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Old December 1st, 2007, 09:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Deluxe Reverb vs Vox AC15 Help!

I have been playing through a Cube 60 for over a year now and want to finally get a tube amp. I have narrowed it down to the Fender Deluxe Reverb or the Vox AC15 with the help of Cube 60 models and some nice demos on U-tube. I play at home and don't need anything bigger like the Twin or the AC50. A friend of mine who plays and works at a guitar store said the FDR is warmer and basically like 1/2 a twin. I agree. I had a twin 15+ years ago and loved the warm clean classic fender sound. I played the FDR in the store and could tell (although not cranked) it had a lot of the those twin characteristics. The problem is I also love the sound of the VOX AC amps. I play a tele and like both drive and clean tone. I also don't like some of the negative reviews on the FDR related to quality issues. I don't know if they are real or just a few sour apples. Finally, I also played the Hod Rod Series and did not like the dry thin tone (my ears and opinion only). And I don't want to have to mod or go out and buy new speakers the day I bring it home (maybe down the road).Anybody have any advice? I don't want to go any smaller either. 15-25 TUBE watts.

I don't have the $$ for a Dr. Z or anything in that catagory.

Thanks in advance.

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Old December 1st, 2007, 09:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So...don't get the Fender Hot Rod, that's easy.

Quality issues should be about the same with the DRRI and the AC15.

Since you like the sound of both, either will do a fine job, so just flip a coin. Get one or the other...and then the real fun starts.

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Old December 1st, 2007, 10:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Those amps sound VERY different.

If you have the dough, you might look into the AC15 "Heritage" that recently came out. It's hand-wired and real pretty. I played one for a long time in a store, and I liked the variety of tones it could produce.

Another thought: I stumbled into a Vox "Over The Top Boost" pedal for cheap. I was very surprised how much of the Vox vibe it can give to a Fender -- real close to an AC30. So a Deluxe and that pedal could give you the best of both worlds, approximately.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 10:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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They're both good amps. I own the DRRI and I think the build quality complaints are bogus. People say that the wood bracing on the back is flimsy, but then again people b$%ch about heavy amps
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Old December 1st, 2007, 10:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've played both often - for straight up blues, soul and funk I'd go the DRRI, but for more "roots rock", open chordal textures, effects etc I'd go the AC15 IF it has the Celestion Blue in it. Trem nicer on the AC15, verb MUCH nicer on the DRRI. Depends what you want. The DRRI is sweeter, the AC15 has a more "gnarly" attitude. Both more toneful than the HRD.

Be warned - both amps have bright caps which can make them quite OD-pedal unfriendly. Easily modded, but just a heads up.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 11:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Did you try...

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Old December 1st, 2007, 12:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The Vox is much more versatile, IMO. You won't be able to play the FDR at low volumes, and if you do you'll only get one tone- super clean and relatively thin at that volume. The DR will only come into its own if you can crank it a little, and with 22 watts and no master volume, you won't be able to really enjoy it as often if you have other people in the house. With the AC15 you can get both clean and pretty heavy dirt at both bedroom levels and band levels (as long as no one is cranking a Twin or stack). However, with the AC15 there will be a little less clean headroom than the DR in band situations. The tremelo is a very cool addition with the AC15, but as some have said, the reverb is rather tepid. For me it was a no brainer- I picked up an AC15 a few weeks ago and it was my smartest purchase in years.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 01:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If you get the AC15 (you can't go wrong with any version of it, the current Heritage or CC1x or a 90's Korg one or a 60's one) make sure to get the Celestion Blue speaker. It's critical to the normal/proper/classic sound of the amp.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 01:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I went through this same thing a few months ago - and those were my two favorite amps. I ended up with the AC15 but you won't go wrong with either. I think the AC15 is a more versatile amp and I even like the master volume on it and I normally hate master volumes. Still, one day I think I'd like to own a deluxe reverb as well.

I bought the CC1 version with the warfdale but quickly changed it out for a Weber Alnico Blue Dog. With a good speaker and good tubes I think these are fantastic amps. The trem is great on the AC15. The DRRI has better reverb... Vox amps didn't traditionally have reverb and I think they sound better with a bit of delay anyway.

