Fender vs Vox Amps: Which are the Best?


Fender and Vox are well known for producing great quality amplifiers and have been around for decades in the industry, but which should you get? In this article, I’ll compare the tones of Fender and Vox, the common settings, and the specifications and features of the ranges at all the different price points.

The Quick Answer

Fender amps are usually better for clean tones than Vox amps, because they have more headroom. Vox amps are best suited for rock as they distort at lower volumes and have a grittier and crunchier tone with plenty of mid-range. Both Fender and Vox offer a wide-variety of solid state and valve amps.

Comparing the Tones

Fender and Vox have pretty different tones due to two main reasons. Firstly, Fender valve amps have more headroom meaning that they don’t distort at low volumes. Secondly, the EQ balance is different, as Fender amps have more treble and bass compared to Vox amps which have more mid-range instead.

Of course, it’s easier to hear the differences than just talk about them, so I’ve summarised the key tonal differences below, and included some videos to help demonstrate them.

  • Fender has more low-end (bass) and high-end (treble) and less mid-range (“scooped-mids”).
  • Vox has more mid-range, less bass and treble, and more compression.

Clean Tone

  • Fender amps have more headroom so the volume can be increased more before the tone becomes saturated compared to Vox amps which sound gritty when the volume is increased.
  • Vox amps have a more pronounced mid-range, whereas Fender amps sound brighter and more “sparkly” due to the increased focus on the treble.

Here is a video which demonstrates this really well. It’s time stamped so it will start at the relevant time in the video.

Distorted Tone

  • Vox amps have more mid-range leading to a fuller and richer tone when distorted.
  • Fender amps have “scooped” mids by comparison, which means the treble and bass are boosted in comparison.
  • Vox amps produce a crunchier and grittier tone whereas Fender amps sound more smoother due to the elevated bass.

Here is a video demonstrating a variety of tones on the Vox AC15 and Fender Blues Junior back-to-back.

Music Styles

Both Fender and Vox amps can be used for many styles of music, however, Vox amps usually sound much better at rock due to their heavy and crunchy distorted tones. Fender amps sound great when played clean and suit blues, jazz and country more. Vox amps are more suitable for metal as they distort at lower volumes.

In terms of solid state Fender and Vox amps, then both are fine for metal, the choice will depend on whether you want a “scooped” mids which is characteristic of the 80’s and 90’s or boosted mids which is more modern. Fender amps have more scooped mids compared to Vox amps.

Common Settings

Here are the settings you will commonly see on Vox and Fender amps.

Fender Amps Settings

Here is a list of the most popular controls found on Fender Amps:

  • Gain
  • Bass
  • Middle
  • Treble
  • Reverb
  • “Fat-switch”

Vox Amp Settings

Here is a list of the most popular controls found on Vox Amps:

  • Gain
  • Treble
  • Bass
  • Presence
  • Reverb
  • Switches e.g. Bright, fat, bias, hot and cool

Fender and Vox amps have similar settings, the main difference is that a lot of Vox amps don’t have a mids control, whereas most Fender amps have a 3 band EQ (bass, mids and treble).

Check out these articles I’ve written to learn more about the controls on each amp brand:

Comparing Amplifier Models

I also wanted to take a look at the specifications and features of specific models of amplifier so I compiled pretty much every currently available model from both brands in the tables below. The prices are based on Guitar Center’s current prices at the time of writing this article. The list goes from least to most expensive in each of the following categories so you can choose the best option based on your requirements and budget.

Contents:

  • Starter Amps ($80-$180)
  • Solid State Combo Amps ($220-$500)
  • Valve Combo Amps Under $1000 ($400-$900)
  • Valve Combo Amps $1000 and Over ($1000-$2500)
  • Head Units: $600-$1300

Starter Amps ($80-$180)

AmplifierWattagePriceSettings
Fender Frontman 10G10W$802 channels, gain, treble, bass
VOX Pathfinder10W$902 channels, gain, bass, treble
Fender Champion 2020W$1302 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Fender Mustang LT2525W$15030 presets, gain, 3 band EQ
Vox Valvetronix VT20X20W$18011 models, gain, treb, mids, bass, compression, chorus, OD, distortion, flanger, phaser, tremolo, delay, reverb
Entry-level beginner Vox and Fender amps compared.

