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Overdrive suggestions for Vox amps

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by cdwillis, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. cdwillis

    cdwillis Tele-Meister

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    A couple of months ago I bought a Vox AC15c2 (basically AC15 in an AC30 box with the 2 greenbacks and the larger reverb tank). I was in the dark about Vox amps before I got this and I'm really digging it a lot, but I'd like to find a good overdrive for it.

    The only dirt pedal I've had since getting back into playing a couple years ago has been a Boss SD-1. So that's my basic reference point. My friend brought over his Boss BD-2 Blues Driver and playing them back to back kind of soured me on the SD-1 into the Vox. The SD-1 has too much bass cut, not as much output or overdrive, and the midrange is so nasally compared to the BD-2. I really like the bigger bass response of the BD-2, how it's not nasally, and it can get straight nasty with the drive maxed out, but it also lacks something I can't put my finger on, maybe more lower mids? It's just not that chunky.

    Most people seem to recommend the Crowther Hot Cake and Proco Rat. In addition to those I've been looking at demos of the Xotic BB Preamp, EHX Crayon, MXR Distortion+/DOD 250, Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Mosfet, and some others.

    Youtube sound quality makes it hard to really tell the nuances and the nearest guitar store is an hour away so I don't want to haul this amp that far to play through some pedals. I know this has been covered in a bunch of threads (I've searched and read), but I'm curious about what everyone is using now or thinks might fit the bill? I mostly play my SG with Duncan Pearly Gates humbuckers through the top boost channel.
     
  2. GuitarKid

    GuitarKid Tele-Holic

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    BD-2 to me is best used as a clean-ish to mid-gain OD. When maxed out it sounds thin.

    SD-1 would be my answer. It does lack bass, but that's why to me it's an OD pedal that can easily step into full-blown lead a-la distortion sound. It's mid range is also warmer and has a nice sustain.

    I dont know other pedals. Im broke.
     
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  3. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    Z-Vex Distortron. GREAT sounding, transparent, lot's of bass (3-position bass boost switch). Not a TubeScreamer. Does everything from the lightest overdrive to really heavy distortion and really sounds like you're cranking your amp up.
     
  4. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    It’s kind of expensive but I enjoy the boss angry driver it’s a boss blues driver that also has a JHS angry Charlie and you can use them separate or mix them together in a couple different ways

    Another one I really like with my vox that a lot of people haven’t caught onto yet is the “ bk butler real tube” it has a 3 band eq and sounds the most natural to me and has a tube in the pedal it’s a great overdrive
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  5. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Rat. A Rat goes beautifully with an AC15.

    When I first got mine I tried my old Digitech Hot Head with it. Sounded like pure mud. Did some searching on here and the Rat seems to jive well with the Vox.
     
  6. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know everyone loves a rat but there’s a fine line between od and distortion

    And the rat is a fuzz circuit that is tameable

    It’s okay if that’s what you are after
     
  7. cdwillis

    cdwillis Tele-Meister

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    I'm looking for something that's warmer, more of a soft clipping sound, a natural overdrive with a good bass response I guess at the moment, but I do dig the rat sound so it's definitely on the list.
     
  8. tarheelbob

    tarheelbob Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Paul Cochrane Timmy.

    My BB Pre Amp did not match well with my Vox. The Timmy was excellent.

    - Bob
     
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  9. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    tube screamer types don't seem to play well with Vox. Timmy is good/great. Origin Cali76 with the output goosed is better -- you keep the Vox edge, get the sustain, still cut through a mix. I've had good luck with the Distortron but it does kind of make your Vox sound like a Marshall -- a really good Marshall but still . . . Zendrive is kind of the same deal but with a Dumble. You lose the Vox character. Klon doesn't work for me -- mid-hump into a mid-hump. Tchula sounds like a Tchula, which is really good, but not too Vox.

    Cali76 is the one for me, with a Fender guitar anyway. Yeah I know it's not a dirt box but it works like one if you push your amp with it.
     
  10. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    Like previously mentioned up the thread, my suggestion is Timmy also.
     
  11. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've tried the following with my AC15 with great results...
    Hot Cake
    Rat
    Boss OD-3
    Timmy
    Visual Sound Open Road
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  12. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Holic

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    I've had good experiences with clean boosts too. You can hammer the preamp even with weaker pickups and take more advantage of the Vox breakup.
     
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  13. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Bad Bob
     
  14. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    I think everyone has already mentioned all the likely suspects. Maybe treble boosters haven’t been thrown in yet (do they go well with modern AC designs?).

    Basically, nothing with (too much of) a mid hump.

    Which channel are you using? Conventional wisdom is that the normal is generally well behaved, but the top boost doesn’t like to play nice with pedals.

    Me, I use a Rat and a clone of the RC Booster. Also, my tremolo has a wee bit of boost built in, which stands out more when everything else on it is set low, and that’s sometimes my secret sauce. All in to top boost.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  15. cdwillis

    cdwillis Tele-Meister

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    I've been mostly using the top boost channel, though I've fooled around with running into both channels and blending them together. RC Booster is another I looked at, but I read it had less gain than the AC booster even, which is supposedly less gain than the BB. I'd prefer to have the extra gain just for flexibility even if I'm not using it. I've been using a MXR Custom Comp as a bit of a clean boost into the amp, but it's not enough to get too hairy.
     
  16. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

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    The Hot Cake is almost a staple item for the Vox AC amps.
    A Mad Professor Sweet Honey with a boost pedal in front of it works great for me with single coils.
     
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  17. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    Rat. Or Rat-Based. I like the T Rex Mudhoney.
    Timmy.
    Klon clone--I like the MXR Sugar Drive.

    I sometimes use a Rat-based pedal (set with just a touch of hair but a volume boost) as my first on, with a Tube Screamer-type pedal into it when I want lots of dirt.
     
  18. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    EQ pedal set to boost with the frequencies you're interested in boosted further to push the valves.
    Blackstar HT overdrive. Valve based, the size of a post office, but very flexible in use and great sounding. Their boost pedal is quite good too.
    Don't laugh. Behringer VT999 -swap the valve out for a 12AU7- Three band tone stack, noise gate, gain and volume. Again, not small.

    I'd be tempted to try a loop pedal ( not a looper! ) that'd allow you to switch an EQ feeding a boost in and out with one click. Control the frequencies and push the amp.
     
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  19. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    Dunno if you’re looking for a low or medium overdrive and I‘m everything but a VOX expert. But the best (low) overdrive pedal I‘ve ever played is the Mad Professor Sweet Honey. It‘s perfect.
     
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  20. basher

    basher Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The one time an audience member actually complimented my tone, I was running my OCD into my AC15C1.
     
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