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AC15 vs AC30: trying to decide

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by TeleBrew, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. TeleBrew

    TeleBrew Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 5, 2007
    Evergreen, Colorado
    So, I have owned an AC15C1 before, as well as an AC10C1, but never an AC30. I play in a band, but for the most part we're just rehearsing and working on songs at present, with gigging possibly happening down the road.

    Anyway, I'd like to hear some pros and cons from people who have used both an AC15 & an AC30. I know AC30s are heavy, but my main amp is a Fender Hot Rod Deville 2X12, so I'm used to lugging around heavy amps.


  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    The AC30 is nearly twice the amp (volume) a HRDv is...

    Great amps. Very loud even with Greenbacks. just be prepared for LOUD
    savofenno, PingGuo, TeleBrew and 2 others like this.

  3. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    Just pick one up used so can resell it without much loss if you don't like it. Might as well give it a try. I personally wouldn't only becasue of the weight. If that wasn't an issue I'd probably own one.
    Paul Jenkin and TeleBrew like this.

  4. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    If you need loud clean sounds at loud gig volume and you don't mike your amps, an AC15 won't do that, an AC30 will. An AC15 will be loud enough for most gigs if you don't ever need loud clean sounds - it's going to be semidirty to dirty at gig volume. An AC30, with two speakers and 4 output tubes, also makes a richer, more complex sound than an AC15. In both cases, the Celestion Blue Alnico is the speaker you want if you want the 'classic' Vox sounds.
    MadJack and TeleBrew like this.

  5. 41144

    41144 Tele-Holic

    Sep 5, 2017
    West Midlands
    The AC30 is one of the iconic amps but, unless you're gigging 300+ venues (without a house PA!) you won't get it past 4 on the TB. channel - Which is where it really starts to "play".
    In terms of a mainly rehearsing situation, unless you have ridiculously loud bass and drums the AC 15 will still not be needed above 5 or 6 at absolute most ... more likely still around 4.
    A lot of this is subjective relative to what sort of music you want to play but, there' an awful lot of "overkill" when it comes to what amp is needed.
    TeleBrew and AAT65 like this.

  6. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    I gig with an AC30 and love it. Good clean, crunch and takes TS and other pedals very well. I sold the Ac15 very quickly, it had a raunch in the mid / upper mid that I really didn't like.

    The ac30 doesn't have that.

    Like most AC's they never tend to sound especially nice out of the mix, what cuts through the mix and sits really nicely in context usually sounds a bit harsh alone.

    I didn't have the ac15 long enough to notice if it did the same, with that graunchy mid maybe they don't? But the Ac4c1-12 I also have and love does the same thing AND incidentally makes a GREAT smaller volume and lighter AC30 alternative.

    The ac30CC models have the best sound to me and a few other AC users here. They run a bit hot (probably why they sound so good :) ) and can go through a rectifier tube a year or so. Also don't use the standby switch on the CC models, it does some weird shorting out thing and is the reason they had a bad reliability reputation to start with.
    toomuch and TeleBrew like this.

  7. ellisvertellis

    ellisvertellis Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2012
    You could consider a head and cab version of the AC30. The newer Vox heads have interesting features, like a built in attenuator, Reverb and tremolo. The weight issue is not so much a dealbreaker that way...
    It's a different sounding amp than the AC15, more detailed and refined IMO, less dense and grainy. Both great amps, so it's up to you and what you like. Both loud, but equally manageable.
    6BQ5, hrstrat57 and TeleBrew like this.

  8. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

    Jan 7, 2011
    Washington, USA
    I have hot rodded versions of both the AC15 and the AC30 . I find the AC15 circuit very nearly as loud as the AC30. It's a frequency response thing. I personally think the AC30 sounds much much better at low volumes than the AC15 does. The AC15 is a pretty meh sounding amp, imo, until you crank it, then it is a whole different ball game......a very loud ball game too. In my opinion, the AC30 is a much more versatile amp than the AC15. Try them both through a closed back 4x12 with greenbacks and you may never play them through another alnico blue.........
    telefan62, toomuch and TeleBrew like this.

