Modeling amplifiers have been around for quite some time now, and the progress they have made is astounding. The techniques used to accurately represent legendary units has greatly improved and borders on science fiction. Clever engineers have found very precise methods to capture profiles of amps, and impulse responses offer astounding realism. These techniques are steadily trickling down to affordable products, such as Vox’s new VX line. The VX15GT is a small, but mighty, tool that guitarists of all levels can use in a variety of ways. I spent quite a while with it, and I’m here to report on its performance: note that this amp will soon be available at Best Buy.
First of all, check out this video showcasing many of the different models present on the VX15GT and a summary of my impressions in general.
Many handy, modern features
Housed in a light, compact package, the 15-Watt VX15GT features a small 6.5” inch speaker. You can also use headphones, thanks to the dedicated, speaker simulated jack. An aux input enables you to jam to your favourite recordings, no matter which platform you use to play them. There is also a built-in tuner to help you stay in tune.
Many different models to choose from
If you need a full-featured amplifier, this might be a product to consider seriously. First of all, there are 11 different models to craft your tone with. While Vox states it to be 11, I believe it’s 10, since the 11th is simply a line signal of your instrument. This is very useful for acoustic instruments or any kind of instrument that isn’t well served by some enhancement from an amplifier. That being said, the remaining 10 models cover a lot of ground. From both channels of the classic Vox AC30 and Californian clean tones, to all out distorted gain monsters by Mesa Boogie and Soldano, and everything in between, you’ll find all types of sounds on this combo. I also enjoy both versions of the “Boutique” amp, and the three Marshall inspired tones. All of them were a lot of fun to play.
Complete effects section
There are also optional effects, which are split into two sections. The first one is for modulation effects, and these include: Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, and Tremolo. These are used to add some depth to your sound and are very popular in many styles. The second section is ambience, and it includes two types of delays and two types of reverbs. This will definitely bring a bigger dimension to your tone. The effect knobs only adjust the amount of it applied to your tone, so there is not much editing possible.
The knobs on the panel enable you to adjust common parameters such as gain, volume, and EQ (there’s a two-band EQ offering control over treble and bass). Additionally, there’s a power scaling feature that really enables you to dial in the appropriate volume for your playing setting. It’s quite easy to get whisper quiet, usable sounds from the VX15GT. Finally, there’s a user setting that you can use to store your favourite presets. If you have a VFS5 foot switch, the number of storable presets goes from 2 to 8.
Great sounding and versatile
It was very easy to dial in the VX15GT for any type of sound I had in my head. If you’ve watched the video, you probably noticed that this is one versatile tool. Every step on the model dial is very usable, and the powerful gain, treble, and bass knobs really massage the tone the way you want. Vox wisely included models that cater to every style, from clean jazz and country to highly distorted metal and rock.
Not only is it easy to set up, this amp actually sounds great. Vox has really done a great job in creating very good models and incorporating them in a good sounding cabinet. It’s bass-reflex design and ABS construction make it sound very lifelike, but also very polished. The high-end is clear and separate from the low-end. The bass sounds powerful and tight, most likely due to the reflex system, which channels the rear part of the speaker to the front. It’s a great addition to an already great amplifier.
While the effects aren’t very flexible, I didn’t seem to miss playing with knobs that much. Everything was to the point. It was quite easy to pick a type of sound and go along with it. Thankfully, Vox thought of including a tap tempo button to sync your delay to the rhythm of whatever you are playing. This is a great option to create rhythmic, musical delays or simply for matching the repeats of your solo tone to the groove of the accompaniment.
While there’s a tuner, it’s very limited. It only works for your 1st or 6th string, and that’s only if you are tuning those to standard tuning. This is not a big deal as tuners are a very affordable and common tool. It’s just too bad that this type of full-featured product doesn’t have a chromatic one.
Ideal for beginners, but experienced guitarists also
Beginners will find tremendous value in the VX15GT. Having so many different models at your fingertips is very inspiring and could lead to a long-lasting relationship with the guitar. It’s also so simple to use that whatever your favourite style is, it won’t take long to set up and start jamming with your favourite recordings.
More experienced guitarists have a lot to like about this model also. First of all, you can easily plug in and play without much hassle. This amp is very portable and a great choice to carry around, no matter where you go. The volume adjustments you can make (thanks to the power scaling knob) will help with fitting into the setting you are in. Also, the speaker simulated headphone out is not only great for silent, realistic practice—it’s an awesome tool for recording. You can get very usable tones very easily, and that’s all coming from a combo that’s meant for practising! That is one of my favourite features of the VX15GT.