Ideally, I think one should have both amps. Lately I've been doing a lot of playing using my AC15 along side a modified tweed blues junior with a stereo delay between them. It is easily the best sounding and most versatile set-up I've ever played. A producer I've been working with lately has really liked that setup and we've been getting some great tracks done with these 2 amps. I imagine a deluxe reverb with the AC15 would sound even sweeter.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 01:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I loved the basic tone of the AC15, but I found the reverb unusable. It goes from nothing to back-of-the-aircraft-hanger way too quick, and didn't seem to blend with the dry tone. I've heard that switching the tank fixes that. Other than that, a great sounding amp.

DR's are a known goodness.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 01:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm of the opinion you should have both, so get which ever one works best for your needs now and get the other later. If you've ever played through a good Deluxe Reverb and an AC-15 together you'll know what I mean. Yum!

If I were to buy a new DR, I'd change the tubes and speaker, so add that to your budget when you're shopping. The Vox may or may not need better tubes. I've heard that they're using better quality tubes lately. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. And it MUST have the Celestion Blue speaker.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 01:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I've owned both and while I liked them both and eventually sold them both I guess I liked the Vox slightly better. They sound very different and the chime and shimmer from the Vox as just magical. Since it's a subjective sound thing, only you can decide.

I did put better tubes in both amps and a better speaker in the DRRI. The DRRI benefited most from rebiasing as they are biased cold from the factory.

I probably sound like I'm shilling for Fender (I'm not), but I also suggest trying out a new Super Champ XD. If you play at home it might be just the ticket, it's very "princeton-like" and it's pretty cheap. Yet still two 6v6 Tube powered.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 04:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've had the AC15cc the better part of this year and love it. Did the bright cap mod (took longer for the soldering iron to heat up than to actually do the mod,) changed tubes to JJs (affordable, dependable and improved the tone) and swapped out the reverb tank ($30 and a five minutes with a screwdriver.) I think it's a very good amp. The trem is absolutely luscious. Takes pedals well. Mine has the Wharfedale speaker, and although I'm close to swapping it for a Blue, once it's been broken in it's not nearly the pile of crap people make it out to's decent and usable. I love the Fender DRRI, but the Vox is a bit more unique, has a bit more character. It'''s....a VOX.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 10:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks, very helpful. I like the versatility of the vox and really love the tone. I'll hopefully get to play them side by side. I like the ability to play at a lower volume also.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 11:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Funny how most of the recommendations favor one amp, but w/ modifactions, some costing hundreds.

If you are geeked about buying an either $600 or $800 amp and dropping 3 or 4 bills on alnicos, tubes, etc, why not just save up a bit and pick up a used Z? You can get a Maz Jr 210 w/ reverb for around $1100 used (give or take) and it will likely be all the amp you will need. It can get a vox, fender, and marshall sound and has very usuable reverb. I speak from experience. I have had both of the amps you mention in the last couple of years and DID drop a few hundred modding the Vox. It sounded fine honestly,but it really isn't in the same class as a Z.

Just my two cents. Save up and buy what you really want as opposed to buying what you can afford now and wanting something else in a few weeks. You will find yourself much happier/richer in the long run. Trust me on that one....
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Old December 1st, 2007, 11:28 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Check this out: // geName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=003

Yes, you might want to mod it (I plan on putting a 20 watt Greenback in mine), but for $350 plus $100 to put a nice speaker in it, I don't think you'll find a sweeter deal. $450 total for an AC15 and a nice Celestion? I don't think it gets much better than that. Oh, forgot, add $50 for shipping, but it's still an opportunity for a beautiful rig.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 11:32 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Flip a coin and call it on one then just buy the other one later.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 02:10 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Too late. It was up for a couple hours, but I knew it wouldn't last long.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 11:14 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I don't own Vox but I played with a guy who does. He really knows these amps and here is what I learned.

Many of the sounds I grew up listening to were either Fender or Vox. Kind of American vs British.

If you grew up in the 60's you too could make a rough mental check of what you liked and then say that's the one.

I personally was surprized and pleased by the Vox Sound as it was revealed to me by the guy I played with and if were to buy an amp in the future it would be Vox (ish)

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Old December 2nd, 2007, 11:46 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Of the 2 I'd pick the Vox. It seems everybody loves the Deluxe Reverb but me. Granted the only experience I have with them is the reissues and every one I've tried seems really bright and lifeless. Of course this was at low guitar shop volumes so I've never cranked one. On the otherhand I've tried the Vox AC15 and I thought it had a nice full tone to it even at low volumes. As expressed before 2 totally different animals.
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