I bought this off dolphinmusic.co.uk about two months ago. It’s taken me a while to really get the feel for the amp and do the review justice.
In a nutshell, I really like this amp. It’s got a great sound, in my opinion, particularly on the lower-gain amp models.
The thing that first struck me as odd about it that there is all these amp models, but no ad50vt ‘native’ sound. It is an amp that has no self-identity. Philosophy aside, the clean amp model sounds great, as do the two VOX; ac15 and especially ac30TB.
Surely part of the reason why you’re choosing to buy a VOX in the first place is you like the VOX sound.
For the most part, the amp models tend to get progressively more gainy as you go clockwise round the models-dial. They are okay too, especially if you don’t have any good effects pedals.
However if you do own your own overdrive, distortion etc. then you’ll probably have more fun mix-n-matching those sounds with the amp models on the first half of the dial.
The built in effects are quite decent, as you’d expect with Roland having a hand in the design. The compressor and the reverb are the stand-outs for me. The paired-up effects are okay, and it is possible to minimise the sound of one while the other stays active.
Again, they won’t match up to high-quality analog effects, but if all you have is your guitar and this amp, then the effects can add a little colour.
The controls take a bit of work to learn. If that sounds like a hassle then there’s always the manual setting where everything (bar the amp model, you still have to choose one) is up to your dialing in.
A feature you’ve no doubt read about is the voltage control on the back. This is really good. I play the amp in my apartment and it can still get that smokin’ pumped-up tube sound. I call it the warp-contol.
I got a chance to turn the warp-control up high while playing in an audiotorium the other day. When the master vol., gain etc are maxed, the amp tone is the same as when the warp-control is on 2 to when it’s at 8, just LOUDER!
This thing looks great. A friend commented that it looks like it’d keep you warm in winter. It’s pretty heavy. I cart it around on a hand-trolley because I don’t have a car. And it’s sturdy – there’s a lot of bumps on those footpaths. Not to mention the fact that mine was shipped halfway around the world before it got to me, and it still worked fine. I was under the impression that amps with tube in them were really finnicky and delicate, but that’s not the case with the ad50vt.
Drawbacks: VOX, if you’re reading this, how about making the VOX nameplate on the front out of metal? The plastic one on there at present looks cheap.
Also how about printing seperate manuals for the different amps in this series? At present the 5watt gets the same manual as the 100watt, which is crazy because there’s a lot of variation in the design and features as you go up through the price range. It makes the learning phase confusing; there’s already a fair few things to have to learn about this amp.
There’s no effects loop input/output on this amp, as some people have noted.
This amp fits well into that area where you need something better than a small solid-state practice amp, and the lofty heights of an expensive ‘gigging for a living’ fully-tubed amp.
You could definitely gig with the ad50vt (I do) but there might be some situations where it wasn’t loud enough.
If I could do it all over I would probably still get this amp, but I’d get it from somewhere else because I think it can be had for less money than what Dolphin are currently charging.
There’s heaps of pictures of this amp around on the net, so instead here’s a picture of Jaws about to crush some kid’s head. Peace!@
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5455459268/” title=”jawsph1 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5018/5455459268_db53726474_o.jpg” width=”400″ height=”308″ alt=”jawsph1″ /></a>