Hands-On Review:VOX JamVOX Software/Hardware System
Plug in to your favorite band!
By Mike Bradley
VOX Amplification Product Manager
Close your eyes and imagine you’re center-stage with your favorite band. Your tone is dialed in, the crowd is screaming, and the lights are about to go up. It’s the kind of rush we’ve all dreamed of as players; and it’s a dream that likely got us into music in the first place. Until now, that experience has been reserved for the few artists lucky enough to make it onto the big stages. For the rest of us, it can be hard enough just to get a jam session together. Enter JamVOX—an integrated monitor and software system that removes the guitar or vocal from any MP3 and plugs you into the mix of your favorite bands. Now you can jam with any of your favorite MP3s in the comfort of your own bedroom or studio, and take the lead. You can even record your own performances for rock-and-roll posterity!
What is JamVOX?
JamVOX is comprised of two components. The first is the JamVOX software—a collaboration between VOX Research and Development and KORG software engineers. Developed for PC and Mac, the JamVOX software is a music player, practice suite, metronome, phrase trainer/looper, and amp and effect modeling package that makes getting great tone as easy as clicking a mouse. JamVOX is loaded with spot-on re-creations of 19 vintage and modern amps plus 54 classic effects. There’s even a virtual KORG tuner included to keep you perfectly in tune. Just drag and drop your favorite amps and effects and your tone will change in real time. Once you’ve nailed your tone, name it and save it. It’s that easy. You can even email your favorite sounds to your friends. It’s like having a truckload of great gear literally at your fingertips. JamVOX is also loaded with over 100 great presets to get you started. There’s even a library of famous artist presets so you can play virtual re-creations of your favorite guitarists’ rigs.
The JamVOX software is also home to arguably the coolest feature in JamVOX—Guitar Xtracktion Technology (GXT). This is a totally new technology developed by KORG engineers that allows you to remove the guitar or vocal from any MP3 or audio file and record your own part in place of it, all the while keeping the mix intact and in stereo! You can import MP3s or other audio files from any CD, your personal computer, or even the non-DRM (copy protected) tracks in your iTunes library. JamVOX also lets you import and record your own performances in AAC (Mac only), WMA (PC only), WAV, or AIFF formats. Your CD or MP3 collection is now your on-call backup band.
The second component is the USB-powered monitor speaker system and guitar interface. This hardware gives you everything you need to get a guitar or vocal into your PC or Mac. The front panel includes a 1/4" input, XLR input with level control, output level control, a monitor level control, and a 1/4" headphone output for jamming in total privacy. The back panel is equipped with a USB audio out, L/R line output to take JamVOX big-time into a PA system or mixer, L/R line input, plus footswitch and expression pedal inputs for total expressive control of JamVOX’s amp and effects models. Best of all, it sounds great. The JamVOX monitor is loaded with two 3" full-range speakers and bass reflex ports for incredible tone out of a very portable package.
GXT: the magic behind JamVOX
The music player in the JamVOX software features KORG’s newly developed GXT (Guitar XTracktion) technology. This allows the guitar or vocal part of an existing song to be reduced or extracted—a capability that might just change the way guitarists of all levels and styles practice, play, and jam. With GXT, you can replace the guitarist (or vocalist) in your favorite band and play or sing the guitar part yourself! You can also record your performance along with the original song simply by pressing the Record button.
GXT also works in “reverse.” The Extract button will isolate or “solo” the guitar or vocal and reduce the band. You can then use JamVOX’s tempo control to slow down difficult passages without changing the pitch. If you play in a cover band or you’re just trying to learn a difficult lick, this is a lifesaver.
JamVOX comes with several GXT presets right out of the box. If a guitar part is panned hard right, there’s a preset for that. If you’re targeting the vocal part, we’ve got that covered too. And if you want to “get under the hood” and surgically tweak your favorite MP3s with GXT, you can do that too. Best of all, once you’ve got your backing track sounding perfect, you can save your GXT preset for instant recall next time you want to jam.
What else is in the box?
Everything you need to get instant rock star tone and jam along with your favorite MP3s is included with JamVOX. You get the JamVOX software (which runs on Windows Vista, XP SP2 or later, and Mac OS X 10.4 or later), plus the hardware monitor/guitar interface, and the required USB cable. We’ve also included two Hal Leonard-licensed audio CDs with backing tracks of 28 famous rock songs performed by studio pros. Best of all, JamVOX sets up in about 5-10 minutes. It’s really simple. Best of all, you don’t need a PhD in computer science to get set up and be rocking out in minutes.