Talk me out of/into a VOX AC30 (and some dB discussion)

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Polderpatat, May 22, 2019.

  1. bluescube

    bluescube Friend of Leo's

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    I use the AC30S1 at home, sounds great at low volume
     
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  2. Lord_Ingipz

    Lord_Ingipz Tele-Meister

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    Ain't nothing wrong with an ac30, I actually regularly play it with volume around 10 o clock and lower the channel preamp volume. I do occasionally crank it when no ones home and boy oh boy do I fall in love all over again.
     
  3. Festus_Hagen

    Festus_Hagen Tele-Meister

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    I have one. It's never left the house, and I have a bedroom dedicated for my musical "stuff" . I love the sound. Yea, it's freakin' loud, but even not cranked it sounds nice, like my twin. Too much amp for me to utilize it all, but she still shines at medium volume.
     
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  4. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Tele-Afflicted

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    Buy a Mesa Boogie TA-15. The Vox channel is incredible and comp,Evelyn Vox.. especially with a Blue or an Emi Red Fang, which is what I have. 3 power modes...5-15-25 watts. Perfect for home at 5 watts and gigs at 15 or 25. Heck, I cranked it at 5 watts for a blues jam last week and was asked to turn down. It sounds wonderful.
    Bonus: you also get Mesa, BF Fender, And Marshall modes in addition to the Normal Vox And TB modes.
     
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  5. CV Jee Beez

    CV Jee Beez Tele-Holic

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    They sound great. I've had a newer handwired AC30 and a JMI 1964 AC30. Both were great and ultimately got sold. Some great tones in them both. Some legendary in the 64 AC30.

    In the end, too hard on the ears. Brilliant in a loud band setting.

    I wanted an AC30 so much I ended up having to have many iterations of it from V ox and some boutique manufacturers. I loved 'em and was glad to have them but, I've moved on to something that sounds fairly close, is loud enough for most situations and still sounds OK at the lower volumes.

    I think it would be worth it to get an AC30 or several of them and know for yourself.
     
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  6. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    I don't get people who say they are too loud for home use. Of course you aren't going to turn it up to the point of breakup, but they can sound awesome at low volumes. They certainly sound better than any five watt amp I have ever heard (other than ones like vintage Champs of course).

    As a point of reference, I only play at home and my two amps are a Marshall JCM800 2203 and a Fender Twin Reverb. You think AC30s are loud? Try my amps!
     
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  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    My experience is that while some amps have more or less headroom for the 2xel84 or 2x6v6 power section, you basically get that much clean wattage and then turn up and it distorts.

    These discussions get very mixed up because there is more than one way to use wattage.
    How loud an amp is and how clean an amp is are two different things.
    Most who say you can't use a big amp at home are looking for the amp to distort.
    I can play a 50w Marshall clean at home, while my wife is asleep in the next room.

    You may get all the clean volume you need from the 2xel84 power tubes in an AC15.
    Or you may sometimes want clean volume louder than the point where it gets distorted.
    I play above the clean volume of 2xel84 amps all the time, and wish they had more clean headroom.

    There are AC30 type amps that are not combos so take up less space and are easier to carry.
    I have an Orange AD30 and a Dr Z Stang Ray, both 30w heads and both sort of based on the AC30. 4xel84 rather than 2xel84.
    At full volume they are pretty loud, but I've played 100w Marshalls and even used to run a 100w Marshall plus a 45w Super Reverb together.
    Those 30w amps at the top of their clean headroom are just not all that loud IMO.

    These days it's popular to rave about how loud a 15w amp is.
    When I read players say they use an AC15 with a "loud drummer" and the amp stays clean, I think they never met some of the drummers I've considered "loud"!
     
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  8. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    You're clearly gonna do it. So just do it.

    I don't get people who say "it has a volume knob" at all.

    Tube amps do their thing once you turn them up enough to start compressing. Once the speaker is working (okay, SS amps need to do their thing too).

    For the tone in the video you posed, a Roland JC 22 would do great. So would a MicroCube. Or a ZT Lunchbox. No need for a giant, expensive, loud tube amp to get there. The guy has good touch. He uses his fingers, which takes the edge off.

    If a bunch of strangers say something "sounds great" how do you know you agree?
     
