Vox really seem to have made a push in the last few years, offering more and more models across a range of instruments alongside their classic guitar models (AC and the like). Modeling amps and effects, portable practice amps and their incorporation of their Nutube technology have seen them gain much momentum. Their MV50 range garnered much interest recently thanks to its small design and use of the aforementioned Nutube, and the VX50 looks like an extension of that thinking.
Keeping with their recent vintage yet modern aesthetic, Vox’s new VX design is lightweight and portable (under 5kgs) keeping it very much in the manageable realm for transporting/moving around the house/throwing in the back of the car. All models are made from an ABS polymer which keeps the shell light yet tough and protective. Targeting bass guitar, keyboard and acoustic guitar with these three models, Vox are also showing their willingness to cater for a bigger market than solely guitarists.
Recently incorporating the Nutube into their successful MV50 range, Vox are again jumping onto this new technology with the VX50 series. Still containing a filament structure, the Nutube is power efficient, smaller in size and has a huge life expectancy. Of course new designs and change aren’t going to be endorsed by everyone instantly (especially something like a vacuum tube that has been used in guitar amps for years), but the popularity and sounds achieved with these so far are really promising. It will be interesting to see their trajectory over the next few years.
Adding ‘reflex structure’ alongside the 8” speaker, Vox have increased the low end capabilities of the VX50BA giving you some noticeably increased bass response. A four band EQ (bass, lo mid, hi ,id, and treble) adds some extra tweakability whilst the onboard drive and compression allow you to even out your dynamics and/or create some gnarliness. I was able to dial in slightly broken through to tougher saturated tones, making the BA suitable for those wanting to achieve a range of sounds and styles. Fifty watts won’t smash a loud gig, but it will give you plenty of feel and sound for jamming at home.
It’s nice to see an offering specifically aimed at acoustic guitar in the form of the VX50AG. A two channel amp, you get the options of dedicated guitar and mic inputs which can be a great small solution for solo/duo guys. Independent EQ allows some flexibility for both channels and with on board reverb and chorus, you can dial in some extra body and width to fill out your sound.
Billed as ‘uncoloured’ and ‘honest’, I found the amp to be quite clear and clean. Vox have designed the housing with some porting to add mid and low response, and it seems to do a good job for a relatively small combo size. Various in/out connectivity also lets you run the AG out to a PA for further sound reinforcement, effectively letting you use the amp as a monitor and mixer. Extra points for the phantom power inclusion, too.
Much like the rest of the range, the KB features an 8” speaker, bass reflex structuring, and again Vox have utilised Nutube in the amp’s internals. Addressing the needs of keyboard players, the KB offers three channel inputs allowing for multiple board setups with channel three being switchable for line/mic for those wanting to sing and play (or use it for a small duo, etc). Shared EQ can be a slight compromise, but with individual volumes and the fact that this can eliminate the need for a mixer, any concerns are soon forgotten.
Bass, keyboard and acoustic guitar models that are lightweight, look hip, sound good, don’t cost a tonne of $$ and contain some cool technology? Sounds good to me. The Vox line is expanding pretty quickly these days and it’s interesting to see the advancements and direction they continue to take. Clearly the classic AC-10, AC-15, AC-20 and AC-30 aren’t going to go away and are still some of the most sought after and identifiable guitar sounds on the planet. But there is still room for development and other settings (practice, jamming, online, studio work, etc) that can still incorporate the Vox name. Check out the VX50 if you need some bass, acoustic or keyboard sound reinforcement at a nice price.
Hits and Misses
Models for bass, acoustic guitar and keyboard
Portable, easy to handle
Nutube inclusion highlights an openness to innovation
Some slight compromises with multiple channel shared controls