1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Vox AC4HW1 vs AC15C1X

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by aaronjcurtis, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. aaronjcurtis

    aaronjcurtis TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    35
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking at adding the Vox sound into my rig, but have a budget of $1000 (CDN).

    Through my online research and playing of Vox's, I've come up with the AC4HW1 and AC15C1X, both of which are the same price. While I know we're not really comparing apples to apples here given the AC4 hand wired would be more of a home/recording amp and the AC15 (w/blue) can be used generally more so at the rehearsal/gig level, I'd still like some input from anyone who may have owned both.

    Tone is obviously important to me, as is the build quality, which is why the AC4HW1 came into the picture. I've heard some issues with the Chinese made Custom line, though it doesn't seem to be too much of a concern. I'm also not necessarily sure I'll do a lot of rehearsing or gigging with the Vox, but you never know (the AC15 would future proof that I guess). The size and weight of the AC4 line appeals to me, but then the Celestion Blue in a Vox does as well.

    Any thoughts from anyone that could help me to finally pick one?

    Thanks all,
    Aaron
     
  2. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,667
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Location:
    Somewhere in the middle of the flippin country
    OK, this won't really help you out much but giving you my experiences with a few Vox amps.. remember this is just my point of view and not an end all to these amps listed below

    I had the following amps, still own the last one...

    AC4TVH with matching 1x12 Vox speaker cab - I traded for, without really listening closely to it - overall the worse amp I've even owned by far - thin sounding, just not something I could ever have liked -GONE

    AC10C1 - I really did like this amp and most likely would still have it other than I trade another amp for the one listed below, so why keep both - it was a bit on the trebley side of things but sounded much better than it actually looked - looked so small and little but fire it up and watch out, it could really produce... and with plenty bass to boot

    AC15HW1X - this amps is really a great amp... build quality, sound, you name it - a few things the amp has for controls are no use to me (cool/hot is one of them) but all and I this amp is a keeper - I think I saw either this amp or the AC30 on stage a few weeks ago (Cheap Trick)

    So knowing that and my experience with my AC4, I'd either move to the AC10 or higher. But maybe the handwired is SO much better than the one I had it doesn't matter.

    Good luck!
     
    savofenno and aaronjcurtis like this.
  3. aaronjcurtis

    aaronjcurtis TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    35
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Thanks!

    I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if the hand-wired is that much better, and so if you're going to get something get the HW over a "non" HW even though your budget constraint means you're getting the 4 watt one. Seems people really love both of these amps for somewhat different reasons.
     
  4. blowery

    blowery Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    332
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Location:
    CO
    I just recently did a Tube vs SS shootout in this forum. I did not like the AC15CC1X (slightly different than the model you are looking at) at all. I also read something about the Blue not being a true Celestion blue if it's Vox labeled.

    I would go HW version all day imo. That also depends on how much clean headroom you need. I'm not a big fan of tubes and PCB unless really done right.
     
    asnarski and DonnyDorsal like this.
  5. aaronjcurtis

    aaronjcurtis TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    35
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Thanks. I have a lot of clean headroom on my Fender PRRI, so that's not all that important. I'm really just after a cool amp, with a cool sound (Vox!) to add to the rig. The more I think about it the more I'm leaning towards the HW version so I can drag it around the house from studio to living room depending on the vibe I'm feeling at the moment.

    Is the build quality on the HW series that much better?

    Cheers,
    AC
     
  6. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,001
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2014
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Yes! The HW will last a lifetime with proper maintenance every 10 years and power tube replacement every 2 years. The AC15C1X looks like a computer circuit board inside and is built to a price, not to a certain quality level.
     
    DannyStereo and aaronjcurtis like this.
  7. blowery

    blowery Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    332
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Location:
    CO
    Well in reality, the one that sounds best to you is the best.

    However if I didn't need the clean headroom, I'd get a HW amp all day over a PCB amp. Actually if I were tube shopping, I would get a HW over PCB. I'm really liking the Princeton RI, but those PCB just annoy me in a tube amp.
     
    aaronjcurtis and bparnell57 like this.
  8. aaronjcurtis

    aaronjcurtis TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    35
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Fair enough (re: the one that sounds the best). I didn't actually get to play any wattage of the HW series as there's none available at almost every store I can find. I played the AC15 (with the greenback) and really liked the sound of it. Given the AC4HW1 comes with the same speaker I'm sure I'd be pleased with it. As I've heard so much about the Celestion Blue being the "go-to" speaker for the Vox sound, I've been sitting on the fence as to whether I go with the HW 4 watt for the build quality or the AC15 with the blue for that speaker. I guess I can get the AC4HW1 and swap out the speaker too.... I may have answered my own "1st world dilemma". ;)
     
  9. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,001
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2014
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    It's cheaper to buy a greenback equipped AC15 and a separate Made in UK Celestion Blue.

    An AC4HW with a real UK Blue is an amazing amp.
     
