Works With: Anything with a jack hole.
As one who aims to have a daily shred session, I have a love-hate relationship with guitar amps. I love the way they look and sound, especially the vintage ones, but they’re so big and unruly, I often find I’d rather practice without one than head to the lonely room in my house where they reside.
Vox’s amPhones ($99) aim to give you the best of both worlds; the portable headphones plug right into any guitar, amplifying its sound, and include effects like reverb, chorus, and delay. And though they’re built to emulate the sounds of some of Vox’s most popular boxes, they can also be used as regular headphones.
Sounds likes a winning combo, right? I plugged a pair into my best electric guitar to find out.
There’s no doubt about it—Vox’s amPhones are definitely convenient. I often find myself strumming my guitars from the comfort of my couch, and with the amPhones atop my head, plugged directly into my G&L F-100, there’s no need to leave my Ikea cushions and head into my dark basement where my actual amps live. That’s something a feller can get used to.
Multiple amp models and effects make the amPhones somewhat versatile, too. Able to emulate the sound of their well-known AC30 box, a Twin “clean-sounding” amp, and a couple of others (plus effects), the amPhones offer a plethora of sonic signatures to play with.
The amPhones 1/4-inch jack can also be unscrewed to reveal the 1/8-inch jack underneath, meaning they can be used any with iPhone or iPod. I tested mine pair with my iPhone and they sounded great.
Strangely, though, while the amPhones sounded good while connected to my iPhone, they didn’t wow me when connected to my various guitars. I heard occasional crackling and distortion when paired with at least two of my guitars, and I couldn’t seem to dial them out.
I heard occasional crackling and distortion when paired with at least two of my guitars.
And speaking of dials, the (no less than) 4 included on the amPhones are not built for the hands of men. I’m not sure why they’re so cumbersome to turn, but I often found I had to take the headphones off my head to adjust them. But that’s also because they’re impossible to keep track of; without taking the amPhones off to look, I was never sure if I was adjusting the gain, volume, effect, or tone wheels. I’d probably get it with some more practice, but I think if would have been better to put the controls on an inline remote of some kind.
And a last gripe: the amPhone’s build quality is sufficient, but not inspiring. They feel a little too light-weight, a little too plasticy, and a little to flimsy for their price point. Now, that’s not to say they’re built poorly, I don’t think they are, but they don’t feel as solidly built as less expensive headphones I own.
The amPhones are wonderfully convenient for jamming out from the comfort of your living room furniture. No, they aren’t going to sound as good as the 60-pound tweed-wrapped versions of the amps they emulate, but they are a good substitute when you’re too lazy to head to the basement.
|Product Name: : amPhone
The Good: Clean, versatile.
The Bad: Lame build quality
The Verdict Alright. For small headphones anyway.
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