You may have heard people talking about this compact amp, but just what is the VOX amplug 2? VOX offers 7 Amplug 2 models, suited to different play styles. We’ll take a look at the specifications of the amplug 2, how it performs and the pros and cons of this innovative piece of kit. Finally we’ll talk about who might suit the Amplug 2. If your ready, let’s get started!
Background to VOX & The Amplug 2
VOX began producing amplifiers in the 1950’s. Having featured on the James Bond theme, VOX has long been synonymous with the rock and roll sound of British bands of the 1960’s. The VOX AC30 was used by The Beatles, Brian May and The Rolling Stones. Over the years VOX has expanded it’s range of traditional amps from the VOX Pathfinder 10 practice amp to their 150 watt cabinet amps. The Amplug 2 is a diversification, making the classic VOX sound portable. Want the sound of 100 watts? You only need some headphones and an Amplug 2, which will fit in your pocket!
VOX Amplug 2 Overview
Here’s a short overview video of the how the Amplug 2 works. The sound track is the Amplug 2 in action!
The Amplug 2 is a battery operated only, taking two AAA batteries. With alkaline batteries you’ll get around 11 hours battery life if you’re using the effects and around 17 hours battery life if you have the effects switched off. If you use cheaper batteries those figures drop to between 4 and 9 hours before they’ll need a change. Fortunately batteries are included to get you started. There’s also an auto-off feature, which turns the Amplug 2 off if there’s no usage for 30 minutes.
Without batteries the Amplug 2 weighs just 40g. As you’re probably guessing the unit is tiny too.
There are currently 7 models of the Amplug 2.
VOX Amplug 2 AC30:
The Amplug 2 AC30 produces the classic AC30 mid boost sound. You can control gain, tone and volume using the dials. There’s also a button to toggle the on-board effects. The front of the AC30 mimics the classic looks of VOX amps. The AC30 lets you toggle between Tremelo modes (off, minimum and maximum). On-board effects include Chorus, Delay and Reverb. You cycle through the effects by pressing the button on the side of the unit. It’ll cycle in order, with the “effects off” being positioned after the reverb effect.
VOX Amplug 2 Classic Rock:
The Classic Rock Amplug 2 produces the crunchy sound of a British style 100 watt amp. The Classic Rock features the same effects as the AC30. Instead of Tremelo, the Classic Rock switches between mid-boost modes. There are three modes, which are indicated by a small light. Green for clean, orange for slight crunch and red for high gain.
VOX Amplug 2 Metal:
Punchy high gain sounds of US style amps. Quite capable of emulating the sound of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth and others. The Metal also features the on-board effects contained in the AC30 and the Classic Rock. Instead of Tremelo or Mid-Boost the Metal provides options for the mid to be cut, set to low or high end.
VOX Amplug 2 Bass:
Designed for the bass guitar this model eschews the on-board effects and replaces with in-built rhythms. The rhythms are operated by a button on the side panel. Each press of the button will cycle between rock/pop, funk/R&B and “Other”. Hitting the button again will turn off the rhythm pattern. You can control the tempo of the rhythm by holding the rhythm button and adjusting the volume (tempo) dial. The three memory settings for the Bass are High Gain, Normal Gain and Low Gain.
VOX Amplug 2 Clean:
Fat, vintage style clean tones. The three in-built memory settings are pure clean, twin clean and boutique overdive. The Clean also benefits from the on-board effects featured on the AC30, Classic Rock and Metal models. Provides rich clean tones, but is also capable of producing a decent overdriven sound.
VOX Amplug 2 Blues:
From warm to crunchy blues tones. This unit benefits from the on-board effects present in the AC30, Classic Rock, Metal and Clean models. The memory settings cover clean, crunch and lead.
VOX Amplug 2 Lead:
High gain that’s perfect for solos and lead work. Very capable of producing the high-end tones used by Van Halen. Benefits from the on-board effects seen in the other models The three memory settings allow you to switch between Boost 1, Boost 2 and Boost 3, which affects the mid output.
How Does The VOX Amplug 2 Work?
The Amplug 2 uses a 1/4 inch jack and plugs directly into your guitar. You then connect your headphones to the unit and you’re ready to go. The Amplug 2 is built to output to headphones, but you can also plug into the back of a PC and output via the PC’s speakers. The same goes for portable speakers and recording devices. You’ll want to make sure you have at least a middling pair of headphones. If you try to output to a cheap pair of cans it’ll impair the tone.
Once plugged in you can control the tone, gain and volume using the three dials on the side of the unit. The bass model doesn’t have gain control instead featuring a volume (tempo) control dial. An AUX (stereo) jack allows you to plug in your phone so that you can jam along to your favorite tracks. The FX button cycles through Chrous, Delay and Reverb. Hold down the FX and On button to select one of the three memory settings. An LED light on the side will indicate which setting is active (green, orange or red).
The input jack swivels 180 degrees to accommodate different jack input positions on different guitars. The auto-off function preserves battery life. If there’s no user input for 30 minutes the Amplug 2 will turn off automatically. Great for saving batteries!
VOX Amplug 2 Pros:
- Fantastic VOX sound quality
- Extremely portable
- Great value for money
VOX Amplug 2 Cons:
- The build is a little bit flimsy
- Relies on AAA batteries for power only
VOX Amplug 2 – Final Thoughts
The VOX Amplug 2 is a great choice for anyone looking for great sound quality combined with extreme portability. Weighing just 40g and featuring an extremely compact form you really can take this anywhere. Great for those who like to take advantage of impromptu practice sessions but don’t want to have wheel out and connect up a traditional amp. The Amplug 2 makes it possible to take your electric guitar on a work trip knowing you won’t have to lug around an amp. You can also rest assured you won’t cause complaints in the hotel by connecting directly to headphones.
The price is the one thing that stands out. To get VOX quality and on-board effects for around $40 is an absolute steal and puts decent quality output within reach of even those on the tightest of budgets. The build quality is a little suspicious. You won’t be able to leave the Amplug 2 plugged into your guitar when you’re not playing. Any sort of knock risks breakage due to the plastic like construction. It seems clear that VOX has compromised on the build materials to keep the prices reasonable. As long as you’re careful you shouldn’t have a problem.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. Feel free to leave a comment below or alternatively get in touch using my contact page. Please also share this post with anyone who you think might benefit. As always, happy strumming!
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