Solid State Combo Amps ($220-$500)

AmplifierWattagePriceSettings
Fender Champion 4040W$2202 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Vox VX50 GTV50W$23011 models, gain, treb, bass, chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, reverb, delay
Fender Champion 50XL50W$2302 channels, gain, treble, bass, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Fender Mustang LT5050W$25030 presets, gain, 3 band EQ
Vox Valvetronix VT40X40W$25011 models, gain, treb, mids, bass, compression, chorus, OD, distortion, flanger, phaser, tremolo, delay, reverb
Vox Cambridge5050W$30011 models, gain chorus, phaser, flanger, tremolo, delay, reverb
Fender Mustang GTX 5050W$38030 presets, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb
Vox Valvetronix VT100X100W$38011 models, gain, treb, mids, bass, compression, chorus, OD, distortion, flanger, phaser, tremolo, delay, reverb
Fender Champion 100100W$4002 channels, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Fender Champion 100XL100W$4502 channels, gain, 3 band EQ, voice control, reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, flanger, phaser, vibrato
Fender Mustang GTX 100100W$500200 presets, gain, 3 band EQ, reverb
Vox and Fender solid state combo amps compared.

Valve Combo Amps (under $400-$1000)

AmplifierWattagePriceSettings
Vox AC4C1-124W$400Gain, bass, treble
Fender Super-Champ X215W$4002 channels, gain, voice, treb, bass
Fender Bassbreaker 0077W$450Gain, 3 band EQ, treb boost
Vox AC10C110W$480Gain, bass, treble, reverb
Fender Pro Junior IV15W$600Tone
Fender Blues Junior IV15W$6503 band EQ, reverb
Fender Bassbreaker 15W15W$650Gain, structure, 3 band EQ, reverb  
Vox AC1515W$700Normal and top-boost channels, bass, treble, tremolo, reverb
Fender ’68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb5W$7503 band EQ, tremolo, reverb
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue40W$8002 channels, drive, 3 band EQ, reverb, presence
Vox AC4HW Hand-Wired4W$840Normal and top-boost channels, bass, treble
Fender George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe40W$9003 band EQ, reverb, presence, various switches
Vox Custom AC15C215W$900Normal and top-boost channels, bass, treble, tremolo, reverb
Vox AC151X15W$900Normal and top-boost channels, bass, treble, tremolo, reverb
Vox AC30S130W$900Gain, bass, treble, reverb
Fender Bassbreaker 30R30W$9002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb
Vox and Fender valve combo amps under $1000 compared.

Valve Combo Amps (Over $1000)

AmplifierWattagePriceSettings
Fender Super-Sonic 2222W$10502 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb
Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb12W$1100Treble, bass, reverb, tremolo
Fender Tone Master Super Reverb45W$12002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb, tremolo
Fender 68 Custom Pro Reverb40W$13003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Vox AC30C230W$1400Normal and top-boost channels, bass, treble, tremolo, reverb
Vox AC15HW1 Hand-Wired15W$1400Normal and top-boost channels, bass, treble
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Deluxe Reverb22W$14003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb
Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb85W$15003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Vox Custom AC30CX230W$1550Normal and top-boost channels, bass, treble, tremolo, reverb
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Twin Reverb85W$17003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Fender Vintage Reissue ’65 Super Reverb45W$18003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Vox AC30HW2 Hand-Wired30W$1900Normal and top-boost channels, bass, treble
Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb20W$25003 band EQ, tremolo, reverb, bright switch
Vox vs Fender valve combo amps over $1000 compared.

Head Units ($600-$1300)

AmplifierWattageTypePriceSettings
Fender Bassbreaker 15W15WTube$600Gain, 3 band EQ, structure, reverb, bright switch
Vox AC15CH Custom15WTube$700Normal and top boost channels, treb, bass, reverb, tremolo
Vox MVX150H150WSolid State$8002 channels, gain, tone, bass, mids, treb, reverb, presence, resonance
Fender Super-Sonic 2222WTube$10002 channels, 3 band EQ, gain, reverb
Vox AC30CH Custom30WTube$1100Normal and top boost channels, treb, bass, reverb, tremolo
Vox Hand-Wired AC3030WTube$1300Normal and top boost channels, treb, bass
Vox vs Fender head unit amps compared.

In the market for a new amplifier? Check out my complete amplifier buyer’s guide to help narrow down your selection and find the perfect amp for you.

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Heather

Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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