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Looking for opinions on the Voc AC4 blue. Anyone using one?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by hemingway, Sep 17, 2020.

  1. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Couple of my friends were considering this amp. Money burning holes in their pockets as they're saving commuting money these days, working from home (I've spent all mine on a Lunchbox reverb).

    I must admit, if nothing else the Vox looks really cool.

    Anyone out there using it?
     
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  2. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    I believe that it's identical to the "regular" AC4 except for the tolex. The one that really sparks my interest is the handwired AC4, but I've heard next to nothing about those.
     
  3. davenumber2

    davenumber2 Friend of Leo's

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    The blue one is the top boost circuit. I had one and liked it for what it was. It does sound small and lacking in bass, especially when compared to an AC10. You can get a used AC10 for not much more and it's a much better all-around amp and has reverb.
     
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  4. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    I must admit I've never played one, and only heard them in Youtube reviews, but it sure looks and sounds good. You're talking the AC4 with a 12" speaker, right?. There's an AC4 with a 12" on my Craigslist right now,(black covering) asking $285.....looks tempting.
    If I didn't have that niche kinda filled by my Vox Pathfinder 15R w/ a 12", I might give them a call. Let us know what you do......;)
     
  5. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    I have an AC4 that was given to me. Having played it, and run it into extension cabs, 1x12, 2x12, and 4x12 (none of which make it sound any better), I decided not to spend any time tweaking it and trying to improve it. It sounds OK if you can close mic it and run it into a PA, but other than that, it is definitely not worth the $ it costs if you have to buy it. I'd look elsewhere.
     
  6. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    First, let me assume that you are talking about the Vox AC4C1-BL.

    This is the precursor to the Vox AC4C1-12.

    The BL indeed has blue tolex and a "tv snow" grill cloth.

    It contains the classic vox top boost channel in its purity and does not emply transistors in the signal path like the AC10C1 does. Vox didn't really skimp on anything with the AC4C1-BL circuit wise.

    The AC4C1-BL shipped with the Vox VX-10 10" speaker which is the same speaker and the AC10C1. It seems to be a pretty good speaker for pairing with the top boost channel.

    The one design disadvantage to AC4C1-BL was Vox's inclusion of the the bright cap (C20) on the Master Volume. This changed the tone of the amp based on its volume. I removed C20 on mine and it sounded much better.

    More to come....
     
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  7. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Bypass the 4 and go directly to the 15...
     
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  8. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    There seem to be variying opinions about the AC4C1 series and even between the different models themselves:

    Vox AC4TV - This is not really based on any Vox designs, but voxes version of a champ-like circuit when 5 watt amps were the new thing. Some people like them but they are pretty meh it seems.

    Vox AC4C1-BL - This one seems to be well liked. I has TRUE all-tube circuitry and is paired with the 10" VX10 speaker - a good combination. There was a "TV" version of this amp that was two-tones with a wide front panel, but it makes some speaker upgrades not fit so I'd stay away from this one if you desire to throw in an 10" alnico gold.

    Vox AC4C1-12 - This is the same circuit as the AC4C1-BL but with classic vox cosmetics and paired with a celestion 70/80 speaker (if I recall correctly). There doesn't seem to be a lot of love for these for some reason - probably just because of the speaker. Some people say that the cabinet is to blame.

    Vox AC4HW - People seem to love these! Although, Ironically it has almost the exact same circuit as the AC4C1-BL and the AC4C1-12! The difference here other than build quality and components would be the 12" celestion greenback speaker and the plywood cabinet.

    Personally, I bought the AC4C1-BL after seeing its schematic for a small Vox top-boost based amp for quick practice sessions at home or on the go. I kept the VX10 speaker but I converted the amp to a handwired circuit.

    I would love to pic up a Ac4C1-12 and drop in a Weber ceramic Blue dog, and maybe the extra room in the cab would give me more space for a better handwired coversion. BUT I already have two AC4s (one is a DIY top boost + EF86 built into a pathfinder 15 cab) and an AC15, so I think I'm covered.
     
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  9. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's not for me - although I am a little tempted. But I am only playing at home these days and even the 4 would be too loud.
     
  10. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    It does have a master volume, you know. You could also drop in a JJ EL844 to halve the power - thought I've never heard of anybody needing/doing it.
     
  11. Old Plank

    Old Plank Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    ... consider at least the rest stop at 10 on the way ...
     
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  12. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    Because it will come up.... What about the Vox AC10C1?

    Over the Vox AC4C1 series the AC10C1 will gain you: A push-pull output with more power, a "cross-phase" master volume, a digital reverb which I have not heard anyone sings praises about, a bigger cabinet.

    What would you lose going to the AC10C1 over the AC4C1? TRUE all tube circuit path, classic top boost channel. The classic top boost needs 3 tube sections, but the AC10C1 replaces one of these with a high voltage MOSFET. That is important to some people.

    So for twice the cost you get an amp that is less "pure" (remember, this matters to some), is too loud for home practice, but maybe not loud enough to play out without additional amplification, and a digital reverb. Its not worth it in my opinion. Espectially with used AC15s providing many more features at about the same cost.
     
  13. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's a fair point, but I don't need another big box in my living room only being used at a fraction of its potential.

    Plus, with a lot of amps, if you want to whack up the gain, you just can't get the master volume low enough for home use. Annoying.
     
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  14. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    True! I have had amps with "master volumes" that went from silence to "still too loud" at the lowest setting.
     
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  15. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

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    Tried / owned the various AC4's other than the HW.

    The AC10C1 is to my opinion so far superior in all areas, I don't get why so many buy the AC4, mod it and still end up with something nowhere near as good as an AC10C1.
     
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  16. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

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    Same here; the Blue looks great but is still too loud for the house once pushed so it loses its low volume shrillness and lack of 'body'. I got myself a Marshall DSL1CR-and even that one watt is pretty loud.
     
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  17. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

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    I get what you're saying but the AC15 really is a live performance amp and in my opinion is not much use for the home. Yes, I know it has a volume control, but those things sound lousy to me at low volume and, if you want decent overdrive at house-friendly levels, they are very picky about pairing with pedals. And they weigh a ton.
    Again it's horses for courses. I think if the Blue had the same power scaling as the AC4TV I'd have one.
     
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  18. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had the AC4C1-12 which is the amp you're talking about but with a 12" speaker. I did not keep it very long. Had too much high end even with the treble rolled back, and very little low end. The weakness was the cabinet.
     
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  19. mojek

    mojek Tele-Meister

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    I owned one. Fantastic for home playing and recording. Very nice class A sound with TB circuit(treble, bass), gain and master volume. You can enjoy Vox amp at bedroom volumes. It´s lightweight and looks pretty good too.
     
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  20. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    Clipping C20 removes the bright cap from the master volume on the AC4C1 series so you get more consitent tone at all volumes.
     
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