Matrix Vintage British VB800 Head
The VB800 is the first in a series of amplifiers designed to deliver all the tone and power of a classic valve head without the weight or maintenance issues. The VB800 is a groundbreaking mix of cutting edge amp technology and classic valve sound.
We based the design of the VB800 on a classic British amp from the early 1980's with a similar name and we started by carefully examining the good bits and bad bits of big, heavy valve heads, deciding what needed to be kept, and what needed to be left out. Tone, feel and power were "must haves" and weight, size and maintenance were the things we wanted to leave out. It's been tried a few times over the years and no amp has ever truly captured both elements.
Our VB800 captures them perfectly.
Weighing at a little less than 1.9kg / 4lbs the VB800 weighs around a tenth or more of what some valve amps are, including the one it was based upon. As a guitarist, putting all your energy into a show, the last thing you need to be is a powerlifter at the end of a night. Or maybe you've simply lifted enough heavy gear that all that weight has taken it's toll on your back. The VB800 is light enough to not have to worry about either of those. The weight saving has another added benefit too, especially if you are a travelling musician. Whether it's by car or plane, less weight in the trunk means better milage which saves on fuel and less weight on the plane means no super expensive excess baggage charges.
Hang on you say, surely an amp's too big to take on an aeroplane?
Well when the amp in question is only 300mm (12") wide, 75mm (3") tall and 175mm (7") deep you can. It's small enough to fit into a backpack or gig bag, or even carry on luggage. That means it's quick and easy to pack down and you can take it wherever you need, without breaking your back. Planes, trains, subways or car, it'll fit in nicely.
Don't think that because the VB800 is that small and lightweight, that it's just another wanna-be lunchbox amp. It's not. The VB800 has been designed to go toe-to-toe with it's heavyweight cousins and give you the big sound, enough volume and push of air you'd expect from an all tube head. A big enough sound to take anywhere your music takes you.
If you have owned a tube amp, you'll be all too well aware of the expense and hassle when power amp tubes start to wear out. Re-valving and re-biasing of the power amp stages seems to come around all too often, especially if you gig with any regularity. Getting the same tone you had before can become a hit and miss affair with different tubes and good quality power amp tubes aren't getting any cheaper. The VB800 has x2 JJs ECC83s in the pre-amp section but these should last a long time, typicaly several years and cost little to replace. Our power amplifier section however is all solid state, featuring a modified GT-FX, class A-B MosFet amp that has been proven and used by literally hundreds if not thousands of guitarists over the past few years. Nothing to wear out, nothing to replace, years of trouble free performance and great "valve like" feel. The VB800s pre-amp section faithfully re-creates the depth, power and feel of the iconic British head it's based on and our famous GT-FX power stage delivers all the volume you will ever need. Whether it is a 12" single cab in your bedroom for some low-volume practice, or a 4x12 on a loud stage, the VB800 delivers the same tone, same feel at any volume level. Unlike a valve head that either had to be run loud and hard to create the tone you wanted or is either too quiet or blaringly loud to be used at home, the VB800 delivers consistent tone at any volume.
With an adjustable level serial effects loop, that's transparent and does not suck tone like some, the VB800 can accomodate traditional stompbox fx pedals or more complex effects into the mix to fine tune your tone. It's small enough to even share space on the pedalboard if you need! Running more complex systems like the four cabling method with multi fx is also a breeze. Modelling amp users can take advantage and use the VB800 to add some "valve mojo" in 4CM or of course just use the FX Return input to feed their signal into the power section, providing a mono power amp similar to our GT-FX series amps,
Whether you're searching for a more portable amp or looking to upgrade to a more powerful, gig-able amp or even looking to build your tone on the foundation of a classic British amp sound, the VB800 will cover all those needs without the weight, size and maintenance costs and with the addition of being reliable, cost effective and most importantly, sounding great.
|Number of Channels:
|x2 ECC83/12AX7 valves
|Passive (Bass, Mid, High)
|Class A/B MosFet SMPS powered delivering
|@ 16 ohms: 150W
|@ 8 ohms: 300W
|@ 4 0hms: 420W
|304mm x 185mm x 80mm (wxdxh)
|11.8” x 7.09” x 3.15” (wxdxh)
|Passive (Bass, Mid, High)
|1.8kg / 4lbs
|110v/230v +/- 15%
|Average Supply Current:
|5A/2.5A (Full Load 110/240v)
|Effects Send Level:
|0v - 1v (0 to +6db)
Very compact: 30cm x 18.5cm x 8cm (wxdxh)
Very lightweight: 1.8kg
Very powerful: up to 420w!
Real valve 12AX7 preamp...
...but with the reliability of a premium solid state power amp
As with all Matrix Amplification products the focus is on great tone, reliability and compact size/lightweight. The VB800 is designed to perfectly emulate the touch dynamic response of a true valve amp but in an enclosure a fraction of the size and weight. Then factor in the reliability of Matrix's famous power amps and you're on to a winning workhorse amp!
The Matrix Amplification VB800 starts off with a pristine clean, reminiscent of a JC-120 before sparkling up with some more glass as you crank the gain (check out the video to see how Alan uses it to replace his heavy Fender Twin). Then you get to one of the real highlights of the VB800 which is a sweet breakup tone perfect for blues and rock (this is the point you'll be convinced there must be soem power valves hiding in there somewhere!). From that point on the sky is the limit, there's a huge amount of gain on tap from barking crunch up to to searing lead with epic sustain! And herein lies another highlight: the VB800 can cover a huge range of styles and sounds, all from a very simple control layout! It all adds up to being the perfect amp for professional cover and function bands that need versatility, limited weight and unbeatable reliability!
International buyers There is an internal voltage switch (easily user accessible) that can switch the amp from 220/240v to 110v so the VB800 can be used anywhere in the world.
Despite keeping the VB800 'no nonsense' Matrix still managed to use an FX loop giving, almost unheard of in such a small amp! This allows you to connect up your favourite FX pedals after the amp distortion.