My "Tone Report" - VOX MV50 Boutique

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by LGOberean, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Two weeks ago, before leaving on a camping trip, I started a thread about my New Amp Day, my VOX MV50 amp head, Boutique model.

    upload_2021-9-20_14-54-52.png

    In that thread, @unixfish encouraged me to post a “tone report” on the Boutique. I played it only briefly before leaving for a week. Since my return, I have played through it more, though not as much as I would like. Other matters have demanded my attention, chief among them health concerns for several family members, but also commitments, duties around the house, etc.

    What follows here is my “tone report” on the MV50 Boutique, such as I have been able to assess it thus far.

    About all the gear in the signal chain…Obviously, the central character in this tone report is the VOX MV50 head, the Boutique model. But I do not own an extension cabinet. So, the way I am using this tiny amp head is to run from the Phones/Line out from the rear panel of the MV50 to a channel on my Alto TS310 powered speaker.

    upload_2021-9-20_15-10-51.jpeg

    I do plan to get a cab on down the road, but at present I can’t test how the Boutique sounds through a cab. So, keep that in mind as you read on.

    I have seven electric guitars: five Logan Custom teles; one Logan Custom Challenger; one MiK Peavey Raptor Plus (a strat-like guitar). Thus far, I have used three of the seven guitars through the Boutique: a tele with a P-90 neck pickup, the Challenger and the Peavey.

    I chose these three because they each are “outliers,” so to speak, as in distinctively different from teles with more vintage style single coils. The tele with a P-90 is an obvious difference. My Logan Custom Challenger, if you’re not familiar with it, is loaded with a set of PAF-style humbuckers. And the Peavey has “wide top pole piece single coil pickups” with what I take to be ceramic magnets.

    The other four teles I have offer vintage style tele single coils, albeit of three different brands: Wilkinsons, Bill Lawrence Keystones and DiMarzio Twang Kings. I will of course be testing those guitars in the MV50 Boutique as well. Whether I report on them later in this thread I’m creating or decide to create a “Part II” thread to this one remains to be seen.

    I have only one pedal: my BOSS ME-70 multi-effects. I fully intend to test all the guitars through ME-70 going into the MV50. I will try it both in front of the amp head and from the line out to the ME-70 to the powered speaker. But so far I’ve been too lazy to hook up the multi-fx, so everything I’ve done to this point has just been the guitar in question going straight into the Boutique, no effects.
     

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  2. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Okay, that’s the gear in question, now on to some observations based on playing experiences thus far. The EQ switch on the rear panel I have variously tried on both the Flat and Deep settings. Through the line out to the powered speaker, at least, the position of that switch has made little if any difference.

    upload_2021-9-20_15-16-39.png

    Before I move on from discussing the rear panel, the MV50 amps have a built-in cab sim on the line out (“Phones/Line”). But you can actually bypass the cab sim. With your instrument cable’s ¼” plug fully engaged, the cab sim is engaged. If you back out the cable a click, it disengages the cab sim. Here’s a “Tone Tips” YT video from VOX Amps on that.



    From what I understand, this is a benefit if you use your own IRs. But I’m not that tech savvy, and probably won’t be recording it or doing the IR/DAW thing. I tried it disengaged going into my powered speaker. I preferred it with the cab sim.

    Now about guitars into the Boutique. I was pretty much “Meh” about the humbuckers through it. But I should also add that I don’t like the humbuckers through anything else I’ve plugged into: my VOX Pathfinder 15Rs, which I love; an old Roland CUBE-15, whether clean or dirty tones; through the COSM amp sims on my BOSS ME-70, going into either the CUBE or my powered speaker. I consider it a likely possibility that I am just hopelessly a single coil guy, so YMMV on humbuckers into the Boutique.

    I like the Peavey’s strat-esque single coil pickups through the Boutique better than the humbuckers, but still don’t consider it anything to write home about. But I should also say that I’ve had trouble dialing in those pickups even through my beloved Pathfinders. I don’t know if it’s a ceramic magnets thing or what. I’ve tried various adjustments of pickup heights, and still haven’t found the sweet spot. So again, YMMV regarding the Raptor Plus pickups, or other strat copies or Strats.

