Vox Cambridge50

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by LGOberean, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. scattitude

    scattitude TDPRI Member

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    LG - no pics really necessary for my mods. I just extended the bottom back-panel by 3”. And I added a standard plastic wire clip using one of the existing panel screws that sit below the power jack. Adapter itself sits inside the cab. That way it isn’t hanging behind the amp and I can pull out just the main power cable.

    By the way, the VFS-5 footswitch fits neatly inside the cab.

    When I refer to “boutique-tone”, in my case it is along the lines of the Robben/Larry D-style tone. I’ve built an Overdrive Special and have pedals (Kingsley Jester, Dude etc.) that get me there when running through one of my Mesa’s. So yeah, I can go full-bore with that rig when I need to.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
  2. jageya

    jageya Tele-Holic

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  3. scattitude

    scattitude TDPRI Member

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    I thought I'd add a bit on my amp "philosophy". I know many, if not most players here are after optimum tone. And more specifically, live tone (although a good studio rig is just as important). So for me, what sounds good sonically in a live room is what I'm after. To that end, no matter what amp I am checking out, it must:

    - accurately reproduce the acoustic timbres of the (electric) guitar and in detail to capture nuance.

    - have a well-tuned preamp stage to allow playing dynamics to translate to the power amp, rather than over-compressing them.

    - have a well-designed power amp section that translates the dynamics of the preamp section into musical, decibel changes in the room.

    - have a speaker configuration that reproduces the full EQ range of the guitar.

    - have a speaker cabinet design that allows the amp to breathe and resonate.

    As for the Cambridge 50:

    The preamp is pretty basic here, but it does translate playing dynamics. Many other modeling amps I've tried either over-compress at the input (probably because of full-digitization of the signal to prevent clipping the ADC's); or they produce undesirable artifacts into the the guitar's natural overtones, thus compromising the tone. While not as pretty as a vintage tube amp, the Cambridge 50 doesn't mask your tone either.

    The power amp has plenty of juice for a live gig and benefits from the preamp section.

    With certain exceptions, I always settle on 12" speakers; mainly because I lose a lot of the "meat" of the guitar when dropping to a 10". Granted, many playing and musical styles are perfectly suited for 10" speakers. And as well, there are many special-design 8" and 10" speakers that offer extended low-end. Lastly, these smaller speakers are often great for recording and practice. All that said, in a room on a live gig, my go-to is 12". I looked at alternates. In the Vox line, a similar 1x12 amp might double the weight, wattage, etc. Fine for "that" rig. But to get into the 40-50 watt range, this is the only 12". So weight and speaker size wins here. So does speaker choice and cabinet design when considering acoustics. They got that part right, too (cheap, but effective).

    So to sum it up, I don't like to take any amp to a gig that overly compromises tone. I can always load the "serious" rig when I want. This one is just to get from point A to point B quickly and easily.
     
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  4. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    An amp for gigs is what I'm after. I don't need a lot of built-in effects, and I'm not a pedal guy. I don't do a lot of channel changing during gigs. So I want simple, and ease of operation when I'm gigging.

    Some may see this small modeling amp as a novelty, or primarily for home use/practice, or recording. The only recording I do is when I get my wife to take a video of me with an iPhone. And I've already got amps for home use/practice well covered. So I say again, a gigging amp is what I'm after.

    Will the Cambridge50 work for me as a gigging amp? I hope so. I've also been seriously looking at the BOSS Nextone, but right now the Cambridge50 is the frontrunner. So although I've yet to play through one, I'm thinking its relative simplicity could work for me. I was thinking/hoping that the 50 watt output through that 12" Celestion would be enough to gig with. (And so @scattitude I was certainly glad to hear you say it "has plenty of juice for a live gig.") I would guess that I'd probably live mostly on the Boutique CL and AC30 models, with a set it/forget it approach the settings, and just get nuances from the guitar most of the time. And for certain things, I'd click in a saved user program when necessary.
     