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  9. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've wondered about this too. I've never played an AC30 so I could be completely wrong, but I have played an AD30 with a genuinely loud drummer, fully cranked and I could just barely hear it. Can an AC30 really sit with a loud drummer while staying clean (as I have been told on previous threads as well) because that is a huge difference in volumes between those amps?
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    All this seems to be the new amp speak.

    When I bought my AD30 in 2001 it was a smaller amp.

    The whole trend toward small amps has made little 30w amps into what are now considered big amps.
    I sold a 100w Mesa Boogie to a guy who couldn't hear his 50w Marshall silver jubilee half stack on stage. That was 1990 or so.

    Stage volume has certainly been pushed lower, but I don't see an AC30 or AD30 having clean volume equivalent to a loud drummer.
    Really, an AC30 is only what, 3db louder than an AC15?

    My guess is that many players idea of loud has changed, where drummers really can't play loud in terms of how loud a drummer can play, because the guitar player (and sound man) will have a fit and somebody will fire them.

    More realistically we could say that a mature drummer can play at a low enough volume to allow an AC15 at clean volume to be heard onstage.

    We can claim that efficient speakers make a smaller amp as loud as a bigger amp, but my finding that my 2xel84 amps and my 4xel84 amps don't have a lot of clean volume is always with efficient Red Fangs, Celestion Golds or Celestion Blues.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  11. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Holic

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    Yes! I built an AC4 with Top Boost channel and it sounded heavenly through a 12" Weber Alnico Blue Dog. I could actually turn it all the way up and not blow my ears out!

    The AC4C1 needs the C20 bright cap clipped from the master volume! I would love to get a used AC4C1-12, convert it to a handwired circuit and drop in a 12" Ceramic Blue Dog. That would be a killer play at home amp!
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I agree that it doesn't take much of an amp to get the sound on that youtube video.

    But I don't agree that "tube amps do their thing once you turn them up enough to start compressing".

    That's just one of the things tube amps do.
    I think there's a huge hangup on guitar forums with the idea that "you have to crank a tube amp for it to sound good".

    Just a huge myth IMO, and in the opinion of everyone who likes other things tube amps do besides run out of headroom and compress.

    Same with speakers "working".
    If my speakers are being pushed, I need more speakers or a speaker with more power handling!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  13. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi.

    Just to clarify, this is how & what you measured at clean with your current amp, which is not a Vox AC30?

    I'm almost home. It's mid afternoon (no family or neighbour concerns). I have, presumably, the same "Sound Meter" app. Think I'm going to see how loud my wee AC4HW1 goes.

    Oh the great joy that having a mission brings...
     
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  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    For the sake of the OP wanting sparkling cleans, turn your AC4 to a clean sound and see how loud it is. The distorted sound will be a lot louder!
     
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  15. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi.

    Yes, you're right. Got a bit flustered as the train had just stopped at my station as I was finishing typing. Had intended to (and kinda thought I did) add something like, 'except, there will be no cleans.'

    More to come.
     
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  16. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I need to make this a pasteable paragraph. Many here are offering opinins without having used or owned one...Here is my experience. All IMO :)

    Yes very loud! BUT if you can play loudish at home it is almost manageable, if you can't it's too much. I like to run it pretty hot so use an attenuator box which has 2 x 6DB reduction switches. At gigs I run 1x 6 DB reduction. At home I use 2 x 16 DB reduction and it is pretty good at home. I am in the (lucky) position to be able to play loudish at home (music room and hall door closed Wife in the lounge watching tv but can sort of hear it, neighbours if outside might hear it. When played DB reduced.

    Through the day when everyones at work without :)

    IMO there is a CRITICAL point to note about most traditionally voiced AC30's or versions of.

    They generally sound bright, harsh and loud when played alone. i.e they usually dont make a wonderful, lush sounding home solo amp.

    BUT put in the context it was designed for-i.e Play it in a band or to suitably volume balanced backing track or recorded in a full mix, they cut through amazingly well, have their own great voice and are rightly famous for "that" sound.


    I have owned many amps over the years (more money than capability to be fair :) ). Of note to this thread,

    AC30CC2x (Alnico Blue 2x12 combo)
    Awesome, BRIGHT, LOUD and unbelievably HEAVY amp. Traded for head and cab with 1x12 Wharfedale to make travel and loading easier.

