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Cycles of Sound: the VOX VTX amplifier series

VOX is a brand that could be excused for resting on their stellar legacy. With their AC30 amp and the role they played in kicking off the Wah-Wah revolution, they’re responsible for creating some of the iconic sounds of the ’60s and beyond.

Their VTX series of amplifiers combines the best of their pedigree while keeping an eye on the future of guitar playing. The elements of classic VOX circuitry are present in the new design, but new technology has been implemented to expand on this essential circuitry, allowing a new breed of player access to a world of vintage and cutting-edge tones.

VOX VTX feature

The VTX amplifier series from VOX represents the perfect marriage between new and old technology – allowing a new generation of guitarist access to a world of classic VOX sounds.

Valve Power

At the heart of the VTX series is a 12 AX7 preamp tube. This is the genesis of the signal path, ensuring that the guitar tone is coloured from the beginning in the analog domain. Even at this point, however, innovative ways of crafting unique tone comes into play.

Traditional tube amps can be intentionally biased – this gives the amp somewhat of default character, with a “hot” bias offering up more up-front distortion, with more top-end bite imparted on the sound. The “cold” bias provides a subtle, warm and rounded tone, more suitable the natural and woody tones of jazz guitar for example.

On the VTX series, the key differences in the amp’s character can be changed with the push of a button – so no visits to the amp technician. You’re even able to suit your mood from song to song if needs be. Guitar amps can rarely give up that amount of customisation from the get-go – and that’s even before you’ve discovered the wonders of the VET (Virtual Element Technology) amp modelling section.

The Perfect Models

The modelling sections dishes up 8 iconic flavours of amplification, ranging from a vintage Tweed 4 x10, a Brit 800, the VOX AC30 and more. There are also an additional three slots dedicated to storing 3 user-made presets. This all-new section forensically models the circuitry of these amps, rather than dishing up a general overview of an amp’s character.

With some of the models, users can actually switch between Class A and Class A/B operation – this, combined with variations in colour that are able to be generated from the preamp section allows for an even deeper customisation of tone.

VOX VTX close up

Beyond the amp modelling stage, the player is able to chain 4 effects together simultaneously. These analog-style effects include compression and distortion, a host of modulation and ambient effects like chorus, flanger, phaser, delay and tremolo, reverbs like room, hall, spring and plate. Plus, if you have a potentially noisy single-coil guitar, you can tame those extraneous hums with noise reduction.

A Room Full of Tones

With so many options for creating your own sound in one amp, how do you go about remembering some of these effects chains and amp choices? That’s where VOX’s Tone Room software comes into play. Saving your favourite patches is as easy as downloading the Tone Room app, then connecting to the amp via its USB port.

Tone Room enables you to save, organise and recall custom patches, making it a breeze to set a range of custom tones for jamming along with your favourite tracks, or easy switching between sounds in a rehearsal.

VOX VTX Tone Room app

The VTX series comes in two different sizes. A 20-watt model – the VT20X – is the perfect size for bedroom-sized jam sessions, featuring a single 8-inch speaker, while a 40-watt version – the VT40X – doubles the power and features a 10-inch speaker, for players who need to hear themselves over the drummer and bass player.

In the VTX series, VOX has tapped into their legacy of amp craft, providing an affordable platform for a new generation of guitarists to build unique sounds. To find out more, head over to the Yamaha website.