Vox AC10C1 tone

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by dcos, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    805
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2018
    Location:
    Switzerland/France
    TL:Dr = Revalve to JJs transforms the AC10. Ditch the stock tubes asap!

    An update to my last posts, where I wasn't so happy with my Vox AC10 and had put a Marshall Origin 20 on order...

    I carried on with the Vox while waiting for the Marshall, but I continued to be disappointed... maybe it was just me, but unless it was cranked (way too loud for my apartment) it just didn't 'sing'. When played at low volumes I have also had lots of speaker 'flub', where saturation or very thick tones just made the speaker overload.

    To give you my usual settings - I usually play with the gain about 12 or 1 o'clock, with the master volume rolled off to keep it room friendly - this gives me a nice start of break up, bass at zero, treble at nothing. The only pedal I then really use is a Spark EQ boost to push my tone into overdrive (I sometimes use a TS808 too but not so often). I usually play a Tele on the bridge pickup with the tone rolled back to give a Zep/Cream kind of blues/rock tone, or 50/60's reissue strats with Texas Specials.

    My recent adventures started with I bought a VM 72' thinline Tele with humbuckers - which I absolutely love, and then finally I found a new Epi Les Paul that I loved to play.

    The Vox just hated the humbuckers :( It started to sound like a box or bucket full of angry hornets all the time. And the speaker just flubed out when there is a any kind of saturated signal at low volume. It really sounded off.

    As the Marshall was delayed another month until April, I bought a JJ Tubes revalve kit from Watford Valves to see if the anecdotes were true and each Vox needs new tubes out of the box...

    The positives: In short, the amp is vastly vastly improved. With the JJs the tone is transformed - it's much much warmer, rounder - the Vox chime is now there even at low volumes. It still sounds nicer with single coils, but the humbuckers now come through, with each note much more present and distinct.

    The Negatives: With the new tubes and depth, the speaker doesn't keep up :( I am still getting speaker 'flub' at low volumes, but now when playing clean too, not just with saturation - the warmth and roundness of the tone overwhelms the speakers when played at room volume.

    Also, the treble can be ice pick like, especially with the EQ boost pedal - switching from neck to bridge pickups on any of my guitars is quite jarring. I've had to roll the amp treble back to zero, and also rollback the tone to next to nothing all my guitars. I recon that in a larger room it would sound better with room to breather - but for small spaces it is very very bright.

    As it looks like I'll keep the amp for now, I think I'll be looking at a new speaker to match the tube upgrade - something much darker than the one in there!

    As for the Marshall... I paid for it in Jan, but it's slipped each month, with the date now at 10th April at the earliest (but that batch seems to be sold out), so as I now have a LP too, I changed the order to a DSL20CR (12" speaker), which should arrive on Monday!
     
  2. schotter611

    schotter611 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    711
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Location:
    Berlin
    hmmmm. I found my AC10 to be somewhat bassy at lower volumes. It could get bright but only with treble above 1.00-2.00. Put it up on a folding chair and that tamed the bass. I could imagine it to be on the bright side when pointing directly at you. It still has the stock speaker and tubes except an EH preamp 12ax7 and the change was very subtle.
     
  3. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,687
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Location:
    philly suburbs
    Hey Marc, do you have a dirt pedal you like? Try maximizing the master and using the gain as your volume control, set the tone knob flatter than you’re used to. The ‘10 likes to run with the power hot. YMMV, just a suggestion [emoji41]
     
  4. hongaku

    hongaku Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,121
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    Location:
    Oakton, VA, USA
    Speaker: either a Celestion G10 Vintage (basically a 10” Vintage 30) or an Eminence Red Fang, custom ordered for 16 ohm (it’s only like 10 bucks more). A 16 ohm Eminence Lil Buddy might be a good choice too. Ditch the greenback for sure though.
    And yes, max the master and use the gain control as the volume control.
     
    marc2211 and tarheelbob like this.
  5. Kontaktmoi

    Kontaktmoi Tele-Holic

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    578
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2018
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    I never buy an Amp without actually listening to it for a few hours playing one of MY guitars so I know what that guitar sounds like. This has served me well. Same with buying guitars..some "talk" to me others don't.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
    marc2211 and hongaku like this.
  6. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    805
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2018
    Location:
    Switzerland/France
    Yes, totally agree - I always buy after playing in store. I played the Vox extensively before buying, but it sounded different at home :(

    I changed the Marshall order to a DSL20, which has been the only amp I've bought without playing first - I've not been disappointed.

    Now to change the Vox speaker! :)
     
  7. jorbjorb

    jorbjorb Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    359
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    I tried one in store and I liked what I heard. My advice is to get a P90 pickup and run it through an overdrive into the Vox.
     
  8. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    805
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2018
    Location:
    Switzerland/France
    Many thanks, I'll definitely give this a go!
     
