Does anthing "wear out" in a modeling amp like the vox ad50vt?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Toneseeker361, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Toneseeker361

    Toneseeker361 Member

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    Im fixing to buy a used one for 139.00, I played it, everything works fine, but I know they came out a long time ago and I was just wondering if an old one is just as reliable as a new one???
    One school says buy new and have a return policy, while others say if an old used amp hasn't gone out yet, it plobably won't...
    What has been your experience???
     
  2. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    It depends on the amp; not the type of amp.

    Specific models of amps by any manufacturer are somewhere on the scale between dependable or problematic.

    I owned of of the first series of those amps (mine was a 212) and it was dependable during the time I owned and used it. Beyond that, I do not have any advice to offer.
     
  3. Toneseeker361

    Toneseeker361 Member

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    thanks for the reply, ive seen the inside of this amp, and theres not many caps, and circuits, im not an amp tech, but i burned out a vox vt40+ once (about a month old by trying to add an external speaker jack myself) and fixing it was more expensive than repairing it.
    I sold it on e bay for 150.00 for parts, the buyer fixed it, but he said it was very difficult.
    anyhow, i guess this question is just too general...
    I have a 200.00 store credit at a local pawn shop, and there is really nothing i want there, but then this amp showed up....
    and i have to spend it soon or i loose it.
    thanks for your response.....
     
  4. 3th3r

    3th3r Member

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    The thing that wears out the fastest is the novelty.
     
  5. epluribus

    epluribus Member

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    Do they wear out? Geez, lemme tell ya...was it the Gallien Kreuger patch or the Eden Traveller that kept overheating...put a fan on it and everything! JTM45 patch...every stinkin' weekend, power tubes, OT...gack! My kid tried to play bass in his garage band with it set to a TV-Front Champ patch, man, blew that little 8" AlNiCo clean outa there...and you can't get those speaker patches anymore, the modern ones stink. Lessee...the PCB in the TSL one fried itself long ago, the Bugera patches all sound like cheap copies, oh, and whatever you do, don't get the Harmony H-303 patch wet...cab'll fall apart on ya in seconds!

    HTH.

    --Ray

    PS...Stuff wearing out. The actual amp sections in most of these things were pretty run-of-the-mill production SS, so they oughta work good and last a long time, provided nobody cooked it plugging in the wrong speaker load. Otherwise, the amps themselves should be fine. Do check for the usual scratchy pots and jacks and stuff, and evaluate the amp section as you would any other. While you're at it, wiggle all the knobs and controls...on a lot of those older modelers, they tried to cut costs by using things supported only by the circuit boards...and they broke a lot. Just like they do on some notorious analog amps. However...

    ...the modeling-specific stuff can be a bit tricky if you've not inspected a modeler before. The software of course won't wear out, though in very rare instances it can become corrupt...like a botched EPROM or firmware upgrade. Usually that'll show up the minute you sample a bunch of patches.

    One feature unique to modelers...MIDI, USB, and FireWire jacks. If it's got 'em, try 'em. This is really hard to do...the store needs to have a computer loaded with the drivers and the GUI software so you can check out both the MIDI functions and the data transfer stuff you use to put patches on your computer and vice versa. MIDI shouldn't be an issue, cuz it's good old music gear, but the USB and FireWire stuff might be flaky...see next paragraph.

    The hardware can get a little weird cuz they were putting things on amps that nobody'd ever stuck on a guitar amp before...steep learning curve about durability and such. So try all the little data wheels and dual-function buttons...in the early days of digital they sometimes used stuff that worked great in an office but never dreamed what a beating amps take. Be sure all the bits in your digital display function correctly too, and that it doesn't go wacko when you move one of the controls...or blink if you pick the amp up.

    When you switch things on and off, on some amps you'll hear relays clicking inside and servo motors going. Healthy clicking and whirring are good. Listen for bad little whines and groans from the motors, or the telltale buzz of a sticking relay. Dunno if that Vox had any of that stuff, but if something in there's cooking, a lot of times you'll hear it if you listen close. Mute the speaker. And yes, people will stare at you like you're nuts.

    So while they're staring and your head's two inches from the amp, sniff for the usual overheating bits...besides the collected dust. If you do smell something funky, I do not advise inhaling deeply, btw. And absolutely do not do anything that will be heard through the speaker!

    Past that, an amp's an amp...with one more caveat...repairs. In most amps a scratchy pot is no big deal...solder a new one in. On digital amps, oftentimes they used special pots or other hardware that could do strange digital things as well as the usual analog, and replacing them may be a trip to circuit-board-land...with proprietary, and expensive, replacement parts. So don't assume you can fix stuff the way you would with an analog amp, even if you've done PCB before. If you find a glitch and intend to repair it, I'd nose around to see if it's possible first.

