The Vox Night Train was one of the most popular of the recent trend towards smaller, so-called lunchbox amps. These fifteen-watt all-tube amps were affordable, portable, and full of rich Vox chime. The Night Train has been on the scene for about five years, if my math is correct—and Vox finally made a round of updates to this flagship lunchbox amp, producing the G2 series Night Train, including a 15w head, 50w head, two cabinet configurations, and a 1x12 combo version of the amp. Having owned a Night Train and Night Train 50, I was eager to take the combo for a spin and see how it holds up to the original. The new version adds a couple tonal tweaks and pushes the capability of this back-friendly amp into new territory.
The Night Train G2 has two channels (Bright/Girth) that cover a lot of ground. The Bright channel is your bread&butter Vox chime and the Girth channel brings a ton of extra gain perfect for your stadium sized rock anthems. There’s also a “thick switch” that lets you toss some extra gain on the bright channel to boost things a bit.
While not exactly AC30ish in tone (or even AC15ish), the NT15C1 still captures the feel and sound of Vox in a very, very portable package—creating a ton of crunch on the Bright channel and offering a much gainier Girth channel that sounds nothing like your Vox of yore. The Celestion Greenback is the perfect speaker to push out that British sound.
Playing at home at what we’ll call “bedroom levels,” I loved this amp at all spots on the dial. However, when I took it in to a band situation, I had a hard time getting clean headroom and wound up getting some unavoidable overdrive out of it. While testing it, I used a ’69 Thinline Tele with a Duncan Little ’59 in the bridge and my trusty Jagmaster (whose stock neck pickup is my favorite pickup in the world and is complemented by an L500XL in the bridge). The L500XL was a perfect match for the Girth channel, giving me a ton of suuuuuper heavy rock action—I wouldn’t call it metal but one would be forgiven for mistaking it as such! The Tele was a lot more nuanced when paired with the Night Train; my Little ’59 is split so I can run it as a humbucker or a single coil—running the Tele with singles, I got great warm tone with just the right amount of crunch. Switching the ’59 to humbucker brought out the perfect Vox crunch with just the right amount of chime.
WHAT WE LIKE
You can’t get a bad tone out of this amp, though certainly some spots are sweeter than others – your tonal mileage may vary. The aesthetics of the G2 line are great—simple, clean lines in black with cream appointments and a suitcase style handle. It’s super portable and lightweight; putting the Night Train 15 into a combo is a great call and will lighten your load when you’re lugging gear around. Plus, the reverb in the Night Train is fantastic. The digital reverb designed exclusively by VOX for this series has been added to all models for road-ready reliability and studio-quality reverb sounds.
The NT15C1 didn’t quite have the headroom I wanted when used in a band scenario; in order to get the volume I needed, I was forced to accept some overdrive in the tone (the overdrive tone was killer, though, so there’s that!). Price is also a little on the steep side.
Classic Vox chime on one channel, full on dirt on the second channel.
Cabinet looks great and appears to be made solidly.
At $699, it’s a little steep for a 15w amp (you can grab one of their competitor’s 40w combos for $20 more) but not unreasonable—and the tone is fantastic.