Vox Valvetronix

March 14, 2008
By Alex Tuttle, Millville, NJ

With the Vox Valvetronix series, you get an incredible range of sound not normally associated with the Vox amps. With this series of amps, you get the traditional Vox sound with a modern twist. Also, this amp has been designed more road-ready with a metal grill instead of a traditional cloth grill.

In 1951, Tom Jennings founded the Jennings Organ Company. In 1955 to keep up with the instruments used in popular music at the time, the company developed their first guitar amp. In 1957, Dick Denny was hired at Jennings Music Industries as an engineer for guitar and bass amps. After that, the Vox guitar amp took off with their line of tube guitar amps. Vox amps can be heard on many famous albums and were played by many great guitar players. They were used everywhere from The Beatles to Aerosmith, from C.C. DeVille of Poison to Brian May of Queen.

The model of Valvetronix amp I am reviewing is the AD50VT, a 50 watt 1x12” speaker model. You can also get this amp in a 5, 15, 30, 50, and 100 watt models. One thing different about this amp is that it is a hybrid amp. It uses solid state power but it has a tube preamp. This preamp uses one 12AX7, a.k.a.ECC83, preamp tube to get all the warmth of a tube amp with the reliability of a solid state amp. It has nine standard effects for any guitarist built-in. These include auto wah, compressor, phaser, chorus, flanger, tremolo, rotary, delay and reverb. With the addition of combination-type effects, you have a total of eleven effects to choose from. Each effect has three different controls to adjust the effect to your liking. There’s also a Tap button that makes it easy to set the delay time or modulation speed. With a knob on the back of the amp, you can adjust your output wattage so you can really crank the master volume to get that nice tube sound without being to loud. Also, you can program two channels into the amp that you can switch via foot switch or by a button on the amp. In addition to the eleven built in effects, the Valvetronix series also has eleven different amp models raging from the classic Vox AC30 sound to modern, distorted sounds.

Now, I have had this amp for over two years and have put thousands of hours on it, hundreds of rehearsals, and a few gigs. With this amp, I have had both good and bad experiences along the way. I only have a few complaints about this amp, other than them; I have nothing but positive things to say about it.

First off, this is The Most Versatile amp I have ever played. You can get clean sounds from five of the different amp models. Each one of these has their own unique sound to make them different form each other. What I love about the amp is how much of a variety in the distortion you have with just a twist of a knob. You can go from ‘60’s light distortion like Hendrix to distortion for new, hard rock and some metal. There are six different distortion sounds you can get with the amp modeler. With this amp, you can get really tight mids to get a really awesome hard rock/ metal sound like Kirk Hammett.

The nine standard effects actually sound as if they are of high quality stop-box effects. When I bought this amp, I heard that any amp this cheap can’t have good quality built in effects, until the people that said that played it. These effects have three different controls to dial in the perfect sound for your situation. The three controls change sensitivity, speed, and direction. You are able to switch these effects on and off with the optional foot switch.

The negative side to this amp is that the warrantee is very short for this amp. It is only one year from the date that you bought the amp. Also, with the modeling amps, you can not get a really deep bass tone from the amp that you need for heavier metal. Finally, the last negative thing that I have to say is that there is no presence control on the amp. Having this control would be a good help for getting a high gain tone but we can make due without it.

Also, this amp is affordable to most people priced at only $360, you can get sounds that it would take four or five different other amps to recreate. With the couple gigs I have played with this amp, I have played for crowds of 10-400 and have never had to mic this amp threw the P.A. system. All and all, this is a very good amp built with quality on a working musician’s budget. So next time you’re at a Vox dealer, be sure to pick up a guitar and try any of the Vox amps in the Valvetronix line, the most versatile amp that ever came off the Vox production line.

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