[Exchanged]New Amp: Vox VT-20+ Valvetronix

I just picked up an amp for recording: a Fender Frontman 25R.

It’s got 25 Watts, a 10" speaker, 2 channels and a reverb. I’ll mostly be using it for recording:

Guitar --> Turbo Tube Screamer --> Tonelab --> Fender 25R --> Microphone --> DAW (any other ideas of things to stick a cable into are welcome, of course…hehe).

It was between two amps. I actually brought home an Acoustic G20 first, and while it had a beautiful clean section, the driven sound was not so nice. So I packed it back into it’s box, very nicely so that if you happen to get a repack, and it’s mine, you won’t feel disappointed. One thing that disappointed about the G20 was the power cable, which was stunted at perhaps 3 or 4 feet long. Seriously, Acoustic? Also, no footswitch capability. The “mid shift” button gave a nice tonality change that I could see being quite useful, but it would be enhanced by a footswitch capability. The lack of effects had no leverage in my decision, but I guess it’s nice to have a built in 'verb, should I wish to jam with some locals.

So, after bringing the Fender back to the studio, I played around a bit and was able to get a whole plethora (gaggle, brood, pack) of sounds. The EQ on the Fender is more sublte, and a more useable tone can be had pretty much throughout the spectrum of the Fender’s EQ section. The mid control did not produce as much tonal spread as the Acoustic, and although I will mostly be relying upon the Tonelab for that, I will definitely miss that. The bass seems to be centered around 80 Hz, and the treble control has the most bite, giving the most tonal variation of all the EQ controls. The overdrive is just plain sweet. There’s no other way to describe it IMO. No matter where you set the gain control, a useable signal ensues. Cranked to 11, it provides enough grunt to please all but the most jaded player.

Both amps include a mix input and a headphone jack on the front panel. The Fender also includes a footswitch jack, also on the front panel. On the Fender, the footswitch and headphone jacks are standard 1/4". The mix input for the Fender comes on two RCA jacks. The headphone jack and mix input on the Acoustic are both 1/8" mini-jacks. The Fender also comes with a useable 6 foot power cable, which can be stored in the base of the cabinet using a supplied Velcro® loop. This is nice as you do not have to worry about the power cable bouncing around in transit, and poking a hole in your speaker. It would be nice to have an external speaker out, but I can always put one of those in myself.

The Acoustic G20 comes with a three years P&L warranty against manufacturing defects, compared to Fender’s five year coverage. The Acoustic G20 retails (street price) for about $70, while I bought the Fender 25R on sale for $95.

Well, after careful consideration, and some more careful listening, I’ve decided to return this amp, as well.

The fact is that the amp feeds back a lot, and it’s not a pleasant feedback. It’s positively horrible! When driven into mild feedback, instead of producing sustain, the amp goes into a self-destructing scream mode. Instead of producing a desirable feedback tone, it bypasses your tone, and goes directly to one specific frequency. No matter what I tried, and what note I tried to sustain, that same frequency just jumped out and destroyed anything in it’s path. It’s fine when used on it’s own, but as soon as you start feeding it a modified signal, it turns into crap. The Acoustic amp actually sounded much better in this mode.

What I’ve exchanged it for was a Vox Valvetronix VT-20+, which was about $100 more than what I originally planned on spending ($169 plus tax). Years ago I used to use this cheap little Squier practice amp for recording. The thing must had something like a 6 inch speaker, and possibly 10 watts, but when you pumped an overdriven guitar signal into it, it just bled sustain and sweet feedback. Anyway, the Vox amp has the best build quality of the bunch (followed by the Acoustic, with the Fender coming in last). The power cord is a useful 6 feet long.

This is a modeling amp, so it has a wide range of effects, cabinets, amps and pres. The speaker is an 8" Vox special design. The pre has a 12AX7 valve, as well. In addition to all of these other features, it also has a power soak level pot, so you can get that drenching overdriven sustain (hopefully) without turning your neighbors into a pitchfork and torch-wielding mob. I’ve just played with it for a few minutes so far, but it looks like a winner. My tone is producing a lovely feedback and sustain, and that monotonous screaming that the Fender put out is nowhere to be found.

hehe :slight_smile:

This amp is sweet! Considering how much it costs, it’s bloody amazing. I can probably sell my Tonelab on eBay. This thing has just about, if not, all of what the Tonelab has.I’m playing around with it now. The tonal spread is phenomenal. The feedback and sustain is beautiful and musical, not like the noise that the Fender was spewing forth. I’m really loving it so far. I’m gonna try it with the tube screamer now.

