It may seem strange to complain about being given so many features and functions for such a tiny price, but the main problem with the VT40+ is the sheer multitute of options and settings you have. Nirvana for some, but offputting for others. But if you put the time in, you begin to appreciate why this amp has so many fans.
For a start, there are few amps around this price range that have a real valve in them. Of course, you're not going to get a pure valve driven amp for anywhere near the £164 this cost me, but what you do get is a clear differentiator over, for example, a Mustang II.
Essentially you have three main settings. There is a manual mode, where the switches and dials control exactly what output you are getting, you have an amp modelling mode with 11 amp types with three variations (that's 33 amp models in total!) and you have a "song setting" mode that adds effects to emulate specific tracks. And i've not even touched on the ability to add a plethora of foot switch settings and effects on top.
What is confusing is that the last two main settings effectively ignore what your switches and dials are set to until you subsequently change them. The general consensus among the best valvetronix fan site out there (Valvetronix.net) is to start with either just manual mode and experiment, or choose a specific amp setting and work within it to find a tone that suits your guitar, then save that. Otherwise you run the risk of running from one to another, never satisified and growing more frustrated.
What you get from the song settings depend largely on what you are playing. My Fender telecaster plus loves the Californian clean, 2x12, AC30 and Boutique metal settings above all others. Adding in effects like phasers for the clean or treble boost for the AC30 work well. It's all about experimentation.
My Epiphone es339 has pickups so powerful that in order to avoid an asbo, I need to pick amp modes that work best with that. The Bues setting with/without tube overdrive, AC15 and US high gain are really good. You can also change drastically the sound by altering the master level to crank the amp while having seperate volume control on the amp (and of course, your guitar pots).
The power levels this amp can crank out would make it suitable for small gigs. For the money, it is excellent. Just learn to walk before you start sprinting ;)
This was my first amp. The range of the built in effects is amazing. U have like 99 presets, and they sound great. UK Rock on orange was my predilect. But then, I started playing more and there was a buzzing sound when I turned the amp on. This got more problematic and it got unberable the guitar wouldn't even sound if I didn't let it "warm up" (5 minutes, aprox.). I probably should just change the preamp valve but for a 200€ amp I didn't see it as the right investment. Great sound, lot's of problems.
This is my current amp as I've lent my Pathfinder 15 to a friend. To be perfectly honest, that little Vox solid-state amp sounds a lot better, and is less of a faff to use than this one is. The inclusion of real tubes doesn't make it sound like a valve amp, I don't really like the way it resets to digitally-stored defaults each time you change amp settings, and it sounds a bit muddy and ropey if you turn it up too high. It's ok - I mean, for practice, after a bit of fiddling, you can get it to sound good, and the AC30 model is quite nice - but I really wish Vox would make more of their 'natural' amps and fewer of these modelling ones. The effects are ok, but synthetic-sounding compared to pedals, and the fuzzes and overdrives aren't much to write home about either, and they seem to make using stompboxes even more difficult. I think I might get a really basic Orange amp next time. I just need something simple with a clean channel and a dirty one, that sounds good quiet and loud, and one 'volume' knob!
My first proper amp, and I'm still using it now. Not bad at all, just don't rely too much on the in-built effects. It sounds aight if you stick a few pedals through it, especially for the sort of music I'm making, but don't expect any stellar tones.
Solid State and Tube Powered This amps gives you that beautiful tube tone while using its presets to sound like any of the VOX line I prefer using the AC30 sound without buying the AC30 yes i know i should probably get one
This is my first tube amp. Many built in effect and combination. From acoustic to metal can be handled. Also it comes with a variable output. It's suitable wherever you performance.
I find the design elegant and neat for a small practice amp. The technology is appealing and interesting which also makes possible to achieve a surprising amount of different tones with its features. overall a perfect amp for practice!
like you can do so much with this amp and yes I know theres alot out there that might sound better but for this price you get a very versitile amp or whatever the word is from blues tones to distortion it does all and heres also tons of effects and stuff you get with it in the amp