Vox DA5 Portable Digital Amp

The DA5—which also runs on the included nine-volt power supply—features tones handed down from Vox’s popular Valvetronix series and boasts enough built-in effects to cover the basics of modern guitar tone. Not bad for an amp you can take to the beach.

Its 11 amp styles range from clean to crunchy to very distorted. Overall, they sound reasonably tubelike and feel quite responsive. Gain, tone and master controls let you tweak the tonal brew, and sweetening is provided by an array of modulation effects, delay, reverb, auto wah, a compressor and effect combinations. Though you can tweak the effects, you can’t store your edits. Even so, the ability to personalize the tones is welcome.

The Vox’s closed cabinet makes good use of a six-inch speaker and switchable (half-, 1 1/2– and 5-watt) power amp, delivering ample volume for its size. With its 1/4-inch mic input (with its own volume knob), aux input and line/headphones output, the DA5 is a busker’s delight.

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