    So I fired up the 5150 patch one day and plugged 'er into a Variac... :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  6. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    It was the GK. I had one blow out on me during a sound check. With the smoke rising out of the amp, it was very Spinal Tap.

    The good news was that GK repaired it for free and added some thermal improvements. I gigged it for three years after that without an issue.
     
  7. epluribus

    epluribus Member

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    I love those things just for that! That was inspired by a buddy's amp...he actually hotrodded it so it ran hotter. Onstage, in front of actual people, he had a big household fan blowing on the chassis...and actually worried about his amp. :bonk

    But he sure did sound good when it worked.

    --Ray

    The patch is lame btw...when it overheats it doesn't smoke. Stoo-pid.

    PSS and One Mo' Thang and all that: Old modelers: One more qualifier so this starts with three colons: Most of the early modeler patches sound really weak and noisy by modern digital standards, and all of that old DSP suffered from it. But on most every early modeler I've played, notably the very lowly Spider II, I found at least three or four patches that would just knock you over. In my book, if it's even got one good patch in it, that's not a bad little amp. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  8. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    its a computer processed amp. they go bad. no matter how much you pay for them. failure rate probably same as other digital electronic i say.

    common problem are:

    bad encoders (any price unit have these go bad eventually)
    bad solder connection on board or board flex/warp due to heat cold.
    bad power supplies
    jacks of all type. input fx loop etc.
    bad switches. more common go bad if tact type or carbon contact.

    otoh if the process ic for sound goes out, buy a new one. you wont find one easy and often have to replace whole board (not often available).
     
  9. epluribus

    epluribus Member

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    Fosse-natin'...I know zip about the innermost minds of the digital bits. What does the encoder do and can it be fixed? For future reference and all...

    --Ray
     
  10. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    encoder are digital switches instead of controls. you use encoder switch when selecting digital options. its not like an analog pot. it has digital signal on it and the encoder (rotary switch) tells the chip what user has selected on the panel.

    they get loose and dirty contacts. significant problem for all digital amps, floor units and rack units.

    they must be replaced. not really something you can clean and make reliable. when they dont work they just dont work well at all. they also might change settings on you by itself.

    i replaced mine on my axe fx, johnson jm150 needed 3 of them when i bought it used. i replaced them on my line 6 pod xtl, and on line 6 amps. many require solder skills and some require special solder removal tools with vacuum. my co guitarist does this work and has a desolder unit for those.
     
  11. epluribus

    epluribus Member

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    Aah, got it, thanks! :beer

    Never knew that's what those were called. I stuck a set in my Cyber Twin some time ago. Kinda picky, but works just fine since.

    --Ray
     
  12. weshunter

    weshunter Supporting Member

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    I had the 30w one and it literally wore out after a year and a half or so of lots of gigging. it wasn't a loud enough amp for the band i was using it with so i constantly had to push it as hard as it would go. i think i just fried it. Anyway, it sounded terrible when it worked so my tone actually improved by it dying.
     
  13. Toneseeker361

    Toneseeker361 Member

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    thanks for all of your responses, and as always, I learned something on TGP.
    I just bought the vox ad50vt amp for 139.00, I also bought the 6 month warrenty for 15.00.
    If I see somthing else I like, or if ANYTHING goes wrong, I just return it and get another store credit less the 15.00. (thats one more way they make money).
    I returned an amp I bought there and returned it, no questions asked.
    Most pawn shops dont let you return squat.
    I dont make it a habit of buying my gear at pawn shops, most of the stuff seems ify.
     
  14. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    all electronic or mechanical components will eventually fail or deviate from the original spec due to wear or thermal breakdown
     
  15. Toneseeker361

    Toneseeker361 Member

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    Well, here she is..................
    http://s1228.photobucket.com/albums/ee458/toneseeker361/?albumview=slideshow
    After a good dusting, I took it apart, (it's a sickness I have) and blew some light compressed air through the guts.
    It seemed like the first time the back came off of this thing, not easy...
    Anyway, I thinks it's a keeper, I personally like it's simplicity, and just basic features compared to the VT+ series.
    I owned a VT40+ once, and it was great, but a little more complicated to me.
    My favorite setting is the Tweed 4x10 with the gain cranked....it just rips like and old tee shirt.
    For 139 clams, I think its a good deal, Ill leave this one at the office for my late night "get aways".
    Thanks for stopping by...
     
  16. epluribus

    epluribus Member

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    That looks like a cool old amp. Agreed, lots to be said for the simple controls...plug and play is a wonderful thing sometimes. And there ya go...if it's got one good setting that floats yer boat, it's a great amp...esp for the money. You'll have to keep us posted with the 10,000 mile owner report. Nice!

    --Ray
     
  17. Toneseeker361

    Toneseeker361 Member

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    I will, and I dare sa the "metal" is a tad more ballsy than the one on my Mustng iii. like it alot
     

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