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Vox AC30: Handwired vs. Heritage?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by TonyAsh, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. TonyAsh

    TonyAsh TDPRI Member

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    I'm mostly curious from anyone who owns or has owned the Heritage AC30: what is super special about the EF86 channel in the Heritage amp? Is it something that is definitely worth having over the regular Normal channel in the Handwired? I own the Handwired with a Blue and a G12H30 in it and it sounds pretty great. The EF86 option just has me intrigued. I tend to play my amp pretty overdriven with channels bridged.

    YouTube demos abound for both amps, but it's honestly kind of hard to hear the difference.
     
  2. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The "normal" circuit in an AC30 is less gainy, "flatter" and "simpler" sounding than the "juicier" boost circuit. People who like the normal channel for gainy sounds using pedals often view it as a better pedal platform than the top boost.

    The EF86 can get a bit gainier and thicker, with more low-midrange content, than the top boost. If you want more gain options from the amp without pedals, having the EF86 and the top boost will probably suit you better.

    You could also explore a Matchless DC30 or a Bad Cat Black Cat 30 for slight variations on the top boost and EF86 circuits. The Black Cat 30 in particular has more controls, including a master volume on each channel so you can footswitch between the two channels with selected volume and gain settings. That is not true of the Vox or Matchless ones.
     
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  3. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    Not true of the older black cat 30 models either — single master volume, very hard to balance the channels. Doesn’t matter much to me as I feel like all the magic is in the EF86 channel anyway.
     
  4. blakestree

    blakestree Tele-Meister

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    My AC20 Deluxe is based on the AC30 normal channel. If I play straight through the amp I want to be on the EF86. If I'm using pedals I prefer the 12AX7.

    I, personally, would rather have the handwired.
     
  5. Treynor

    Treynor Tele-Holic

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    I can only answer 1/2 of your question. I own the Heritage AC15 and not the newer handwired. But as KC mentioned, the EF86 is pure magic to me. The TopBoost channel gets very little play time. NOT because I don't like it...it is actually quite nice. But because the EF86 channel just sound so incredible to me.
     
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  6. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just be warned - the heritage still uses some PCB assemblies. I don't think that's a concern personally but if you open it up expecting all tagboard and terminal strips you may be disappointed. I think the newer light fawn coloured ones are turrets and strips.
     
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  7. philthejuggler

    philthejuggler TDPRI Member

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    I own (at the moment!) an AC15 handwired heritage - I love the tones from the EF86 channel - breakup and full-on distortion sounds amazing.
     
  8. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tony; the EF86 sounds nothing like 12AX7 - not even close

    therefore YES; it's worth having; by all means. Like having 2 amps; really (a la Matchless C30)

    imho; this is the ULTIMATE Strat channel/tube: compressed in a stunning way; fat-fat-fat!
     
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