RUST Magazine wants to thank our Senior Product Writer Brian Cameron for taking the time to get to know the new Vox AV30. He put it through the paces and here’s what he has to say about it:
With 8 unique analog preamps, a pair of 12AX7 tubes, and a ton of useful features, the Vox AV30 has everything you need for an at home practice or a gig. It’s got two foot switchable channels with independent EQ, built in chorus, delay, and reverb, and a master Power Level knob to give you consistent tone at any volume. What more could a guitarist ask for?
I liked this amp right away, and I only spent 5 minutes with it before a gig and I had it ready to go. The Vox AV30 is all you need for a club gig.
Right away I found a setting that was good-to-go. Channel One was set to Clean 1 on the edge of breakup. Channel Two was set to OD-2 for leads. I also had delay and reverb on. Within just a few minutes of getting to know this amp at home, I decided to leave my trusty rig with the big pedalboard at home. I took it to a gig, threw a mic in front of it, and got compliments on my sound. The AV-30 is that simple to use.
Can it really be this easy? Yes it can. As long as you know what sound you’re looking for and where to find it. So I took a moment to get it all together for you.
Clean 1 – This gives you a very familiar American clean sound with a slightly scooped midrange and high headroom.
Clean 2 – This is the familiar Vox sound. Plenty of headroom with more midrange than Clean 1. Engage the Bright switch and here comes that signature Vox chime.
Crunch 1 – If you’re looking for vintage British crunch, this is where you start. Less headroom but very clear.
Crunch 2 – Less headroom than Crunch 1 and slightly brighter. If Crunch 1 is too vintage sounding for you but you still want that AC/DC rhythm sound, you’ll find it here.
I would like to note here that the Bright and Fat switches have a lot of influence on these first four channels. They are higher headroom so the preamp adjustments are very influential. That being said, the power amp adjustment sliders (Bias and Reactor) have more effect on the next two channels while the Bright and Fat switches don’t affect them as much.
This is very useful if you have one channel from the first 4 preamps and the other from the last 4 preamps. So if you want Vox chime on Channel 1, use Clean 2 and turn on the Bright switch without it affecting your lead sound from one of the next 2 channels that much.
OD 1 – For a mid gain lead sound with a lot of sweep in gain, this is the go-to channel. I left it here for solos at my gig.
OD 2 – This is basically OD 1 with more compression, which gives more sustain and makes this channel slightly less bright.
The next 2 channels respond well to the Bias and Reactor controls. Switching both of them to the right allowed me to crank up the gain and the volume without squealing.
Hi Gain 1 – This picks up where OD 1 leaves off. It has a similar character, just more gain, pushing into metal territory.
Hi Gain 2 – Higher compression and more sustain than Hi Gain 1. If you like OD 2 and need more gain, this is the channel to use.
Once you have your channels selected, effects are a breeze. Press the delay button until it blinks and dial in the level of delay. It’s a nice medium length delay that sounds great if you leave it on all the time. Press the Reverb button and it blinks while Delay stays lit solid. Chorus the same way. The one that’s blinking is the one you’ll be adjusting with the single effects dial. Press and hold any effects button to turn it on and off and it remembers its setting. I set my Delay and Reverb and left them on.
The AV-30 has a plethora of useful options for guitarists. And even with all this to sort through, it was easy to choose two options, set my effects, and rip through a gig with confidence. Vox delivers 8 amps in one, stacking myriad tones in a convenient, lightweight, and reliable package, and makes it all easy to navigate. So if you’re looking for a modeling amp that isn’t overwhelming, this is the amp for you.