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Thread: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

  1. #1
    Registered User Chinn's Avatar
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    Default Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    I'll preface this by saying first that I'm a new emando player, second that while I've been an electric guitarist for a very long time, I've not used a lot of different amps and I'm definitely not a top drawer player......

    With that out of the way, I thought I'd put up a quick review of the Vox DA5 amp. I finished my first emando back in November and wanted something to play it on instead of the Crate 2x12 I've played for so many years. The Crate sounds great with my Bluesbird 4 string, but I have to overdrive it so high that the volume level is too high for my household.

    In looking for my new amp, I wanted a few different things:
    Small/Portable
    AC and Battery powered
    Some built in effects to play with
    Pseudo 'modeling' capability.

    After looking at the Roland Cube, an Orange model, and the Fender Mustang, I decided on the Vox. I also looked at the Line6, but feedback about over complexity steered me away.

    The Vox had all the features mentioned above and seemed to get the best reviews in general on the interweb (because its on the web, it has to be true right?)

    I purchased mine used off Ebay, but when it arrived, I could not tell that it had ever been out of the box. The controls are solid and easy to use, and the cabinet is well made and well finished.

    The Vox also has one feature that none of the others had (to my knowledge). On the rear of the cabinet, there is a switch which allows you to vary the Amp out put from .5amp to 5amps. This is great as it allows you to get the same sound and tone without being loud!

    When I received the amp, after checking it over, I proceded to going through the different features and functions. The effects included are not the quality of an effect provided by a high quality pedal. They are good however (reverb is particularly good). The effects are also very adjustable for depth and rate. The adjustments can be a little fiddley, but are not terribly difficult to use.

    The modeling function is very good as well. Several clean, blues and overdriven tones are available and are all quite distinct. As a blues player, I've enjoyed playing wiht the different blues tones. Like most amps, there is also a volume and gain function to play with as well. I've mostly settled on the Blues 2 or Blues 3 function with reverb and approx 60% gain. That gives me a fun blues tone which works well for my purposes.

    In all, I'm very pleased with the amp. For the money and the size, it is very good. I won't pretend ro try to convince anyone that it will take the place of a great vintage tube amp, but as a practice and portable amp, its great!

    Oh yeah, I play a custom built 4 string emando which uses the Moongazer/Allmuse MG4 humbucking pickupwired for coil tapping.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Chinn BluesBird Emando #1
    Aria M-300BG 2 Point
    Michael Kelly Legacy O
    Kay Model 68
    Stoneman Travel Mando

  2. #2
    Registered User CelticDude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Sounds like fun! Thanks for the review. Every so often I get the yen for a battery-operated portable amp. This sounds like a good one to consider.

    Edit: In looking online for it, it seems like it's been discontinued! Not available on many sites.
    Last edited by CelticDude; Jan-07-2012 at 9:58am. Reason: additionan information

  3. #3
    Lost my boots in transit terzinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    That does look cool.

    I've wanted a Pignose ever since 7th grade, though.


  4. #4
    Registered User Chinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Same here Chris (though I was a bit older...) Cool lookin amp. Its simple and it does the job!

    Celticdude, thanks for the info. Looks like they have replaced the DA5 with a similar amp called the mini3. I've not tried that one though.
    Chinn BluesBird Emando #1
    Aria M-300BG 2 Point
    Michael Kelly Legacy O
    Kay Model 68
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  5. #5
    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Neat! I'm been interested in a battery powered amp. Sounds like the watt switch is a nice feature to save on battery life. Any idea how long you can go a .5w on batteries? I would love to see something likw this with a rechargable power source so no need for batteries (like a cell phone).

    Found a little video for your enjoyment...

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    Registered User CelticDude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    MandoPete, The PigNose Hog 20 model is rechargeable. Sort of mixed reviews of the battery life though. Thanks for the video, the Vox amp is sounding more tempting.

  7. #7
    Registered User Chinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Mandopete, I've heard reports of 18 hours on a set of batteries on the low setting. I have approx 6 hours on the set that is in mine. Still really enjoying mine
    Chinn BluesBird Emando #1
    Aria M-300BG 2 Point
    Michael Kelly Legacy O
    Kay Model 68
    Stoneman Travel Mando

  8. #8
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Chinn, what a Great review! Thanks.
    Having a very small, portable amp that sounds great for things like jams, camps, workshops, etc. would really be nice! And the fact that there are built-in effects in this one is just an added bonus!
    I'd love to hear a comparison clip of the same thing played on the same instrument, first through a good full-size combo amp, and then through a good mini-amp like this.
    This is great stuff!...I'm betting that this (mini & micro amps) is an area where quality will continue to improve by leaps and bounds.
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
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    Registered User Mercury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    The Vox also has one feature that none of the others had (to my knowledge). On the rear of the cabinet, there is a switch which allows you to vary the Amp out put from .5amp to 5amps. This is great as it allows you to get the same sound and tone without being loud!
    Hi Chinn,

    Sounds like a great piece of electronics you got there! I'm also shopping around for a new practice amp and funnily enough 3 of the 4 candidates on your short list are, (or rather were as I have more or less made up my mind), on mine too. Fender, Orange and Roland.

    I'm probably going to go with the Roland Cube 20XL, as it is just too good value for money to pass up and is also jam-packed with cool features. Now one of these features is something called the "power squeeze", which according to Roland allows for full gain at low volume too. Perhaps it does something similar to the VOX?

