A Vox in a box that thrills.
Vibrant, thrilling AC30 tones that effectively hybridize any good tube amp. Smart, easy interface.
No footswitch for vibrato.
If you asked the average player to sum up a vintage Vox amplifier in a word, I’m guessing they’d say “chimey.” I never really understood the chimey thing. I mean, yeah, there’s chime in the complex tone composite that makes an AC30 an AC30. But for me, Vox amps of the 1960s, above all, sound exciting, thrilling, and potent. Chimey? That’s for dinner bells.
I know that Universal Audio did a good job of capturing the spirit of an AC30 in the UAFX Ruby ’63 amp emulation, because excitement is the first thing I felt. The Ruby ’63 is lively, explosive, reactive, clear, and, yeah, even pretty chimey. And I was very impressed at how it imparted those qualities to decidedly non-Vox-y black-panel Fender amps, and vintage Fender cabinet emulations in UA’s OX Amp emulator. You know how a lot of pedals claiming to be an amp-in-a-box tend to be vaguely similar in terms of EQ and gain structure, but miss the details? The Ruby ’63 is not that. It’s an exhaustively executed emulation that takes you several miles further down the road to true amp-ness. And it sounds and feels awfully close to the real thing.
Universal Audio spends a lot of time studying interfaces of every kind—from those on ancient guitar amplifiers and outboard studio gear to the digital interfaces that make up their tracking and emulation software. The experience shows in the Ruby ’63. What stands out on the Ruby’s interface is economy. This pedal covers a lot of possibilities while barely deviating from the AC30’s control template. Of the six knobs on the Ruby ’63, four are the equivalent of controls on an AC30. Another two, the vibrato speed and depth, are available as secondary functions. UA adds a few goodies to enhance Ruby’s vocabulary. The brilliant control is paired with a Echoplex EP-3 preamp emulation. The normal channel setting is mated to a Rangemaster emulation, and the vibrato channel is mated to a clean boost. All of these boosters can be enabled or removed entirely via the boost knob. But I dare any reader to refrain from adding a touch of each respective boost when in the respective channel. They are, for the most part, the source of electric, ecstatic stuff.
The Ruby’s ability to process pedal tones in an amp-like way is one of its most impressive features.
One tone enhancement feature that isn’t an option on the average AC30 is the 3-way speaker toggle, which offers the option of moving between virtual Celestion silver, blue, and green speaker models—or no speaker coloration at all. The choices coax a lot of extra range out of the amp models, including some really beautiful high-mid activation from the silver mode.
Preset options aren’t abundant on the Ruby. You can only store one. But in my estimation, that’s plenty. I had much more fun using the single preset as a hot, boosted version of my base tone, and then blasting the pedal with a period-authentic fuzz, which, by the way, the Ruby reads and reacts to just like your amp would. The Ruby’s ability to process pedal tones in an amp-like way is one of its most impressive features.
Another impressive facet of the Ruby’s makeup is its modest but smart and effective connectivity options. Mono and stereo outs can be routed to amps, interfaces, or PA. You can bypass a real amp’s preamp in amplifiers that have an effects loop. Or you can also use a 4-cable method for switching between the Ruby with your real amp’s preamp section bypassed and your amp and preamp with Ruby bypassed.
Chelsea Boots Kickin’ With Brit Brawn
One of the beautiful things about the Ruby is how completely it can recolor your amp. Generally speaking, you need a pretty clean amp to achieve the most accurate picture of the Ruby emulation. But even if you want to kick the volume on your amp up into light gain zones, Ruby’s many EQ-shaping tools make the pedal adaptable and capable of retaining its Vox-iness. And even with a black-panel Fender cranked to the point of discernible distortion and compression, the Ruby’s boost, treble, and speaker options can all be used to summon characteristic AC30 sounds to the mix. You can also add focus with the room control by bringing the amp tone right up in your face or adding space, ambience, and a little extra bass ballast from the soft room reflections.
Most efforts to transform an amp by putting a model of another amp in front prove futile. The Ruby ’63 didn’t magically transform my black-panel Fenders to AC30s. But they did make my amps into amazing hybrids that were bristling with unmistakable and thrilling AC30 attributes. I don’t have any newer amps with effects loops, but I’d love to hear how the Ruby ’63 works without a preamp section in the way. At 400 bucks, the Ruby ’63 is expensive, but it seemed transformative enough to feel like another amp entirely. If Ruby can work the same magic for your amp, that 400 bucks could well be a bargain.
Inspired by the legendary 2 x 12-inch combo amplifier that powered the British invasion, Universal Audio’s Ruby ’63 Top Boost amp pedal is loaded with jangle and bite! This pedal is an end-to-end emulation of one of the most iconic British amps of the ‘60s, sporting Brilliant, Normal, and Vibrato channels that deliver everything from chimey cleans to all-out crunch. Guitarists at Sweetwater are amazed at how closely the Ruby ’63 recreates the sound of a tube amp recorded in a live room, and this life-like quality comes courtesy of UA’s incredible mic, cab, and Dynamic Room Modeling technology. What's more, each pedal in the UAFX series allows you to bypass your amplifier's preamp when the pedal is engaged via the special "4-cable" mode, supercharging your amp with two additional channels.
- OX Me Again: Revisiting Universal Audio's Amp Top Box ›
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Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.