The Vox Amplug2 Bass is more or less a small amp - it has its strong sides and its weaknesses.
The Amplug consists of plastic and is ca. 8 cm long, 3.3 cm high, 2 cm wide (without audio jack, with audio jack it's ca. 3.4 cm). The audio jack itself is just short of 7 cm long.
The Amplug has an AUX plug, a Headphone plug and of course the audio jack. It also features two buttons - one at the top for the "RHYTHM" feature and one at the side to turn it on/ off and change the modes. Next to that button there is a small light-indicator, either appearing green, orange or yellow, showing which mode you're using.
On the top it features the above mentioned "RHYTHM" button, the AUX plug as well as three wheels, one volume and one tone control. The third wheel is labeled "VOL[TEMPO]" and is used for the incorporated Metronome/ drum tracks. All three wheels are labeled with numbers from one to ten and have ribbed sides for easier gripping.
It has three different gain outputs, the adjustable built in Metronome as well as some drum tracks (which are adjustable too in speed). The Amplug needs two AAA batteries and lasts ca. 11-14 hours with the set batteries.
While the Amplugs "front face" is done beautifully, resembling the good old VOX amps, paint and some texturing can't hide the fact that the used plastic feels rather cheap - however, at the same time it seems sturdy enough to survive a fall without any chip marks.
The wheels move smoothly and are relatively easy to grip, however given that you are usually tweeking around modes/ volume and tone control while you play, it can be a little hard to navigate the short spaces between the wheels. To add to that, you have to press down two buttons at the same time to change modes - and if you want to change the speed of the Metronome or drum track you need to hold down the buttons. This can prove a challenge, especially if you play/ practice with your bass in the "classical guitar position" - or if your output jack is on the side of your bass.
The change in gain is noticeable: While the green light is on, you can hear your bass quite clearly. With the "orange" or "red" gain mode, your bass becomes very quietly for you to hear - assuming that's the intention, it works great.
In case you plan on using this device with a bass, that uses a single-coil pick-up, be prepared for the hum... for a lot of hum, actually. When the tone is set at max the hum is - as to be expected - very prominent. A split-coil/ humbucker pick-up of course reduces its own hum, however when using the Amplug with the tone at max even there you can notice some (slight) hum.
The main advantage of the Amplug is its size: You can take it anywhere. Thus you can play/ practice anywhere (given that your bass is with you). If you've got neighbours or family that hates it when you practice with an actualy amp, you may use this device to "stay under their radar". So if you plan on practicing at night, or if you just want to play for yourself without anyone noticing, this may be of worth to you. Again, the fact that you can take it anywhere is a major advantage.
However, the Amplug does not replace an actual amp - it simply can't compete with a good amp (and pre-amp/ pedals). But that's not its purpose, as Vox is already known for their amps. The Amplug is just a neat little device to travel and practice with.
I've hadn't had any issue with my Amplug, it hums annoyingly and switching modes isn't as easy as I'd like it to be, but it isn't the worst. The built in metronome and the battery life are a plus - and, as already mentioned, its size is a huge plus too.
This review is based on my perception of my Amplug - it could of course be that I've gotten lucky with it. But for the reasons stated above, I think it is fair to recommend this to people who want to practice quietly on the go. If you can't stand the annoying hum (it's really annoying), then maybe look for other alternatives.
For quiet practice and on the go
- 3.75/5, 3.75 out of 5, reviewed Dec 2, 2022
- Build Quality:
- + Small - can be taken anywhere
- + Has a built in Metronome (and drum tracks)
- - Feels somewhat cheap-ish
- - It hums like crazy
Fragile, and unpleasant to the ear.
- 1/5, 1 out of 5, reviewed Aug 5, 2022
- Build Quality:
- + Long battery life
- - Lots of high-frequency hiss
- - Poor tone control (muddy or hissy)
- - Very fragile connectors
- - Rhythms tempo difficult to adjust
The plugs are quite fragile: they are soldered directly to the board and not attached to the case, so a mild knock on the headphone or Aux plugs can detach the plugs and require tricky soldering to fix (I had to do it twice, then it died for good).
The amplifier is very noisy. The hiss would make my ears ache after each use.
If you turn down the tone control, the hiss goes away, but so do all your highs and mids.
Selecting a rhythm is easy, and the built-in metronome is handy, but adjusting the tempo requires holding down a button AND turning a knob at the same time, one-handed, which is very difficult. If you slip, you either change rhythm, or change its volume instead.
The three gain levels didn't do much, and felt too quiet except at max.
However, the battery life is quite long, at least 10-15 hours on a pair of AAA batteries.One member found this helpful.
- 40 USD / 70 CAD
- Aux input, built-in rhythms, metronome, selectable gain, swivelling plug
- 3 gain modes for tonal variety
- Single Treble/Bass tone control
- New folding plug mechanism rotates 180 degrees to fit any bass guitar
- Auto power off function conserves battery life
- 9 selectable rhythm patterns for effective practicing (incl. metronome)
- Aux input for jamming along with any audio player
- Play anytime, anywhere with up to 17 hours of battery life (2xAAA)