Updated Jun. 20, 2022

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the best Vox-Style pedals and Vox-in-a-Box overdrives! If you are interested in pedals inspired by other classic amps, you may want to check out our articles about the best Plexi-Style pedals, Dumble-style drives, and Fender-in-a-box pedals. Coverage of similar stompboxes can be found in our overdrive category.

Best Vox-Style Pedals & Vox-In-a-Box Overdrives

What’s the “Vox Sound”?

The iconic sound of the Vox AC30 combo amp is inseparable from Rock n’ Roll.

Used by countless legendary bands from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Queen to U2 to Radiohead, Vox amps are known for their chimey clarity and tight low-mids, as well as their crisp breakup tones.

Part of the reason for the shiny presence of Vox amps is the “top boost” circuit, a second amp channel with a brilliance control that adds up to 30db of boost at 10khz. The presence of Vox amps is conducive to live band settings in which you need a lead guitar to cut through the mix.

A testament to the popularity of this amp is that, together with its older but less powerful sibling the AC15, it’s been around pretty much unchanged since the late ’50s. The company produced a few more variants (like the AC50 head, and the mysterious UL730), but no other model reached the popularity levels of the AC30.

For a brief history of the Vox AC30 and to get a better idea about what the “Vox sound” is, check out this video by Rhett Shull.

Vox Amps

Best Vox-Style Pedals & Vox-in-a-Box Overdrives

Many pedal builders have tried to replicate the unique tone and breakup of Vox amps in stompbox format – here are the best ones available today.

1. UAFX Ruby Top Boost

$329 | Click title for video. Buy it new on Sweetwater or Thomann or Amazon, look for deals on eBay or Reverb.

A fully-featured, stereo, authentic emulation of a Vox AC30, with three speaker options, three channels (Normal, Brilliant and Vibrato) and three amp versions — stock and two common modifications — that capture the sparkling cleans and rich overdrive of the popular British amp. Mic, cab, and Dynamic Room Modeling technology allow for tone fine-tuning. Through a special special “4-cable” mode, it can add two additional channels to your amp. A Bluetooth app allows for preset storage and extra functionality.

2. Aclam Dr. Robert
Aclam Dr Robert

$329 | Click title for video. Buy it new on Thomann or Amazon, look for deals on eBay or Reverb.

Unlike the other pedals on this list, the Aclam Dr. Robert is based on the Vox UL730, an ultra-rare hybrid solid-state / tube amp that the Beatles used extensively on the recording of Revolver. With a midrange control that interacts with the other knobs (Gain, and Volume) for contouring your base tone, this is not your average gain pedal. The Mach Schau! (Make a Show) boost switch kicks things into spitty amp saturation. Does a very convincing job at capturing those chimey, cutting Beatles tones.

3. Menatone Top Boost in a Can
Menatone Top Boost in a Can

$239 | Click title for video. Buy it on eBay or Reverb.

Regarded by many as the gold standard of Vox style pedals, Brian Mena’s TBIAC is a replica of the entire Vox AC30 circuit, complete with the tone stack. It also includes a sag control for amp-like compression and an independently switchable boost circuit into the front end. There are all sorts of different versions of this pedal, including ones with larger and horizontal cases.

4. Joyo AC Tone
Joyo AC Tone

$39 | Click title for video. Buy it new on Amazon, look for deals on eBay or Reverb.

A well-regarded and insanely affordable take on the Vox-style drive, the AC tone can be used as a normal drive / EQ pedal or as an amp sim at the end of your pedal chain into a PA or direct into your audio interface. A 3 band EQ as well as a voice control allows for lots of tonal possibilities.

5. Mooer Day Tripper
Mooer Day Tripper

$97 | Click title for video. Buy it new on Amazon or Thomann, look for deals on eBay or Reverb.

The Vox-style pedal of the Mooer mini preamp lineup includes a 3-band EQ, volume and gain controls, and a switchable cab sim that can be run directly into your recording interface or a PA. It also has 2 channels with different gain levels, which can be switched between via the main footswitch in secondary operation.

6. Catalinbread CB30
Catalinbread CB30

$169 | Click title for video. Buy it new on Sweetwater or Amazon, look for deals on eBay or Reverb.

Based on the classic AC30, Catalinbread included interactive treble and bass controls that scoop the mids as they’re turned up. The gain range goes from clean to edge of breakup to full on amp overdrive. Takes boost pedals very well, and can be run at 9 or 18 volts for more headroom.

7. Pettyjohn Chime MkII
pettyjohn chime mkii

$250+ | Click title for video. Buy it on eBay or Reverb.

