Vox - what is (was) the GREAT ss amp that they do (did)?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by MilwMark, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    This may not be the right forum, strictly speaking. But I know folks have spoken glowingly of one particular SS Vox amp repeatedly in this forum. But now I can't find those posts. It was one model in particular that kept coming up.

    Did I read them? That this particular amp rivals tube amps? Or was I dreaming . . .?

    Thanks
     
  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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  3. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  4. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

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    Pathfinder is super cool. Small amp, Big sound.
     
  5. teleprompted

    teleprompted Tele-Meister

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    The valvetronix series are pretty good too
     
  6. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I love my AD15VT.

    Vox also made some ill-fated SS versions of the AC30 and such - IMO good designs but price point was too high, and they didn't "nail the tones" according to some users.

    There's more new "non-all tube" Voxes that might also be similar, but IDK. They seem pretty steeply priced for something that is at least partly SS.

    I never bothered to investigate the Pathfinder (until now). It looks like a neat little circuit - sort of like a more mild version of the Marshall Guv'nor, minus a knob to control midrange. But the circuit setup is similar, including LED's for clipping diodes like in the Guv. The "gain boost" switch is also kind of smart - allows you to toggle between "less than a Guv'nor" or "less than a Bluesbreaker," in terms of 2nd stage gain.
     
  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Thanks all. Have a friend who is new to guitar and plans to play only at home. He wants a modeling amp, on the theory that it's hard to find a cost-effective tube amp that has a few sounds in it, that sound decent at quiet home volumes. Hard for me to argue that actually - even my 5 watter is darn loud by the time it sounds good.

    Anyway, he was looking at a particular amp I think sounds bad and is overpriced. Turns out there were actually 2 Voxes I was thinking of, the Pathfinder 15R and the AD15VT. I can at least pass that along to him to give him some more options/choices.
     
  8. teleprompted

    teleprompted Tele-Meister

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    I have the ad15 as well and even though I eventually bought a tube amp. I still play the little sucker and am always amazed at some of the tones I can get.
     
  9. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm still trying to figure out what is the better concept. Whether to have it all in one box-- like Blues Cube, the Vox, Peavey Bandit; or whether it's better to go with a separate pre-amp and then a "neutral EQ" power amp like Tech 21 recommends. I kind of lean towards the second approach because in theory you just trade out the power section for bigger and bigger stuff as needed, but you keep all your pre-amp stuff as you move from little amp to bigger amp or daisy-chained little amps. On the other hand I like the simplicity of a combo and maybe a few pedals, vs. the 80s when everyone had a rack-mount system.
     
  10. Monotremata

    Monotremata Tele-Afflicted

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    I've heard the 50w (I think) Valvetronix and the AC model pretty much nailed the sound of my AC15. Didn't get to hear much more but it definitely blew away Line 6s Vox model.
     
  11. Big John Studd

    Big John Studd Friend of Leo's

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    No, you're absolutely correct, I have complimented their Valvetronix series here before. I don't own one personally, but a few players I've had backing me have used them and sounded good. I guess technically they are mixed signal, but they are still fairly lightweight, inexpensive, etc. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe they were the 10 inch speaker model. They seemed pretty compact. This was for wedding gigs and so forth with the song selection running the cover band gamut from light jazz to Motown to Honky Tonk Women...they're pretty versatile guitar amplifiers in that respect.
     
  12. StormJH1

    StormJH1 Tele-Holic

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    I'm a huge fan of the affordable side of Vox amplifiers, and both the Pathfinder (solid-state) and the Valvetronix series (hybrid - mostly digital modeling with a tube thrown in, with solid state elements) are excellent.

    The Pathfinder 15R (now discontinued), for its price and what it is, cannot be beat. (Interesting reading .011's comparison of the circuit to a Guv'nor). 8" speaker and a stunning amount of clean headroom for a small solid state amp. It takes pedals exceptionally well, and really nails that Vox chime at bedroom volumes, even though that's a sound you swore would have to be the product of an expensive tube amp.

    The Valvetronix series (and I've owned amps from all three series of it dating back to '04) is a mixed bag, but overall an exceptional value. These are basically the amps that got me to pick up the electric guitar again, after an 8-year hiatus. If you just want to play a bunch of different tones and do it in a convincing-enough fashion, you can grab a Valvetronix in the size and price range you want and go to town. They are available used at huge discount, too - my AD100VT was originally a $500 amp, I got it for $179 used and it worked like new. Some of the newer models have a "hiss" or "snare trail" to some of the notes, which is the product of aggressive modeling and flawed noise cancellation. But overall, they sound great, and work best when you pick a relatively flat setting that you like and stick with it.
     
