Surprising new amp

Discussion in 'Amp-a-ridifiers' started by DougMen, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-Nut

    Age:
    64
    624
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    I've become a bit disappointed in my Mustang GT40 or Katana 50s ability to sound full AND clear at the extremely low volume level that I play at. I used to have a Vox VX II that I remembered was actually better than the GT or Kat at that, and whenever I wanted to jam at the store where I worked, I would plug into the VX I. And I remember that I actually thought that the VX I was better sounding to me than the VX II, 'cause even though it had a smaller speaker and less power, and less bass, it actually sounded less mushy in the bass and mids, and sweeter and clearer at low volume without sounding thin or shrill than the VX II. So, I bought a VX I from SW on Ebay, 'cause then I get free shipping, whereas if I buy it from their website they make me pay for shipping 'cause I'm in Hawaii. And they shipped it to me in two days! I ordered it late Saturday night, they shipped it on Sunday, and it got here on Tuesday. And I love it! I don't need a gazillion amp models and effects, and the 11 amp models that it has cover plenty, and the only effects that I ever really use are a little reverb or delay. And it really does sound brighter and clearer at the low volume that I play at, while still sounding full and sweet, and not thin or shrill. The ported cabinet that's tuned to the speaker to increase bass response, fovtx5iytxept9jvdwdd.jpg vox-vx-i-15-watt-combo-modelling-guitar-amp-top.jpg preview.jpg like on a speaker made for stereo or studio use, really makes it sound a lot fuller than just sticking a speaker in a box, like most guitar amps. The Dumble clean setting takes pedals really well, and the Dumble overdrive sounds great on its own, as well. I'm rot really impressed with the Ac30 models, but the Tweed Bassman and Marshall sounds are quite good as well. I haven't tried the higher gain Marshall, Soldano, or MB Rectifier models yet. It doesn't have USB, so there's no computer tweaking like on the VX II, which is fine with me, 'cause I really don't much care for that anyway. Overall, the best amp purchase (for my purposes) I've made in awhile, and the best $100 I've spent in a long time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  2. Stratlover84

    Stratlover84 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    34
    507
    Jun 16, 2016
    NY
    Nice amp!

    I love Vox amp modeling. Ever since they came out with the AD amp line and Tonelabs, they were ahead of the game... but other brands have gone further with marketing and overshadowed Vox.

    I haven't felt the need to "upgrade" from my VT80+ or my Tonelab ST. The Fender cleans are great, as is the Marshall and some high gain sounds.

    Surprisingly, their own Vox amp models are not so great though :confused:
     
  3. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-Nut

    Age:
    64
    624
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    The only amp they make that nails the Ac30 tone is the MV50 AC, which nails it perfectly. When we got it in at the store where I worked we were all blown away at how good it sounded. But, it's a lot better with the matching 112 cab than the 1x8 one.
     
    Stratlover84 likes this.
  4. squierTony

    squierTony Dr. Squier

    Age:
    45
    Jul 4, 2012
    MAUD Oklahoma
    I love my newest vox which is the first generation AD60vt. Pretty simple to use the effects and the models work for me. I like a good clean tone to start with and theres plenty of that in the amp. The fender mustang line was just too complicated for a simple dude like me. I like thing strange forward and easy to use.
     
  5. DrBeGood

    DrBeGood Squier-holic

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    The whole Valvetronix line up is really good. They don't get enough credit, which is OK with me. That way, used prices stay low.
     
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  6. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-Nut

    Age:
    64
    624
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    The one thing that's strange about the VX series is that when you switch to each different amp model it loads a preset level of gain, tone and volume settings and effect type and level programmed into the amp, not where the controls are physically set on the amp. Each control doesn't become set to where it is on the amp panel until you move it, and then it becomes set to where you've moved it to. It's kind of confusing until you realize that 's how it works, and then it's easy to understand. But, if you don't understand that, then it doesn't make sense, 'cause the gain or treble (or any other control) may not be set to where it shows on the panel on each amp model that you switch to. It's even confusing just trying to explain it.
     
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  7. Bluzy

    Bluzy Squier-Meister

    Age:
    53
    406
    Nov 20, 2017
    Hudson Valley, NY
    The Mustang v1 is the same way. I think that may be how all the modeling amps may be except I have only owned the v1 which I still currently own
     
  8. Matt Shevell

    Matt Shevell Squier-Meister

    Age:
    49
    302
    Feb 5, 2018
    New York
    Congrats! Enjoy your weather, freezing here in NYC at 30 degrees!
     
  9. Bluzy

    Bluzy Squier-Meister

    Age:
    53
    406
    Nov 20, 2017
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Ah it ain't so bad
     
  10. Redwhiteandblues

    Redwhiteandblues Squier-Meister

    Age:
    27
    377
    Mar 28, 2018
    North idaho
    dam night shift here in the rail yard it’s 13 degrees! North idaho winter.Nice amp btw!
     
  11. DrBeGood

    DrBeGood Squier-holic

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    Perfectly normal. Once you program a preset, it's in the chip. So, when you go back and forth between two presets, the knobs are not going to roll by themselves. The Katana is the same.
     
