Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal Review

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Today, the guitar pedal market is flooded with overloads, and there is no shortage of preamp devices that also claim to emulate certain amplifiers, but for their new line of pedals, Valvenergy Vox has changed the recipe. This series of compact overdrives mimics the tonal characteristics of certain types of amplifiers and has switchable modes that allow them to be used in one of three ways: as drive pedals, as preamps connected to a power amplifier/return loop, or as DI solutions complete with speaker emulation.

Vox has been working with a new type of tube technology called Nutube. This has been introduced in some of their most recent amplifiers and now their new line of Valvenergy pedals. The Cutting Edge is their metal monster and is loaded with features not seen before. Now the ability to put together a multi-channel Vox amp has never been easier.

Key Features: Announced back in October of last year, the Valvenergy effects pedal range sees Vox set out to redefine what players expect from an overdrive unit, fusing a NuTube into the signal path and providing options for it to function as both a DI with speaker cab sim and a versatile line preamp.

The launch marks a sophisticated step forward for the long-standing British amp wizards, with four different pedals – the Copperhead Drive, Mystic Edge, Cutting Edge and Silk Drive – offering unique circuit emulations and a fancy OLED display that’s even complete with an oscilloscope.

The NuTube, a miniature valve contraption developed and primarily used by Korg, is a futuristic take on a 12Ax7 valve that outputs a warmth comparable to that of a vintage guitar amplifier, despite being 30% smaller and using less than 2% of the power required to run a typical tube. This correlates with the oscilloscopic OLED display atop of each unit, which provides a visual waveform depiction of your signal and makes for one hell of a fun time in action.

Each pedal in the Valvenergy range bears its own distinctive sonic flavour, and it’s clear that Vox have aimed to please all parties with their curations. The Copperhead Drive resembles the thick dynamics of a cranked Marshall stack, while the Silk Drive replicates a slightly-less-crunchy amplifier from a renowned boutique American brand.

Meanwhile, the Cutting Edge offers full-bore gain tones reminiscent of a Mesa-Boogie, and finally, the Mystic Edge sees Vox pay tribute to the top-heavy jangle of their most important contribution to music to date: the AC30.

All pedals feature controls for Volume, Gain and a three-band EQ (the Mystic Edge, however, substitutes the mid-range in favour the AC30’s classic Tone Cut dial), with all pedals except the Cutting Edge also boasting a Bright toggle-switch.

Going the extra mile, the Valvenergy pedal range can also be entirely linked via an array of 3.5mm TRS cables, which allow the user to create sophisticated bypass and activation networks between each pedal.

Additionally, a switch on the top of each pedal alternates between Standard, Preamp and Cab modes, with Preamp mode facilitating for those players who like to toy with line-level instruments or other preamps, and Cab mode catering for those looking to plug in and go DI.

All pedals are powered by a 9v DC port located alongside the top-mounted jacks and are sturdily clad in sleek, brushed steel enclosures, each one even bearing its own unique colour scheme.

Mixdown Says: The tantalising prospect of the Valvenergy’s feature set certainly doesn’t disappoint in operation. These four pedals could prove to lay the blueprint of what an overdrive ought to be: they’re wonderfully versatile, cater for a diverse range of players (and not just guitarists) and are priced at a point that simply ticks all the boxes necessary for them to succeed.

Every pedal in the series provides an authentic emulation of their original inspirations and are capable of producing a myriad of tones, while the NuTube is sure to warm up any other synth, keyboard or line source you feed it while in Preamp mode.

The Mystic Edge is particularly tasty for jangly leads and crunchy rhythms and the Silk Drive proves to be rather impressive for scooped blues and fusion, whereas the Cutting Edge and Copperhead such each satisfy your inner riff-pig.

It’s been reported that the Cab Sim section of the pedal seems to have irked some users in the past, but in action, we felt reasonably happy with how they sounded when recorded DI, and if there were any sounds that felt a little spiky, it wasn’t anything a few subtle EQ tweaks inside a DAW couldn’t fix.

Overall: A big step into a new niche for Vox, and one that has definitely got the potential to bear fruit for the amplifier icons. These devices are brilliantly designed and priced quite accordingly for the average multi-instrumentalist, and the NuTube technology really puts them in a class of their own.

External Hardware

The cutting edge by Vox is a well made distortion with a metal chassis size of 4.72″ Deep, 2.83″ Wide and 2.17″ High. Its a pretty standard looking pedal with a screen printed text scheme and layout. Until you look closer and notice the OLED screen in the middle!

