Oops, another NAD - Vox VT20+

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by Heket, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Heket

    Heket Well-Known Member

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    Oops... I got another new amp! Was it really less than a month since I posted about the Yammy? *blush*

    I do like the Yamaha THR5, especially the cleans/crunch, and having a recording interface will come in very handy, but I found the distorted channels a little weak and lacking in something. I wanted a tube amp but was worried about the volume and the need to use pedals through the low wattage versions for distortion. After a lot of research I came up with a hybrid moddler: the Vox Valvetronix 20+.

    [​IMG]

    One of the best things about this amp was that it was cheap! £125 for one heck of a lot of sounds and effects. You can see from below picture that it's not a 'plug in and play' job but it doesn't take long to learn the most important parts. It's got 33 amp models (3 for each 'genre' on the dial), a whole host of effects including pedals like distortion and even a wah, which sounds extremely weird but is quite fun. It has a power tube (which I think is actually a pre-amp tube) which is supposed to give it warm, rounded tones. I'm not sure if this is the case as I don't have much experience with tube amps, but a lot of reviews say it gives a very good sound for an otherwise digital modelling amp.

    [​IMG]


    My favourite part of the amp, and the main reason why I got it, is that it can run at any power level from 0W to 30W, so you crank up the volume and master volume and still keep the volume at bedroom-friendly levels. I undestand that this process happens after engaging the power tube so you get tube tones at low volume.

    [​IMG]

    On the back there isn't much, just the power switch, power socket and an input for an optional footswitch. It's a fair amount larger than my Peavey even though it also has an 8" speaker and it doesn't fit in my amp storage nook! Oh well, minor concerns.

    How does it sound? Tasty! I won't go too much into it, I lack the experience to really compare to other amps, but I can say that I personally love it. I've spent quite some time trying to find an amp with distortion that's to my taste and this one really hits the nail on the head. It's got dark, loose distortion and tight, trebly distortion as well as satisfying crunches (my favourite being the Night Train model) and a selection of warm and jangly cleans. The effects are good too, although I rarely use more than a bit of chorus and reverb.

    The controls are quite wide and going from low to high on the gain and volume knobs makes a huge difference in dirt level. Sometimes the EQ knobs seem a bit unrepsonsive in comparision, but I haven't ever found them to be lacking, and they probably respond better at a higher volume. The amp responds very well to picking dynamics and changing distortion through guitar volume.

    In short, very fine amp for practice and bedroom playing. Here's one last picture, guitar for scale! It's a shame it's such a dull rainy day today, my pictures are a bit off.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    You'll have lots of fun with those two little amps!

    The Valvetronix series are pretty good, when I tested them I was impressed.

    Enjoy your new amp!
     
  3. Tobacco Worm

    Tobacco Worm Well-Known Member

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    Good for you Heket! I know you like your distortion as much as many of us here. I think this one just might be the one to give you the varity and depth you're looking for. This model Vox has a good reputation as well for being dependable and holding it's tone without fail over time. Well played indeed!

    Happy New Amp Day!!!

    Wade

    P.S., now go rock your face off! (meant in a happy way of course):thumb:
     
  4. Heket

    Heket Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, I've sure been having fun the last couple of days. I'm going to test the headphones later, and then my metal muff pedal, although I doubt I'll be getting much use out of that through here.

    I have been rocking out, although I think my face is still there *prod prod*. My socks are gone though, so I must be doing something right!

    It's quite noisy, which would stop this from being a total 5 star amp; hiss issues are well documented online and classes as 'foibles' of the Valvetronix range. I feel them to be pretty minor compared to the plusses and I'm definitely not sending it back, but for anyone who is considering one you should be aware that it's a bit hissy. During playing it's not noticible and the in-built noise reduction is quite good at getting rid of it, but if you play at high volumes it could be a deal breaker, especially if you get one of the larger ones and try to gig with it.

    Something about Vox that I like is that before they got sold to Korg they were a company pretty local to me. They even made some early guitars in Essex!
     
