Vox AC10 vs Galileo Pedal

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by PettyFan, Jul 13, 2020.

  1. PettyFan

    PettyFan TDPRI Member

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    Hey all, was wanting some knowledgeable input on a decision I’m struggling with.

    I currently own two amps, an Orange Tiny Terror and a Blackheart Little Giant. Both go into an Orange 1x12 cabinet with a 60 watt Celestion speaker. All my playing is done at home, I don’t play publicly and don’t really have any plans to.

    I love the Vox tone and am considering selling the Blackheart to buy a VoxAC10.

    I have seen several videos on pedals that model the sound of an amp like the Galileo pedal or the Wampler Tweed ‘57. I’m wondering if I might get more flexibility by keeping the Blackheart as a pedal platform and purchasing a pedal to try to get the tone I want vs buying the AC10.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Honestly, I love the Vox amp tone also, but I've never been able to achieve it with an AC10C1 nor an AC15C1. Both are great sounding amps, and both sound similar, but the only Vox amp I've ever heard that has that classic Vox sound is the AC30. I've also had AC4TV, AC4C1-12, Night Train, and while they were all good amplifiers, I never noticed the classic Vox tone everybody talks about. Maybe I'm missing something?
     
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  3. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    By the "vox" tone, I assume that you mean the classic "top boost" channel from the '64 and later AC30 series amps?

    Interesting. You mentioned the AC10C1, AC15C1 and "AC30." I'm not sure what model of AC30 you are speaking of, but here is a synopsis of each of these amps vs. the classic "Vox tone" (Top boost channel)

    AC4C1 - This amp is all-tube and has the classic top boost channel. Vox screwed this one up with a 'bright cap' (C20) across the master volume, though. The VX10 speaker of the AC4C1-BL speaker (same as AC10C1) isn't bad either, but I have not heard the celestion 70/80 used in the AC4C1-12. This is solid state recitified and has the "ladder" style power supply with a lot of filtering in it, which might give it a stiffer feel. I converted my AC4C1-BL into a handwired amp with a "node" type power supply, lower filtering and it sounds great with the VX10 speaker.

    AC10C1 - This one has the top boost channel with the caveat that vox through a MOSFET in the first gain stage to save having to add another tube. Other than that, circuit wise, this should get the 'vox tone' but recordings of it never quite did it for me. It could be the smaller cabinet or the VX10 speaker that isn't quite getting it there, but the VX10 sounds good in the AC4C1-BL. This is also solid state rectified with a "ladder" style power supply.

    AC15C1 - This one has the top boost and normal channels a 12" speaker, plus trem and reverb. It can be found used for about the same cost as a AC10C1, so keep that in mind. The 12" speaker means you can get the greenback which is good sounding speaker, but the celestion alnico "blue" is where it is at for the classic 'vox tone' (inclusion of this speaker is what the 'X' indicates in the model number. Like the other amps in the "custom" series this is solid state recified with a ladder type power supply.

    AC30? - The classic 'top boost' was only available in the '64 and on AC30. This amp was tube rectifiedm choke filtered and had lower cap filtering and was fitted with 2 x 12" Celestion Alnico Blue speakers. It also had a "node" based power supply. If you want anything like this these days you'll need to get a "handwired" series amp or find a "custom classic" AC30 (not AC15CC1 which is more like the AC15C1).

    The classic 'vox tone' also consisted of an interaction to the volume and tone knobs where if they are both Maxed out, the create a notch filter. Vox has "corrected" this feature in its "custom" amps (the ones above with 'C' in their model names). The "custom classic" series AC30 had this switchable between "custom" and "classic" (notch filter) EQ modes.
     
  4. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

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    What Vox tone do you like?

    Beatles? U2? Queen? REM? Your favorite band not listed?

    Reason being is I think the Galileo was specifically modeled to get the Brian May sound. It may do the classic chimey clean thing, I don’t know, but I don’t think that was it’s purpose in the marketing.

    If you want the Vox vibe and to dip your toes in the water, maybe start with a Joyo AC Tone. Honestly, it’s a really good sounding pedal, and it’ll do the chimey thing, but it can also roar with the EQ set with more mids and bass and the gain turned up.

    I was on a similar journey and was very pleasantly surprised with the affordable AC Tone. Good solid quality too. Kinda glad I didn’t drop more. That may shape your tone to be Voxlike enough.

    If that doesn’t work for you, you may find you need the real deal and gotta have the amp.
     
