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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Sjnoring, Jul 16, 2017.
Had a few old AC-30's...I miss having an old one!
When they are good they just works great!
It's probably not so much about being a VOX but rather the power tube circuits which are EL84's rather than the 6L6 or 6V6, which is what Fender uses. Totally different sounds. Those 6xx series tubes have a very distinct "breakup" point, unlike those EL84's which have a smooth ride into the "breakup point".
The Blues Jr is popular because of this very reason, it uses the EL84 circuit on the backside. Totally different sound than the HR Deluxe or a Deluxe Reverb.
Just for comparison, Vox also uses 12AX7's on the front ends as does Fender.
I don't get the love that people have for the Celestion blue speaker in Vox amps. Those amplifiers, especially the top boost models, are inherently bright anyway. The blue speaker seems to bring out the treble frequencies even more.
^On top boost amp you bridge the channels and mix them!
Oldest Vox trick in the world.
I just meant the scoop is in a different spot, and that changes the sound quite a bit.
I love the sound of my Tele or Strat through my Vox NT15G2 head/2x12 Greenback cabinet. It's a different clean tone to my Blues Junior (with it's Jensen speaker), though I enjoy that too...it's all about variety and learning what settings work best for my playing style and sound.
I think this will be like the great tone wood debate, but I'm going to ask anyway.
How much of this sound is in the power tubes? The reason I ask is that, while I haven't had a lot of experience with amps, the four I've liked (two Peaveys, highly modded Epi VJ and H&K) have all been EL84s, while I never really connected with my Fender Blues Deluxe, and my amp tech mate's Princeton does nothing for me. Is it just coincidence?
One day around 10 years ago I was at a jam and one of the guys there brought a Vox AC15.
Beyond the Beatles my experience with Vox was limited.
Over the years I'd mostly used Fender or Marshall amps I was never much of a Marshal guy so I was firmly in the Fender Amp Camp.
This guy had a P90 Les Paul and a Tele .
He plugged in and started to play and I realized DUH that Vox amp sound was THE SOUND of my youth........ and I didn't really know it until that night.
I don't need another amp but I am considering a VOX AC4 with top boost......................
Tried mine for a couple minutes through a buddy's AC15 and sounded great. My tele is also my best sounding guitar through my plexi clone... man that's a great combo too.
Tele's sound good through anything and anything sounds good through a Vox. Even their friggin modeling amps.
Fenders sound good + Vox sounds good = combo sounds good.
I'm really digging my teles through my Lil Night Train at the moment. I haven't done the C19 mod yet so I just back the treble right off to zero and it's still plenty bright enough.
I can't speak for the originals, so my experience with Vox amps is limited to the Custom Classic range. I'd read countless times about how unreliable they were, crapping out without warning. I told myself it wouldn't happen to me and bought an AC30CC1. The trem had packed in within 2 days (as had my back ). Annoyingly it was fine when I returned it to the store and had the whole staff stood around stroking their chins. They let me return it anyway and I exchanged it for an AC15CC1, which completely died within two weeks. I took it back for a refund and stopped off the on the way home at a different store and picked up a Hot Rod Deluxe (Emerald version with the Vintage 30).
I now have a BDRI and haven't looked back - it's by far the best of Fender's 'affordable' amps IMO, before the jump to a DRRI. Brilliant clean channel with slightly lower headroom than the HRD with a killer drive channel.
^This. I had a couple of Vox amps - an AC15C2 and an AC30C2. I got rid of the 15 in favor of the 30 for the increased headroom, but the weight and the spikiness led me back to a Fender amp. I always missed the smooth breakup character of the Vox though. It just does a thing that nothing else does.
