Hands-On Review:Behringer V-AMPIRE LX112 Combo Amp

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Blood Brother

Guitar World - Behringer V-AMPIRE LX112 Combo Amp

By Dave Hunter


Blood Brother: Guitar World - Behringer V-AMPIRE LX112 Combo Amp Germany's Behringer made its mark a few years ago manufacturing affordable studio processors. Now the company is making its bid to enter the digital amp market, where Line 6 and its ilk have scored so many successes, with a new range of low-priced products. While the modeling amp genre has lost some of the shock factor it possessed just a few years ago, the downward-spiraling prices of these tone emulators are giving players a new reason to shake their heads in disbelief.


In 2001, Behringer dipped its toe into the amplification waters with the V-Amp amp simulator and effect processor. The company's V-ampire Series marries this digital technology to a range of solid-state combos and heads to let you bring V-Amp-style power to the stage.


The V-Ampire LX-112 is a 1x12-inch combo\ rated at 60 watts mono and 120 watts (2 x 60 watts) stereo using an optional extension speaker. The digital front end has 32 amp and 15 cab simulations, 16 groups of effects and combinations plus aa reverb that is always available, five output configurations for studio and live operation, and 125 editable presets divided into 25 banks of five (more can be downloaded from behringer.com). Other features include stereo XLR DI outs with Behringer's Ultra-G speaker simulation, MIDI, pre- DSP inserts, stereo aux inputs, analog line outs and a two-button up/ down footswitch. The V-Ampire's front panel is invitingly simple. Digital rotary controls govern gain, volume, bass, mid, treble, amp selection, effects selection, reverb and master volume.


Editing parameters, patch selections and other "deep" functions are selected via push buttons and viewed on an LED. There's more going on behind the front panel than can be covered in the space of a review. Suffice to say, accessing and editing presets are simple affairs.


Given the amp's price, compromises are expected, and construction is the first place you'll find them. The LX-112 looks solid enough, and the 12-inch Jensen speaker is a plus, but this kind of construction is not intended to survive the rigors of touring. However, the amp should hold up well enough for home use, practice and the occasional bar gig.


I had the most fun with the highgain Savage Beast (an Engl amp simulation) and Rectified Head (Mesa/Boogie) amp models. The latter is great for chewy, hot contemporary rock leads, and it really drips with saturated distortion. Oddly, the volume level of both models dropped considerably when effects were added. Overall volume levels—with or without effects—were slightly less than the 60-watt mono/120-watt stereo specs, but the combo should still cut it in a small room.


The Custom Class A setting yielded toothsome, crunchy blues tones, though none of the amp sims exhibited the definition or richness of a top-shelf modeler—or, certainly, a good tube amp. At this price, you can hardly complain, and many players will find the V-Ampire fun and functional. The effects are largely very good, in the budget multi-effects sense, and provide the full range of enticing swirls, twirls, bounces and echoes.


The Bottom Line
The V-Ampire range brings the excitement and versatility of digital amp simulations to the weekend gigger and jammer at entry-level pricing. Even the pros seem convinced by its features: the internationally aired radio program Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour has chosen the LX-112 as its official electric guitar amp. All things considered, the V-Ampire has the features and price to seduce its share of new digital converts.


LIST PRICE: $369.99

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