The market is really hotting up for higher end portable amps. The fast paced nature of the evolution of technology means that features you’d expect to find only on larger amps are now commonly found on much more compact units. In this VOX Adio Air GT review we’ll take a look at VOX’s higher end portable amp. Is it the portability worth the price?
Overview of VOX Adio Air GT
The first thing to note about the Adio Air is that it’s a modelling amp. For the uninitiated that means it uses digital circuitry to “model” the signature sounds of some of the most legendary amps. As technology improves, modelling amps are getting much better. When first conceived, the replicated tones could sound weak and flimsy. Modern modelling amps benefit from more advanced circuitry making them a much more viable option.
You get 50 watts of output, delivered by two 3″ (7.62cm) speakers, which deliver a stereo sound. To reduce unwanted resonance the cabinet is divided into separate chambers, so that each speaker is enclosed in it’s own housing. The honeycomb mesh in front of the speakers helps to deliver a more concentrated sound. A carry handle is integrated into the cabinet, handy whilst protecting the aesthetics of the amp.
The Adio Air can be powered by 8 x AA batteries, which will allow for around 8 hours of use, or by the included power adapter. The various amps styles are delivered via VOX’s Virtual Element Technology (VET), which is found on VOX’s bigger amps, such as the Cambridge 50.
The Adio Air is super compact, weighing just 6.39lbs (2.9kg).
The amp benefits from VOX’s styling, however it is a bit of an odd shape. Personally I don’t like the shape, but that’s personal preference and doesn’t affect the output. There are 11 in-built amps styles, which can be selected using the knob above the power button. 12 more are available via the Tone Room software. Here are the amp models that can be selected via the control knob on the Air.
- Deluxe CL – Models the Vibrato channel of a 60’s Fender Blackface
- AC30 – Models VOX’s classic AC30 amp used by so many 60’s bands
- Boutique CL – Sharper mid-range, good for single coil pickups
- AC30TB – The top boost version of the AC30. Smoother top end
- Boutique Old – Increased gain for more overdrive
- Texas Lead – Great for country and blues players.
- Brit 1959 – Crunchy sound for rock and roll with high treble
- Brit 800 – Great for 80’s heavy metal styles when the gain is turned up
- Brit Verb – Again capable of metal at high gain mixed with some spring reverb
- Double Rec – Ultimate high gain mode – good for drop tuned guitars
- Flat – Tones based exclusively on the bass, mid and treble settings dialed in at the time
The Air also has built in effects. The range is limited on the amp itself, but you can access 19 effects via the tone room software. On board there are two knobs that control effects and delay/reverb. They’re zonally based, i.e. you increase the level of the effect by turning the knob clockwise in the corresponding zone. There are four on-board effects available.
There are two types of delay and two types of reverb built in, which are again controlled by a knob.
- Analogue delay
- Wide delay – which utilizes the Air’s stereo capabilities
- Spring reverb
- Hall reverb
There’s also a tap button located under the delay/reverb control knob, which allows you to set the interval of the delay/reverb. You can have three effects in use at once, however you’ll need to use the tone room software to fully utilize all of the features.
The three band EQ allows you to further sculpt your tone via the Bass, Middle and Treble control knobs. It’s great to see mid control on an amp of this size, something that it all to frequently missing.
The tap button doubles as access to the on-board tuner. Hold the tap button for about one second and the amp will enter tuning mode. It’s a pretty basic tuner, using LED’s to indicate if you’re flat or sharp. Hold the tap button for two seconds to enter, “half down” tuning mode, which will tune half a step down from standard tuning. You can’t select pitch with the tuner, so it’ll only really help for a quick tune up at the standard pitch.
The Air can connect to your phone via Bluetooth. It has two Bluetooth modes, audio for playback and midi to make adjustments to the amp. With audio you can play backing tracks via the Air, or simply use it as a speaker to play music. When connected via midi you can use the Tone Room software to make finer adjustments to EQ, customize effects and tweak amp styles.
If you don’t want to connect via Bluetooth you can connect via the AUX in port to play music via the Air or use the USB port to connect to your computer or phone. Another cool feature of the Air is the noise reduction and audio equalizer. As you probably know, when increasing gain and using effects you can suffer some unwanted background noise. The noise reduction feature allows you to select from four levels, low to high, to counter background noise.
The Audio equalizer, also based on four levels, allows you to boost the bass, middle or treble. This can be manipulated via the amp, or more finely via the Tone Room software. A headphones jack allows you to connect headphones for “silent” practice or to connect to a recording device. The speaker is automatically muted when the phones jack is in use.
The Air is definitely great for portability. For the price the features are very good too. Here are a few of the best bits:
- Compact & Portable
- Lots of Features
- Stereo Sound
Whilst the Air is a decent little amp, I do have some concerns over practicality:
- It’s a bit ugly
- Limited features without using accompanying software
- More expensive than VOX GTV 50
The Air offers a decent amount of versatility without breaking the bank. It’s probably not within the range of an absolute beginner. But for those who want a compact and portable amp with all the features you’d expect from a modelling amp, the Air is worth a look.
The 50 watts of output is more than loud enough, if anything maybe a bit overkill, for home use. Despite the reasonable output, I don’t think you’d be wise to use it to gig. That’s where the bigger amps still dominate. If portability is your number one priority, but you don’t want to sacrifice the features of bigger amps, the Air might be the one for you.
In terms of feature packed, highly portable amps, the Boss Katana Air is probably the best in class because it adds convenience with it’s ability to operate completely wirelessly. I hope you’ve found this post useful. If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page.
Note:As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to keep the site going. When you click a link on this page it may go to a supplier with whom I have an affiliate relationship. This won’t increase the price you pay. I don’t recommend any product that I haven’t used myself or thoroughly researched.