  9. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    Also, I did a side by side comparison with the Vox Wharfedale speakers and the Alnico Blue...the only difference was easily rectified by a slight tone adjustment on the dial of the wharfedale amp and they sounded exactly the same. Because it was worth so much more I sold on the Alnico Blue combo I had and was more than happy retaining the Wharfedale.

    The common consensus is the Blue is the only one to go for but many of us who have tried both, are happy with the Wharfedale. In fact I see a bit of a underground movement on these speakers.
    savofenno and TeleBrew like this.

  10. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    I am pround you have a strong back and that weight will never be a. factor.
    I think we had all said that, but, bygones.
    Grew up carrying a VT 22, 80 some odd lbs
    Weight for value, the 30 would be the pick.
    The 15 is awsome, but at 3 lbs a watt, just seems like not a very good gig value. If it stayed home....on the other hand.
    There are better lighter options than Vox, for vox tone, but cost much more.
    TeleBrew likes this.

  11. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Somebody told me that they actually sound good miked at low volumes, that it kind of breaks the "classic tube amps only sound great at high volumes" rule thing.
    TeleBrew likes this.

  12. AbisFjord

    AbisFjord Tele-Meister

    Dec 21, 2017
    AC30 is SO loud. I'm the proud owner of an AC15C1, and there are lots of mod options. Example, change out the tone stack to a more treble-based one and put a Blues Jr. verb tank for more slappy verb. Worked for me!
    Maradona86, 41144 and TeleBrew like this.

  13. TeleBrew

    TeleBrew Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 5, 2007
    Evergreen, Colorado
    Thanks for all the responses, folks. Does anyone know if you can use an ABY pedal to switch between the channels on the fly? I've heard you can with an AC15. Thanks!

  14. AbisFjord

    AbisFjord Tele-Meister

    Dec 21, 2017
    Edit: Yes. You can do this.
    TeleBrew likes this.

  15. heltershelton

    heltershelton Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 14, 2016
    not houston
    there is a half power switch on the back of the ac30cc. well, not really half. it cuts the power from 33 watts down to 22. its still very loud though.
    TeleBrew likes this.

  16. Lenderman_k

    Lenderman_k Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    Mar 16, 2011
    Paoli, IN
    Try the AC15c2 (2x12) for something a little different. Not quite as loud as the AC30 but also not quite as heavy. Also has the bigger reverb tank out of the AC30.
    41144 and TeleBrew like this.

  17. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Mar 21, 2011
    They both sound great.
    The AC30 is really loud and heavy.
    The AC15 is somewhat loud and heavy.
    When I tour I ask for an AC15. If I get an AC30 it sounds great too, but I don't get as rich a clean sound at the volumes I play at these days.
    TeleBrew likes this.

  18. toomuch

    toomuch Tele-Meister

    Mar 22, 2017
    I’ve mentioned this in a previous thread, but the two side handles on my AC30C2 I think actually make it easier to carry up/down a flight of stairs than some lighter amps that only have one. I had a Hod Rod Deluxe that was more a pain to carry IMHO. A small dolly and a band mate also help, haha.

    When initially shopping I also tried an AC15C1...which is a great amp...but I wanted the headroom of the 30. I should mention my band mate plays a 100w Marshall, so I wanted to make sure I could keep up o_O.

    Surprisingly, I think it gets very usable tones at low volumes as well....nice n’ full/complex sounding too thanks to the large cab and 2x12.
    TeleBrew likes this.

  19. TeleBrew

    TeleBrew Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 5, 2007
    Evergreen, Colorado
    I gave this a lot of thought, and I am going to get the AC15c2. Now I'm just waiting on a seller on Reverb to accept, counter, reject, or ignore my offer.
    asnarski, 41144 and Maradona86 like this.

  20. TeleBrew

    TeleBrew Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 5, 2007
    Evergreen, Colorado
    The seller on Reverb didn't respond, so after my offer expired I pulled the trigger on a used one from a Guitar Center in NJ for $579, which seemed like a great deal to me. So a bit over $600, shipped. Can't wait!
    teletimetx and 41144 like this.

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