - It has a plugin for your headphones, guitarcable and footswitch - You are able to save sounds you make on 2 patches // 9

Sound: I play a variety of music styles. Mostly Metallica, Guns 'N Roses and Rammstein. This amp does perfectly well! You can change sounds from a great warm clean, to brutal metal or tight clean to smooth and hard rock. I love the fact that the amp makes a little humming sound when on, it gives it such a real feeling. Put the volumes at it's top and FEEL how a guitarsound should feel. // 10

Reliability & Durability: So far, it's PERFECT. (and it's second handed) // 10

Overall Impression: The amp goes with every style of music. I play it with my Boss ME-70 which completes the amazing sound. Anything is possible with this device. If it were stolen, well, takes a pretty professional guy to take this beast from my room without being noticed, but yes, I would definitely buy another one. It's the best amp I have owned so far, and it goes great with any sound or music style you like, you just need to know how to get your sound. // 9

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overall: 8.5
Valvetronix VT50 Reviewed by: Bubonic Chronic, on january 04, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 379

Purchased from: Dancing Dragon OKC

Features: There is absolutely nothing missing from this amp! With 22 amp models to choose from, each having 3 factory settings, plus 8 user-programmed channels (two banks of four) that makes for a total of 66 + 8 = 74 different sounds one can potentially bust out in a given situation. The amplifiers modeled move from the cleanest to the most brutally distorted (Mesa Boogie), and amongst them are at least three of each to suit your personal tastes. For example, one can select an amp based on Iron Maiden, Metallica or (don't laugh!) Nirvana. All three are pretty in-your-face, but it takes a bit of imagination to get the exact sound you want. The VT-50 lacks an effects loop, but I honestly don't see why you would need one. For me this is a studio amp, so I tend to record with minimal effects anyway: compressor and possibly a delay if it's a lead part. I like to compress in multiple steps as it's just good recording practice, and the fact that this thing has a decent compressor makes it perfect for juicing up my sound in the studio. Unfortunately the compressor is coupled with chorus, and I do not ever record chorus. It's bad practice. Thankfully you can independently turn the chorus OFF, leaving the compressor fully functional. Each effect has three separate functions to adjust, and 9/10 are actually useful. // 9

Sound: It is what it is: a 50W combo. It's not a Mesa or any other amp you might want to model, but the engineers at Vox have done a phenomenal job of recreating the intricate details of the response of the preamp, poweramp and even the speaker cabinet feedback stages of the amps in question. There are one or two channels that don't respond to the dynamics the way I would like them to, but that's how the original amps responded! The speaker impedance will squash you flat, which happens here. Other channels don't do that to you - and it depends on what you want. The reason I gave this an 8/10 is that my doctor, whom I trust with my life, got B's in medical school. He's a damned fine doc. This is a damned fine amp. Is it brain surgeon caliber? No. But remember what it costs! For what it is, this is a very nice sounding, highly useful amp. The price differential between this tight little combo and the next step up in quality is, like, five times the price! // 8

Reliability & Durability: The input jack was broken when I got it. I will tell you first of all that I traded for this amp: a Peavey 5150ii 100W head in very good condition for the VT50. Power for versatility - since the studio is more interesting to me at this time in my life. They were both used: mine obviously as a studio and live performance tool, the VT50 a floor model at the Dancing Dragon, my buddy's shop. I don't blame Vox for the busted input jack. Could it have been heavier duty? DEFINITELY! But amps are not usually subjected to kids and their grubby little fingers shoving things in and out of their input jacks all day long. This minor problem was forgiven, however, because the input module is just that: a module! I checked again on the back to make sure this thing really was "Made in U.S.A." as opposed to Germany. This is German engineering, surely! Nope, British-American engineering. So by removing a couple of little wires I can pull the whole input module out, trash it, and replace it. In fact, you can pull everything out to service it! I was shocked. Most of the crap I've worked on has involved two hours of removing unidentifiable squiggly things, and cutting myself to get to the loose wire that it the source of my woes. This is not the case with the VT50. If something breaks, you yank it out and (assuming it's under warranty as mine is) they send you a free one. Awesome! // 8

Overall Impression: I am highly impressed with this thing. I already have four very good sounds programmed: Crystal clean, blues wail, lead guitar based on Joe Satriani's setup, and face-smashing rectifier-type distortion. What more could you ask for? Well there's country, jazz, hip-hop, Christian, folk, rock, hard rock... Can it do that respectably? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes... // 9

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