Matrix Amplification VB800 420w Guitar Amp Head

Awesome tone at just 1.8kg! Easily fits in most rucksacks

Written by

Chris James

Built to partner perfectly with their fabled NL12 compact 1x12, the VB800 Guitar Head is built around two words: compact tone. Matrix Amplification have for a long time been behind the scenes building power amps and speaker cabs for Kemper/AxeFX users for some of the biggest artists on the planet. Now they're putting that expertise to use in their own amplifier!


  • Very compact: 30cm x 18.5cm x 8cm (wxdxh)
  • Very lightweight: 1.8kg
  • Very powerful: up to 420w
  • Real valve 12AX7 preamp...
  • ...but with the reliability of a premium solid state power amp

As with all Matrix Amplification products the focus is on great tone, reliability and compact size/lightweight. The VB800 is designed to perfectly emulate the touch dynamic response of a true valve amp but in an enclosure a fraction of the size and weight. Then factor in the reliability of Matrix's famous power amps and you're on to a winning workhorse amp!

The Matrix Amplification VB800 starts off with a pristine clean, reminiscent of a JC-120 before sparkling up with some more glass as you crank the gain (check out the video to see how Alan uses it to replace his heavy Fender Twin). Then you get to one of the real highlights of the VB800 which is a sweet breakup tone perfect for blues and rock (this is the point you'll be convinced there must be soem power valves hiding in there somewhere!). From that point on the sky is the limit, there's a huge amount of gain on tap from barking crunch up to to searing lead with epic sustain! And herein lies another highlight: the VB800 can cover a huge range of styles and sounds, all from a very simple control layout! It all adds up to being the perfect amp for professional cover and function bands that need versatility, limited weight and unbeatable reliability!

International buyers There is an internal voltage switch (easily user accessible) that can switch the amp from 220/240v to 110v so the VB800 can be used anywhere in the world.

Despite keeping the VB800 'no nonsense' Matrix still managed to use an FX loop giving, almost unheard of in such a small amp! This allows you to connect up your favourite FX pedals after the amp distortion.

There's a reason that Matrix have become the favourite brand of Kemper and AxeFX users. It's because when it comes to the crunch there is no other company out there making compact, lightweight amps that don't sacrifice tone and don't take any prisoners when it comes to reliability.

We're actually so impressed with Matrix amps that we're really happy to have them as an Andertons exclusive!


  • The VB800 is not some cheap Chinese-made compromise to fill a market sector in the company's portfolio; it's an impressive little unit that packs quite a punch.
  • The loop is multipurpose, as the Send socket doubles as a DI out and can also be used (with a suitable interface) to record directly into a DAW, We tested this out and were pleased to find a strong, rich tone coming through with plenty of life.
  • It's remarkably light, yet delivers loud and toneful sounds.

You can read the full review on the Guitar & Bass website here.

Here's what Matrix say about the VB800 Guitar Amp Head

The guitar amplifier has been around for years, pretty much every angle has been addressed. Except one. Classic valve tone and feel, without the weight and maintenance of a classic valve head.

Creating great tone from valve pre-amps is nothing new, some are better than others, but it is a well known technology that has stood the test of time.

A few years ago we began to see the rise of modelling amplifiers. Modern electronics that sought to replace that heavy valve head or combo with a digital solution. Of course you still needed a power amplifier to bring the pre-amp signal to a useful level. This is where our GT-FX series power amplifiers stepped in.

If you have not been following the scene, you may not have heard of us, but our amps have been seen gracing the racks of hundreds of well-known guitarists. From Chris Broderick (Megadeath) through to George Pajon (The Black Eyed Peas), Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) to Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) our GT-FX series amps have been seen, and heard, on stages all over the world. Praised for their "tube like feel" and sheer power, they deliver a lot from a lightweight box.

The latest act in the Matrix story is to pair the classic sound of a time-tested tube pre-amp with our power amplifier and power supply technology to deliver classic valve tone in a lightweight reliable package that really delivers. Forget the old stories of hybrid amplifiers that sounded like a bad dream from the 1980s, our range of lightweight valve driven amplifiers is a whole new chapter in the sound of the guitar.

Classic tones, without the classic weight.


  • Number of Channels: 1
  • Pre-Amp section: x2 ECC83/12AX7 valves
  • Tone Controls: Passive (Bass, Mid, High)
  • Power Section: MosFet powered delivering:
  • @ 16 ohms: 150W
  • @ 8 ohms: 300W
  • @ 4 0hms: 420W
  • Dimemsions: 304mm x 185mm x 80mm (wxdxh)
  • 11.8” x 7.09” x 3.15” (wxdxh)
  • Weight: 1.8kg / 4lbs
  • Supply Voltage: 110v/230v +/- 15%
  • Average Supply Current: 5A/2.5A (Full Load 110/240v)
  • Mains Connector: 10A IEC
  • Input Impedance: 1M ohm
  • Effects Send: 3K ohm
  • Effects Return: 10K ohm
  • Effects Send Level: 0v - 1v (0 to +6db)
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