Can a pint-sized hybrid head cop the arena-rocking tones of an iconic amp?
Insanely convenient. Plenty of power. The deep switch helps when using smaller cabs.
A more pedalboard-friendly form could be more appealing. No reverb.
Ease of Use:
Technology has caught up—and in some cases, surpassed—any expectations that might come from an amp’s diminutive size. The Vox MV50 AC is an incredibly small, but powerful, hybrid amp based on the company’s legendary AC series. (The MV50 also comes in Clean and Rock variations.) The heart of the MV50 combines an analog preamp that uses a Nutube vacuum tube with a custom-designed class-D power amp. When I plugged into a Celestion-loaded 4x12 cab it sounded surprisingly big and authentically AC30-ish. Here’s a 1-pound box with a glowing VU meter cranking out some rather convincing Brit-style tones.
During a rehearsal, I had the chance to A/B it against a handwired AC15. The MV50 was a bit lacking in glassy high end, but in the heat of a gig that would be a very minor issue. Overall, in a blind test most of my bandmates had a hard time picking the AC15 out of the lineup. The classic chime was there and, more importantly, it felt like a traditional tube amp. Hybrid designs can be hit or miss for me, but the MV50 captured the essence of an iconic amp without falling into some digital wormhole.
Test gear: Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul, Avatar 1x12 cabinet, Blackwing 4x12 cabinet
Watch the Review Demo: