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User Review

Great value for its price! - Reviews Vox DA5

Value For Money : Excellent Audience: Beginners
I purchased this amp a little over 3 years ago as a beginner guitarist looking for as much diversity as possible when learning and practicing. My tastes in music vary and I wanted something highly versatile when it comes to sound and effects. I play blues, classic rock, hard rock, punk rock, some thrash metal and progressive metal as well, so I searched for a decently priced amp that could give me all the tones and special effects I needed, in one single box.

The DA5 has a wide range of play styles due to the ‘style’ controller which can cycle through 11 different styles.
The styles are comprised of Clean 1, 2 and 3, Blues 1 - these 4 are excellent in tonality and sound, as the name says, they’re quite clean and out of all the available solid state amps the Vox wins without a doubt in this category;
Blues 2, 3 and Crunch 1 which try to emulate a slightly overdriven tube amplifier;
Crunch 2 and Higain 1, my two personal favorites which offer a rich overdriven distortion type of sound, perfect for hard rock. grunge and punk for example;
Then we have Higain 2 which is acceptable for metal in general;
Higain 3 which I find too fuzzy and exaggerated and last but not least we have Drive which is a slightly more distorted version of Crunch.

Not only does this amp have a rich range in styles, it also provides you with 11 effects which you can also fine tune as much as you want. The effects are not so great, you can’t compare them to actual effect pedals, however Reverb and Delay are actually more than decent and personally, being a fan of Tool I used these extensively during practice. There are other effects such as Chorus and Phaser which I didn’t use much or at all. All of these effects also come in combination of two in case you want to use more than one effect at the same time.

The amp also has knobs for adjusting Gain, Tone and Master volume. They all work well and are useful, I just wish the tone knob would offer me individual control over low, mid and high frequencies but at this price that is something I won’t complain about.
You would think that’s all that this bundle of joy comes with, but there is more. In the back it comes featured with a power switch so you can select if your amp’s wattage at 0,5 W, 1,5 W and 5W. It also has a line in for a microphone if you want to sing along, it has an auxiliary line in if you want to connect the amp to your computer so you can record, or play music through it while you play along and you can also connect a headphones to it if you want to play at night without disturbing anyone.
I also need to mention you can use the amp on batteries for a few hours if you want to play outside.

I have tried both a Stratocaster and a Les Paul through this amp, one of them with a Seymour Duncan pickup and I arrived to the conclusion that the difference in sound due to the actual guitar is minimum or even totally unnoticeable. That being said, for a solid state amp this little box can give out quite some decent quality sounds. The clean channels remain clean even at maximum volumes, without sounding distorted, as for the high gain channels you do need to adjust them a bit until you find the sweet spot. Other amps of this level are better when it comes to distortion, but the Vox can’t be beaten when it comes to the clean channel. Add a distortion pedal like the DS1 or anything you want on top of the clean channel and you will have a wonderful range of sounds.

I’ve had this amp for 3 years now and I bought it used from someone who used it for another 2 years. That being said, I haven’t had 1 single problem with this amp…ever. Everything still works impeccably, not even a dent on the casing.

Overall impression

This little guy was everything I could’ve wanted at that time and even though it’s a solid state amp there is a lot of value for the money spent. It has all the styles and range of effects that you could need as a beginner; it is very reliable, decent sound in general though you might want to invest in a distortion pedal if you want better quality from it.
At today’s prices, however, you might want to save a little more money and buy a 5W tube amp instead. At that price it might not come with any effects and special gimmicks but nothing compares to the rich tone of a tube amp.