Though you can buy the AC30 in many stores, you may not have the budget for it. However, thanks to modern technology, you can get the same AC30 tube amp effects for much cheaper than the original. This is thanks to Joyo JF-13 AC Tone Vintage Tube Amplifier effects pedal, analog circuit and bypass. Let’s take a closer look at it to see if it is worth it.
Let’s begin by clearing things up. The JF-13 is not exactly a tube amp. It’s more or less a preamp and it does not use any vacuum tubes. Considering its small form factor, you wouldn’t expect the same functionality from it as a full tube amp. However, it does all that and more.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the JF-13 has over six knobs. This will give you the ability to duplicate a lot of AC tones – remember that this product is meant to duplicate the various AC tones. Just tweak the appropriate knob to a setting and mix-and-match.
Another feature that you will like about this product is its small size factor. This amp will fit comfortably in your bag or guitar case. The original Vox tub amps were large affairs and were hard to carry from gig to gig. This pedal is a whole lot easier to use.
You will also like the fact that this pedal has its very own cabinet emulation. This means you aren’t limited to using it for your gigs. All you need to start mixing with it is a mixing desk or something similar. Overall, if your main amp fails, this would be a great back up.
There are several factors to consider when you want to buy this product.
- Portable. This is a really great pedal for performing musicians. Usually most party organizers have an amp or speaker ready, but it may just be a crappy practice amp with bad tone. You will never be without fantastic tone if you’ve got this product with you. Thanks to its small size it can even fir into your pocket.
- Great Simulation. One of the problems with using the solid-state amps is that they often have problems getting the sound right. This is why you have a lot of people complaining that tube amps have brighter warmer sounds. Well, this complaint is one you won’t get from those who use the JF-13. The product was designed to simulate tube amp performance and it performs in its job every well – it’s like you’re actually passing the sound through a real Vox AC30 amp.
- Wide Selection. This particular pedal has six knobs. This includes three tone controls, level, drive, and voice. Depending on what sort of music you play, you only need to tweak the settings a bit to get the best possible combinations. This makes this product useful for many musical genres.
- Looks Great. It even looks great. The metallic sheen and traditional looking fonts make it seem like this product was a vintage throwback.
- Bypass. The most telling feature is its bypass option. If you want the purest sound possible, just step on this stompbox to activate the bypass option. Your signal will skip directly to the effects circuit so nothing will be lost as you play.
It does have several drawbacks.
- Solid-state Amp. It sounds very close to a tube amp, but in the end, it is still a solid-state emulator. There are minor differences but if you are an expert you will notice them as the amp performs. It is a decent replacement though you will want the real thing if you want your performance to really shine.
- Durability Issues. Though it is initially good, you might find problems with its performance as you keep playing with it. Quality control issues may be the root behind them, so keep in mind that your purchase may need to be replaced in a month or so depending on how much punishment you put them through. This is a budget model and it shows in these issues.
- Noise. Another big problem is the noise. There’s a lot of it when you hook it up. You won’t notice it as you play but before you start there is a hiss in the background, like low-level static. This can get disruptive in higher levels. This could be a deal-breaker for some, but some people can work with it.
- Battery. It’s a minor thing, but this pedal is battery operated for its bypass feature. Most amps do not need to worry about that, but this one needs it. Better check the battery levels regularly if you want it at its best.
If you’re in need of a tube amp experience but do not have the money to do so, the JF-13 is a good alternative. Even if no tubes were used, the amp pedal manages to duplicate the sound of a genuine tube amp. With only minor considerations and the low price, this makes it a perfect beginner’s amp for anyone who wants to start their performing career. They can get a real tube amp later.
Tube amps can make a performance better. However, technology has progressed enough that even solid-state amps can compete with the sound they produce. Not exactly on par, but good enough for the audience. You’ll want to try it out yourself to hear the difference in the sound.