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  5. PettyFan

    PettyFan TDPRI Member

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    Wow thanks for all the great replies! When I say “Vox tone” I should be more specific and say I specifically was looking for the Brian May tone but found I also preferred the Vox cleans to the Blues Jr. cleans (at least from what I can tell on YouTube). I’d love to go spend a couple hours in Guitar Center trying out amps but COVID has other plans.

    Really appreciate the breakdown of the different amps, I was concerned the AC15 would be too loud for my home use and I wouldn’t ever really get the tubes going enough. I have noticed that there isn’t much price difference between an AC10 and an AC15 used, from what I understand there’s a big weight difference though!
     
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  6. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, there is a huge difference in weight. That's why I got rid of my 15 and replaced it with a 10. The 10 sounds about the same.
     
  7. MacFangus

    MacFangus TDPRI Member

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    Get a AC15 Heritage + Crowther Double Hot Cake. If you can locate, grab the head and cabinet version. The Ampeg GVT15 + pedals is darn satifying as well. Use a 16 Ohm UK Celestion alnico blue.
     
  8. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, the AC10C1 is kind of the bigger brother of the AC4C1-BL. (The BL is the blue model with 10" VX-10 speaker.) You only gain a few more watts and a digital reverb, but you lose the pure tube signal path of the AC4C1. I suppose there is something to be said of the single-ended vs push-pull debate, but the AC10 is still pretty loud and I find the AC4 to be perfect for home practice.

    I'd love to find a used AC4C1-12 convert it to a handwired circuit and put in a Weber ceramic blue dog.

    Another thing the AC15C1 adds is a "cut" control, this can tame high frequency spikes that some people complain about with the top boost channel amplifiers.
     
  9. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The AC10C1 has a tube preamp and power amp. There is a MOSFET in the preamp, but it's still a tube preamp. No less an tube amp than a JCM800 with LEDs in the signal path. At this point "all tube" vs. "pure tube" is a distinction most people likely don't care about, as it's getting into hair-splitting territory.

    The AC4s, even the one with the 12in speaker, sound like small amplifiers. Absolutely no low-end response at all. The AC10 really delivers solid low-end, it's hard to believe that's only a 10 inch speaker in that thing. I actually preferred the sound of the AC4TV to the AC4C1-12.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  10. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    I know this is a touchy subject for you. I'm focusing on the "all-tube-signal-path" of the AC4C series. The AC15C and AC30C don't have an "all-tube-signal-path" either! Neither did the AC30CC, while the AC15CC did! BUT... vox skimped on the AC15CC1 by omitting the cathode follower on the top-boost channel.

    To me, the most important thing is having those three 12AX7 sections in the top-boost preamp: The first gain stage (which is MOSFET in the AC10C1), the second gain stage and the cathode-follower driving the tone stack (which is omitted from the AC15CC1). These are all present in the AC4C, AC15C and AC30C/AC30CC amps).

    The AC15C and AC30C/AC30CC amps have a mixing op-amp between the all-tube preamp and all-tube power amp. I actually attempted to bypass this on my AC30CCH, but ran into some phasing issues...

    I admit that Vox screwed up the AC4C series with the bright cap (C20) across the master volume. It sounds much better removed and costs nothing if you do it yourself.

    I think a more fair "AC4C vs AC10C" series test would be the AC4C1-BL and the AC10C1 with their VX-10 speakers - even better with and without the AC4C's C20 bright cap.

    One of these days, I'd like to build a better AC10C1 type amp with all-tube: using a cathodyne phase inverter instead of a long-tail pair - just to prove that it could have been done that way (no MOSFETs or op-amps).

    With all this being said- There is a reason I have built 3 all-tube AC4s and am currently finishing a JMI-era AC15-ish all-tube amp - including choke and tube rectifier!
     
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  11. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    This all makes it simpler to just go for the AC tone pedal option doesn't it!
     
  12. Otis Fine

    Otis Fine Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    $40 new. Less used. Pretty great.

    EAE376FE-7725-498D-BE73-CB34487EF77A.png
     
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  13. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi.

    This amp / circuit discussion is all pretty fascinating, if largely above my head, at least in terms of implication / result / effect.

    It seems the OP is concerned with an amp for home use. A while back I too was after a home use amp. I wanted something that sounded a little better than my home use THR10, especially for recording. Amazon Japan had, at that time, the Vox AC4C1-12 listed very competitively for probably the equivalent of around US$180. I too like the Vox sound, so I was very interested.

    I decided to go to a chain music store and try one out, thinking if I liked it, I'd get the cheaper one from Amazon. Cheeky? Maybe.