    Conversely, I really liked the P-90 in my tele’s neck through the Boutique. I could get clean tones that were warm and fat or grit and growl via settings on the amp head and/or controls on the tele. It all sounded good to my ear.

    I can already say that this was worth the $140 it cost me. At that price, it would have to be a really over-hyped, outright bad amp to not be worth the money. And it’s definitely not a bad little amp. I don’t see it replacing my Pathfinder 15Rs as my go-to gigging amp, but it will go along to each gig as a back-up. And at some point in the future I will most probably gig with it, just because. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to do so.
     
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  3. telekaster1999

    telekaster1999 Tele-Afflicted

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    I love Pathfinder 15s as well, have 2. Are they at all similar, tone wise?
     
  4. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    @LGOberean - funniest thing happened. I read your review, and thought "Hmmm, I wonder what a Logan Custom Challenger looks like?" So I googled it, only to have the first hit a video of you playing yours. I found it funny at least.

    I'm glad you like your new amp. It looks like a cool little unit.
     
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  5. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    It seems like it should have been an obvious comparison for me to make, but I didn't do a side-by-side comparison, until I read your question. Now I'm not sure if it's somewhat due to power of suggestion, but I would say they are similar, tone-wise. Not quite the same, but similar. So far, I've only done a quick plug-into-one-then-the-other test with just one guitar, but I'd say there is some similarity.
     
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  6. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, you're not the first person that has found my guitar-playing funny. :oops:
     
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  7. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Not the playing, but that your video came up looking for the guitar you have. But you knew that! ;)
     
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  8. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Seriously, about the Logan Custom Challenger, I think it's a cool guitar.

    [​IMG] upload_2021-9-20_21-43-27.png

    Though Bob offered it in other colors, I like the orange haze color. That's because here in Corpus Christi, Texas, we have a local institution, the Whataburger restaurant chain that started here in 1950, and their colors are orange and white. So I also call it my "Whataguitar."

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The guitar is well built, and the neck is chunky, in a good way. It's really fun to play. But I just haven't bonded with the humbuckers. Unlike others of my Logan Customs, I didn't order this guitar to be made for me. When I was visiting Bob Logan in Wisconsin, I picked it out in the moment. It's not Bob's fault I don't like the pickups. I just find myself struggling to get them to sound and respond the way I want them to, if that makes any sense. I'm seriously considering swapping out pickups.

    Okay, now that I've derailed my own thread, let's get back to the MV50 Boutique...
     
  9. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I'm keen to hear your report on the amp through a cab. You cant jury rig the amp to use the P15r speaker?

    I've just finished this morning, soldering a female speaker (RCA) plug to my Vox AC4C1-12 to be able to try my PS1 attenuator with it and to more easily run it through a separate speaker cab. I'm intrigued if it can do AC30 with a decent speaker and a decent drive/volume. Even though its only 4-5 watts, its bloody loud!

    Also, thanks for the tip re the cab sim bypass, that is something that has been bugging me lately. With the proliferation of IR-capable devices, amps having a poor version of cab sim seems like a bad idea. Being able to bypass it seems like a fantastic idea! :)

    These MV's have been catching my eye a lot, a pity we won't get them at the sale price you guys discovered recently.
     
  10. haggardfan1

    haggardfan1 Friend of Leo's

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    As another native Texan (and Whataburger fan), I find this priceless!

    Cool guitar and story. :cool:
     
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  11. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm keen to hear it through a cab as well, assuming keen is Kiwi speak for eager. :twisted:

    However, I am not inclined to modify the cab of one of my Pathfinder 1Rs with a 1/4" plug added somewhere on the back of the amp. I could go out right now and buy some extension cabinet, but I try my best to make gear purchases out of my gig money. My last gig provided the $140 I spent on the Boutique, and I still had about $50 or so left over from that gig's base pay and tips. So I'm applying that toward my next purchase, and my next gig plus that surplus should be enough. Until then, I'll just have to be patient.
     
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  12. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, this guitar may have been made in Wisconsin, but it fits right in down here in Texas. And when I announce at gigs that it's my "Whataguitar," my audiences immediately get it. :)
     
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