Oh, one more thing: it has 8 chicken head knobs!

EIGHT! :mrgreen:

I think I can get rid of my Tonelab, actually, but I’ve done the same thing with the Tonelab, and got a release-worthy lead guitar part out of it. Beautiful tone and sustain from those nearfields. I wonder if loading a nice studio monitor 8 inch speaker would make it sound even better?

There are several great sounding amps in small sizes AND they are also easy to move around. I have a fender Princeton reverb here with a 1967? Date stamped in it that still performs beautifully and a Fender G-dec 30 I picked up a few years back but I don’t care for it at all despite it’s downloadable modeling. My ampeg b-3 I’ve had since I was 13 but that is really a bass amp. Despite any sounds coming from the amp you still need to,capture it all. I guess my microphone selections need to expand a bit more in order to get more options. I’m using two large diaphragm mics, 2 Shure sm-57’s , 4 slim tascam mics and a tc-1 tube mic I like the shock mounts I have on the larger condensers but I need a better way to place a few of the others around the amps. Cabling is always a spiderweb even though my room is on the large size

Draconis, did you pick this amp locally? Or have it shipped? I may stop in at SamAsh tomorrow and see what it’s like or guitar center .

I’ll try that tomorrow. Thanks Steve

The difference, of course, being that the Princeton was made in '67. Funny how that works.

The Fender Bassman (specifically the '59 model) was a favorite among certain guitarists, if I am not mistaken.

That’s a lot of mics for one track…

Picked up at Guitar Center in Paramus. The one on Rte. 4. Again, you can try it and the TriplePlay here, if you like.

I’d like to try it out, if you don’t mind…

Those mics are my options, not all used for tracks at the same time. That Ampeg B-3 was my first amp. My parents bought it for me I was probably 11? It has a flip top head that inverts into the speaker cabinet for transport and two huge transformers that stick up out of it when you set it up for use. After that I was using a brand new Ampeg Gemini II. That was,around 1965. My dad drove me to Manny’s in NYC. I had also gone into the Fred Gretsch factory that was in Brooklyn. We lived in north Jersey and despite its close proximity, NY was a world away.

I was in Paramus today but unable to take a break to run over there. I may run over to East Brunswick tomorrow and check it out. Have you decided that you are keeping yours, Draconis?

If it has more ability over the GR, I would buy one…I am very happy though with the GR33 with the Godin/Brian Moore combination. I was reading up on your new VOX. Very very nice amp

Looks like your friend has been banned. I have that amp, however. It’s a great little amp, and a sweet deal at the price.

Only met here about two weeks ago and we both live in the same state. That’s all.

Haven’t had a new amp in about 7 years but I do have a reasonable collection here but they are older and bigger…and I’m playing out of the house less and less. That VOX amp caught my eye. I’m really looking for something new that I can handle easily and fit the jazz backup and fills style I play when I am out. No need at these venues for distortion, metal modeling , odd sounds. They like that smooth muted clean tone

Still gotta go check it out

Wow, is the guy Jodi Arias’ lawyer, or something?

Geez, I haven’t seen someone beat such a hasty retreat in a long while…

You’d think he’d said you were lovers.

Among my many amps, I have a 50W Valvetronix. Not surpisingly, it does the Vox emulations quite well. The Marshall’s are good, too. The others are just so so. The Modern High Gain is no match for my Soldano Hot Rod 50, for example.

One amp I recently bought that I am really liking is the Line 6 Valve Mk II, which is a hybrid tube and modelling amp. it only emulates the four basic models we rockers need: Fender Twin, Vox AC30, Marshall JCM series, and Mesa Rectifier (although the controls don’t use those names). Having played a fair amount through all those amps, I feel this Line 6 does a great job of modelling them. I think it retails for $1000; I bought mine used at GC for $600

Said like a true Bässholian! :laughing: