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Vox Lil Night Train

5 5 out of 5, based on 1 Review

A really cool micro tube amp in lunchbox format

13th March 2014

by John Eppstein

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5

The Vox Lil' Night Train is, as you would suspect, the little brother of the 10 watt Vox Night Train. It comes as a lunchbox format head or as a set with a cabinet containing a 10" Celestion speaker. This review concerns the head only.

This is an all tube amplifier that puts out 2 watts into 16 ohms or 1.5 watts into 8 ohms and is perfect for applications where even 10 watt amplifiers are excessive. The tube complement consists of 2 12AX7 preamp tube and 1 12AU7 dual triode power tube, operating in Class AB push-pull, just like higher powered amplifiers like the AC15 and AC30. It has a full complement of front panel controls consisting of Gain, Treble, Bass and Volume; it also has a two way mode switch - "Bright" provides a top boost and activates the EQ, "Thick" bypasses the EQ for a "beefier" tone.

The amp has a Headphone/line out jack with speaker emulation for late night practice and soundless recording. I am not thrilled with the quality of the speaker emulation (but I'm not thrilled with the quality of speaker emulation on any other amp, either), but it could be a very useful option for apartment dwellers.

Operating the amp into a Celestion 12" Vintage 30 in a semi-closed back cabinet gives a very useful range of tones for low level recording and band practice. At low levels it gives a nice clean Vox tone, but boosted it gives the kind of grit you expect from a cranked Vox - only it's not very loud, although it can compete adequately with a moderate level drummer.

I got this head used as an impulse buy at Guitar Center, which had it on sale for $150, and I didn't expect it to be nearly as great as it has turned out to be. My lead guitarist looked at it and kinda chuckled when I brought it in but since then he's played through it at nearly every rehearsal, recorded a few tracks with it, and borrowed it over Christmas to show to his brother who is a well known old school punk rocker in LA.

NOTE: At this time several outlets including Sweetwater and Musician's Friend list this amp as unavailable. Amazon lists 2 in stock and Proaudiostar lists it on their site.

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