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When it comes to clean tones, Vox have long been a sparkling example of the sound every recording engineer wants to record, and the Vox Night Train G2 15 watt head is unlikely to disappoint on that front.
But times have changed since the release of the AC30 and the AC15, the punchy mid-range overtones of the 60s and 70s slowly gave way for thick saturated high gain tones, with scooped mid-range, taking up a wider frequency range than you could shake a stick at.
With the first release of the Vox Night Train series a few years back, the British amp company proved they could rub shoulders with the major players in the world of high gain amplification.
But with the second generation of the Vox Night Train, the company have seen a gap in the market for flexibility. Why shouldn't a 15 watt amp have a three band EQ, why shouldn't it have an FX loop, and why shouldn't it have on-board reverb?
How does it sound?
Those beautiful Vox clean tones are still present on the Vox Night Train G2 15 watt head - and present is the operative word in that sentence.
The amp kicks out a clean tone that sounds beautiful in the room, but also tracks well when recorded. Minimal EQing is required, this is the way a guitar should sound when it sits in a mix.
With three 12AX7s on board, and two EL84s, it doesn't take high volume levels for the amp to break up though. Even the clean channel (labelled as the 'Bright' channel on the Night Train) enters the world classic crunch when you push the gain hard enough.
The Thick switch drives the clean channel a little harder, and boosts the mid-range, allowing you to squeeze even more out of the amp - perfect for ACDC style rhythm tones.
Flick over to the Girth channel (The Night Train's distortion channel) and you have one of the most versatile distortion channels you'll ever find on a 15-watt amp.
Don't be fooled by how small the amp is, and the fact that it has a Vox badge on the front, it is an amp for hard rockers and heavy metal players.
That's not to say it's exclusive to those two breeds of player. You could quite as easily get convincing blues, funk, jazz and pop tones from the Vox Night Train G2 series.
But if you max out the volume and gain, scoop the EQ, and engage the Dark switch (which works on both channels), you will enter the wonderful world of late 80s US high gain tone.
It's really tough to pick out any drawbacks to the Vox Night Train G2. It has beautiful clean tones, plenty of gain, it has a three band EQ, FX loop, reverb, kitchen sink, and because it's only 15 watts and boasts a pair of EL84s, it breaks up nicely at relatively low volumes.
It's a great amp for gigging guitarists, and the price isn't to be sniffed at.
An all tube amp with a better range of tones than most modelling amps.
Slightly noisy fan within the amp, but not loud enough to be picked up on recordings.
RRP: $499 US, £450 UKMore From: VOX