  5. jageya

    jageya Tele-Holic

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    Sounds like the tonemaster amps may be for you too.
     
  6. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've got an afternoon gig, but I'm going to try to go to a local store and look for the Cambridge50 to try. If they have a Tone Master, I'll probably test drive it, because I've been curious. But that's well beyond what I want to spend.
     
  7. jageya

    jageya Tele-Holic

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    I know- the tm is a bit overpriced to me for a 1 trick pony modeler. But i get that guys are buyin them who dont want to deal with the weight and want the whole tube amp "look". Still its a $400 amp to me.
     
  8. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Just got back home from the local store (Clawson's Music). Not that I was surprised, but they didn't have the Cambridge50 in the store, nor did they have a Nextone (not really surprised there, either). What did surprise me was they didn't have any Tone Master amps.

    I didn't go to the local GC today, but I was in there not that long ago, and they didn't have the Cambridge50 or Nextone amps, either. They did have the TMs over there, though. I just didn't check 'em out, mainly because of the price.

    I've just scarfed down a quick lunch, and in a few minutes I'll need to load up my gear for an afternoon gig.
     
  9. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think I’m very close to pulling the trigger on the Cambridge50.

    But that impression is based on what I understand of an amp I’ve never even seen, much less test driven. So for my decision-making process, it’s very important for me to confirm that I truly do understand how the amp works, and how it could work for me.

    Basically, the amp in its manual mode is when top panel settings—amp model selection, EQ, effects—are engaged. Manipulating the control knobs on the top panel directly impact the amp’s sound.

    But when I press (or click with the VFS2, which I already have) the PROGRAM mode, I get a factory preset available typical of each amp model selection. And that also in PROGRAM mode, I can create/write my own user program, save it, and then in performance with a click of the footswitch I can recall that user program for my instrumental break, then with another click of the same switch, I’d be back in manual mode.

    So, for example, I’m playing on the “Boutique CL” for my clean tone during the verses of a song, with just a touch of tremolo and spring reverb. Then, for an instrumental break, I click the footswitch and bring up my user program A, and presto! My tone is now the “Brit 1959” amp model, with phase and echo for effects. Then, when my lead part (or what passes for lead playing when I do it :oops:) is done, another click of the same switch, and I’m back to Boutique CL with trem and verb.

    Have I got that right? This may seem like a very basic question to many, but the truth is, I’ve never owned a modeling amp, and I’ve never created or recalled a user program. Even with my BOSS ME-70 multi effects pedal, I’ve never done presets and programs, never written or created them. I’ve only ever used it in manual mode. So I’m asking: do I have the right understanding of how this works?

    Since @scattitude you are the only person I know of that owns this amp, I’m particularly hoping you’ll chime in on this one, but I’m assuming that the principles are the same with most modeling amps, and that owners of Katanas or Nextones can speak to this in principle as well. Thanks in advance, y'all.
     
  10. jageya

    jageya Tele-Holic

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    sounds right to me. V ery similar to their valvetronix amps i use. Have you tried the katana or nextone amps?
     
  11. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks for the reply. I never test drove or even knew to much about the Valvetronix amps, so they tend to slip my mind.

    I have tried the Katana 50, a couple of times. I've yet to find a Nextone amp (either one) to try out. Honestly, I've strongly considered the Nextone. It all might come down to whichever one I get to test drive first, although I must say the Cambridge50 is the definite frontrunner.
     
  12. scattitude

    scattitude TDPRI Member

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    As for the footswitching, with a standard footswitch, you can save two presets for instant access (any knob settings on the amp); with the Vox VFS-5, you get eight (two banks of four). Any manual tweaking of knobs on the amp will override your current settings (but not what you saved into that preset). Using the Vox Tone Room software, you can edit/program, transfer and back up any presets, plus you get additional parameters (such as Mid-EQ and noise reduction) not accessible on the amp itself. The only parameter not saved into a preset is the power-level, which is like a master-volume.
     