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    Control Panel Diagram. The "power squeeze" option is the bottom right button, next to the on/off switch

  10. #10
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    I spent some time researching currently available, battery-powered mini-amps this afternoon, and here is the interesting list of candidates I've found:
    (I've listed them here most expensive to least expensive. The listings include: amp name, power, speaker size, weight, notes, and price):

    Line 6 Micro Spider - 6W/6.5"/7# (loaded, onboard tuner) - $135
    Fender Mustang Mini - 7W/6.5"/7.25# (loaded, onboard tuner, USB connectivity) - $130
    Roland Micro Cube - 2W/5"/7.3# (effects but no tuner [digital tuning fork?])- $119
    Marshall MG2FX - 2W/6.5"/6.8# (loaded, onboard tuner) - $115
    Pignose 7-100 - 5W/5"/6# (no effects) - $102 (includes ac adaptor)
    Vox Mini3 - 3W/5"/7.7# (loaded, onboard tuner) - $100
    Orange Micro Crush PiX3 - 3W/4"/2# (no effects, onboard tuner) - $86 (includes ac adaptor)

    One thing I realized while researching these cool amps...Since some of these have really nice digital effects and on-board tuners, I'm surprised that the manufacturers don't include a bypass on these so one could run them in-line before a primary amp, using their battery powered effects & tuners only. Just those features would make these sound investments. For example, I'm currently looking at phaser pedals that are in this relative price range!

    Any thoughts on this list?...Since I tend to be a brand loyalty guy, and I love my Super Champ, I'm initially leaning toward the Fender Mustang Mini. (Though I think I will watch ebay to see if another Vox DA5 pops up! Oh, and Mercury, that Roland Cube 20XL looks awesome, but it's AC only, right? I pretty sure I want battery capability)
    Last edited by Ed Goist; Jan-15-2012 at 3:16pm.
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
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  11. #11
    Registered User Chinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Nice list Ed! I had not seen the Marshall before. I think you're right. There is a market for a solid state battery/portable amp, and it looks like the companies are starting to fill up the niche.

    As for the comparo, I'm thinking of doing just that. I just have to get over the 'stagefright' of being recorded.

    Mandopete, that was one the Youtube reviews that made me interested in the Vox.
    Chinn BluesBird Emando #1
    Aria M-300BG 2 Point
    Michael Kelly Legacy O
    Kay Model 68
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  12. #12
    Registered User Mercury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Mercury, that Roland Cube 20XL looks awesome, but it's AC only, right?
    Hi Ed,

    You're right, I don't believe that Roland make that feature available in their battery powered cubes. Think the 15w model is the kick-off point for the "power squeeze".
    Last edited by Mercury; Jan-15-2012 at 5:00pm.

  13. #13
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Wow, I think these all sound great! (That Godin guitar isn't too shabby either)

    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
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  14. #14
    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    I think I like the Roland the best. I'm generally trying to fit in with acoustic instruments and it sounds like that first tone with chrorus might work.
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    Registered User Richard Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    I bought the Vox DA5 a few months back to power my ebay acquired Mandobird. I researched the DA5 and the Roland Microcube on the internet and decided on the DA5. I haven't been sorry it does everything I've wanted it to do, and also work well with my daughters acoustic-electric Dean/Luna guitar. The Mandobird was my first ever electric mando and the Vox thus my first amp. A friend has the Roland Microcube and we jammed together recently with his acoustic-electric guitar hooked up to the Microcube and myself with the Mandobird and Vox and both outfits seemed to work well for our needs.
    Richard Singleton

  16. #16
    Registered User hrishi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    I was wondering how these amps compare as far as headphone output and battery usage is compared. Any opinions?

    I leaning towards fender or vox mini3 but i'm still undecided..

  17. #17
    Registered User Chinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Rishi, I've not tried the headphone output so no comment there.

    On battery usage, I'm getting pretty good life out of mine. Only the second set now and I run exclusively on battery. I run most of the time in my house music room on the low wattage setting. Only occasionally do I head to the garage and put it on the 5w setting. Regardless, I get good life from batteries.

    Side note- I've been playing my guitar through it lately as well and it really does have good tone with it as well. Lots of fun this afternoon jamming along with blues tracks on my PAF humbucker equipped frankenstein guitar.
    Chinn BluesBird Emando #1
    Aria M-300BG 2 Point
    Michael Kelly Legacy O
    Kay Model 68
    Stoneman Travel Mando

  18. #18
    Registered User hrishi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Thanks for your reply Chinn. That sounds pretty decent battery power. I wanted to know about headphone output coz one of the reasons I am getting electric mandolin is that i don't want to disturb my roommate.
    Overall vox mini3 seems the best vfm but I am wondering about the use of FUSE with the fender. It's going to be my only amp and I don't think I'll buy any effects pedals. Hence I'm leaning toward fender now.
    I have another,sort of silly, question- can any of these amps be played as laptop speakers?

  19. #19
    Registered User hrishi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vox DA5 for Emando - Review

    Okay, got my Mandocaster the day before, and got my amp today!

    Instead of going with one amp for everything, I decided to get two, one light weight with batteries and the other with good functionality. So I got a Danelectro N10B Burgandy amp today. Its cheap, for $20. Has a headphone socket too. Tone seems quite decent. One cons I'll say is that it takes 9 volt battery which is a bit uncommon. I'll get its AC adapter too. The second amp I'll buy is Mustang I. Hope this route works out for me!

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