  9. Kontaktmoi

    Kontaktmoi Tele-Holic

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    578
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2018
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    IMG_0706.JPG
    Especially the smaller combo amps are susceptible to sounding different based on the actual LOCATION of the amp around you. Put the amp up to our ear level and it sounds one way, put it down on the floor and you have a complete different sound. Try both ways. Also they are closed back BUT they do have a "bass" port in the back... DO NOT put the amp against a wall, allow for 1/2 foot of space if at all possible and you will get the intended sound. Remember, the sound will only come from the front of the speaker. Make sure you realize that the " sound-cone" is pointing in the appropriate direction. And, there is a HUGE interaction between the bass and treble setting as well as between the Gain and the (master) volume settings. Lots of folks in these forums have disclosed their personal settings. Most of them are pretty similar. Treble and bass both between 10-2, or even 11 and 1 on the dial. In fact individually these setting have huge sound difference even between 11 1/2 and 12 for instance. So set TREBLE first AT THE VOLUME YOU PLAN TO PLAY, then feed the BASS in with the Bass Knob to your liking.
    On volume, you are in fact setting loudness AND " grit" (setting clean / distorted tube sound). Start off with setting the clean tone, dime the (Master) volume completely and set volume, ( you will need a small amount of Gain in order for the amp to produce sound of course)., now feed in the Gain...This control will feed a clean signal / sound for setting up to about 11 o'clock and that is also where the max volume seems to occur. Further increasing the dial gets you more grit and little or no additional volume. Too much volume? just dial the Volume back a little.
    For me, I drive the input (guitar) with a Boss Blues Driver BD-2 to get the best sound-to-noise ratio into the preamp, in my setup, the BD-2 is maybe 10 % louder. Do that test by clicking the pedal in and out multiple times and set the volume of the BD-2 slightly higher.

    That is the way I get my sound.

    Don't change the speaker, break it in for 30-40 hours at medium / high volume and you may get a pleasant surprise. That speaker is really GOOD.

    And lastly, some people adjust sound volume (loudness) with their guitar volume knobs and their over-driven sound just occurs at full volume where a simple small turn of the knob reduced the grit. That works very well but it does have the consequence that it does change your sound somewhat. I only play with full guitar volume. My sound stays put that way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
    Coldacre and marc2211 like this.
  10. SaintSilas

    SaintSilas Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    182
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Location:
    Nashville/Los Angeles
    Agree with Bob. It's a great amp but you need to use the EQ, gain and volume in a different way than you may be used to on this amp. Sometimes extreme settings will bring out the magic depending on your guitar. Push those tubes... definitely change the tubes first thing. Also don't forget about the knobs on your guitar..they are there for more than turning up full blast. I do have the greenback and prefer it as well. Good luck. Tons of great amps out there....I love my Princeton as well!
     
    tarheelbob and Birdseye like this.
  11. TC 57

    TC 57 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    78
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Location:
    England
    Have you felt how warm the top plate and back get ??
     
  12. TC 57

    TC 57 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    78
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Location:
    England
    The' bass ' port at back is actually a ventilation slot...trust me
     
  13. Kontaktmoi

    Kontaktmoi Tele-Holic

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    578
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2018
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    Ventilation = the movement of air... this can happen because of pressure ( sound waves because of speaker cone movement) , temperature changes (heat rises) and the combination of the two. Nothing new but it works. Have you seen the port system on speakers like Bose?? Seem sound finds it's way around almost all bends and openings.
     
  14. dcos

    dcos Tele-Meister

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    134
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2018
    Location:
    Sand Lake, Michigan
    Changed the tubes is my AC10C1 to JJ's and the sound to my ears is warmer and fuller. I recently bought a 2005 Fender Blues Jr. which I like a lot for those clean Fender tones, but when A/B'd side by side, I can make the Vox sound really similar to the Fender. Overall, I think the Vox has more versatility because I can make it sound like the Fender, but not so much the other way around.
     
    Coldacre likes this.
  15. Pabodie

    Pabodie NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2020
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Do you think an attenuator mod could be pulled off? I've never cracked open the cabinet on mine, but I really want those full volume tones at room level.
     
  16. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    4,901
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Hendersonville, TN
  17. ADK Teleman

    ADK Teleman Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,576
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Location:
    A-Bay NY
    I have an AC10C1VS which I find absolutely fantastic! I don’t have to use much in the way of pedals only an MXR Carbon copy and Univibe. The natural overdrive gives me all the grit I need for my style of playing. Plus it has more than enough volume for where my band gigs. If we need more we mic everything.
     
  18. zeke54

    zeke54 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,015
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Location:
    central calif.
    I bought a used AC10C1 at GC out of curiosity and for the 45 day trial period ( plus it was a good deal ) . For the past 4 years or so my main amp has been a Laney VC15 . Don't gig anymore just get together with friends for sh**z 'n giggles . The Vox did have that great chime to it , but other than that I still liked the Laney , more versatile with 2 channels . Tried to bond with the Vox for 40 days , just couldn't bond so back it went . Then I saw a Vox night train 15 on ebay and bought it , really happy with the NT , run it through an open back cab with 2 10s . I took it to a friend's house to compare it with his '66 Vox Berkeley ( tube model ) , I took my OCD just to add a little girth . The two amps sounded amazingly similar , really sweet tone out of both .
     
  19. TC 57

    TC 57 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    78
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Location:
    England
    try bass at 2 treble at about hal way. This amp is at its best with single coils or low output HB s ..a Strat .Tele ...maybe P90s .
     
  20. dalezjc

    dalezjc TDPRI Member

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    83
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Love my AC10. Just keep playing it and it'll come around.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.