The Amplug 2 Blues from VOX proves a bit of a wildcard when it comes to amplifiers, considering that it’s not your average amp! This is actually a blues-themed headphone amp, part of VOX’s popular Amplug Series – a collection of headphone amps that offer surprisingly awesome tones considering the size of the device. If you’re looking for a fully-fledged blues amplifier, you’ll need to look elsewhere, but there’s certainly some worth in this affordable amp.
This is where the Amplug 2 Blues falls a little short, which is to be expected. Yet you still have some flexibility in your sound, with volume, gain and tone dials on the top panel. This amp also comes with three built-in effects – reverb, chorus and delay – which are all controlled from the top via a push switch.
So, what can you expect from a sub-$50 headphone amp that measures just over 3” long? Quite a lot as it turns out. Due to the size and cost, it doesn’t take a detective to figure out that the Amplug 2 Blues is obviously a solid-state amp, yet it features upgraded analog circuitry that goes some way to simulating the response of a classic tube amp.
It’s a battery-powered device that offers up to 17 hours of juice on just two AAA batteries, making it ideal for use on the road – just bring along some headphones and you are good to go. Several additional features show that VOX put some thought into the design of this series. For example, the input 1/4” jack folds, allowing you to plug it into any guitar jack, along with an aux input so you can plug in your smart device and jam along to your favorite blues playlists.
In terms of aesthetics, VOX has designed the Amplug 2 Blues to look just like a mini amp, as they have done with the rest of the collection. Aside from feeling a little lightweight in its build, it ticks a lot of boxes.
Over the years, the guys at VOX have become pros at cramming tone into a tiny headphone amp and the Amplug 2 Blues is a testament to this. This amp has been optimized for crunchy blues tones – and it delivers on its promise, quite convincingly. The cleans are decent, although it is when the overdrive is in full force that this amp is at its most enjoyable – gritty, full and surprisingly natural. The effects are decent, although more of a bonus. A touch of gain and reverb is all you need to make this rock.
Sure, it has its limitations in versatility and tone. Ultimately, if you don’t want that blues bite to your sound, there are better headphone amps in VOX’s collection to go with. Yet, for the blues aficionado who isn’t going to let travel, neighbors or sleeping children get in their way of a late-night jamming session, the Amplug 2 Blues proves a sensible choice. It beats ‘dry practice’ anyway!