The screen is a built in oscilloscope that shows you the guitar signal and how the EQ changes affect your sound. The knobs are a standard plastic knob you normally find on pedals of this type but they feel good when turned.

The foot switch when pressed feels rigid and of good quality. On the front of the stomp you will find a switch to allow you to select between the different output types available. There is also a link jack that allows you to connect more Vox pedals together.

The jacks for your guitar signal are side mount but are smooth when used.

Vox Cutting Edge Controls

The control scheme is similar to most metal pedals but are pretty responsive. The EQ is active and so your ability to sculpt tone is pretty wide. The device features a tight control that works good to tighten your tone as you turn it up.

The ability to connect Vox pedals together is a nice feature and the control is slick! When you engage one, another turns off. The unit also features a switch that allows you to set your output. It can be used as a regular stomp, a preamp or an amp in a box when using the cab sim.

Im not too sure about the oscilloscope or the screen though to be honest, i did not find it helpful when tone chasing. I prefer to use my ear to dial in tone and not an oscilloscope. The cutting edge could probably have done without it.

Cab Simulation

The Vox Cutting Edge is equipped with the ability to run a cab simulation to use the device as a direct amp in a box. You can select this option from the mode switch on the front of the pedal.

It is a completely analog cab sim and doesn’t sound too bad.

The 4 Valvenergy Vox pedals each accept a 1/8″ connector to allow them to be connected together. This ability will allow you to control them like amplifier channels. When one is turned on, another may be turned off. This is a pretty neat feature especially if you run more than one Valvenergy for different tones.

Input Voltage

The Cutting Edge can be powered with either a battery or a 9 volt adapter. However the adapter must be purchased separately and must be capable of 95 mA. When powering the unit from a battery, keep in mind that you will only get a maximum of 2 hours of use before the battery is exhausted.

Buffered Bypass

The device is not a true bypass but buffers the output signal when the pedal is turned off. I did not feel that the unit colored the sound in anyway when turned off.

The oscilloscope continues to show a reading even when the device is turned off and so this must be why they chose to buffer the signal output.

Cutting Edge Sound

The Cutting Edge is the Vox metal sound and does pretty darn good. The saturation is pretty smooth when dialed in right, and the controls are pretty wide and responsive. I would say Mesa Rectifier tone was the aim here.

The gain content in the pedal is structured pretty well. I am very familiar with tube saturation but i have to admit its hard to tell if Nutube clipping is similar to a conventional vacuum tube.

Never the less, the sound of the unit is great and the ability to tighten it up with the tight control is a nice feature. The active EQ is good for boosting or cutting out the frequencies you need to dial in your tone. It can get pretty hairy but there are sweet spots to be had for sure.

The distortion sound has a pretty good mid gain saturation that was fun to play and leads were pretty fluid like and clear. 

Driving Range

The whole signal path is analogue and in bypass mode the pedal output is buffered, to side?step the issue of tone loss in complicated pedalboard layouts or when driving long cables. Battery power is possible but these pedals also have a standard 9V input socket and consume 95mA. As with many current Vox guitar products, each one of these pedals employs a Nutube valve in the signal path. These miniature triode valves were developed by Korg Corporation in conjunction with Noritake Itron Corporation, and are a spin?off from vacuum fluorescent display technology. Here, they’re used to accurately convey the response and harmonic distortion of a valve amplifier.

The pedals can operate in one of three modes. The Pre mode is intended for patching into an amp’s effect loop return, while Cab applies a cabinet/speaker emulation to the output. In the middle of the top panel of each pedal, a small display shows the current mode setting whenever the pedal is activated; the mode is selected via a rear?panel slide switch. After a very brief interval, the screen switches to an oscilloscope view, displaying the waveform of the pedal’s output. This can be disabled if you find it distracting but I thought it was rather cute! A red strip along the top of the display shows when the pedal is active, and when you hit the footswitch to bypass the pedal the display indicates Bypass for half a second or so.

Another novel feature is the provision of a 3.5mm Link TRS jack on the rear panel. The idea is that you can link multiple Valvenergy pedals, such that you can switch between them with a single stomp: whenever one is activated, the others are automatically bypassed. (If you need to link more than one extra pedal, a splitter cable is required.)

