Archive for the ‘Vox’ Category

Vox V830 Distortion Booster

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Vox-V830-DistortionBooster

What is it?
Vox V830 Distortion Booster. Made in china around early to mid 00’s.

Sharing the box and switching/power circuitry with V810 Valve overdrive, the V830 is nothing close. Obviously one would instantly assume this to be a DS-1 derivative. What makes this assumption obvious is the fact that V810 is a Tubescreamer. And since there are just two boxes with these aesthetics, that was exactly what i was thinking before i checked the schematic or opened mine up.

Vox-V830-DistortionBooster-a

By just looking at the guts i was certain this isn’t a DS-1 derivative. And after checking the schematic up at FSB this was confirmed (you’ll need to be logged in to see the attachement on the FSB post). Actually. No other distortion unit came straight up to my mind when looking at the schem. At first we have a gain stage that’s familiar from all the TS-style designs. After that there’s another gain stage that shares the control with the latter. Then a hard clipping shunt diodes and a active filter stage, BMP-style tone control and output buffering. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but still not too common.

Vox-V830-DistortionBooster-guts

Which also means that the behaviour isn’t that average either. Drive control is very effective and there is a lot of usable range. Tone control is what it is. Variable LP/HP filter that is cutting some of the frequency range. The previous filtering stage is most likely in place to keep the mids in tact with the tone circuit. Anyway. This look neat and…

How does it sound?
Sounds pretty damn good. The combined soft/hard clipping has nice texture to it and the the two stacked gain stages offer levels of gain that could be described simply as enough. No, this isn’t one of those “metal” distortions by far. Running this to a slightly dirty amp will give you that big and thick distortion lead tone that still has some vintage color in it. Not to mention it will keep your preamp stage alive and gives out the best of the amp. In all, great looking and sounding device.

Vox V810 Valve Tone

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Vox-V810-ValveTone

What is it?
Vox V810 Valve Tone. Made in china, early 00’s.

The brand name is sometimes so big and trustworthy that anything released under that brand will become a collector’s item and a classic. Were the title warranted or not. I’m more than certain this is the case with Vox. In the early 00’s, Vox released couple designs in a housing like this. The box is pretty neat looking and visually there is very little negative to say. Strong moulded metal with thin tin plate at the bottom. Reminds me a lot of the bottom plate we find in Cry Babies. Plus the screwed on tin plate at the top too. Visually, the two pedals are a lot like each other. The “Valve-Tone” text is punched to the front of the pedal.

Vox-V810-ValveTone-a

These are well built pedals and i’ve had a few units come in for repairs before. The thing that may cause issues is the switch. If the pedal is in heavy use, the mechanical switch is about to give in at one point. This doesn’t mean that the issue is that common or you should worry about it. It just means that all switches are subject to worn. Some can take 15 years of stomping while others give in in a few short years. The circuits are stacked, so the main circuit has its own board and the board mounted pots have their own. Boards are connected with pin sockets. Higher level of excellence is present than what we see is out usual chinese mass produced masses. Well built.

Vox-V810-ValveTone-guts

Point i raised in the very first sentence becomes clear once we take a look at the schematic. Valve-Tone. In other words, a YATS. For those not that familiar what YATS stands for, i’ll spell it out for you. Yet Another TubeScreamer. No modifications. Just a “millennium bypass” and slightly more stable power section. That’s it. No changes to the signal path (except for the weirdly huge value for the output cap and the missing electronic switching, of course). I’m sorry, but i find it rather difficult to understand the value folks ask for these these days. Sure the box looks cool and there a text “VOX” on it. But come on. Maybe i should have left a sub tag for all the TS pedals i come across. Must be the most copied design in the history of all effects.

How does it sound?
Exactly like the schematic lets us believe. It’s a mid-honking overdrive with nothing new. Works and sounds pretty with low(ish) output pickups. In other words, still just a tubescreamer. I’m tired of writing tubescreamer with a capital letter. There are just too many of these around. VOX didn’t have one before, so i guess it was about time. Sort of an disappointment, but then again. Why wouldn’t i want to have a VOX tubescreamer in my collection.

Just know what it is and do not pay the asking price. It is still nothing more but a tubescreamer.