  12. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    72
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    You are experiencing an amp whose design shows appreciation for something called the Fletcher Munson Curve. -Something long seen as important in high fidelity electronics design, but too often ignored in the design of guitar amplification gear.

    Basically the Fletcher Munson Curve is a graph that show that human hearing is not linear. At low listening volumes (such as when we are playing in our bedroom) mid range frequencies sound more prominent, while the low and high frequency ranges seem to fall into the background, while at high listening volumes (such as most amps at least pretend to be the norm) the lows and highs sound more prominent.

    It's not that the amp is technically producing inadequate lows or a lack of crisp sounding highs -- what we perceive as "attack" and "presence" -- it's that we aren't hearing them or feeling them.

    If an amp designer knows (admits?) that the amp they are designing is going to play at low volume than he can boost the frequencies to match our perceived hearing, and yes, one way to do that is via a carefully designed port.

    Older stereo amps had a switch, or even better, a graduated knob, that allowed the amp's curve to match the listening levels. Going by the numbers those amps were lower "fi" when the so-called "loudness" circuit was engaged. But to the ears they were much higher fidelity.

    Why guitar amp designers don't regularly do something similar is beyond me.

    -don


    Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 8.17.36 AM.png
     
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  13. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-Nut

    Age:
    64
    624
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    I wasn't talking about the user programmable presets, of which there are only two, but how the normal preset mode isn't really manual until you move the knobs. Otherwise all the settings are factory preset. But, I realized, as Bluzy pointed out, my Mustang 1 V2 is the same way. On the VT-X Voxes if you push and hold down the preset button for two seconds, it then goes into an actual manual mode where WYSIWYG.
     
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  14. DougMen

    DougMen Squier-Nut

    Age:
    64
    624
    Jun 8, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    The port doesn't affect the highs at all, only the low frequencies, 'cause the box and port are tuned to the speaker driver parameters to extend and improve the bass response, in the same way that all ported stereo speakers (and studio monitors) are designed. In those, even the cabinet size, in conjunction with the port, is tuned to the driver parameters. If you use a different sized cabinet, then you must adjust the port size accordingly. That has nothing to do with the FM curve, or loudness controls on stereo amps and receivers. But you're right about the perceived clarity of the high frequencies, where FM DOES come into play.
     
  15. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    72
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    I see it (or hear it) ;) differently.

    Yes as to port and cabinet size. But these cabs are not tuned "flat." Not to spectral analysis. They are tuned to sound flat. Or, put another way, "right." Where other amps, not setup for low volume, sound flat and downright wrong.

    Back in the `60s there was a speaker company that sold their products via listening tests on college campuses. They were called Cerwin-Vega. (They later were bought out and became part of the Gibson group) What they pushed as a marketing campaign was that their speakers sounded good LOUD. But in fact the reason they sounded good (and they did. For rock and the like.) was that they had the authority of "loud" while being only so-so loud. Dorm loud, not club loud.

    The came Bose with their small speakers. Bose was to my knowledge the first "serious" hi-fi company that did not push specs. Again, it was how they sounded in real world conditions.

    Today what Bose did is near universal. Small speakers that sound "good."

    Sound good why? Because they are tuned to the human ear at real word listening levels. With such things as downward masking covering for what would be measurable dips in the frequency response.

    (MP3 systems do likewise. And sell to the same audience.)

    The issue is not whether a speaker has ports or not. The fact is that most actual studio monitors -- pro studio that is, not the home variety -- do not use ported technology. Tuned ports allow smaller speakers to sound bigger, and to require much less wattage to get real-world loud.

    Actual studio monitors focus on different concerns. Principally accuracy no matter the circumstances and that under anechoic conditions.

    The reason most guitar amps and cabs sound poorly played low is two fold: In the case of tube systems they do not reach their sweet spot re tube harmonic creations until they are playing loudly, and the speakers do not compensate for human hearing at lower volume.

    Back in my own studio days -- when most engineers were more skilled for classical and straight pre-rock "pop" -- they would insist (oh, the fights we guitarists back then had with the engineers!) that we turn our amps down and let them turn it up "in here" -- i.e., in the control room. Then they'd use speakers tuned for the mostly anechoic space -- to make it sound "right."

    Sadly "right" back then meant through a small radio. That, btw, is why so many old recording sound sucky on good hi-fi gear.

    Only classical back then (okay, and some serious jazz) was recorded correctly. The rest was mixed to "sound good" played through crappy gear and low volume.

    Today those old recording are remastered for our better gear AND better ears.

    And all that is just now perhaps changing for guitar amps. Being tuned to sound good at levels they are actually going to be used at.

    And this is why 5 and 6 watt amps are now in. The same thing -- the sweet spot being reached -- at actual to be used volume. And finally the speakers too.

    Anyhow that is my experience and understanding. And why I love my little Champ-type amp. And why both "Drive" and "Master Volume" knobs are included on the better large modeling amps.

    -don
     
  16. Loin Lover

    Loin Lover Squier-Nut

    585
    Jul 26, 2018
    Backwoods, USA
    Nice review and explanations, thanks. I have been amp window shopping lately and enjoy reading actual user feedback.