Vox Amplification have given their headphone practice amps a new twist by taking their successful AmPlugs and transplanting them directly into a pair of quality headphones. So now they give us the Vox AmPhones (current street price in Finland approx. 120 € each), made in co-operation with Audio-Technica.
At this moment the AmPhone-range comprises three guitar models – the white and grey AmPhone Twin, the silver/brown AmPhone AC30, as well as the none-more-black AmPhone Lead – plus…
…a red and black AmPhone-model tailored for use with electric bass.
In standard headphone use the Vox AmPhones naturally don’t require batteries. The headphone amp, on the other hand, runs on a pair of AAA-batteries, which are inserted into the right side headphone.
All of the Voxes are equipped both with a mini phone jack, as well as the standard size counterpart.
The headphone amp’s electronics and corresponding controls have been fitted into the left side can. Next to the power switch you will find the effect control, along with a mini auxiliary input jack.
The guitar AmPhones offer three different effects along the control’s travel – chorus, delay and reverb – as well as effects off. At the point where one effect changes to another you will hear a small chirping noise as an audible pointer, which is a cool way to do it. Modulation and delay times are fixed, but Vox have managed to come up with workable compromises. The effects sound very nice.
The AmPhone Bass model has a compressor as its sole effect, with the control adjusting the amount of compression, and thus the loudness of the signal. The compressor has been designed specifically for bass use, and works surprisingly well.
On the other side of the lead, all Voxes feature gain, tone and volume controls.
The Vox Amphones are comfortable headphones, and are still pretty lightweight, in spite of the added batteries and electronics hidden inside.
Producing the AmPhones in co-operation with a renowned maker, such as Audio-Technica, has really paid off, as the headphones sound very good. Personally, I would like to see slightly more substantial, tougher leads on the Voxes, but the AmPhones work just fine regardless.
The practice amps will run about 16 hours on fresh alkaline batteries for the guitar models, and up to 20 hours for the bass model.
To my ears the AmPhones’ guitar (and bass) sounds are even better than what the AmPlugs have to offer:
The Twin model has just the right kind of top end chime in clean settings, as well as charming filth when driven hard. The AmPhone AC30 has more clean bite, as well as bags of gain for all those Brian May -style escapades. And it surely comes as no surprise that the AmPhone Lead is a dead ringer for a Marshall stack. Even getting a punchy bass tone going is really easy with the AmPlug Bass – something you can’t take for granted with headphones!
Here are links to Vox’ own soundbites:
I must say I feel that the Vox AmPhones are an even more exciting product than the company’s very successful AmPlugs, because the headphones offer you a real all-in-one piece of equipment. You’ve got a great headphone amp and a decent pair of cans all rolled into one easy-to-use product. Now you can switch from listening to music to practicing without skipping a beat – that’s handy in my book!
Vox AmPhone – headphone amps
Current street price approximately 120 €
Finnish distributor: EM Nordic
Thanks to DLX Music Helsinki for the loan of the test samples!
+ headphone sound
+ amp sounds
+ quality of effects
+ comfortable to wear
+ cool concept
– skinny lead