  5. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    If you crank anything enough, it'll hiss, that's called "high gain"!

    Just have fun.
     
  6. oldrockfan

    oldrockfan Well-Known Member

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    You just can't go wrong with the vox modeling amps. I think they are probably the best sounded of all the modeling amps out there and they actually are priced very affordable.
     
  7. Dreamscape

    Dreamscape Active Member

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    I just sold the same amp for $140 shame you did not live in Oz Heket I could have passed it to you as it was as new.
    I put up a few of my tones on the Vox Tone Room for that amp.... http://www.voxamps.com/toneroom/tone/bluesrock/ It is a pretty good site for any info you might be looking for.....VOX Tone Room | Upload, rate and share your VOX Amp settings

    As for the hiss the amp does have an adjustable noise gate onboard but I never found it to be a problem, but some Vox amps seem to be worse than others for that noise....

    All up good little amp with a lot of grunt only let down by the 8" speaker & there is no output for an extension speaker.
    Enjoy..........

    Forgot to add I used the amp only in manual mode & added my own settings wasn't real big on their settings for the modules,,,,,... US Blues, US Rock or UK Metal with gain etc to taste my fav amp sims......
    Power level setting around the 8 o/clock mark, master around 3 o/clock volume to taste worked good for me in the bedroom.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  8. Slim Guitar

    Slim Guitar Member

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    How strange-I bought one of these 2 weeks back and say the same as you, very good amp indeed!
    I quite like some of the presets and go straight to a specific amp and have a minor tweak from there. More than loud enough around the house and I have no complaints with the speaker either.
     
  9. Heket

    Heket Well-Known Member

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    So far I couldn't be bothered to try all the presets, I just prefer to fiddle in manual mode with these things. Hey Dreamscape, I had the Blackstar which I didn't want but you love and you had the Vox which you didn't want... coincidence!

    Actually, I have a question. How far should the master volume and the channel volume be turned up? In the picture I have them cranked because I was still fiddling to find my perfect wattage setting, but I heard that doing that isn't very good for your tube and tube damage is a problem that people with attenuators sometimes have. How far is enough to get that tube going and how far is too much?
     
  10. oldrockfan

    oldrockfan Well-Known Member

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    I would not worry about cranking up that amp... I've been cranking gain on tube and hybrid amps for... well for a long time. Should not hurt a thing except maybe your long term hearing HEHE! Crank that sucker up all you want and enjoy it!
     
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  11. stdio

    stdio Member

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    Enjoy the amp! I have the Vox ToneLab EX, which also has the 33 amp models. In fact the amp selection on yours looks the same, I guess it probably shares some of the same circuitry.

    Have been happy with mine; it was touted as being the most organic sounding modeler in the reviews I read. I used to have one of the DigiTech RP series, then one of the Boss GT series multi-effects units, and the digitaliness on both ended up being very noticeable. (To be fair, they were earlier generation models so I can't comment on the latest ones they're making, it's like reviewing an old computer. :))
     
  12. Dreamscape

    Dreamscape Active Member

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    Hey Hecket don't get me wrong I did like the amp but it sat in the cupboard, I just like all tube amps myself & brought the Vox on a whim.
    And like I said I cranked the master but had the power level pretty low around 8 or nine o/clock for bedroom use.
     
  13. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    congratulations on a good choice. I have the VT-30 which is an earlier generation. I really like mine very much. I often like to run the gain knob at about 11 o'clock, the volume all the way open and then set the master volume to the level I need where ever I am. This works well for me, and I may save a setting or two in my presets using it.

    I'll tell you something. It took me a long time to really feel like I understood this amp. it might be my age of course... very likely. But for a long time I seemed to find a new sound every time I turned the VT-30 on. This was exactly what I was seeking when I bought the modeling amp though, so it did not irritate me. It seemed to keep me guessing, and stimulated my curiousity and actually forced me to take notes. This helped a lot. I made copies of the blank control panel diagrams in the back of the manual, and ended up with several pages of penciled-in amp settings. Call them analog presets *laughs. I gave them names like "Jangly Green" and "Edgy Tele" so i could remember what they were for.

