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Vox Valvetronix - A World Of Guitar Tone, From AC30 To Zappa

Published: Mon June 03, 2013  News Feed

Vox Valvetronix - A World Of Guitar Tone, From AC30 To Zappa

Brian May Vox Amps

Need a hand choosing the right amp for you?

An avowed Vox amp fanatic Brian May's signature sound relies on a nicely cranked AC30 and while a red hot valve amp is one of 'lifes great things' there are some drawbacks.

Volume - Zappa might have loved the "disgusting stink of a too loud electric guitar" but your neighbours probably wont. While getting a low wattage valve amp might solve part of the problem it doesn't help with...
Versatility - If you need an amp for songwriting, practicing or emulating a range of tones on stage then just having one amp sound won't help.
Very heavy - A gig worthy valve amp will be pretty darn heavy.

How might one get a good guitar tone without these headaches? Well a Valvetronix amplifier might be the best solution. True Vox tone, amp modelling with valves so no sacrifices are made to tone.

Best Vox Amps In One Package
Vox started out in amp modelling with the Tonelab and have refined that formula for the Valvetronix amps. Plug in, select your effects, choose an amp model then let the Class A or A/B (depends on amp model) valve deliver pure tube tone through your speaker.


Vintage Style Vox Wah
Tone Bender - Original And Best Fuzz PedalOf course Vox aren't just renowned for their amplifiers, the Tone Bender fuzz pedal was a favourite of Clapton & Jimmy Page and Zappa used a Vox Wah throughout the 70's. This stomp box knowledge is distilled into the pedal section of the Valvetronix series.

Indeed you could sort of argue that Vox invented the concept of the effects pedal with the Top Boost addition to the AC30. While it didn't come as a foot stomp it is one of the earliest examples of using extra circuitry before the amp to improve tone. A modeled version of this very same boost is included as part of the effects section.

There's no shortage of delay, reverb, modulation and filter effects either.

Amp Models

The Valvetronix amp models a huge range of different amps from every era. Whether you want UK metal stack sound or chiming US boutique blues there's something for everyone. With some help from Metallica producer Bob Rock we've put together a little guide on getting a range of great tones from the Vox Valvetronix.

Best Vox Amp Tone
Vox Artists
Amp Tones
Amp Models
Beatles Amps Guitars
Love The Beatles? Then get a Vox amp.

Clean, pop chime going up to a little 60's crunch. It can only be the true Vox tone models. AC30 Standard for the original chime and AC15 Special for a little more cranked small combo. Valvetronix Preset: "I Feel Fine"
The U-Vibe, Tape Echo & a little Fuzz will give you that 60's psychedelic vibe. Maybe just a little top boost and tremolo for pre-Peppers Beatles.
U2 Edge Tone AC30
The Edge from U2 is another AC30 fanatic.
Clean, atmospheric and open. Then huge, stereo and cranked for the big choruses. Vox AC30 Special models the sound of the famous Celestion Blue, crucial for that sweet top end. The Cali Clean Special has that '57 Tweed tone, famous for it's crank and cleans. Preset: "Pride"
It can only be the delays, all of them! Edge also use a lot of octave effects and studio reverbs, so a big Hall verb and Pitch Shift are a must as well. The Edge simplifies his complex FX life by using a switching system, luckily Vox make the VOX VFS5 footswitch so you can do the same.
Bob Rock Metallica Tone
Metallica Producer Bob Rock Uses Valvetronix In The Studio.
In his own words, "...I then brought out my VOX Valvetronix AD120VTH head and AD412 cab and also mic’ed it with an SM57. I love this amp! It has every great amp sound and effect all built into one box." It's the AC30TB for hard rocking but Bob has worked on his fair share of metal. Whether it's modern US High Gain settings or more classic UK Metal. Valvetronix Preset: "Enter Sandman"
Heavy music tends not to lend itself too well to lots of effects. But a dirtbox can always be handy to kick your high gain amp up a gear. Tube OD was a popular choice in the 80's with the likes of Dave Mustaine using it, these days the Metal Distortion is more likely to prove popular.
Chris Shiflett Foo Fighters Tone
Almost the "anti-Edge" Chris Shiflett from the Foo Fighters runs his Vox pretty hot most of the time and has minimal effects.
One word, crunchy. Chris uses a handwired AC30, lovingly modeled by the AC30 Special setting. Plus the Foos are known to use a lot of high gain amps from a certain US company, try US Metal Special. Valvetronix Preset: "Best Of You"
Chris is pretty sparing with the FX, a little Phase and Compression will do.

Best Vox Amp For You
Vox VT20+
Vox Valvetronix VT20+
- 30 Watts 1 x 8" Speaker
Vox Valvetronix VT40+
Vox Valvetronix VT40+
- 60 Watts 1 x 10" Speaker
Vox Valvetronix VT80+
Vox Valvetronix VT80+
- 120 Watts 1 x 12" Speaker
Vox Valvetronix VT120+
Vox Valvetronix VT120+
- 150 Watts 2 x 12" Speaker
Vox VT Footswitch
VFS5 Footswitch
- Control Your Effects On Stage

What the papers say - Vox Valvetronix Review In Music Radar

Our Hendrix fantasies are realised by playing a Strat though the UK Rock model with some Univibe, and switching to a Les Paul gives tones ranging from Angus Young to Gary Moore depending on how much gain you use. The Gold Drive effect can add sufficient saturation if used sparingly, and the Treble Boost effect works wonders with the AC30 model for Brian May's ultra-thick tone. - Music Radar
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