VOX Amplification Ltd NT50H Night Train 50 by subspace
Vox got into the lunchbox amplifier market with it's little Night Train 15 head, which proved quite popular for low volume jamming/recording. It was a product of their collaboration with Tony Bruno and was supposedly inspired by the Trainwreck Express amp design, hence the related name. Users requested additional amenities like foot switchable channels and an effects loop, and the larger Night Train 50 was born.
Based on the Night Train 15's original bright/thick preamp design but switching to an EL34 50 watt power section, this version is closer to the original Trainwreck Express' layout. The Night Train 50 also adds a new high gain channel, similar to the one found in the dis-continued AC50 Classic Plus, another EL34-powered Vox design. Users of the AC50 Classic Plus requested a bass reduction control for the plentiful bass found in this channel, and the Night Train 50 implements this in a tight switch in the master section to allow higher settings on the bass tone control without introducing mud. Also found in the master section is the traditional Vox tone cut control that was missing from the original Night Train, which can alleviate similar issues with high settings of the treble knob.
The head is constructed similarly to the original Night Train with a bright chrome cage over a black base, making it a slightly larger lunchbox, but still quite portable for a 50 watt EL34 head. The bright channel has identical controls to the original Night Train, including the thick mode which bypasses the tone stack and adds gain for crunch sounds. The change here is that bright/thick modes are now foot switchable.
The foot switch can also be used to select the new girth channel. This offers a higher "british style" gain channel and includes a channel master for balancing it's volume with the bright channel. Finally, the master section includes the traditional Vox tone cut control, a tight switch for reigning in the bottom end, and an overall master volume.
Whereas the original Night Train only provided speaker outputs on the rear panel, the Night Train 50 also provides a stereo foot switch jack for the three amp modes and an effects loop with a defeat switch. The loop works well with both pedal and line level devices and the send remains active even with the loop defeated.
I found the amp to work exceptionally well with a Telecaster, and was most impressed with it's responsiveness to the guitar's volume knob, a trait it has in common with it's name-sake the Trainwreck Express. The taper on the volume controls is very gradual and allows a lot of finesse in fine tuning the gain settings. I found I preferred to use either the girth channel master at max or the amp master at max depending on the tones I was shooting for, effectively bypassing one or the other. Interesting tones could be had at various levels by setting the treble knob high to affect the break-up and then counteracting that using the tone cut control, as well as similar effects via the bass knob and tight switch interaction.
Here's a video running through the Night Train 50's modes using a Tele. The speaker is a WGS ET65 mic'd with a Fathead ribbon. The mic preamp was a Focusrite ISA One which fed a Zoom G3 USB interface: