Quick Hit: Vox Mini Superbeetle Bass Review

Sure, it’s a cute little rig, but it can speak quite loudly for its size.

Miked with Audio Technica ATM650 into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand using ’70s Epiphone Scroll bass.
Clip 1 - Bass at 1 o’clock, low-mid at 1 o’clock, high-mid at 1 o’clock, treble at 1 o’clock, gain at noon. Compression switch on.
Clip 2 - Bass at 2 o’clock, low-mid at 2 o’clock, high-mid at 11 o’clock, treble at 10 o’clock, gain at noon. Fuzz switch on. Compression switch on.


Impressive volume. Nice EQ. Onboard fuzz and compression.

Clunkier to move around than a little combo—a small price to pay for its hip factor.


Vox Mini Superbeetle Bass


Ease of Use:



Like the Mini Superbeetle released for our guitarist friends last year, the new Vox Mini Superbeetle Bass is, at least somewhat aesthetically, based on the monstrous rigs the Fab Four favored in the mid ’60s.

The small, 4 1/2-pound amp head manages to squeeze in a 4-band EQ—including dials for both low-mid and hi-mid—as well as volume and gain knobs, and a pair of mini switches for fuzz and compression. There is a headphone/line out jack around back (as well as a 1/8" aux in), and the 50-watt amp sits securely on the recognizable chrome frame surrounding the cabinet, which houses a single 8" Vox driver.

The sound from this petite, Nutube-powered rig is surprisingly robust. While the stack itself (18 1/2 pounds total weight) isn’t that much bigger than many typical bass “practice” amps, it can invoke some impressive volume, enough to handle smaller gigs. Also, again for its size, the sound isn’t boxy or tinny, but rather full and warm. I was impressed with the headroom and how far I could push the volume and gain and remain clean. I like the onboard fuzz and compression, though—understanding space limitations for such a small amp’s panel—I would have liked to have seen level controls. But, for the fuzz function in particular, there is plenty of control over its flavor with the EQ and drive controls. I could dial in a warmer, subtle fuzzy tone up to more of a piercing grind, all with a vintage hue. The Mini Superbeetle Bass is distinctively Vox, and is a distinctively moving little rig.

Test gear: Late-’70s Epiphone Scroll bass, Fender Precision, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, Audio-Technica ATM650

Multiple modulation modes and malleable voices cement a venerable pedal’s classic status.

Huge range of mellow to immersive modulation sounds. Easy to use. Stereo output. Useful input gain control.

Can sound thin compared to many analog chorus and flange classics.


TC Electronic SCF Gold


When you consider stompboxes that have achieved ubiquity and longevity, images of Tube Screamers, Big Muffs, or Boss’ DD series delays probably flash before your eyes. It’s less likely that TC Electronic’s Stereo Chorus Flanger comes to mind. But when you consider that its fundamental architecture has remained essentially unchanged since 1976 and that it has consistently satisfied persnickety tone hounds like Eric Johnson, it’s hard to not be dazzled by its staying power—or wonder what makes it such an indispensable staple for so many players.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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