Vox VX50BA 1x8" Bass Amplifier (2017 -)

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Korg Nutube 6P1

Three new Vox VX50 series amps were introduced in the fall of 2017: the VX50AG Acoustic amp, the VX50KB Keyboard amp and the VX50BA Bass amp. Each was rated at 50 watts RMS.

ABS Plastic Enclosure
Like the Vox VXI and VXII that preceded them in 2015, the VX50BA featured a lightweight but durable injection molded ABS plastic cabinet. The closed back VX50BA enclosure was loaded with an 8" speaker mounted to a wood speaker baffle. Two bass reflex ports enhanced the low frequency response.

This unique construction combining plastic and wood allowed the VX50BA to weigh less than 10 pounds.

The preamp section of most tube guitar amplifiers normally include at least one 12AX7 tube. The 12AX7 was designed as a "dual triode," meaning that it includes two separate circuits for amplification. Each of these triodes has three elements: a cathode, control grid and an anode. Amplification occurs when a flow of electrons from the cathode passes through the control grid to the anode. A filament wire located near the base of the tube heats the cathode to start this flow of electrons.

Korg has been a leading manufacturer of portable keyboards since the early seventies. Most modern Korg keyboards incorporate a vacuum floresecent display (or VFD) that offers a visual indication of the sound that is loaded and ready to play.

Korg discovered that a vacuum florescent display could be configured as a triode, complete with cathode, control grid and anode, to create amplification. After years of research, Korg developed the dual triode Nutube 6P1 vacuum tube (seen at lower left). It utilized new technologies derived from vacuum florescent displays that would allow the Nutube 6P1 to perform the same functions as a traditional 12AX7 tube.

The Nutube 6P1 offered a number of advantages over the 12AX7. The Nutube 6P1 is significantly smaller than a 12AX7. As it did not require a traditional filament heater, the Nutube 6P1 required a fraction of the current required to power a 12AX7. Unlike the 12AX7, the Nutube 6P1 remained relatively cool to the touch while in operation. Finally, the Nutube 6P1 offered a significantly longer service life than the 12AX7, perhaps never needing replacement.

The preamp of the Vox VX50BA utilized a Korg Nutube 6P1 vacuum tube. It offered the rich overtones of a traditional vacuum tube without the need for periodic replacement. The turquoise glow emanating from the Nutube 6P1 can be seen through a series of twelve small holes located on the control panel.

Hybrid Circuit
While the preamp circuitry of the VX50BA utilized a 6P1 Nutube, the 50 watt power amp section was solid-state.

The single channel VX50BA preamp has six rotary controls. Level is adjusted by the Gain and Volume controls. Tone is tweaked by a four band equalizer operating at the following frequencies:
    Bass Control - +10dB @ 90 hz
    Lo Mid Control - + 8dB @ 300 hz
    Hi Mid Control - +10dB @ 700 hz
    Treble Control - +10dB @ 3.2 khz
The VX50BA control panel included switches to enable a Compressor and Drive effect.

The VX50BA Compressor circuit lessens the dynamic range of the amplifier by boosting the level of the quieter signals and reducing the level of the louder signals. This can increase the perceived volume produced by the amplifier. The VX50BA Drive circuit boosts the gain in the preamp to the point of distortion.

External Power Supply
The VX50BA utilized a 19 VDC "brick" external power supply.

VOX VX50BA Amp Specs
Output Power: 50 Watts RMS
Speaker: 8" Vox Special Design
Inputs: Input jack, Headphones jack, Aux In jack
Controls: Gain, Bass, Low Mid, High Mid, Treble, Master Volume

Compressor, Drive
Power Consumption: 3.3 A
Dimensions (W x D x H): 13.94” x 7.56” x 12.32”
Weight: ~9.8 lbs
Included Accessories: Power cord, External "Brick" Power Supply,
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail : $319.99
Street Price: $229.99

Official Vox VX50 Series promotional video clip, used by permission of Vox Amplification


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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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