    Anyway, I tried one. I wasn't overwhelmed, yet I wasn't underwhelmed either. Satisfactory with a light sprinkling of disappointment I'd say. A sales guy told me I should try the hand-wired one next to it. I said no, I don't have 80,000 yen (US$750-ish) for a practice amp. He went away. Came past a little later and said he thought I really should try it, as it was a lot better. I said no again. Third time, I gave in.

    And that was that.

    The difference was startling. The sales guy smiled at me and said something like "Right, yeah?"

    I went across the road and sat in a cafe all depressed and, completely unable to afford the hand-wired amp, tried to rationalise the cheaper one - good enough, doesn't matter at low volume, it will probably sound the same recorded, etc. Nope, couldn't do it. It would have to the the AC4HW1 or nothing. No way I could ever settle for the AC4C1-12 now.

    Eventually I found a mint used one for 30,000 yen (US$280-ish). Kicks bottom. Every day.

    Things to note: while Top Boost, it kinda has a different circuit than the other AC4s, with both high and low inputs and, directly to the OP, a hot / cool switch which disengages one end of the tone stack, for the Brian May type thing. Bigger and better cab too, and a proper greenback.

    Allow me to be the persistent sales guy and suggest you try one if you can.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  14. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, I haven't talked much about the AC4HW. It currently sells at $850USD, just shy of the AC15C1X with alnico speaker! And $350 more than the AC10!

    The AC4HW and the AC4C1 are practically identical circuit-wise. I only see one difference and that is a cap (C21) across the plate load resistor of the "buffer" stage on the AC4HW - and of course the "hot/cool' switch and input jacks. I was even surprised to see the master volume bright cap on the AC4HW1! Yet, so many diss the AC4C1, but praise the AC4HW1. o_O

    I would say the difference between the two is likely the real plywood cabinet, better components and proper Classic 12" speaker - though no alnico blue option exists for the AC4HW.

    And regarding the AC4HW Hi/Lo inputs- The low just drops the guitars input signal by half- you can do that with your guitar volume pot. I did add a Hi/lo switch to my AC4C1-BL-to-Handwired conversion because I do like the Hi/lo option.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  15. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi.

    Yeah, I don't think I'd ever suggest a new one. Although, if you have the disposables, I guess, why not?

    I'm surprised about the bright cap. I'd read that it doesn't have one. Still, I did wonder and I remember having a quick look online for schematics not long after I got it, but I kept getting hits for the other ones or generic (older?) AC4 schematics. I suppose they're out there somewhere, but I gave up cos, basically, I couldn't be bothered.

    As I hinted at, I wasn't really dissing the regular AC4C1, just saying I found the AC4HW1 so much better. I guess I went in hoping for just a little bit more with the AC4C1.

    That's a good point about the cab / speaker, and I feel a bit silly now, cos originally I'd intended to speculate that the OP could get the AC4C1, snip the bright cap and run it into their existing Orange cab, which I think has a Vintage 30, possibly for basically the same effect. Do you think this would be a viable option?

    Pax/
    Dean
     
  16. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    I think the speaker is a key component to the "vox tone." I've never heard a top boost channel based amplifier played through a vintage 30. It's always worth a try.

    Speaking of speakers, the AC10C1's power tubes can present somewhat of a problem for speaker upgrades because of their orientation and the smaller cabinet, especially if you want to upgrade to the alnico types. As I understand it, then best option is a special weber ceramic speaker fitted with a 10" blue pup cone (but NOT the blue pup itself - it won't fit).
     
  17. MacFangus

    MacFangus TDPRI Member

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    For classic VOX, go with Celestion alnico blue. If you're using pre-amplifier distortion, and desire a tighter sound, but still want to keep that vintage vibe... try Guytron Big Tone speakers. The Vintage 30 was Celestion's attempt at making a alnico sounding ceramic, but missed the mark. The Guytron's are basically a corrected Vintage 30. Alnico blue sound with a tighter bottom-end. No mid-hump. IMO, they sound closer to a greenback.
     
  18. davenumber2

    davenumber2 Friend of Leo's

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    I had the AC4C1-BL and currently have the AC10 and there's just no comparison, even with running the AC4 through a 1x12 cab the AC4 still sounds small. The AC10 has a full sound with plenty of bass and is much louder.
     
  19. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    Too bad Vox doesn't make an AC10 head - I'd buy one to go with my vintage 8 ohm 2x12 cab. There is an AC15 head, but it's usually more expensive than the combo amp!

    In fact, maybe Vox should resurrect the AC10SRT :)

    [​IMG]
     
  20. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had an AC4C1-12 and I thought it sounded terrible... but from what I've seen on YouTube, the hardwired version is a completely different machine.
     
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