GEAR 2021: Vox has lifted the curtain on its new year releases, with the Bobcat semi-hollow electric guitars now available with a Bigsby vibrato unit, and the unveiling of two super-portable digital amp options – the Mini-Go series and VGH headphone amps.
Similarly, the VGH headphone amps come in three distinct flavours, with the AC-30 digitally rendering the chime and musical response of Vox's most-famous valve combo, while the Rock offers a high-gain alternative with onboard effects including reverb, chorus and delay, and a Bass model that offers "a wide dynamic range."
The Bobcat design is decidedly more old-school. First produced in Italy during the 1960s, the series was brought back at NAMM 2020 with the launch of the V90 and S66.
Vox V90 and S66 with Bigsby
The V90 and S66 share similar builds and spec, with a semi-hollow maple ply body with a weight-relieved spruce centre block to help reduce feedback. The mahogany neck is glued to the body, topped with an ebony fingerboard and 22 frets.
There are lightweight Grover open-gear tuners, and a comfortably spacious 43mm nut width, and 25" scale. Finish options comprise Sapphire Blue and Black. The big difference between the guitars is the pickups and electronics.
The V90, pictured immediately below, has a dual Vox V90 soapbar pickup configuration that is controlled by two volume and two tone controls and a 3-way pickup selector.
The S66, meanwhile, has a triple-single-coil configuration, with its Vox S66 pickups controlled via three individual volume controls and a 3-way selector.
Using the volume controls and the selector you can access a variety of pickup combinations: neck and bridge, middle and neck, middle and bridge, middle only, neck only and bridge.
The Mini-Go series arrives in three versions: the Mini Go 50, Mini Go 10 and Mini Go 3. The latter is the smallest of the three. Featuring a 5-inch speaker, it really is a take-it-anywhere amp that can be powered by rechargeable battery pack. It has a built-in rhythm machine for jamming along to, and features a mic input, AUX input and the all important headphone jack for silent practice.
Its larger two siblings have all that and a bit more. Both have an onboard looper. The Mini Go 10 has a 6.5-inch 10-watt speaker with adjustable output while the Mini Go 50 has an 8-inch 50-watt speaker with adjustable output.
There are onboard effects, amp models, plus a vocoder for "talking modulation effects." The Mini Go 50 is fully programmable, so you can save the sounds you need for easy access. Indeed, take a look at the respective control panels below; they look relatively straightforward enough to predict that the Mini Go instruction manuals will remain unread in their plastic sleeves.
Both the Mini Go 10 and 50 have a tilted cabinet feature to enhance their projection or to use as a monitor – and you can control the onboard rhythm machine and looper via the VFS3 footswitch.
Despite their compact form, there is no shortage of tone options here. Vox lists the amp models available as the following:
- DELUXE CL: This dual channel, 22W blackface design from the 60’s used 6V6 power tubes and a tube driven reverb to produce a big sound at a lower wattage. Our modeling is based on the Vibrato channel.
- BOUTIQUE CL: The clean channel of a high-quality amp that was produced only on special order, and was known as the overdrive special. With a beautifully rounded low range, a sharp midrange attack, and a sweet treble register, this is ideal for single coil pickups.
- BOUTIQUE OD: The overdrive channel of a 100W high-quality amp that was produced only on special order, and was known as the overdrive special. The wonderful sustain obtained by raising the GAIN control is smooth and soulful.
- VOX AC30: The normal channel of AC30, which is a typical guitar amplifier of VOX. The clear high range of the Celestion alnico “Blue” speaker, as well as the rich midrange, deliver a captivating clean sound.
- VOX AC30TB: The classic “top boost” circuit of the 1964 AC30. It delivers a smooth and refined top end, a majestically deep overdrive, and a rich, brilliant clean sound.
- BRIT 800: A UK-manufactured 100W single-channel head with master volume made in 1983. Turn the GAIN control all the way up to get the thick, snarling hard rock and heavy metal sound that dominated the 80’s.
- BRIT VM: An English-made 100W amp head released in 2007 that boasts a four-channel design with powerful tone. We’ve used the “Overdrive 2” channel, which produces a tight low-end and transparent high-gain metal sound.
- SL-OD: The overdrive channel of a snakeskin-covered 100W amp head built in 1991. With an open low-end and a compressed mid/high range, its powerful, heavy sound delivers a forceful tone that will not break down even with the most extreme gain settings.
- DOUBLE REC The modern high-gain channel from a wild beast of an amp. Its deep and loose low-end, sparkling highs, and monstrous gain are ideal for guitars tuned as low as possible, or for metal acts wielding seven-string guitars.
- VOCODER: When you sing or speak into the microphone while playing the guitar, the talking modulation effect is activated, which makes it sounds as if the guitar is singing. This is effective when you speak clearly while changing your voice.
- LINE: Only a tone control amplifier that produces a clean tone. This works best with audio signal input from a line-level instrument like an electric acoustic guitar or keyboard.
VGH Headphones Amplifier
As mentioned above, you have three choices when it comes to the VHG headphone series: AC30, Rock, and Bass.
You'll find reverb, chorus and delay on the AC30 and Rock models, while the Bass set has onboard compression. Vox says the amp circuits are designed around valve reactor technology that ensures the dynamics are realistic, organic and ultimately amp-like. There are controls for Gain, Tone, Volume and Effect and a Switch to place the amp circuit on standby
The headphones themselves are closed-air dynamic designs made by Audio-Technica, with rotating ear pads so you can stow them away neatly. They include an aux in for playing along to audio and are powered by a pair of AAA batteries.
See Vox Amplification for more details.