Launched in January 2017 and retailing at around £150, the Vox MV50 AC amplifier head’s diminutive size belies the power and tone available from it. At the heart of the Vox MV50 is a miniaturised vacuum tube; developed by Vox’s current owners, Korg in 2015 and dubbed the Nutube, it’s response when overdriven is just like a normal tube/valve amplifier but avoids the associated running costs. These units offer several output options of interest to guitarists seeking to emulate Brian May tones in domestic or small venue environments: headphones or line out recording as well as the option to run it into a 4, 8 or 16 Ω speaker cabinet.
Vox’s official blurb (edited) offers the following information on the MV50 range:
“Designed with an emphasis on analogue, the VOX MV50 combines classic amplifier design with new and innovative production techniques to produce a miniature amplifier with truly monstrous sound. Boasting 50 watts of power, this one-pound package serves up serious guitar tone that’s reminiscent of your favorite old tube amps. With speaker & line/headphone outputs, the MV50 is perfect for the stage, at home, or in the studio for direct recording.
The MV50 is equipped an all-analogue pre-amp circuit that features Nutube, a revolutionary new vacuum tube that produces authentic tube tone at a fraction of the size. By taking advantage of this new technology, VOX’s engineers were able to design a true, miniature tube amplifier. Beyond the inclusion of Nutube, the pre-amp circuit in the MV50 features a number of analogue components that effectively reproduce the dynamic character of a traditional tube amplifier. Paired with this pre-amp circuit is a reliable and efficient Class D power amplifier that has been specifically designed for the MV50. From warm, natural cleans to dynamic overdrives, this power amp has been engineered to respond to the nuances of your guitar.
Though designed to partner the compact BC108, the MV50 is a perfect match for almost any speaker cabinet. The EQ switch on the back of the amplifier features two settings, flat & deep. When connected to a small speaker cabinet, setting the amplifier to the deep mode emphasises the rich low-frequency range and prevents the high frequencies from becoming too pronounced. When connected to a larger, more conventional speaker cabinet, setting the amplifier to the flat mode will allow you to take full advantage of the characteristics of the speaker cabinet, without emphasising or reducing any frequency range.
For practice or recording, the MV50’s line/headphone out can be input directly to a mixer, audio interface or headphones. VOX’s design team consulted with highly experienced recording engineers and used only the finest microphones and vintage pre-amps to design the cabinet simulation circuit in the MV50. This circuit allows you to record or practice with serious studio sound anywhere or anytime.”
Keeping within the context of emulating Brian May’s live and studio sounds, Andrew Morgan, owner of AStrings music store in Wales and supplier of Brian May’s preferred brand of guitar strings has recorded an A/B demonstration video using his Guyton Red Special and a Fryer treble booster deluxe. He compares the tone from Queen tribute bands’ amplifier of choice, the Vox AC30 TBX with the same speakers but driven by the Vox MV50 AC. Prepare to be surprised by the results.
In the interests of balance for those not seeking to reproduce Queen tones, please also check out the Premier Guitar review video below.
- Input power: 19 V DC centre positive (transformer supplied)
- Output power: 50 W RMS (4 Ω), 25 W RMS (8 Ω), 12.5 W RMS (16 Ω)
- Inputs: 1 x 1/4″ mono input jack socket
- Outputs: 1 x 1/4″ mono external speaker jack, 1 x 1/4″ mono headphones line out jack
- Controls: volume, gain and tone rotary potentiometers, EQ switch (flat/deep), ECO mode on/off
- Vacuum tube/valve: NuTube 6P1
- Physical dimensions (W x D x H): 135 x 100 x 75 mm (5.31 x 3.94 x 2.95) inches
- Weight: 540 grams (1.19 lbs)
Return to the Musical Equipment section home page: