Vox vs Fender, two giants in the world of guitar amplifiers, have a rich history and distinct sonic identities. Choosing between these iconic brands can be a crucial decision for any guitarist. In this article, we’ll explore into the unique tones, settings, and amplifier models that define Vox and Fender, helping you make an informed choice. Join us as we compare these legendary amplifiers and discover which one suits your musical journey best.
The Quick Answer:
Fender amps are renowned for delivering pristine clean tones, thanks to their ample headroom. They shine when you want your guitar to sound bright and sparkly. However, they can handle distortion gracefully too.
Vox amps, on the other hand, are tailor-made for rock enthusiasts. They tend to distort at lower volumes, producing a gritty and crunchy tone with a pronounced mid-range. While they excel in rock, Vox amps can handle other genres as well.
Now, let’s explore these differences in more detail.
|Country of Origin||United Kingdom||United States|
|Known For||Unique British tone with top-notch reverb and tremolo effects.||Iconic American sound with clean tones and classic reverb.|
|Amplifiers||Famous for AC series with tube-driven, chimey tones. Notable models include the AC15 and AC30.||Known for clean, warm tones with models like the Deluxe Reverb and Twin Reverb.|
|Guitars||Manufactures guitars, including the Vox Phantom and Teardrop models.||Primarily focused on amplifiers but also makes guitars, like the Stratocaster and Telecaster.|
|Signature Artists||The Beatles, Queen, The Edge (U2)||Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan|
|Popular Models||AC30, AC15, and Vox Valvetronix series.||Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Precision Bass.|
|Tone Characteristics||Bright, jangly, and distinctive British sound with prominent mids.||Clean, bright, and versatile tones with a focus on clarity.|
|Notable Features||Top Boost circuit, built-in reverb and tremolo, Vox “wedge” design.||Vibrato (tremolo) system, bolt-on necks, iconic body shapes.|
|Price Range||Typically mid to high-range prices for both amplifiers and guitars.||Offers a wide range from affordable to high-end, depending on the model.|
|Availability||Widely available, with a strong presence in the UK and the US.||Widely available globally through dealers and online retailers.|
Comparing the Tones:
The tonal disparity between Fender and Vox amplifiers arises from two fundamental reasons: headroom and EQ balance.
Fender’s valve amps boast more headroom, meaning they maintain clarity at higher volumes without distortion. Vox amps, on the contrary, start breaking up and becoming gritty when pushed to higher volumes.
Fender amps tend to have more emphasis on treble and bass frequencies, resulting in a tonal profile that’s often described as having “scooped mids.” Vox amps, in contrast, emphasize mid-range frequencies while offering less bass and treble.
Fender amps offer ample headroom, allowing you to increase the volume significantly before the tone saturates. They sound bright and sparkly, thanks to their treble emphasis.
Vox amps have a pronounced mid-range, which gives them a unique character. When you increase the volume, they exhibit a gritty quality that rock guitarists adore.
Vox amps’ mid-range prominence lends them a fuller and richer distorted tone, ideal for rock and similar genres.
Fender amps’ “scooped” mids result in boosted treble and bass, providing a smoother distortion compared to Vox’s crunchier and grittier tone.
Both Fender and Vox amplifiers are versatile and can cater to various musical styles. Here’s a breakdown:
Fender amps excel in clean tones, making them a top choice for blues, jazz, and country genres. They offer a pristine canvas for intricate playing.
Vox amps, with their heavy and crunchy distorted tones, are ideal for rock music. They shine when you want that unmistakable rock ‘n’ roll grit. They also work well for other genres when a mid-range-heavy sound is desired.
For metal, both Fender and Vox solid-state amps are suitable. Your choice will depend on whether you prefer the “scooped” mids reminiscent of the 80s and 90s (Fender) or boosted mids for a more modern sound (Vox).
Vox vs Fender amplifiers share several common settings, but there are some differences:
Fender Amps Settings:
Vox Amp Settings:
Various switches (e.g., Bright, fat, bias, hot, cool)
The main distinction is that many Vox amps lack a dedicated mid-range control, while most Fender amps feature a 3-band EQ (bass, mids, and treble).
Comparing Amplifier Models:
To make your decision easier, let’s take a look at specific amplifier models from both Fender and Vox across different price ranges. We’ve categorized them for your convenience:
Starter Amps ($80-$180):
Fender Frontman 10G
Fender Champion 20
Fender Mustang LT25
Vox Valvetronix VT20X
Solid State Combo Amps ($220-$500):
Fender Champion 40
Vox VX50 GTV
Fender Champion 50XL
Fender Mustang LT50
Vox Valvetronix VT40X
Fender Mustang GTX 50
Vox Valvetronix VT100X
Fender Champion 100, Champion 100XL, Mustang GTX 100
Valve Combo Amps (under $400-$1000):
Fender Super-Champ X2
Fender Bassbreaker 007
Fender Pro Junior IV, Blues Junior IV, Bassbreaker 15W,
Fender ’68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue
Vox AC4HW Hand-Wired
Fender George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe
Vox Custom AC15C2, AC151X, AC30S1
Fender Bassbreaker 30R
Valve Combo Amps (Over $1000):
Fender Super-Sonic 22, 65 Princeton Reverb, Tone Master Super Reverb
Fender 68 Custom Pro Reverb
Vox AC15HW1 Hand-Wired
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Deluxe Reverb
Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb
Vox Custom AC30CX2
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Twin Reverb
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Super Reverb
Vox AC30HW2 Hand-Wired
Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb
Head Units ($600-$1300):
Fender Bassbreaker 15W
Vox AC15CH Custom
Vox AC30CH Custom
Vox Hand-Wired AC30
In the grand showdown between Vox vs Fender amplifiers, there’s no definitive winner. The choice ultimately depends on your musical preferences, playing style, and budget. Both brands offer a wide range of amplifiers with distinct characteristics. Exploring different models within your preferred price range is the key to finding the perfect match for your guitar and musical aspirations. So, whether you’re chasing Fender’s crystalline clean tones or Vox’s gritty rock vibes, the world of amplifiers has something exceptional waiting for you.
Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by Perry Garner