Is the Mini Super Beetle the new Pathfinder 15R?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by LGOberean, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,429
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Previous discussions have taken place here on TDPRI addressing the question of what current production amp, if any, can take the place of the now long discontinued Vox Pathfinder 15R. I don’t recall these previous conversations taking into consideration the still fairly new (unveiled a year ago at Summer NAMM 2018) Vox Mini Super Beetle. But comparing Vox to Vox sounds like a logical thing to do, in my book.

    I’m going to assume for the moment that I don’t need to recap on TDPRI the features that makes the Pathfinder 15R such a sought after amp. So how do you think the Mini Super Beetle compares? Do you own both? Have you A/B’ed them? Have you tried out the MSB but haven’t had the chance to play them side-by-side in the same room?

    Opinions comparing a stock 15R to a stock MSB are primarily what I'm thinking of, but I know that many PF15R owners here on TDPRI have done mods and/or play through different cabs. They've wedged 10" speakers into their 15R cabs, used the extension out on the rear panel to go to a separate cab, done speaker swaps, etc. And all such modifications/configurations are welcomed in this discussion.

    Go!
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  2. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    8,184
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Location:
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Great question, Larry....one I don't have an answer to but eagerly await more info. I have never even seen a new Mini-Beetle, much less heard or played through one.....kinda afraid if I did I might want to buy one, and I need to get RID of stuff....not buy MORE. ;)
    Does anyone have a definitive answer to why Vox discontinued the PF 15R? After all, the AC30, AC15, AC4, etc. are still offered, and they've been around forever. I suspect the PF 15R was just too good at such a reasonable price that it might have cut into sales of other Vox amps, like the AC4 and AC10.
    Anyway, I'll sit back and wait for other responses. :)
     
    LGOberean likes this.
  3. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,337
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    Northern Alabama
    9A7E2EAE-EF23-4711-9B26-980CFD877587.jpeg
    I have this but not a 15R. I think it is a good little amp but not great. It doesn’t replace my Princeton Reverb Reissue. I bought it because I liked the Union Jack look. I do have Vox AC15C1. It sounds fuller.
     
  4. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    3,230
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    That representation of a Union flag on the speaker cabinet triggers me to trigglypuff levels of triggerdom. It reminds me of the post Quimby animation attempts to modernise and 'hip' Tom & Jerry. Walmart pastiche pop art for the great unwashed, stylised for its own sake.
    The head is nicely done though.

    Our local large(ish) music shop closed down recently, and I only had a passing chance to try a Mini Super Beetle while I tried a slightly shop soiled Affinity Tele. That's by the by.

    I thought it was a fine sounding, and in its retro grille cloth, fine looking amplifier. Teeny-tiny too!. Cute, and a great man-cave addition, regardless of the technology used within. If they offered it as a standalone head, I'd have to consider it.

    The Pathfinder was a cracking little amplifier, again, regardless of the technology used. I only had a passing acquaintance with one, and it was stock. It sounded hampered by its speaker. Scraping the verdigris from the memory vaults, I'd have to give it overall to the MSB, but if a Pathfinder should show up in a pawn shop for a reasonable price, it would be wise to add it to the hoard, providing it doesn't duplicate that which already gathers dust.

    The MSB has the looks, and sounds really quite good. The Pathfinder will be a second hand bargain you can alter to suit. I suspect the Pathfinder was phased out to refresh the product line with cheaper to build newer models. Offer more features, tempt the buyers. They're a business, not a nostalgia provider and some products have to have a finite life. They can't kill the AC15/30, but they do churn the lower offerings. They have to.

    As to the slightly dinged Tele in the closing down clearance, I went away and thought about it. Returned, and both it and the MSB were gone.
     
    RiverDog and nojazzhere like this.
  5. claes

    claes Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    916
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Location:
    sweden

    This guy compare it to MV50. same wattage...same backpanel, nutube etc
     
    VWAmTele and LGOberean like this.
  6. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,009
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    I may be in the minority here but I LOVE the look and utility of a Pathfinder 15R combo.
    I have steadily gigged with mine ( I do have a Vox/ Celstion 8" speaker in mine, from a Cambridge 15) for 4-5 years and with a good OD pedal, double the volume and add controllable breakup, from my guitar.

    So I have no desire to take a great little one piece, 19lbs. Combo amp, and turn it into a mini stack - as it is perfect as is.
     
    nojazzhere and LGOberean like this.
  7. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,429
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    It took our local GC the longest time to get an MSB in, but a few months ago now they did, and I test drove it. Then I came back and test drove it again. And then again. And then...you get the idea. :twisted: I played different Teles through it (Classic Vibe, Players series, I don't remember now what all), as well as Strats (same deal), and a guitar loaded with humbuckers (can't remember now, may have been an Epiphone Sheraton II). Of course I played around with the amp's settings: Gain + Volume configurations, reverb, tremolo, tone stack. I even sent the amp's signal from the phones/line out on the rear panel of the MSB to a powered speaker with JBL 12s to see what that would sound like.

    What I haven't done is pull the trigger...yet. :twisted: Accordingly, I haven't had the MSB in my home where I could do an A/B side-by-side comparison. And I haven't taken one of my Pathfinder 15Rs up to GC to do a comparison. So I was hoping someone here had been able to do a side-by-side test, or at least had the same experience of playing both, albeit not at the same time in the same room. I'll speak more about my impressions in a bit, I'm still hoping someone else will "chime" in (intentional Vox amp word play there) that can speak to these questions.

    FWIW, I haven't pulled the trigger yet because of finances. I'm retired, my SS check ain't that much. I try to book paying gigs on a regular basis. (I do some volunteer work, but that doesn't add to my GAS budget.) And it's not that the price of the MSB is cost prohibitive. I could buy one tomorrow if I wanted to get into our shared income, but I prefer as much as possible to make gear purchases out of my gigging money. And as some of you may know, I just bought another Logan Custom "Firecaster" (a tele-style made of lumber salvaged from our house fire in 2010), so I don't need to purchase the MSB right now.

    In fact, "need" has got nothing to do with it, at this point. I have my three Pathfinder 15Rs (all bone stock, FWIW), a BOSS ME-70 multi-fx pedal I can run into my Alto TS310 powered speaker, plus Fishman Loudbox Mini amps (the regular one and the Charge version), and a dozen guitars. So I don't need the Mini Super Beetle; I just want one. On a different budget with a different level of income, a $330 purchase would be no more significant to me than a $33 meal out, and in that scenario, I'd already own the MSB.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  8. Grenville

    Grenville TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    24
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    In my neck of the woods a MSB is very pricey for what it is - about $560 here. But it IS cute!

    I reckon the P15R was discontinued because it's price/performance ratio was all out of wack; too good for too cheap in other words.

    I have used a Pathfinder 10 (I did the Muy Caliente mod) and a 1x12 speaker cab for 30%+ of my gigging over the last several years. It's a tiny bit noisier than my main 'boutique' amp, but tonally just as good.
     
  9. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,429
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    And my situation is the other way around, I have PF15Rs but not the MSB. From what I've been able to gather thus far, I'd also say it's a good amp, but I'm not yet sure it is equal to the Pathfinder 15R.

    And the PRRI is a good amp, but comparing Vox to Fender is like apples to oranges, in my book.

    As for the Union Jack, I'd prefer the classic AC look.

    As for the AC15, I've recorded with one, so I know what you mean. It would be a fairer comparison of the two, however, if the MSB head were played into a cab with similar dimensions and a 12" Celestion speaker.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  10. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,429
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    I agree with you about the Union Jack version. The head was done well, the cab looks a bit "whompyjawed," as we say here in Texas.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  11. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,429
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    I'd already seen that video review, but it was good to see it again. And yeah, the MSB is basically an MV50 AC, but with an improved tone stack and added trem and 'verb. And of course it comes with its own matching cab.
     
  12. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,429
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    I relate to your sentiments about the 15R as is, very much so. All three of my PF15Rs are bone stock, as I've said before, and I have no desire to mod them. They work just fine for me in the room at small gigs, and lined out to PAs for larger venues/outdoors. I play through one or more of mine every single day.

    But the mini stack wouldn't be off-putting to me. That really wouldn't be any different than plugging an extension cab into my 15R. And if one of those rare-as-moon-dust Pathfinder 15 SMR 2x10 or 4x8 rigs came along, I'd be sorely tempted.
     
    Chiogtr4x and nojazzhere like this.
  13. ataylor

    ataylor Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    213
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    pacific northwest
    Considering the Superbeetle goes for about three times for what the P15R did, I’m gonna have to say no.

    But then, I’m biased as a proud owner of what I think might be the most amazing bang-for-buck amplifier ever made. It’s ridiculous how good the P15R is for an amp that cost me a Ben Franklin and some change. Absolutely unreal.

    That said, the Superbeetle does look pretty rad. The regular one, anyway. The flag one doesn’t quite have the same iconic look, and isn’t nearly as effective in application as the Noel Gallagher Sheraton.
     
    LGOberean and nojazzhere like this.
  14. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    561
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2017
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    You'd think a British company could get St. Patrick's cross right, wudn'cha?

    At $330, the MSB seems aimed at a very different audience from the students and beginners the P15r targeted. I suspect Vox is going after more established musicians with a small home studio and people who want a cool, vintage-looking amp for their music room or man cave. The Vox Pathfinder 10 is a better candidate to be the new 15r. It doesn't have near the 15's magic, but it's still a good choice for someone who wants an authentic Vox to practice with at a bargain price.

    I've only ever seen one MSB in the flesh, at the local GC, and I didn't have time right then to plug in. I was startled to see how small it is. The next time I went back it was gone, and they've never had another (not when I was there, anyway).