Currently only building pedals on a limited basis due to supply chain shortages, it is worth noting Pettyjohn’s Chime Vox-style overdrive (see also the limited edition Royal variant). This is not meant to only be an amp-in-a-box style pedal, but rather a versatile low to mid-gain overdrive with premium components and extended tweakability. Features include parallel blending between Germanium / LED clipping, a pre-gain boost control, a high pass filter ranging from 30 to 700hz, and a musical tilt EQ.

8. Vox Mystic Edge

$179 | Click title for video. Buy it new on Sweetwater or Thomann, look for deals on eBay or Reverb.

Attempts to recreate the AC30 sound in a pedal using Vox’s own Nutube technology. Has 3 modes: Standard for normal pedal-chain usage, Preamp for line-level devices like keyboards, and cab sim for DI recording or ampless playing. Includes a bright switch for the iconic top boost and an OLED screen that displays what’s happening to your signal in real-time.

9. Carl Martin AC Tone

$169-221 | Click title for video. Buy it on Reverb.

A simple 3-knob setup that belies versatile Vox style tones. Imparts that unmistakable Vox clarity and chime into your rig. The Cut knob is a low pass filter that can dial back the potential for ice-pickiness. There’s also a massive but legendary double version of it, with tons more features: the Dual Channel AC-Tone.

10. Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive MOD

vre

A simple 3-knob setup that belies versatile Vox style tones. Imparts that unmistakable Vox clarity and chime into your rig. The Cut knob is a low pass filter that can dial back the potential for ice-pickiness. There’s also a massive but legendary double version of it, with tons more features: the Dual Channel AC-Tone.

11. Catalinbread Galileo MKII

$169 | Click title for video. Buy it new on Sweetwater or Thomann, look for deals on eBay or Reverb.

A “Queen in a box” pedal replicating Brian May’s famous signal chain of always-on treble booster into Vox AC30. Touch responsive and clear-sounding, with a fuzzy edge that is the hallmark of Brian May’s stacked guitar lines.

12. Skreddy Rubber Soul

$208 | Click title for video. Buy it on Reverb.

Based on a small Vox combo amp (probably the AC15), the Rubber Soul combines the tones of the Vox normal channel and the bright channel as if you were jumpered from one to the other. A 3 band EQ allows for plenty of tonal tweaking and an optical compressor circuit (Sag control) is placed after the gain stage for amp-style compression.

13. Westminster Effects Geneva V2

$219 | Click title for video. Buy it on eBay or Reverb.

It replicates the sound of a classic Vox AC30 amp, including cab emulation, which can be turned on and off through a toggle switch. It offers both a 1/4 and an XLR output, great for recording direct or stereo configurations. The five knobs allow for a wide range of tones, with three EQ knobs (Bass, Treble and Top Boost, which adds presence) and two gain stages.

14. Thermion Breakthru

$209 | Click title for video. Buy it on Reverb.

A two-channel overdrive pedal modeled after Vox amps throughout the years. Comes with a two-band EQ, high-end cut, gain knobs for each channel, and a vintage/modern/preamp switch. Vintage for classic 60s tones, modern for more gain, and preamp for running direct into a cab sim or power amp.

15. Tone City Black Tea

$49 | Click title for video. Buy it on eBay or Reverb.

An affordable 3-knob clone of the Carl Martin AC tone. While lacking the high grade components that Carl Martin chooses, the Tone City seeks to makeup for it in price.

16. Kingsley Squire

$290 | Click title for video. Check for availability on eBay or Reverb.

From boutique tube pedal builder Kingsley comes the Squire, a versatile preamp pedal. The Squire has enough output to run directly into a power amp, into a cab sim for direct recording, or as a boost into the front end of an amp. The Top Boost model is designed after the classic Vox top boost circuit from the 60s.

17. Bearfoot FX Copper Topper (previously Emerald Green)

$179 | Click title for video. Buy it on eBay or Reverb.

It has similarities to Beatfoot FX’s beloved Honey Bee pedal, but voiced to capture low to mid-gain Vox overdrive tones. Once the drive is cranked up past noon, the pedal starts to compress and sag like an amp would. See also the Emerald Green Distortion Machine, a high gain version of the same tones.

15. Tone City Model V

$79 | Click title for video. Buy it on eBay or Reverb.

A larger foundation style pedal with two gain stages and a ton of drive on tap. Switchable between AC15 and AC30 modes, with separate gain controls for each. A boost can be engaged into the front of the pedal as well.

Good but Discontinued Vox-Style Pedals

Relevant Videos about the Vox sound

Fender vs Vox vs Marshall, What’s the Difference? (Reverb.com)

Vox AC10 vs AC15 vs AC30 (The Tone King)