Although all four of the pedals have similar control layouts, they’re not identical. For example, rather than offer just drive, volume and tone, the Mystic Edge, of which more later, actually has a more comprehensive EQ section than the Vox AC30 amp that it sets out to emulate, with separate Bass and Treble controls plus a Tone Cut knob that interacts with the treble control to shave off the high end. The layout for the other pedals in the series sees the Tone Cut knob replaced by a mid EQ control. In the case of the Cutting Edge pedal, the Bright switch is replaced by a knob labelled Tight, which is designed to shape the low end, adding depth when it is turned anti?clockwise or slimming out the bass when it’s turned clockwise.

Impressions

First out of the box was the Mystic Edge, which fittingly enough recreates the classic Vox AC30 sound. Its drive range goes from an almost clean jangle to rock, and the Bright switch delivers more edge, rather like an AC30 top boost model. Fed into the clean channel of my Roland Blues Cube amplifier, the result was very convincing, with plenty of drive in hand when needed and a distinctively Vox?like rude edge to the sound. Play a couple of early Kinks riffs and you’ll recognise the sound immediately.

I’m not usually a fan of DI’ing driven guitar sounds, but with these pedals I think I could make an exception.

The Cutting Edge is designed to recreate “high?gain US sounds”, so probably channels more than a little Mesa Boogie spirit, though it also handles cleaner sounds very well, going from a mild crunch to full?on rock, with that extra bite that the originals are famed for. The Copperhead Drive recreates the classic British stack amp tone, which is no doubt based on a vintage Marshall setup, and runs from very lightly overdriven sounds to heavy distortion, delivering that slightly scooped, thick tonality for which the original amps are famed. This really nails the essence of the UK rock guitar sound, but it cleans up pretty nicely too. The Silk Drive aims for a smoother, boutique?style vibe, offering less aggressive drive, a smoother top end and good note definition, making it well?suited for blues and pop styles.

While each pedal has its own character that recalls the spirit of the amplifier after which it is voiced, the four models do have a lot in common, such as the ability to respond well to picking dynamics and to handle higher gain settings without losing note definition; you can go from fairly clean to a rock?out overdrive just by varying your picking strength and/or using your guitar volume control. The Pre mode works well for feeding the pedal into an amplifier’s loop return point, while, should you want to go direct, the Cab mode adds a speaker emulator.

To my ears, the speaker emulation sounded a little thin at the low end, but further adjustment of the EQ controls improved that and it is certainly very usable. By using these pedals in Standard mode and then adding a Celestion IR?based speaker emulation (via a plug?in), I was able to recreate some extremely believable miked amp tones, with a convincing sense of low?end girth. I’m not usually a fan of DI’ing driven guitar sounds, but with these pedals I think I could make an exception. You just need to add a hint of room ambience to complete the illusion. Given their tonal abilities, these pedals are realistically priced and still pleasingly compact. The only real problem is likely to be deciding which one to buy!

Vox VE-CD Valvenergy Copperhead Drive Pedal

In addition to developing traditional tube amps that use conventional vacuum tubes, VOX has also been researching revolutionary guitar amps that use Nutube, the new vacuum tube. Taking advantage of the technology obtained through the development of these amps, we have now developed a line of Nutube pedals. Featuring the sound and feel of a tube amp, this series delivers four classic amp sounds that are indispensable to the music of today. It also offers new channel switching and line-level output features not previously found in pedals.

What is the Nutube?

Nutube is a new vacuum tube that was developed by KORG Corporation in conjunction with Noritake Itron Corporation as an application of vacuum fluorescent display technology. Like a conventional vacuum tube, a Nutube has an anode grid filament structure, and operates as a complete triode tube. It provides the same rich overtones and response that are distinctive of conventional vacuum tubes.

  • Equipped with Nutube, providing vacuum tube sound and response
  • Buffered bypass reduces noise when the effect is turned off
  • Connection mode can be switched according to your use
  • Channel switch function allows operation similar to a multi-channel amp when multiple VALVENERGY series units are connected
  • OLED display provides a visual indication of the sound

Analog circuit design with ample headroom

The VALVENERGY series is made of all analog circuits with the 9V power supply voltage boosted to 15V internally. This allows for greater volume and headroom, and delivers an even more dynamic sound. It’s a circuit design that fully utilizes the potential of the VALVENERGY series.

Three connection modes that you can switch according to your situation

You can switch modes as appropriate for the way in which you’re using the pedal.
STANDARD: The pedal outputs an instrument-level signal. Connect to the input of your guitar amp in the same way as when using a conventional pedal.
PREAMP: The pedal outputs a line-level signal. Connect to the return jack of your amp or to the input of your power amp to then use with a guitar cabinet.
CAB-SIM: The pedal outputs a line-level signal with an analog cabinet simulator. Connect to your mixer or DAW for direct guitar tones.

