Reviewed: Vox Starstream Type 1

Yamaha Australia | au.yamaha.com | Expect To Pay: $1299

“The ultimate instrument for players looking to redefine the electric guitar” reads some of Vox’s press regarding the Starstream Type-1. There have been a number of companies that have had a swing at straying from the traditional electric guitar sound and shape with varying degrees of success. Vox, under its umbrella with Line 6 and Yamaha, has been on the money with recent releases, so I’m intrigued to see and hear the Starstream Type-1 in action.

Taking the Type-1 out of its gig bag, I’m greeted by a retro-style headstock that looks like it would be at home in a ‘60s or ‘70s rock band. The neck and tuners look very much standard electric guitar fare, but pan down to the body and you get some more spacey vibes. A central wood body is outlined by a type of frame that looks guitar-like, but with hints of modern architecture. On board there are two typical looking control pots, a switch, two humbuckers and a fairly standard looking bridge. At the rear of the bridge, you’ll see two controls, some buttons and a headphone jack.

  

 

Tuning, plugging in and playing are all typical electric guitar fare. It’s when you’re dialling into the onboard sounds that things warm up. A rotary knob allows selection of settings such as Acoustic, 12 String, Special, Unique, Modern and User. Each of these settings then has three variations, and of course there’s the ability to store some user presets. A flick through the settings highlights the Starstream’s quick response and tracking times with chords and single notes. The acoustic sounds are snappy, the synth and sustain guitars are cool for adding flavour, and the Sitar and Resonator sounds are more than usable. You then have the option of adding effects – Drive typically for the electric sounds and Reverb for the more acoustic tones. From there you have a Volume and Tone knob to control your sound.

  

Yes, it is somewhat of a bold offering from Vox; however, the fact that it plays like a standard electric guitar and still somewhat resembles a double cutaway means it’s not a completely foreign instrument, and perhaps not as crazy as it first seems. It’s still accessible to guitarists of all levels, has a headphone out for silent playing/practising, and is flexible enough to use live or in the studio. For my thinking, the Type-1 is a great starting point for those wanting to explore the multi-sound idea without delving super deep into the synth/MIDI pickup and editing world.

Hits and Misses

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Plays like a standard electric guitar

Layout is easy to navigate

Usable sounds

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Deeper editing and connectivity capabilities could be looked at in the future models

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