    I'm completely happy with my 15r and don't see myself popping that kind of money for an MSB. If one showed up used for half price, I'd think about it hard -- but then it probably would be gone by the time I contacted the seller. Since the MSB came out, I've only seen one on CL in all of western Washington. The seller was asking 80 percent of the new price, and it sold within days.
     
    ataylor likes this.
  15. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    8,184
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Location:
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    With apologies to Larry for veering a little off the topic of his post, I agree that the single 8" speaker in a PF 15R sounds a little anemic. I have one PF15R chassis mounted in a custom cabinet with a 12" Eminence (Fender style) speaker, that I've frequently gigged with. A "bit" bigger is one I put in a cabinet that I built, with FOUR 8" speakers. Haven't had a chance to play out with it yet, but just at home it sounds awesome.....big, full, punchy, you name it. It's my 15 watt, Vox "Super Reverb", only with eights instead of tens. I used to gig with a PF15R that I had crammed a ten inch speaker in, but compared to the one 12" or four 8" speakers, even the 10" lacked bottom.
    And I don't wish Vox still carried the Pathfinder 15R for any nostalgic reasons.....it's just a solid, dependable, and practical TONE machine.....and I'm grateful I have mine.;)
     
    ataylor and LGOberean like this.
  16. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,337
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    Northern Alabama
    I wanted to upload a video but can’t.
     
  17. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,429
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    You make a good point. A big reason for the 15R's popularity was the price. Even accounting for inflation (the 15R has been discontinued for 6-1/2 years), the Mini Super Beetle is priced significantly higher.

    Which brings up what criteria to use for determining the amp to replace the Pathfinder 15R. I would say in addition to price, portability and versatility are key factors. And I would also be inclined to say speaker efficiency. I know that @nojazzhere just voiced disagreement with that notion, but then I wonder if it might seem anemic to him because he's been dealing with 4x8s and 1x12s instead of the stock configuration. The stock speaker, for what it is, I believe punches above its weight class. I've gigged with my stock units in a variety of settings to audiences ranging from a couple of dozen to 200 people, without putting a mic in front of or lining out to the PA. A half dozen years ago I did a political fundraiser gig, in a large banquet room in a local hotel. Played to about 100 people. Two audience members were in bands themselves, a singer and a guitarist. They said they could hear me fine.
     
    nojazzhere and ataylor like this.
  18. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,429
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Well, to date no one has spoken up about owning both and/or doing a side-by-side comparison of them. As I said in my OP, I haven't either, but I'll chime in (there's that pun again:rolleyes:) about my impressions based on multiple test drives.

    I wasn't surprised by how small it was, I guess in part because I am accustomed to the small footprint of the Pathfinder, but also because a lot of the pics released at its unveiling showed it next to a guitar, sitting on an end table next to a stack of books, next to an AC30, etc. That gave a pretty good perspective of its size.

    As for volume, I did test drives in Guitar Center, so I didn't dime it out in the store. But I got the sense that the mini stack could at least compete with the volume output of the 15R. I didn't try it with a second 8 ohm cab hooked up in parallel to get the full fifty, to see what that sounded like.

    I believe the MSB wanted to break up sooner. Again, I didn't compare them to test that theory, that's just the impression I got in the store.

    The layout is very familiar, and so that compares favorably. The MSB doesn't have a Boost switch, but personally I never use that on my Pathfinders, so I didn't miss it. The more noticeable difference was the one control knob for tremolo. Speed and depth, controlled by the same knob. That's a drawback, as far as I'm concerned. Unless I'm in the mood to play something on the order of "Crimson and Clover" :rolleyes:, I have the Speed down and the Depth up on my 15Rs.

    As for the tone, that's where I most feel the disadvantage of not doing an A/B comparison. It's pretty much impossible to remember the tone of the Pathfinder while you're playing through the MSB. I think they compare favorably, but I was inclined to like the Pathfinder tone in my head better. Maybe that's 8 years of personal bias talking.

    Okay, anybody else?
     
    ataylor likes this.
  19. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    8,184
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Location:
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Maybe I should clarify a little.....I LIKE the PF15R "stock"....I just like it better with a larger speaker, especially for the gigs I play. I agree, the stock speaker punches above its weight, but a 12" is an improvement. I don't like using mics at a gig, because I don't like everything going through a PA, and losing the "separation" of instruments across the stage. (Remember, I rarely play solo) so I'm usually dealing with bass and drums, plus sometimes another guitarist or sometimes a keyboard player. That usually requires a stronger "presence" than a smaller speaker can provide. But, I can do my own "customization"....if Vox still built the original PF15R with an 8" speaker, I'd be happy. ;)
     
    LGOberean likes this.
  20. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,398
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Location:
    Land of the Long White Cloud
    Can you guys also describe the type of music you play in these posts?

    I always read thes ePF15 posts with interest. I went and bought two but for my type of music, which is at the least begining of crunchy (a "masrshall clean" if you will) with TS9 upwards the PF15 sounds a little harsh. I use a Vox Ac4c1-12, DSL 5, Pro Junior etc. So the PF15 doesn't really get used much.

    So these threads always leave me wondering or thinking maybe these guys a full clean players? Where i have to admit the PF15 sounds really great.

    Anyway, I watch with interest as the Super Beatle amp tweaks my interest too.
     
    LGOberean likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.