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Vox AC10C1 tube replacement

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by dcos, Jun 6, 2019.

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  1. dcos

    dcos Tele-Meister

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    Thinking of changing the tubes in my Vox AC10C1. It's always sounded a little on the bright/harsh side and I like a warmer tone. Any suggestions?
     
  2. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Explore changing the speaker.

    For the valves, V1, try a JJ 5751 or 12AX7. V2, may as well leave in what's there. V3&V4, a matched pair of NOS 6p14p-EV

    The JJ are, to my ears ( bear in mind everyone has different perceptions ) noticeably less bright than the Shuguang/Ruby your amp comes with. I prefer the 5751. It has a little less gain. V1, the first valve in the chain, is the money valve. V2 could be left as it is, but if you want to play around, try and get hold of a Sovtek 12AX7LPS. Sovtek/EHX also produce ear pleasing valves.
    For NOS, don't discount the Japanese made valves. They're still inexpensive due largely to snob value, but thet were produced on the same machinery, using the same materials as American and European valves of the same time frame. The Toshiba and Matsushita products are very good indeed.
    If you can find a vendor you trust, a NOS America/European valve may answer all your tonal questions.

    The power stage has limited benefits from a change, but the 6p14p and its suffixed variants has a really sweet character when driven. Where the Shuguang/Ruby Sino valves get harsh, the 6p14p gets down to business!. I will freely admit to being something approaching a fanboi of them, as they are fitted to both my EL84 amps, and I won't go back.

    The Sovtek EL84 is a fine valve and the JJ has many fans too. All preferable ( to my ears ) to the Sino valves when pushed into loud territory.

    You may be better served looking at replacing the stock speaker though. The Celestion fitted is pretty close to/is a Ten-30, which isn't too bad when fully bedded in. Nothing special, nothing ghastly, but those first few hours?, bright and harsh when pushed. Over time, they do improve to the point you forget about them. One problem you may run into though is space within the cabinet. It's tight in there.

    Do you have a cab you can hook the amp up to to check?
     
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  3. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Another vote for speaker. I don't look to specific brands of tubes as a tone shaping component.
     
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  4. cm3ohana

    cm3ohana TDPRI Member

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    Having had Fender and Vox amps, I've found Vox amps, in general to be brighter. If you're looking to tame the brightness, I agree with others that a speaker swap is going to provide you more tone change than a tube swap.
     
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  5. mtjo62

    mtjo62 Tele-Holic

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    You can't just swap any speaker in the AC10 because of the chassis layout. Do a search here on speaker swaps. I think Weber or WGS does have a speaker that will fit. On the easier side, try some JJ 12AX7s. To my ear they tend to have a rounder top end. Avoid the Sino tubes as they are bright.
     
  6. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have an AC15. My experience was different than most other people here. I swapped the tubes for JJs and honestly could not tell the difference. I love the Greenback speaker- not sure which one is in the AC10. I find the tone cut knob allows you to tune the brightness to taste.
     
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  7. dcos

    dcos Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for all advice. I have a Greenback speaker. It was extremely harsh when new, but has tamed a lot over time. Still not a real warm tone though, but maybe I'm just not going to get that out of a Vox.
     
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  8. mtjo62

    mtjo62 Tele-Holic

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    You might consider a set of 6P14P-EV output tubes. I found them warmer than most available EL84s. You can get them on Ebay for fair prices. Also, try a 5751 in the V1 position. You wont lose any volume but you will get more range on the gain pot before it gets dirty. The AC10 will never have clean headroom like a Fender. When I had mine I dimed the master and found a sweet spot on the gain and used my guitar volume to adjust from there.
     
  9. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    4” is max speaker depth.

    If I kept my AC10 I was going to put a ceramic Red Fang in mine.

    But I didn’t so I didn’t ...
     
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  10. tarheelbob

    tarheelbob Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I found a simple tube swap, going with a 5751 in V1, like vintagesg said, really helped. Here's what I put in my AC10, and was very pleased at the nice little bit of "fullness" it gave the amp. Nothing too radical.

    upload_2019-6-6_18-34-48.png
    Good speaker choices are out there, too, though limited a bit due to the chassis confuguration. I have to say, the stock speaker in this amp is very well suited and matched for the AC10.

    - Bob
     
  11. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    FYI: In my Vox amp, the stock tubes, and the Tung Sols I replaced then with were similar. But I used JJ's once in the preamp and it lowered the available gain a bit and took some of the "edge" off.
     
  12. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Your amp is the topboost channel of a vintage AC. That's what they do. A sweet chime is the ideal.

    Try running treble a bit lower, and if at low volume bass a little higher. Topboost cut a little more.
     
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  13. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Holic

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    I strongly suggest trying other speakers. I recently got one of these and really did not like the stock speaker (I know, break it in) and plugged it up to a 1x12 with a G12H in it and the sucker sounds wayyyy better. I'd haul it into a Guitar Center or whatever is nearby and just use it like a weird shaped head to try out different cabs with it before retubing. I think you'll find way more change in the top end harshness doing that.
     
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  14. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Speakers make the most difference. You’re unlikely to hear a sudden noticeable change in tone from merely swapping to a different brand but same value tube. A tube is a valve and valves open and close. That’s all they do. Some are made a bit better than others but in the end, they open and close.
     
  15. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    How does the tone knob on your guitar work with it? It's a low-cost experiment.....
     
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  16. dcos

    dcos Tele-Meister

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    Well, I replaced my stock tubes with JJs, not just chasing better tone, but something started to distort. Replacing the tubes fixed that problem and to my ears the amp does sound warmer and fuller. Not a ton, but it is noticeable and I like it better.
     
  17. MrMatt1972

    MrMatt1972 TDPRI Member

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    Bumping up an old thread here...

    I bought an AC10C1 last week. After reading a few threads I thought I'd try a tube swap. I was pleasantly surprised to see that mine came stock with JJs! I put an EHX12AX7LPS in for the first preamp tube. It helped lower some noise (gotta love the spiral filament). The tone didn't really change though.

    I am thinking of a speaker swap. I have hooked it up to the 410 cab for my Peavey classic. It is godawful bright and super loud in that iteration.

    I have a well broken in 16 ohm greenback and an empty 1x12 cab. Think i might just try that.
     
  18. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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  19. havlma1

    havlma1 Tele-Meister

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    In my case the change in V1 for Tung-Sol and power tubes for JJs helped to make the amp sound less harsh and more pleasant. But another significant change was to replace the VX10 speaker with Celestion VT-Junior. The VX10 sounded OK in lower volumes for clean sounds, but was harsh with all OD/DS I have. Playing loud it was very ice-picky and boomy at the same time. The VT-Junior has better low end and singing but not ice-picky highs. There was only small difference when newly installed, but later on I have changed both speakers again and with the break-in period the VT-Junior become significantly better. I was thinking of getting Greenback too, just to try it, but now I think I probably won't do it :)
     
  20. JamesAM

    JamesAM Tele-Meister

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    I had an AC10 and I loved that thing, but the stock EL84s went microphonic in about 6 weeks. Went with JJs and the sound improved noticeably, especially when turned up- was a bit more creamy and less stiff/sterile. Had a bit more vox character (and less squealing like a stuck hog).
     
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