    AC30CCH (Head) with a Vox Wharfedale (which is the cheaper CC series speaker)
    Back to backed with 2 x 12 Alnico Blue combo above. Purists die when I say this but with a tweak to the treble cut they sounded almost indentical..Was shocked and sold combo as a result. Never regretted it.


    AC15 with Alnico Blue
    I had really high hopes for this amp but despite trying for months HATED the tone/timbre of the crunch sound. Sold it, never regretted it. HEAVY, still pretty loud. BUT this was definatly a personal preference, lots of people love this amp.

    AC4tv (8" tiny combo) - cool concept, one of the first modern, low wattage tube amps. Really boxy sound, very quick to distort/crunch wasn't my cup of tea.

    Vox AC10
    I went to my friendly shop that give me great deals ready to buy this but my test drive seemed to me that it was very loud and to get it in the right gain point I like (hot but mostly clean ready for TS9 OD) was way beyond home manageable....I suspect i was being abit sensitive in hindsight and should try again EXCEPT below.


    Ac4 C1-12 (Ac4 amp with bigger combo and 12" Speaker)

    This amp sounds most like my AC30. sounds a bit hars on its own, gains up close to the ac30 and sits in the mix exactly like the my AC30. For my use it is a great home version of th AC30 that now stays at our band practice/ recording studio permanantly since purchased the 12" AC4.

    Im not sure if the below will backup my credentials or prove just how wrong I am......BUT it is video of our band being live recorded and broadcast to the whole countries main public broadcast radio Station the day of our EP launch on Radio New Zealand.

    Below - Gretsch Tennesee Rose, Digitech RP1000 for trem and TS9 in to Vox Ac30 CCH and home made cab with VOX Wharfedale 12".

     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  17. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi.

    Home now and finished messing about.

    The only thing I can firmly say is, I don't know what clean means anymore. I know that sounds dumb, but sat here, the more I think about it and twiddle knobs, the less confident I feel. Perhaps one person's clean is another's slight edge. Might be easier if this amp tipped more abruptly from clean to grit? Or if it didn't seem to have an ever varying complexity to the tone. It's a really really long time since I played a truly clean high headroom amp and as someone else said, Vox clean is its own thing anyway.

    My AC4 is the hand-wired version, the AC4HW1. So, it has a greenback along with a bigger cabinet. Also more input / tone options than the other AC4s. Basically, a Top Boost channel with hi & lo inputs and a Cool / Hot switch which (mostly) bypasses the tone stack. I recently put in Harma retro valves. I aimed for 'chime like but not ice pick' with the tone settings.

    Guitar is a MIJ Tele with US made pickups that Fender Japan call "American Vintage '62 Custom." I went straight into the amp, nothing else.

    Anyway, what I think of as clean in the Low input channel averages around 69dB with the Sound Meter app at 2m from the cab. Peaks around 82dB.

    The tone I really like in this amp, that I might describe as 'clean with character' sits around the 73dB and peaks at around 82dB using the Hi input.

    Cranking things into distortion barely increases the peaks. They always sit at 84dB, but it raises the average to around 79db. Which makes sense I guess, just compression now, no volume increase to speak of.

    But wait - Tom Petty just came up on shuffle as I was typing. What a good idea. Back in I dived. So, a sound that roughly approximates the cleaner opening chords of Here Comes My Girl averages around 65dB, peaking at around 82dB. Surely that's clean?

    Anyway, all of these are less that the OP values. From what I know of the way watts work, skipping the AC10 and heading to the AC15 would be best for the cleans wanted here?

    Stopping now, as this is becoming a rambling mess. Maybe somewhere in here there was something interesting or useful.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have a little dance with Mary Jane - metaphorically.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  18. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Bro, the YouTube Category tag says "News and Politics." You're gonna bet banned!

    Nice song & impressive work.

    Now, I want to know if you guys have a song about ghost chips? That would be legend :lol:

    mā te wā
     
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  19. NWinther

    NWinther Tele-Afflicted

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    Haha oh well..back in the day I often used my old 67 AC30 at home as well....my old cat loved it...warm and cozy as it was.... Had no trouble dialing in a good low volume sound....
     
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  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That Eminence speaker is a PA speaker, not a guitar speaker.
    Not sure what the cab is or if it also has a horn, but a PA speaker isn't a guitar speaker.
    That might be an issue.
     
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