  13. eddie knuckles

    eddie knuckles Tele-Afflicted

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    You can't go wrong with a Pathfinder 15R (I have two)

    You can't go wrong with a used Peavey Bandit (leave it at rehearsal space)

    You can't go wrong with a Mustang III (way fun for the $$)
     
  14. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    It really comes down to what you are comfortable with onstage, IMO.

    Some folks can push it D.I. into the board and then have it fed back at them thru a monitor, or use something like the power amp box that Tech 21 recommends.

    Some folks find that setup to be unnerving. I think it has to do with how we respond to environmental cues. I'd think horn players might have a tough time if the only sound they heard was coming from a monitor, for instance. :eek: But keys players have been used to this scenario for the longest time. And some bassists will have have both a D.I. out and a cab behind them, while others just go straight D.I.

    ...IMO, the more critical aspect when "segmenting" the pieces of the whole rig become ones of how to configure the overall setup:

    - amp is designed so that power amp/speaker/cabinet are all integrated into the sonic effect

    - "amp" is designed so that power amp/speaker/cab/mic on cab are all integrated into a "non-power amp implementation" - IOW both the pre part of the amp characteristic and all of the parts that characterize it via electromechanics/physics - are all emulations that don't rely on any coloration from the "physical amp." If anything (and Tech 21 has shown it), coloration beyond the emulation will almost always sound like garbage.

    ...So something like the Vox AD-series include the power amp in the design, while Tech 21 isolates it out. And stuff like the amps by Line 6 also stuff it all into their digital engines, and then just output it thru as powerful of a linear SS power amp as they can.
     
  15. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    My AD15VT is the first (mostly) SS amp I've owned that I can actually use the BF/AC15/AC30TB settings on and have them behave like the real deal. Is it 100%? No. Is it surprisingly close? I think so - the amp would have been ditched (or wouldn't be used regularly) if those weren't the case.

    ...I just use the channel 1/2 switch with mine, and have 1 dialed up for a clean w/'verb BF sound, and 2 dialed up for "moderate Vox breakup."

    The best part is that the amp (new) cost less than the price of a BF + Vox pair of boutique amp emulator pedals. I subbed out the stock speaker, which set me back another $30, but that's the only thing that could be done to the amp to improve it. Despite being just 15W, the closed-back cab with a more robust 8" really makes the thing sound a hellofa lot bigger than something like a Champ.
     
  16. Snowwizard

    Snowwizard Tele-Holic

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    Agreed. The pathfinder was one of the bigger surprises I've come across
     
  17. PumpJockey

    PumpJockey Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The AD series Valvetronics were very good. If you can find one for good money, have your friend buy it. The series since then are long on amp choices, short on build quality and speaker quality.

    I liked a lot of the pedal settings, however, so I sold my VT20+ with its Vietnamese 8" kazoo and used the money to buy a Vox Tonelab ST, which I can configure as I wish, save as settings and plug into whatever amp is needed, big or small. Sounds good through a Tech 21 Trademark 30, which is a small well-built SS amp. Also, the Tonelab substitutes for a pedal board in front of a decent tube amp.

    Even for bedroom use the VT+ series needs a speaker upgrade, IMHO. This was not the case with the Pathfinder, so that's a good choice as well.
     
  18. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I often look at Pathfinder 15R's on eBay. I have the combo and I have the head with the 4 x 8 cab.

    Now the 15R is discontinued it's interesting to see fewer and fewer units for sale.

    How many do you think are eBay right now???

    There are 4. There are 4 Pathfinder 15R combos on all of eBay (USA) right now. 2 years ago there would be 50 of them on eBay at any given time.

    I used to see one of the heads with a 2 x 10 bottom or the 4 x 8 bottom every couple months but I haven't seen a head and bottom in a year.

    Take good care of them if you've got one. They're special. I now that they aren't worth a fortune but they're special.
     
  19. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I hate feature creep, whether it be on amps or cameras or car electronics. Guess that's why I like my 1990 Mercedes, and my single channel tube amps. It's a bit of a shame that it's so easy to add bells and whistles onto SS amps-- because simpler is generally more ergonomic, and many of the bells and whistles are hardly used. Much like many of the additional features on a dSLR camera. Plus, increased complexity means more things that can break.
     
  20. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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