The new Vox VX15-GT (street price in Finland approx. 155 €) is an ultra-light, modelling practice amp with a 15-watt power amp.
The VX15-GT shares the control panel and signal-processing blocks with its larger brother, the VX50-GTV, but with one crucial difference. While the larger combo’s preamp section utilises Vox’ proprietary Nutube – a modern, low voltage tube – the VX15-GT uses Vox’ patented VET (Virtual Element Technology) digital modelling architecture.
The Vox VX15-GT’s astonishingly low weight (of just under four kilos) is achieved by using a special cabinet that is molded completely from ABS-plastic, as well as the use of a modern, lightweight power amplifier.
The single speaker is a 6.5-inch Vox unit.
The combo is powered by 12 volts DC from an external, laptop style AC adapter.
The internal preset memory holds 11 slots for factory presets (one per amp model) plus two storable user presets. By connecting an optional Vox VFS5 footswitch the number of user presets can be increased to eight.
The Vox VX15-GT’s top-facing control panel sports the typical control layout of most modelling practice amps:
Starting from the left we find an E-tuner above the guitar input. The tuner LEDs double as preset programme indicators – when all LEDS are off the combo is in manual mode, with all parameters corresponding to the current knob positions. The amp selector offers you ten different amplifier models – one Fender, two Dumbles, two Voxes, three Marshalls, one Soldano and one Mesa/Boogie. The Line setting disconnects the amp modelling section, so you can use the VX15-GT to amplify a line level signal, such as a synthesiser.
The four smaller knobs in the top row control the usual amplifier functions, namely gain, two-band EQ and programme volume.
The Modulation control lets you choose and adjust one of four different modulation effects – chorus, flanger, phaser (the abbreviation ”ORG” stands for the colour orange) and tremolo. The Modulation knob sweeps each effect’s speed from very slow to very fast. Here’s an audio clip running through the four modulation types, starting with the modulation section off:
The Delay/Reverb control lets you select one out of two delays or two reverbs. This control adjusts the chosen effect’s intensity (its volume in the mix), while the delay speed and the reverb length is set using the Tap Tempo button. For this clip I have set the delay time to almost full. I start off with a dry example and then play two examples of each effect, one with low and the other with high intensity:
As a demo song I recorded short cover version of the Weeknd’s song ”Blinding Lights”. All guitar tracks were played on a Gibson Melody Maker SG and recorded with a Shure SM57. I used only the Vox VX15-GT’s own effects:
Once I got over the unusual, all-plastic construction of the new Vox combo, I was really taken with the range of different sounds and the decent amounts of volume the VX15-GT has to offer.
This is a very inspiring and lightweight package, which, in my view, will work best as a practice (or teaching) guitar combo or in a small home studio setting.
One ”hidden”, but very nifty, feature that I haven’t mentioned is the very efficient, built-in noise suppressor. I was able to use single-coil pickups in the highest gain settings, without any 50-cycle hum!
You cannot compare the 15 watts of solid state power output to the full-on blast of an all-valve Vox AC15, but stick a decent microphone in front of it and you could even use the VX15-GT for the occasional pub gig.
Street price around 155 €
Finnish distributor: EM Nordic
+ lightweight, ABS cabinet
+ decent presets
+ wide variety of amps
+ decent effects
– lightweight, ABS cabinet