Months after getting rid of my last Vox, I had the realization that for whatever reason I had always had a mental block about the tone cut knob. I think my mindset was that if I put the tone cut much above 10 o'clock, I was sort of dialing out what made the thing stereotypically "Vox". But then I was always faulting it for being a touch spikey. This was a classic case of operator error. Preconceived ideas were getting in the way of my ear, and I might like it alot better. Lately I've been playing with a guy who has an AC30CC2 in his studio. I plugged my tele into it, turned the tone cut straight up to 1:00 or 2:00 and was like a kid in a candy store. I got the amp to a "set it and forget it" place, and everything was about the guitar controls and my touch. Now, all I want is a Vox again. . . I just don't want to carry it. . . or have the "Why I need a new amp" conversation with my wife again. But I wish I had paid ALOT more attention to the utility of that tone cut when I had a Vox.
I can attest to getting a better 'country twang' picking tone with VOX, with fender guitars, than fender/ fender.
Weird, but true. Don't know why. Don't really care. Works for me.
I LOVE chime and treble BUT only when the power tubes are grinding. Power tube distortion is full and rich providing the balance you need with bright guitars and bright amps
I hear ya.
I find the same things that make its spikey-ness problematic also apply to its overdriven tones. Very narrow sweetness window there, too, with a fizziness and flub that can be hard to dial out. But it's great when you get the good break-up dialed in.
It's also a great amp to stereo with another. Its relative narrowness both leaves room for and invites another amp's range.
Last night I cranked the AC15, with the Top Boost volume almost maxed and the treble & tone cut midway and the bass down, to get a real crusty break-up going, and teamed it with the Excelsior Pro (+ some reverb) set "Dark," with a little of the Exy's onboard Trem on.
The Tele moved beautifully in a wide scoop in the middle, cresting up to the AC's crust and down to the Exy's caves. The (very tolerant) neighbors thought I had the whole band over, the sound was so rich.
If I had to have one amp, I would definitely choose a good Fender over even a great Vox. But if you have a Vox, you've got something unique that can bring out qualities of another amp that might otherwise be undiscovered.
I do love my AC30 it has to be said. But I always envied that Fender glassy clean on edge of greasy overdrive so I got a Blues Deluxe. My vox doesnt do that 1 particular fender sound like a fender. Ah well. But it does a heap more stuff than people give it credit. Didnt Matchless build there amps around a VoxAC30?
If you wish to learn more...
There's an English old skool "RnB" artist called Paul Weller. Check out some of his work... fenders, gibsons, gretschs, rickenbackers... you name it. I'd say he's probably covered all the bases in his career from the 70s to present with a Vox.
Voxs are like Volvos, universally castigated as a wannabe. You spend your whole life wanting a BMW or an Audi or a Merc, and you don't even look at the Volvos. Until that strange day you find yourself driving one with a smile on your face
I'm a little late to the Vox thing.
Well, my very first amp was a SS Vox bass amp (a 1x15 Kensington SS bass amp that I used for guitar), but I'm not really counting that one.
I got my AC15-HW1 over a year ago and it sounds amazing. It's the perfect amp for our "classic rock" band, especially with my Cabronita's.
It's a big, bold sound that cuts through everything. It CAN get spikey, but that's what the controls are for - especially that CUT knob. When properly dialed in, it's a very "present" sound.
I've always been a mostly clean kinda player. At gig levels, the AC15 is not crystal clean, but it has that wonderful "dirty clean" where there's some edge to the tone, but notes still have that clear definition and clarity.
I suppose that's the "chime" that everyone talks about when describing the "Vox sound."
As far as Blue vs. Greenback, mine has the stock Greenback and I love the tone, just as it is.
The amp does have a lot of natural brightness on tap, so I'm not really tempted to swap speakers, at this point.
About the only negative with this amp is the weight - it is a beast! Plus, the HW combo's have the oversized cabinet.
But that's a minor concern, for me.
I can still haul it around and when I get it set up and plugged in, and I hear that glorious roar, none of that matters.
You have to "do the blue!" I had the greenback and wont complain about them in anyway, the true blue speakers really made this amp shine. Expensive buggers, but worth it!!