    SPOT likes this.
  10. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,667
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Location:
    Somewhere in the middle of the flippin country
    My amp may have the Vox labeled blue but it still sounds SO sweet... I'd pick the Vox labeled blue one over the Green back any day of the week. Yes, HW on any amp if you can find and afford it. I have to say the handwired AC15 i have can get mighty crunchy if you engage the MV at really lower volumes. The best of all worlds, plus you have the option of 7 or 15 watts. You can have cleans at higher volumes or bring it all down to play in your house perfectly. This amp sounds so good that my vintage Fenders are starting to collect dust!
     
    bparnell57 likes this.
  11. Lando27

    Lando27 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    118
    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Location:
    Ottawa
    I have the Voc AC15C1 and it's my go to amp. Different speaker than the 1X yes, but still great.
    I did a full review of it for my channel:


    Hope this helps.
    :)
     
  12. aaronjcurtis

    aaronjcurtis TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    35
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    Cool, thanks. I really liked the AC15C1 that I tried at the store, while it didn't have the Celestion Blue in it, it sure did sound good. At this point still leaning towards the AC4HW1 as I have a larger 15 watt amp already with tremolo and reverb (65 PRRI w/Cannabis Rex 12"), and to be able to swing something around the house easily would be nice. Still looking to find out if anyone thinks the Celestion Blue in the AC15C1X is a must over the AC4HW1, but that's not really coming out of the responses I'm reading so far. Seems to me the AC4HW1 would be a good starting point to get into a Vox amp, and if I like it that much and want to switch one out as my rehearsal/gigging amp I could easily move into any one of the AC15s, including a HW version if I have the $.

    Cheers,
    AC
     
    Lando27 likes this.
  13. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,205
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Location:
    Philly
    A quick disclaimer--I do not own a Vox AC 4 or AC15.

    Even though the AC 4 and AC 15 are Vox amps and share some similar tonal characteristics, the AC 4 is not a 4 watt AC 15 even when run through the same speaker. I found out that an AC 15 is not a half-power AC 30 when I compared them a few years back.

    If you really prefer the sound of an AC 4 run through a 12" to the AC 15 then it will be a good choice. But I suspect that you'll like the AC 15 better. I
     
  14. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,730
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    Location:
    Dallas
    I have a AC4C1-BL that I really liked until I tried the AC4HW. Because of the 12" speaker, it is noticeable louder but you can turn up the gain and turn down the volume to get crunch at lower volumes. Unlike the poster above, I am addicted to the "hot" switch which bypasses the tone stack and lets this thing get louder still.

    Right now, I have a pedal with stereo out and I am running one side to the Vox and the other to a Gries 5 (Champ clone). I can bypass the tone stack on both of them and it just sounds epic to have them running at the same time.

    Now I am saving up for a A/B/Y splitter.
     
  15. Nickfl

    Nickfl Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,554
    Joined:
    May 24, 2016
    Location:
    Florida
    I have an AC4C1-bl that I have had for about a year. It is ok, but that is about as far as I would go. There are some good sounds in there but they are hard to dial in and relatively few. The only reason I haven't sold it is that I don't have anything else that isn't overpowered for home use, but once I do it may be going back on CL.

    If the hand wired ac4 is a totally different circuit then maybe its worth considering, but if it is just the same thing with a 12" speaker and no PCB I would pass.
     
  16. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    6,463
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Athens-GREECE
    The AC4HW1 is a MUCH MUCH better amp.
    In fact it is a fantastic amp and perfectly gigable if you mic your amps.
    I adore mine.
     
    aaronjcurtis likes this.
  17. aaronjcurtis

    aaronjcurtis TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    35
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    I believe it would be safe to say the hand-wired amp has a different circuit. Please anyone correct me if I'm wrong there...
     
  18. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,730
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    Location:
    Dallas
    From what I understand, it is the same basic circuit but with the hot/cold switch to disable the tone stack. Having had both the AC4C1-BL and the AC4HW, I would say that is about right. It must be the 12" speaker, as it sounds bigger than the blue one.

    I seem to remember seeing someone in Norah Jones band using a mic-ed AC4C1-BL.
     
  19. johnnyha

    johnnyha Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,404
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2013
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    It was Norah Jones.

    I have an AC4HW and it is a fantastic, first quality amp. Good enough that I put a Blue in it. They are actually built in Vietnam, not China. It sports a real wood, extra large cab with an open back, so it sounds much better imo than the ac4C1-12. I have seen several on Reverb and CL for about $600, that's a good deal if you can find it. The AC15 is also a great amp so you can't go wrong, but the AC4HW will last a lifetime and just has a better build quality all around. Also within your budget is a used AC15HW which gets excellent reviews, altho not as portable. I have a 2007 AC15HTVH Heritage head which is hard to find, but for around $800 for my money the best Vox amp around with the purest Vox tone and also sporting an amazing EF86 channel.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
    aaronjcurtis likes this.
  20. DannyStereo

    DannyStereo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,052
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2014
    Location:
    Kelso, Washington
    The AC4HW looks like an amazing amp. I've only owned Chinese Voxes, but I gotta tell you, I'd snatch that hand wired AC4 over the C1X in a heartbeat. Truthfully, you're talking about an 11 watt difference, plus the fact that they are BOTH VOXES. headroom isn't the name of the game in a mid-soaked Vox circuit.

    Sure, there's a little clean with a little hair built into them, and in fact that's my favorite sound out of a Vox, but you won't get Twin cleans out even an AC30. Plus 4 watts tube working an efficient speaker is pleeeeeenty loud for most rooms, especially mic'd up.

    Go with the 4 dude. You'll love it!
     
    aaronjcurtis likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.