Pros and cons of an AC15?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by WilburBufferson, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Tele-Afflicted

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    I know nothing about VOX guitar amps except that Brian May and the Beatles use(d) them. I'm mildly interested in finding another amp that's a tad louder than my Princeton reverb, but is not a total beast to haul around to gigs.

    I've heard mixed things about them, for example, that there's quality control issues, they can hiss and hum, and that the "better" ones have the blue speaker in them.

    I've never really gravitated to the EL84 sound, which makes me think that this is a pointless road to go down. Am I wrong?

    (The next obvious contender, of course, is a deluxe reverb, but I bought and sold one of those last year: really couldn't warm-up to that amp in the way that I was expecting to based on all the positive reviews that amplifier gets here…)
     
  2. dragonfly66

    dragonfly66 Friend of Leo's

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    The AC15 sounds good to me. No hiss or hum from the one I owned. No blue speakers either. It was heavy though. Definitely different from the Princeton Reverb.
     
  3. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The newer AC15C1 is a great amp. Clip out the bright caps and put some real glass in it, and you've got an amp that will easily hang with stuff 3 times its price tag.

    You don't need a "blue" model. The C1 with a Celestion greenback is a great rig with the above mentioned simple mods.

    Cons:

    Easy to haul? That's relative. I found my C1 to be damned heavy for a 15 watt 1x12. Around 50 lbs. Kind of a beast.

    Not a lot of head room. If you like a really clean amp at gig levels, it'll probably disappoint. I loved mine because of the edge or breakup and dirt tones. Very sweet.






    Get the footswitch. The Trem is great.
     
  4. Fatschlamp

    Fatschlamp Tele-Meister

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    I can feel your issue with the deluxe. It's not the next step up from the Princeton that you might think it is, is it? i have a 68 PR which I love like a child, but am constantly recommended to try the DR by gigging mates; but they're a different sound and it has never grown on me.

    On the other hand, I do see a lot of indie rockers about with the AC15 and, while they don't care much for the reverb, tell me it's a fine amp.
     
  5. Leep Dog

    Leep Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    There are only 2 cons I can think of with an AC15: the weight and the lack of headroom. The C1 I had weighed about 50 lbs, not a big deal to me but it is for many. While the amp is a loud 15 watts, it gets dirty early, which, again, it's not a big deal to me (it's preferred actually), it may be to some.

    I miss my AC15. Ha.
     
  6. buddhuu

    buddhuu Tele-Meister

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    I like the AC15s. To me the only con is that it's not an AC30! But then you do get price and weight compensations.

    Vox make great amps.
     
  7. grimlyflick

    grimlyflick TDPRI Member

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    Pros - great sounding amp, plenty loud enough as long as your band isn't super loud and takes pedals well too.

    Cons - compared to other 15w amps on the market it is a bit heavy side.

    I run mine crunchy through the normal channel. and use a MXR compressor, TC Spark Boost mini and Lovepedal Kalamazoo to achieve various clean/gain boosts.
    Loving it, work great with both my Les Pauls and Tele.

    And if like me, you've never used tremolo before give it a go. It's great for adding texture to clean tones.
     
  8. teleamp

    teleamp Poster Extraordinaire

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    Weight...
     
  9. ted j. kale

    ted j. kale Tele-Meister

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    Good Amp for all gig's

    Now if ya get your hands on Music Man 50watt 1x12" speaker I'll guarantee it for any kind of Gig!
     
  10. Spaceboy

    Spaceboy Tele-Afflicted

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    no cons at all imo...
     
  11. Spaceboy

    Spaceboy Tele-Afflicted

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    don't judge it until you get to crank it though, vox have a unique chime a thinness to the notes that smooths out and roars as the volume goes up
     
  12. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Alnico or ceramic? I have an old Music Man - Eminence? maybe 12" speaker that I've been wondering what to use it for.


    Anyways, AC15's are known for midrange grind. AC30's have a more balanced tone.

    Imagine the Kinks vs the Beatles (live).
     
  13. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have a love/hate relationship with the reverb. I love that it's not a Fender style reverb. I really dislike that sound. It sits right in top of the notes, and overpowers everything. Even at low levels, I notice the reverb as much or more than the actual notes. WAY overkill.

    I love that the Vox reverb sits back behind the notes, and just adds ambience. It's one of those things I keep down low, around 2-3 on the dial. You don't even notice it's there until you turn it off, that's how reverb ought to be IMO. My problem with Vox reverb is that the tail is way too long. If it had a dwell or decay control, it'd be perfect.
     
  14. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat TDPRI Member

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    I had one of the newer red ones. I swapped the Celestion V-Type for a Celestion Blue (the English one; not the Vox Chinese one); replaced the EL84s with NOS Sylvanias and the 12AX7s with some old RCAs I had; and put a better Accutronics reverb tank in it.

    I put about $250 into it, but I got the amp cheap. It became a much, much better sounding amp. I didn't own a Tele at the time, but it would be a match made in heaven. I believe Kid Ramos uses that combo.

