It’s all about Amps: Marshall, Bugera, and Vox

Issue 10

This issue, I’m deviating from the usual and looking at some used or older amps that could be great small gig, recording or practice amps. I also played some twin humbucker guitars for that Gibson sound. A shout-out to Orcoast Music for putting up with me for the day.

Marshall MG30fxThe Marshall MG15R

I tested the 2012 model of this. The new ones are redesigned to look like carbon fiber, but are the same amp. Simple, small, 15 watt, 8″ speaker, 2-channel amp (clean and overdrive) with reverb, 3-band EQ (BMT), an mp3 in jack and a speaker emulated headphone jack. The sound was clean, clear and, well, Marshall. The only downside was a lack of footswitch capability which detracts from gigging with it. All digital, but a nice amp.

The Marshall MG30FX

This puppy has 30 watts into a 10″ speaker, 2 channels, 3-band EQ, reverb, MP3 player input, phones, accepts a footswitch and has Chorus, Phase Shift, Flange, Delay and stores 4 presets. The 2013 model shown, has more capabilities but, the old one, which you might find discounted at the store, would do nicely for practice or small gigs.

Bugera Vintage 22Bugera Vintage 22

The Bugeras are all tube amps into a single 12″ speaker. I’m not sure how old this one is, but it is one sweet sounding amp. This amp has a Triode/Pentode mode switch, to change the power amp to 40% less power, external speaker jack with impedance adjust, an external effects loop, 2 channels, with footswitch control, 3-band EQ, overdrive, presence and a master volume. I used this for the amp for my guitar testing, too. The picture is a new one at $379, and is the same as the one in the store.

Vox Valvetronix VT-80Vox Valvetronix VT80+

This amp has so much stuff on it, it’s nuts! 80 watts in to a single 12″ speaker with 33 amp models, 11 pedal effects, 11 modulation effects, 3 reverbs, noise reduction, tuner, 99 presets, 8 user storage spots, MP3 in and a headphone jack. These have a sweet sound and, with all those models available, you are sure to find what you need.

This amp is a hybrid of tube and digital. A 12AX7 tube resides in the preamp section, surrounded by Vox’s Valve Reactor Circuitry to bring you tube amp sound with a digital power section. This stuff works pretty well, guys. This combination is the secret to the Orange Micro Terror way back in Issue 1. Since they are mostly digital, the costs are lower for a pretty appealing price tag for an 80 watt amp.

Vox VFS-5 FootswitchThe Valvetronix uses the VFS5 footswitch for complete control of all the features.

So, to give you some info this issue, there are a ton of great little, low wattage amps that are suitable for practice, recording or small gigs that won’t break the bank to buy. I particularly like the 2 channel models with footswitch channel switching. Look for used or last year’s models at the store, too. All the big name manufacturers have these amps, some better priced or with better features than others. All are readily available if you look.

Doug Knight (71 Articles)

Our “Man on the Street” reporter, with his “What’s New in Music Stores?” series, resides in Coos Bay, OR. You can find him on Friday nights at The Small Events Center at OrCoast Music in Coos Bay.