The world of audio and musical equipment can be a tricky one to navigate at the best of times. With so many different products, conflicting opinions and confusing reviews, it’s hard to know what’s actually the best product for your needs. Luckily, the team at Mixdown have put in the legwork for you, sifting through the spec-sheets and putting the products through their paces to bring you Mixdown’s Picks - a new series of expansive, category defining product guides across our digital channels. Anything that has made the cut has rated highly across the board with the Mixdown staff, garnering a unanimous tick of approval from our staunch critics.
This time, we’re getting into what’s now a must-have for any guitarist looking to jam out or record awesome sounding tracks from their bedroom: low-wattage amplifiers.
Vox Cambridge 50 Modelling Amplifier
Distributed by: Yamaha Music Australia | Expect to pay: $549.99
Key Features: While its 50 watts may come as a bit of a headscratcher in the context of best amps for the bedroom, the sheer versatility and breadth of application afforded by Vox’s elegant little modeling amp make the Cambridge 50 just as adept around the home as it is in on the stage. Its advanced modeling capabilities, handy power attenuator and implementation of Vox’s own NuTube technology combine to make the Cambridge 50 a super capable amplifier for dealing with a lot of the gain staging nasties and psycho-acoustic trickery that tend to sap a lot the fun out of home practice (especially when it comes to playing lead).
Clean tones like the AC30 or ‘Blackface’, sing and chime with remarkable accuracy, while driven tones maintain their integrity and body, even when pulled back to housemate friendly volumes. The Cambridge 50 also provides one of the most intuitive and real world tonal shaping experiences when it comes to streamlining workflow and honing in on particular tones - it's easy to forget you're modelling at times. Add to this the eight built in effects, built in tuner, interface and headphone capabilities options and you have a dizzyingly versatile amp for the modern guitarist.
Another particularly interesting and seldom appreciated aspect of this amp is how much Vox absolutely nailed the user interface in the accompanying ‘ToneRoom’ app. It’s a thing of beauty and really makes the whole prospect of amp tonal shaping via software feel just as natural as it does in the DAW domain.
Mixdown Says: The perfect middle ground between ‘Classic British Tone’ and ‘New Age Modelling Wunderkind’, Vox’s Cambridge 50 is both an awesome stage amp and a rock solid practice option all rolled into one. The presence of the Celestion VX12 speaker, combined with the newest incarnation of Vox’s patented ‘NuTube’ technology certainly go a long way to adding a sense of cozy familiarity to what is in essence, a super forward thinking amp release from the British mainstay.
Its ability act as a standalone interface, combined with its in-app compatibility and broad catalogue of amp/effect chains make the Cambridge 50 a super versatile amp (stylistically speaking). Perhaps its biggest strength is in its ability to seamlessly translate between stage and home and back again: instantly giving guitarists an awesome foundation to draw from and adding a sense of continuity to all kinds of makeshift home practice scenarios.
Overall: Perfect for budding guitarists looking to bring their stage sound to the home (without being evicted).
Find out more about the Cambridge 50 via Vox Australia today.