Voodoo Amps V-Plex 50MV

When it comes to amps, the Marshall plexi is one of those watershed tone machines that spawns imitators as well as updaters. The V-Plex 50MV ($2,999 retail/$2,199 street; 4x12 cabinet, $1,599 retail/$1,099street) actually has a foot in both camps, as it delivers classic plexi mojo, as well as more modern and aggressive tones. With its expertly applied gold piping, Plexiglas front panel, and similar control layout, the V-Plex’s cosmetics reek of old-school Marshall cool. Inside the spot-welded steel chassis you find chassis-mounted tube sockets and pots and a single glass epoxy board that holds the majority of the V-Plex’s circuit. The soldering is top-notch as well.

Plugging in various Gibson SGs, Fender Telecasters, and a PRS McCarty, getting up and running on the V-Plex was a no-brainer. I set every control at halfway, and bingo—the GP sound lab was bathed in badass Brit raunch with a biting three- dimensional treble response, snarling midrange, and a taut bottom end. As I inched up the preamp gain with the Volume control, the milky sustain intensified, yet all of the musical morsels remained. And the range of the amp’s gain is very, very nice, as you can go from more trad Marshall tones—think of Humble Pie’s Rockin’ the Fillmore—to the tactile sizzle of early Van Halen.

The V-Plex’s tones are dynamic as hell, and they respond to your touch wonderfully—even when I slathered on as much distortion as possible. Backing off my guitar’s volume, the V-Plex cleaned up nicely, yielding a string-to-string clarity with just a smidge of hair swirling around each note. Not really pristine enough for, say, Nile Rodgers-style funk, but if you’re into scintillating, harmonically opulent clean-ish textures, you’ll be a happy mofo. The V-Plex’s EQ is much like an old Marshall in that it’s way subtle. But that’s okay, because each of the four inputs massages your guitar’s signal in different ways—from bright and lean to portly and mean—so I was able to fine tune each guitar simply by plugging into a different input. I could also jumper the inputs using a short patch cable to get various tonal combinations.

Where the V-Plex really blew me away, however, was how well it kept all of its tonal godliness at bedroom volumes. By placing the Master Volume control between the phase inverter and power section of the circuit, this half-stack rig will maintain its sustain and low-end booty at nearly whisper volumes. Credit should also be given to Voodoo’s proprietary 4x12 speaker cabinet design that eliminates all right angles in the cab’s interior to prevent standing waves and push out more sound.

With a price tag that lands it squarely in boutique-land, the V-Plex 50MV isn’t cheap. But neither are actual Marshall plexis, which go for nearly twice the V-Plex’s street price. So if you’re searching for that hallowed Brit howl, the V-Plex 50MV will do the trick in spades, and you’ll even be able to play it in your living room!