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In May of 2016 we reviewed Hotone’s Mojo Diamond Nano Legacy amp. Now they’re at it again, this time going across the pond to capture that classic British AC30 tone.
Like the Mojo Diamond, the Hotone British Invasion Nano Legacy amp is about the size of a standard stomp box, with a 3-band EQ, volume, and gain controls on the front. The rear has the effects loop, speaker output, headphone/recording out, and aux-in connections.
Sound-wise, it captures a lot of that Vox-y goodness. The EQ reacts and interacts very well to the gain and the volume controls, just like the original. As more gain and volume is dialed in, the AC30 character really comes to life. At lower gain settings, there’s plenty of top end chime, while maintaining that big bottom end. Pouring the gain on, it gets really big and saturated, and a lot of the dynamic richness of the original oozes throughout. The AC30 was used by bands as diverse as the Beatles, and Brian May of Queen, and this little amp delivers the range of those rich tones, at a much more manageable volume.
It’s only 5 watts, but that’s still enough to upset the neighbors. In a live setting, it’s plenty loud for a small venue, where a normal size/wattage amp would be too much. The output is from 4-16 ohms, so it can work with pretty much any cabinet, including a 4×12, believe it or not. Single coil and humbucking pickups work equally well, and the amp’s character doesn’t color the guitar’s natural tone.
With a modern AC30 running about $1200 (and vintage examples going for crazy cash on the secondary market), the cost of the British Invasion at $99 certainly delivers the goods at a price most guitarists can swallow. Purists might scoff, saying that all of those nuances can’t be captured in such a small, solid state head, but it’s close enough tone- and feel-wise for any player to really enjoy all those classic sounds from a real amp format (not emulation).
Considering that there are pedals that offer up Vox-like options, this is a huge value, especially as it’s not a pedal that has to be adjusted to work with an existing amp to get the classic Vox sound. It’s just going to the source and getting that real tone, without any hassles.
Nails that VOX tone, excellent price, super small.