Practice. It’s perhaps one of the most important things about playing any instrument, yet often so difficult to fit into a busy lifestyle. The reality is that most of us praise and worship guitarists are juggling family and jobs and other commitments so practice time can be scarce. If you’re like me you’ve been trying to find ways to practice while your kids sleep or even on your lunch break at work, but it’s probably not practical or even possible to use your amp without waking one of the kids or causing a scene on in the job.
A few months ago I stumbled across the Vox ac30 Amplug as a potential solution for my practice woes. I was getting pretty desperate to find a way to practice with a newborn at home so I grabbed one on sale, not expecting much to be honest.
Right out of the package the Amplug is pretty simple and easy to use. You simply just have to plug it into your guitar or the end of your pedalboard and plug in a set of headphones and you’re ready to go. The controls are simple, just two buttons and 3 dials. One button is the power button, and also cycles between a normal clean model and 2 different levels of tremolo. The second button selects between 3 effects and your dry signal. The effects are chorus, delay, and reverb. The 3 dials control gain, tone, and volume. The amp plug also has the ability to plug in an AUX input so you can practice along with other tracks such as a metronome, YouTube clips, iTunes, or anything on your phone or computer.
Since I play a Vox-style amp, I have found that I can dial in the Amplug ac30 to familiar tonal territory. I have been enjoying plugging the Amplug in at the end of my pedalboard chain and practicing with all the usual effects that I normally use. The Amplug can quickly become an invaluable resource when you’re looking for creative ways to get your practicing in. I love being able to dial in my sounds and practice along with the original recordings for the songs I’m learning. The Amplug also surprisingly responds well to right hand dynamics, various levels of gain, and guitar volume. In this way it behaves a lot like a real amp.
My main criticism of the Amplug is that the built in effects can be slightly cheesy. The chorus is quite in-your-face and the delay is just okay as there isn’t a way to control time or repeats. The reverb is actually pretty good, fairly ambient sounding which was surprising. The two tremolo settings for the amp itself are sort of fun but nothing I would make great use of. The on-board effects do drain the batteries a little quicker and just aren’t that great as a whole, so I rarely use them.
I have even used the Amplug as a direct recording interface, sending the headphone out straight into GarageBand. The results were surprisingly good and worked perfectly well for capturing riffs and sounds for demos.
All in all if you looking for a way to practice silently or practice in a portable manner the Vox ac30 Amplug 2 can a great solution for you and provides quite good value for the cost. Happy practicing!