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  13. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think it's just too soon to expect the Cambridge50 to show up in stores. Over the weekend, I was up visiting family in the Ft. Worth area, and checked with two GC's up there, but no C50. So, my choices are...

    ...wait until they finally show up down here in South Texas;
    ...wait until I take another trip to north Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and check there;
    ...buy before I try;
    ...give up and go with something else.

    Those first two options involve a "wait," and that's a four-letter word to me. :oops::twisted: I've got a couple of gigs coming up that I think the Cambridge50 would be perfect for, but one is in 8 days, the other in a little more than 3 weeks. If I even have a chance at the first date, I need to order it tomorrow.

    Which leads me to that 'buy before I try" deal. I've read enough and heard enough to expect the Cambridge50 to be good, but still, to pull the trigger without having had the chance to test drive it...

    As for the "give up and go with something else" route, that's not an attractive option. I haven't been keen on Katanas. I'd like to try the Nextone, but nobody has one of those, either. And they're pricier. Even the Stage is $500, and it's 40 watts, not 50. The Artist is 80 watts, but even more money: $700.

    Before Vox released the Cambridge50, I had my sights set on the Mini Super Beetle. I've test driven it several times, and liked it. Iconic good looks, straightforward simplicity, and I like its AC tones. And it's only $30 more than the C50. But straight out of the box it's only capable of 25 watts. To get the full fifty, you need another cab with an 8 ohm speaker. All my amps have been combos, so I don't own an extension cab. So to me the MSB is a 25 watt amp, and would cost more to make it a 50 watt. Finding an 8 ohm cab that doesn't cost as much as the amp does isn't easy.

    If it sounds like I'm talking myself into ordering the Cambridge50...well, I guess I am.
     
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  14. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. Stratguy70

    Stratguy70 TDPRI Member

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    Yep, I've followed your posts for a long time. There's a reason you haven't bought the MSB already, and I know you love those Pathfinders. Buy the Cambridge!
    Haha!
    Ok, in all seriousness, I think the Cambridge is going to be a winner for Vox and for us.The demos show promise.
     
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  16. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    :lol: :oops: :lol:


    I guess anyone following my threads and posts in general or this thread specifically has already observed that I tend to deliberate a long time before taking action. My Granddad, a Texas farmer, had a saying for this: "Boy, I have to sight you alongside a fence post to see if you're even movin'!" :oops::lol:

    My wife and I got back late Tuesday from a six-day camping trip, and on that trip I lost my voice. Well, I still had a bit of a voice, but I sounded like a bullfrog in mating season. So I cancelled two gigs I had scheduled to play for a couple of seniors facilities, and I've barely ventured from the house since. But I'm feeling a bit better today, so I may get cleaned up and dressed in a little while and go out to Clawson's Music.
     
  17. jageya

    jageya Tele-Holic

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    let us know if you find a c50.
     
  18. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    I really like at least one of the tones in one of those videos a lot. But i don't put a lot of stock in demos so i really have no real idea of how good it truly is till i play one. But it does make me think the amp could be worth a try. I have the GTX on order so if by chance i don't find it to be enough of a upgrade to my GT once the GT gets the new FW update and decide to take it back, i may give this vox a go.

    I wonder tho....how easy is it to get those nutubes if they fail and how long will they be available? I mean, there IS only 1 company making them i assume, so if they stop are the amps doomed to be doorstops eventually or are these tubes so reliable and long lived theres no issue?
     
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  19. jageya

    jageya Tele-Holic

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    the nano tubes like in the bluamp stuff are supposed to last for ever and i dont know if the nutubes are even little tubes or just ss circuit?? I know the older valvetronix i use)ad60/120 vtx and vtx300 amps) use 12ax7 and el34/84 tubes that are easily replaceable which is great. That old VR tech really works to warn the tone up very tubelike and somehow adds those tube dynamics to the the tone. I am still sold many yyears later.
     
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