Equipped with a channel switching function

You can chain two pedals together with a standard 1/8” stereo cable through the CH-SW (channel switch) jack of each pedal. This allows you to turn one pedal on while bypassing the other, using the system as if you were switching between channels of a guitar amp.
By using a split Y-configuration 1/8” stereo cable you can link three pedals.

OLED display provides visual confirmation of the sound

These pedals are equipped with a high-contrast OLED display showing an oscilloscope, a visual indication of how the waveform is affected by the knob settings.

Description & Specs

Iconic amp sounds for your pedalboard. The Copperhead Drive valve distortion pedal offers the powerful crunch of British full stack amps in a compact pedal format, powered by Nutube for warm and responsive amp-like tones.

Inspired by thick and punchy British amp tones, the Copperhead Drive goes beyond the amp-in-a-box category to offer a truly flexible valve distortion pedal. The all-analog signal path and Nutube allow for genuine overdrive and distortion tones with the feel of a real tube amp, while internally boosted voltage gives greater headroom and dynamics. Plus, the OLED display shows an oscilloscope while the pedal is active or bypassed, allowing you to understand exactly how your signal is affected.

Three output modes allow you to use this as a standard pedal, a line-level preamp, and a direct amp-sim using the built-in analog cabinet simulator. Use STANDARD mode with your normal guitar rig to totally transform your amp, or use PREAMP or CAB-SIM mode while recording directly into your audio interface. In each mode, the all-analog design and active EQ allow you to perfectly dial in the sound you need in any situation.

You can chain two VALVENERGY pedals together with a standard 1/8” stereo cable through the LINK jack of each pedal. This allows you to turn one pedal on while bypassing the other, using the system as if you were switching between channels of a guitar amp. By using a split y-configuration 1/8” stereo cable, you can link three pedals.

  • Valve distortion pedal with all-analog signal path
  • Powerful British crunch tones
  • Powered by Nutube
  • Three output modes for use as a pedal or preamp
  • Selectable analog cabinet simulator
  • OLED display with oscilloscope
  • Active EQ to shape your signal

Final Thoughts

The metal sounds are pretty good and the controls do a great job of dialing in some different tones that work for both lead and rhythm. Its a pedal that can cover many bases for sure.

I really like the link ability offered by the Vox line of Valvenergy pedals, this works nice when you run many stomp boxes for dirty sounds. Pressing one button and having all your devices respond is awesome and makes performing easy.

I am not sure how i feel about the OLED screen with oscilloscope, i feel as though this is an addition to the cutting edge that doesn’t really need to be there. I did not utilize it at all for tone shaping. I also feel that if they could have made this pedal a true bypass and ditch the screen that also may have been better served.

But that’s assuming its buffered bypass for that reason which could be wrong in my assumption. All in all, it is a good distortion and when adding more to your string of Vox dirt boxes, this is a strong system to have on your pedal board!

FAQ for Vox Edge Valve Energy Pedal

What is the Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal?

The Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal is a pedal that can help you get the most out of your guitar playing. It’s a great option for those who are looking to improve their playing without having to invest too much money.

The Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal is a great option for those who are looking to improve their playing without having to invest too much money. The pedal provides more control over your playing and can help you create better tones and sound.

What are the benefits of using Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal?

Benefits of using Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal:

  • Improves your guitar playing skills.
  • Reduces the tension in your hands, wrist, and arm muscles.
  • Reduces fatigue and improves stamina.

How does the Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal work?

The Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal for guitar is a pedal that can be used with an electric guitar to provide a boost of energy and power.

The Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal for guitar is designed to help you play better, faster, and more efficiently. The pedal has an adjustable volume control that lets you set the level of boost as needed. It also has a power switch that lets you choose between three different modes: standard, rhythm, and lead.

The Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal for guitar is powered by six AA batteries which last up to 10 hours on average.

How much does the Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal cost?

The Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal for guitar costs $99.99 and is available in the Vox store. It is made of a high-quality steel and aluminum construction with a black rubber grip handle.

The Vox Valve Energy Pedal for guitar is a pedal that provides a range of effects from clean boost to full distortion, with a variety of controls including volume, tone, gain and more.

This pedal is perfect for players looking to add some extra power and tone to their sound without having to spend too much money on pedals or amplifiers.

Does the Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal have a warranty?

The Vox Cutting Edge Valve Energy Pedal for guitar comes with a lifetime warranty, which we are sure you will love!

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