Vox Valvetronix "Blue" Series - Controls Overview

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I was 16 years old in 1967. I was taking guitar lessons at Lincoln Music House in Milwaukeee from a guy called Rick Iracki. Rick knew all the Beatle songs and played in a well known local band. He had a Gretsch Country Gent and a Rickenbacker 12 string. He also had a Vox Super Beatle.

Late one October Sunday afternoon, Rick allowed me to come to his house to see the Super Beatle. I looked in wonder at the control panel. Channel selectable reverb, tremolo, fuzz tone, top boost and MRB switches, Tone X, and an E tuner. Amazing...this amp had it all. Rick never turned the amp on, he was on his way out for the evening, I only had a few moments to drool over the amp. I could only imagine what magical tones would come from a Super Beatle.

In 2001, Vox introduced the Valvetronix "Blue" Series amps. When I first looked at the control panel of the AD120VT, I flashed back to that Sunday afternoon in October, 1967. This amp really had it all.

The Valvetronix "Blue" Series amps packed an incredible number of innovations. The control section was based on the Korg REMS (Resonant Structure and Electronic Circuit Modeling System) technology. REMS had been used in a number of "pod" style stand alone guitar effects devices, but incorporating this technology into the preamp of a guitar amplifier was truly a first.

The REMS circuit could accurately reproduce the complex preamp circuitry of sixteen of the world's most popular amplifiers. This was a Vox that would not only sound like a Vox, but could also emulate the sounds of a black face, tweed or plexi style amp.

In addition to amp modeling, the Valvetronix "Blue" Series amps included literally every sound effector used by guitarists. Ten effects pedals, five modulation effects, reverb, delay, and a full set of gain, volume and tone controls insured that this amp could give you what you needed.

The Valvetronix "Blue" Series also introduced the revolutionary VR Valve Reactor output circuit, which you can read about by clicking here.

The AD60VT and AD120VT amps were introducd in July 2001. By 2003, the original "Blue" series amps were replaced with a slightly updated design, the VTX Series. The new AD60VTX and AD120VTX combo amps were soon joined by two trapezoid amp heads, the AD60VTH and the AD120VTH. Matching 2x12 and a 4x12 enclosures were also offered.

The details of the Valvetronix "Blue" Series control panels follow.

The Valvetronix "Blue" Series amps have one channel with dual inputs.

Working across the control panel from left to right, the "Pedal" section comes next. Ten pedal effects are selectable from a rotary control. In the picture at left, the knob is pointing to the highly authentic "Acoustic" simulation which allows your electric guitar to sound like a miked acoustic. Other pedals include a Compressor (try this with your 12 string electric), Vox Wah and Autowah, U-Vibe, Octave, Treble Boost, Tube OD, Fat OD, and Fuzz.

The "Modulation" section offers Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Tremolo and Rotary (Leslie type) effects, selectable by pushing the "Type" button. Rotary controls adjust the speed and the depth of the effects. The "Ex Ctl" button allows the control of modulation speed to be sent to the accessory VC12 floor controller.
The "Amp Type" section has been designed to incorporate tones modeled from sixteen of the world's most popular amplifiers utilizing Korgs REMS modeling technology. Included are "Tweed" and "Black Face" amp models from California and "Plexi" tones from the UK. YOu can also boogie with two "Boutique" amp models. And of course, what Vox modeling amp would be complete without the Vox AC15 and AC-30.
A traditional set of volume and tone controls allow for maximum tonal flexility.
The "Delay" section has digital simulations of tape based echoes. Speed is adjusted by the "Tap" button. Feedback and Depth controls will tailor the echo effects to your preference.
The "Reverb" section has a digital simulation of Spring, Room, and Plate type reverbs.

The Bypass button turns off the Programmer Section (explained below) and returns the amp controls to the "what you see is what you get" state.

The Valvetronix "Blue" Series amps include a digital programmer that will allow for the storage of thirty two user designed control memories, or "patches" of control and effects settings.

This programmer will store the settings of the Pedal, Modulation, Amp Type, Delay and Reverb sections plus the placement of Gain, Volume and Tone controls.

These stored "patches" may be written into the memory of the amp using the "Write" button and recalled using the "Bank" and "Channel" controls.

A digital guitar tuner is also included.

Both Line Out and Head Phone jacks are included on the Valvetronix "Blue" Series amps. A Level control adjust both the Head Phone and Line Out levels.

Stereo effects Loop jacks allow additional effects to be added to the signal chain.

A Cat 5 jack, located on the rear panel of the amp, allows connection to the optional VC12 floor controller.


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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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