My Bare Minimum Low Pressure Gig Amp - Vox VT40

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by soundchaser59, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2006
    River City / Star City
    So we get a "friend of the band director" gig at a local high school to help with a fundraiser. It's been "Big Band Jazz" week at the school, culminating in the Friday night jazz concert. The HS band played 5 songs first, then we play for an hour.

    We were told that the school has a new 32 channel sound system, etc.etc.blah.blah.blah...... everything would be mic'd, with a knowledgeable sound man to run it. They have stands, etc....

    I just bought this little Vox VT40+ for a practice amp, swapped out the tube and put a 100w 10 inch Eminence speaker in it. I figured this little 1 hour "no pressure" gig is the perfect time to test this thing and see if it has the right 5 or 6 sounds I need to rehearse with our funk horn section. The amp goes up to 60 watts out (hybrid with a modeller in the front, 12AX7 in the middle,and a solid state power amp with a built in power soak on the way out) and I thought maybe half volume would be good.

    We get there and find out the sound system is run by a HS senior wearing a t-shirt that says "its a Media thing." We only have 8 channels because "we could never figure out how to program 9 and up." Sound check comes and I point out that the guitar amp doesn't have a mic. "That's right, no mic for that," says the band director. There are no stands. The amp sits on the floor of the riser, next to the drums.

    As soon as the drums and horns start playing I realize that half volume is not going to cut it, especially without a mic. The people out on the floor could not hear the guitar. So I turn the thing up full blast, and then I get thumbs up from the people on the floor. Our trumpet guy goes out to listen and tells me he can hear the guitar mixing just right after he gets out there away from the stage in the middle of the room. Don't turn it up any louder, but don't turn it down.

    Decent sounds to choose from in this amp, but only usable because of the speaker swap and tube swap, and I think I got lucky that this little 10 inch hybrid was able to cut it at all in that situation. Overall I'd say it was better (for my taste and my style) than a similarly matched species of Fender or other hybrid, but no contest compared to my regular Rivera R55 or Mesa Maverick rig.

    Moral of the story: Never bring a pocket knife amp to play with an automatic shotgun band that has 5 pro horns and a pissed off recently divorced drummer.

    PS: Vox really cut corners on the build quality of this amp vs the original AD30VT, probably in order to get more user progammable sounds and fx without raising the price. (both amps sell used for the same price around here) If I had known that before I opened it up I would have bought the original instead. For my tastes I consider this VT40 to be useless until the speaker is upgraded, vs the AD30 which can be tolerable in its stock condition.

    PSS: I have traded the VT40+ for a VT30, the model before the VT40 but after the AD30. Same build quality as the original AD30, and much better sounding models imo. So overall a great improvement over the VT40.

    However in the grand scheme of amp things, even the lowly Ampeg GVT5H far overshadows the Vox hybrid for tone quality, build quality, and raw expressiveness. It goes without saying that the hybrid is not even in the same ballpark with the Mesa and the Rivera I have sitting here.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016

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