The Vox AC30 AmPlug

I hate cheap plastic junk like I hate McDonalds food. Yet, there are times when the convenience, low price, and the allure of salt, sugar, and fat are simply irresistible. Such is the case with the Vox AmPlug line of headphone practice amps. The AC30 AmPlug is tastier than a McNugget and smaller than an order of fries.

I like the sound of the venerable AC30 but the idea of shelling out a ton of money for an amp handwired in Vietnam will strike some as absurd; and Line6 (and the rest of the usual suspects) cannot seem to create a good representation of the AC30 for some reason.

The AmPlug gets the job done because it actually sounds darned good -- it's an analog device -- and doesn't cost a lot. I got mine new for around $35 including free shipping and no sales tax. And, since I didn't have the highest expectations I've been pleasantly surprised. It has held up for more than a month, I haven't snapped it off in the jack, and it doesn't eat up batteries.

It is fairly crude: gain, volume, tone. No reverb, etc., but you won't miss anything. It will not fool you into thinking you're playing through a real AC30 but there is some chime and clang and chang in there. What? You don't know what 'chang' is? Well, trust me, there's sufficient chang present for $35.

All good. And, hey, if it lasts a couple of more months it will have outlasted my Line6 Pocket Pod.

Further, I have had amazing results running this into my recorder via an 1/8" to 1/4" cord. With single coils it's good but with hummers it is outstanding -- far better than a lot of the other, and more expensive AC30 simulations out there.