Reviewed: Vox Mini Superbeetle British Racing Green

Yamaha Music Australia | au.yamaha.com | Expect to pay: $749

The Vox Mini Superbeetle offers the classic, chimey Vox sound, re-imagined for a new generation of players. The Superbeetle is styled like a classic Vox, with a sweet British Racing Green tolex enclosure and iconic hatched brown cloth stitching over the 10” speaker. The cabinet features vintage style rails to secure the matching head into place, completing the aesthetic and making the Vox Superbeetle a great statement piece in a lounge, even before the amp is powered on.

Due to its size, the Superbeetle is mostly designed for home practice and small gigs, however is capable of moving 50 watts from the speaker. And with the tones easily accessible via a simple to use preamp section, it offers iconic Vox cleans and dirty tones alike with just six chicken-head knobs. Despite the NuTube technology and the small size, this is a classic Vox amp that looks great, feels right and sounds phenomenal.

 

Once the Superbeetle is powered via the included AC adapter and turned on, the preamp section makes for a very easy quest for tone. Left to right, the top panel features Volume, a Standby/Power switch and LED indicator, followed by Reverb and Tremolo to dial in the chime. The Tremolo is iconically warm and rich, as it’s powered by the Nu-Tube technology. It can be blended in for a little movement or a full blown, borderline jarring effect. The reverb is a nice compliment whether dialled to max. or subtly used to fill out a sound, resembling a nice, bright hall or plate reverb, but is listed as a digital spring. The top panel also features Bass and Treble controls, and a dimed Treble offers tones similar to Vox’s well-known Top Boost input, making sure that Vox’s iconic sparkling top-end is available in droves. The gain control offers super rich and warm, tube-like tones, despite the Mini Superbeetle being powered by a NuTube preamp, and teeters on fuzz when dialed to ten. On top of all this, the Mini Superbeetle takes pedals just as well as a larger AC15 or AC30, particularly when paired with warm overdrive units and enveloping modulation effects.

 

The Vox Mini Superbeetle maxes out at 50 watts, when run at 4 ohms. The unit then runs at 25 watts @ 8 ohms and 12.5 watts at 16 ohms, and can be used in conjunction with multiple speaker cabinets. This offers plenty of headroom for clean tones, but also plenty of volume for solo home practice or even small band practices. Signal is pushed out through the single 10” Celeston Customer speaker, which is hidden behind iconic brown cloth and styled as only Vox are. The head itself is powered by NuTube technology, and for those playing at home, NuTubes are effectively vacuum tubes, and operate in the same way, creating as much rich harmonic response and warmth than a conventional (and much larger) amplifier.

 

All in all, the Vox Mini Superbeetle is classically Vox, inherently Vox, and unapologetically Vox, but re-designed for a more modern player. Not only is operation super easy, but the classically styled head and matching cabinet would look at home in any lounge room or living area, or maybe nestled into the corner of a lounge in an apartment that smells of rich mahogany. The price is right, and so is the tone, whether you’re new to Vox or a brown-cloth aficionado, the Mini Superbeetle would be a worthwhile investment. It can be used as a head alone with an external cabinet, for both fairly loud or completely silent practice via the headphone out that retains the character and clarity of the matched cabinet.

Hits and Misses

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Small size, big sound

Looks great

Head can be used with different cabinets

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Digital ‘spring’ reverb isn’t very spring-y

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