    That helped me make sense out of it. The pre-sets that were issued were mostly just not my style, although I've had fun playing with them. But hey, Vox sells these all over the world, so there's something for all of us there. I don't know if you've found the Valvetronix site yet, but I lurked there for quite a while and ended up becoming a member. There's a lot of info on that site, and people share their settings and ideas, as well as discuss problems and gearhead issues. It's not as comradely as this one.
    Valvetronix.net : Accueil ...but I really like Retrobob there. He knows a lot.

    good luck. your SG looks great next to the Vox. I think it's a fine combination. Mine was cheap too, I found it marked down when they made room for the VT plus series which yours is. So I had to pounce, and am glad that I did. Mine hisses too when it's turned way up, but I keep the power attenuator set just below where the hiss gets irritating, and that works fine for me. So I'm not using all the power, but I don't play in a loud band with a drummer either. If I did, I probably wouldn't hear the hiss... *grins
     
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  14. Heket

    Heket Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input Col! I looked at that site and found the article about getting the right tone from your amp very good. The VT20+ doesn't have an effects loop, but still I might try an EQ pedal. I fiddled with the EQ a lot more and found some much more satisfying tones, especially once I figured that you had to cut the treble to make the pedal effects sound decent. The site is a bit pessimistic though, most of the more recent posts on there are about problems and people saying that Vox is on the way down.

    I secretly (well, not so secretly now) love Vox and the looks of their stuff so now I have found that they do an amp that's exactly what I need I am very pleased. They do look good together don't they? I wanted a Lil Night Train but decided I didn't need the power. That would be my next amp! And when my headphones conk out I will probably get a set of AmPhones as they are pretty good just as headphones AND you can play your guitar through them!
     
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  15. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Never mind the bedroom - you will find that this is a highly competent gigging amp for small venues. Don't be afraid to take it along to a pub - it won't let you down. Not to mention, of course, that you get to replicate the sounds you like exactly, not just approximate them on some other amp.
     
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  16. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Great amp Heket, I use my AD30VT for just about everything . While I use the onboard effects for home use, I set it on a clean model and use a pedal on stage . I like its tone almost as much as my old ac-30 .
    Biddlin ;>)/
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
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  17. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I agree that this amp can be great for gigging... just mike it. the beauty of these small amps is how light and easy to carry they are, and how you can find your tone without forcing your neighbors to call the Bobbies. And then, when you get a chance to play in the lights, just mike it and it can sound HUGE... *grins

    Small amps are getting more and more accepted, and players who in the past would have only considered a stack or two are grudgingly admitting that their old gear is too heavy and cumbersome, and great tone can be made on smaller hardware using a mic or D.I. to go to the soundman and out to the mains. I love it.
     
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  18. sausage100uk

    sausage100uk Member

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    Amphones are good, I got the Vox AC30 ones for my birthday in december and they are so convenient, especially with the line in, which means you can play along to backing tracks in complete silence. Pricey, though but the seem good quality.
     
  19. Heket

    Heket Well-Known Member

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    Ooh, you have some! They are pricey, but my Sennheisers were around that price without extra amp capabilities. I've read that they're a good price for their quality even just as a plain pair of headphones. I would probably go for the Lead ones as I am a hard rock/heavy metal person. How's the distortion on the AC30 ones?

    On my VT20+ I'm totally in love with the UK metal settings. They're allegedly modelled after Marshalls, but Marshalls that are far too big for me. I don't suppose anyone who has a VT20+ or similar knows where else I could look for that dark, quite loose, heavy tone of the 'green' setting? I guess it's kinda like an old Sabbath tone, so maybe Laney?
     
  20. Slim Guitar

    Slim Guitar Member

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    If you Google for them you will get a full list of all the amps modelled (I think mine came from the Telecaster forum) - it will give you a start.
    On the "green" positions 7 and 8 are Marshall JTM45 and Marshall JCM900 respectivly.
    Have fun!!!
     

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