Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 3
The clean channel is adequate, if thin, but the distortion channels are not very good. I have found no mature, experienced guitarist playing any style Who likes the distorted sound of this amp, and most downright hate it. The amp has substantial and annoying idle noise. The distortion settings vary from cheap-sounding to muddy. I know of no one Who's been able to get the "valve reactor" circuit to function as advertised. I have approximately two dozen electric guitars here at the moment and none sound especially good with the amp.
Overall Impression — 4
Like most of these cheaper Vox imports, the looks are very nice and the circuit innovations are technically interesting. Unfortunately, these do not make for a good amp if the quality control is poor, and with these cheaper Vox amps it is absolutely dismal. At minimum, the "Valve Reactor" gimmick is too complex and far too poorly explained to be of ready value to the user. At worst, it's just bunk. This amp did not last. It failed in the market and was quickly discontinued.
Reliability & Durability — 3
Of two sealed amps, both of them had horrendous reverb feedback with all controls nulled and no input if the reverb was turned up more than halfway. After taking the first one back and finding the same problem with the exchange amp, in disgust I put the amp on the bench to repair it myself. After disassembling the amp to get to the enclosed reverb pan, I discovered that the pan was grossly overtightened, crushing the vibration isolators and acoustically coupling the reverb unit to the chassis. The considerable self-noise of the amp provided enough signal to start a feedback loop in the reverb circuit. I kludged a partial fix by remounting the reverb pan, though this required complete disassembly of the amp, clear down to the printed circuit board.
Features — 5
Strictly speaking, this is a hybrid amp, but not in the same sense that any other amp I have ever encountered is. The VR30 has the Vox "valve reactor" circuit (not to be confused with the "Valvetronix" circuit), an innovation so bizarre that two electrical engineers I have asked can make neither heads nor tails of the explanation & diagram Vox supplied on a technical page for this discontinued amp. I will not try to explain what it is that Vox claims it does, as it makes no technical sense as described. The amp has two channels and four (4) volume/gain controls, the integrated functioning of which is not made clear either by documentation nor experimentation.