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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Vox AC15 vs AC15 VR....

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by lineboat, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. Bulldog87

    Bulldog87 Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 2, 2008
    Louisiana, USA
    I have a blues junior, excelsior and a new AC4... I love all the amps. The Blues junior is pretty awesome, the excelsior has great thick tone, and the AC4 is smaller but really has great indoor volume with that vox tone.

    In all... you're going to have to go to a guitar store and plug in! That is the best way to figure it out! I dont have a AC15 or AC15VR.... But I want one! lol (Too many amps right now!!)
     

  2. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

    Aug 6, 2012
    I was interested in those myself, and got a chance to play one. It didn't have the cleans I wanted. Defiantly a screamer, just not for me.
     

  3. 69 Thinline

    69 Thinline TDPRI Member

    55
    Apr 1, 2013
    Sierra Nevada
    Just to chime in here... I've got one of the new AC15C2 TWIN amps which is a reissue of the vintage AC15 TWIN from the 60s used by The Beatles and a bunch of other 60s bands that often get credited with using AC30s when in reality, they were actually using the 15 TWIN.

    This amp looks the same as the AC30 at first glance, so its easy to see how the two could be confused especially in an old photo or something.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway... I keep hearing how these AC15 amps are too loud for bedroom and home use, and I am not sure exactly how these folks are using this amp where they can't get a good full sound at lower volumes.

    One potential major difference between the amp I am running here and others is that I yanked the stock Chinese tubes and immediately installed some 60s vintage NOS tubes that I originally purchased for my Hammond organs and Leslie 122 speaker.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway... When I bought this VOX AC15 Twin for my guitars, I decided to try running some of these NOS tubes in it right off the bat.

    In the preamp I installed three "JAN Phillips" 12AX7s that were made in 1963. In the poweramp section I installed two of the HAMMOND branded 6BQ5 power tubes which is the European designation of the EL-84 power tube. These Hammond tubes were made by Mullard in Great Britain with a date stamp of 1965.

    I tested all 10 of these tubes that I had using my vintage Hickock 6000A tube tester. The two 6BQ5s that tested at the top of the range went into the AC15s power amp section, while the highest rated 12AX7s I had in my stock went into the AC15 preamp.

    Hickock 6000A In Action
    Testing the Hammond/Mullard 6BQ5 Power Tubes I later installed into the AC15 TWIN

    [​IMG]

    The best testing JAN Phillips 12AX7 went into V1 and so on down the line. Fortunately, all the JAN Phillips I have left tested very close to each other so not too much of a swing.

    The sound I am getting is incredible and I am getting excellent tone at loud HI-FI volumes with no problem at all.

    This amp also takes pedals very, very well! I am using a host of different pedals I have collected over the years, including MXR, BOSS and recently these very afforable JOYO pedals.

    I particularly like using the JOYO "Ultimate Drive", "Vintage Overdrive", and the "American" amp simulator through the AC15. When running these various effects I can have my volume really low if I am playing late at night etc.

    So...You don't have to buy a super small amp and then worry about not having enough power to jam with a band. I would suggest taking a serious look at the AC15 TWIN and then spending the extra $$ for a set of NOS 60s production tubes from a reputable supplier that still has them.

    I have used these newer Russian tubes like JJ, Electro-Harmonix etc. in my Hammond and Leslie before, and they just don't sound as good as the old NOS stuff does. I had a pair of JJ EL84s in my stock that I tried in the AC15 when I was messing with different sets of tubes, and these Hammond/Mullard 6BQ5s blown them away!

    [​IMG]

    It is really amazing how much of a difference a set of tubes can make! The difference between those JJ power tubes and the Mullards was night and day. Like I said, it made the amp sound like a completely different product!

    Here is my new AC15C2 Twin Reissue Combo and some photos I took a few weeks ago while I was going through my NOS tube stock to pick out the best tubes to put in the VOX. I didn't even turn on the amp with the stock tubes. I changed them out as soon as I took the amp out of the shipping box!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Roller Chart with all the settings for the 6BQ5/EL-84

    [​IMG]

    The Two Hammond/Mullard 6BQ5s that ranked on top in all tests. These went into the VOX with fantastic results!

    [​IMG]
     

  4. furtherpale

    furtherpale Former Member

    Aug 11, 2012
    Melbourne - 32
    AC4 comes with a 10" (though there are smaller variants), as is MORE than enough to jam with mates.

    i do small gigs with one in stereo with a modded champion 600
     

  5. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

    Aug 6, 2012
    69 Thinline, you just went so far out of my league its not funny.... Not that I doubt you for a minute, I've just never messed with an amp that much.... Glad to hear it all though. Not sure I'm ready to take on another hobby like that yet. ;-)
     

  6. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    60
    May 25, 2010
    North Alabama
    I like small one channel EL84 amps. Ive had a Crate VC 2110, 18w w/a 10" for years,
    I think I bought it new in 1994.
    Loud enough for any kind of sane volume. Very responsive.
    But a bigger speaker would be a plus.
    I'm lusting for an Orange TT and a 1-12 cab. But really all I need to do is put some new tubes in the Crate.
     

  7. 69 Thinline

    69 Thinline TDPRI Member

    55
    Apr 1, 2013
    Sierra Nevada
    LOL! Its really not that compicated, but you do need to own a tube tester in order to know the differences between a collection of various pre amp and power tubes. Without a tester, it would be too much work to just go by ear.

    I've owned a Hammond C3 organ and a Leslie 122 speaker since 1975, so you tend to get familiar with vacuum tubes and the effect they can have on the sound of these old designs that use tubes in their pre amp and amp designs.

    I simply applied the same techniques to the AC15 that I have used with building the best sounding sets of tubes for the Hammond and the Leslie.

    In the end it really does make a difference in the sound of the amp. as I mentioned... I have certain sets of EL84s that can totally change this amp's low volume behavior. When I put that old set of HAMMOND branded Mullards in the power amp of this AC15, I can get a real thick and warm tube distortion at volumes in the same range as a loud Hi-FI.

    New EL84s like the JJ brand that many VOX owners use, won't give you that same level of distortion until the thing is moving pictures on the wall! ;)
     

  8. 69 Thinline

    69 Thinline TDPRI Member

    55
    Apr 1, 2013
    Sierra Nevada
    I'd really like to pick up a small tube bass amp for my bass guitars. I have a couple of the Ampeg BA series right now (A 108 and a 112) which are good sounding solid state amps for practice and recording purposes, but my Rickenbacker 4003 sounds so good when I run the top end into the AC15 using the Rick-o-Sound stereo output, it would be nice to have the same kind of tube warmth for my Jazz Basses too!

    Anyone got any recommendations for a good tube combo bass amp, or a small head that won't break the bank? I wouldn't mind having a separate amp head and something like a 2x10 cab.
     

  9. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    60
    May 25, 2010
    North Alabama
    50w:

    [​IMG]
     

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