    I think they're one of the best values in amps out there right now. I'm a Fender die-hard, so I gotta have reverb and trem. The Vox is different, but it's pretty damn hip in its own right. The weight never bothered me after lugging Super Reverbs around.

    Speaker, tubes, tank. Swap and rock.
     
    MadJack likes this.
  15. Seitz38

    Seitz38 TDPRI Member

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    Sure, the headroom isn't perfect, but you'd be surprised how amazing it sounds even with the slight breakup.

    It is heavy, I'll give it that. I'd almost say the AC30 is easier to carry simply because it has 3 handles instead of the 1.

    It's also the best looking amp you can buy under $1000, did I also mention you can get them for less than $500? It's a bargain for what they're asking for.
     
  16. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again: best cheap amp on the planet. The stock Greenback sounds fine. If you need extra headroom, you could swap in a more efficient speaker and double the apparent power. The only mod I've made to mine was to swap out the reverb tank for a MOD 8EB2C1B which made the reverb much more usable to my ear -- shortened the tail, gave more of the dial to work with. $25 and ten minutes. Tubes are next. But a great-sounding amp in stock form. I even found a way to make it lighter: pick up my Bad Cat and carry it around the living room. After that, everything feels featherweight!
     
  17. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    I have both a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a Vox AC15.
    First, I love 'em both, but they are very different amps on the tone scale. But that's why I like having both!

    The DR does that classic Fender thing, but you have that covered with your Princeton Reverb - in a smaller package.

    After years of wanting a Vox, I'm relatively new to the whole "Vox chime" thing - but I'm REALLY liking my AC15HW (hand-wired, no reverb or tremolo, stock Celestion Greenback speaker). No QC issues with mine - no noise or hiss problems.

    What it lacks in headroom, it makes up for with that midrange "presence" - it really sits well in a band mix. And there is some decent headroom to work with. As other have said, you may not get crystal clear clean tones when it's turned up, but that "just on the edge" tone is not quite like anything else....and that's a good thing.

    The AC15 really excels at that midrange grind when you start to push it. It's just a real sweet overdrive from those EL84's.

    Also, as others have said, this is NOT a light amp. Closing in at ~50lbs, it can be a beast to haul around. But I'm a geezer and I don't mind it all that much. Plus, once I plug in and start playing, that glorious tone makes me forget about the weight!
     
  18. Seitz38

    Seitz38 TDPRI Member

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    I do something similar but with a Hot Rod Deville 410 instead.

    HRD set to a modern "hi-fi" sound, scooped mids, lots of tight bass and glassy highs.
    Vox set to, well, Vox mode... fills in the mids, adds a bit of upper mid sparkle like it always does, and since it's not as clean as the HRD, a little bit of drive (just the slightest amount)

    one of the best tones I've ever heard.


    Which reminds me: If you're looking for an amp that fits all styles, you're going to have a little bit of trouble with the Vox. The AC15 has no EQ in the Normal channel, it's simply how much volume and how much gain you want (and tone cut, but does anyone use that? I can see it being useful for Jazz, but not much else)
    the Top Boost channel, the best part of the AC series, in my opinion, has Bass and Treble knobs, but as Vox points out in the owners manual, the Treble really just cuts the bass, and vice-versa.

    Point being: this amp kinda has one, very very good sound as far as tone goes. If you find yourself saying "gee, I wish I could tighten up the low end" or "the highs aren't quite as glassy as I'd like" then you're going to have to deal with it (or run stereo with an amp that fills these gaps in)
     
  19. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Cons - weight. "Crispy" high end. I don't know how else to describe it. Every Vox I've tried has it.

    Sounds beautiful when some folks play them - sounds terrible when I do. Very different high end than Fenders.

    But I keep coming back to the weight. Lotta weight for 15 watts. I have an Ampeg GVT52 (1x12 version) which weighs about the same. But it's a 50 watt amp with a 25 watt setting. I don't like that weight either but at least I can rationalize it when I'm getting 1 watt per pound (he he) in the deal. I like the tone and feel better to, but that's PURELY subjective.

    My bandmate uses an AC30 for (really) big shows and an AC15 for most stuff. Always sounds great. He's a humbucker guy. Maybe that helps. Or maybe he can dial them in better and his playing style (mainly rhythm, thin pick) helps too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  20. tarheelbob

    tarheelbob Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Go for it. It is a great amp that works oh-so-well with single coil guitars. I have a '68 Custom Princeton Reverb and the Vox AC10C1. I absolutely both of them. They do different things, and do them very well. Both hang well jamming with two other guitarists, and have gigged with both, both mic'ed and un mic'ed. Depends on the room and the band.

    The AC15 is a great value that cranks out some sublime tones. The lower price point was almost secondary for me choosing the AC10, but the weight savings is most welcome.

    - Bob
    [​IMG][/url][/IMG]
     
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