Vox amp - mod AC4TV or buy up?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by thx712517, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. thx712517

    thx712517 TDPRI Member

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    Hey everybody, I've got a Vox AC4TV (1/4 watt, 1 watt, 4 watt amp) that I'd like to play around with. I've never really done anything to an amp, always obsessed over the guitar itself.

    I'm playing a Jaguar Blacktop with Lollar P90s and 500k pots. I play all kinds of music (poorly!) from Johnny Cash to Beatles to more recent alternative. I tend to stick around 50s-60s stuff for the most part though. I don't have any pedals at the moment. To get distortion I usually max the volume on the amp and then roll up the volume on the guitar. It does get lost in the distortion if both are maxed out though.

    I've read about speaker swaps for the Vox to make it more Vox-y. Celestion Blue, Greenback, or Gold for example. What's the groupthink on this? Or should I avoid sinking a bunch of money into the AC4TV and go up to an AC15? I play at home so I don't need a monster amplifier. No need to aggravate the neighbors. I am interested in adding reverb, either through a pedal or through the amp.
     
  2. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

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    From your post I'm not sure what you are looking for.

    Do you want louder cleans?

    A different distortion sound?

    Or is it just GAS? :D

    Well, my AC4 is the head version so I can't speak about speaker swaps.

    For me, I play thru various speaker setups, 1X12, 2X12, 2X10, 2X8.

    At home in the studio for LOW VOLUME playing I love the 2X8.

    They are weber 8s in a deep cabinet, at low volume there is less power going to the speakers, There is more speaker movement in an 8" than a 12" so I hear more bass.

    Of course that doesn't help you much as to your original question.

    If you want more cleans then for a nominal fee you can change the preamp tube. That's the one thing that I did that made a huge difference. My AC4TVH has a 12AT7 in the preamp slot and for me, makes it a more usable amp overall.

    Since getting my Marshall 6101 I haven't played the AC4 much at all.
    I will plug it in today and give it a good listen to see if I hear anything else.

    For reverb, ah now that's a whole different thing.
    since getting the marshall, I put my '68 princeton reverb into the closet.
    The only thing that I missed was the reverb so I went on a massive reverb hunt.
    I settled on a Fender 6G15 tube driven reverb.
    Awesome sound.

    Best of luck
     
  3. thx712517

    thx712517 TDPRI Member

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    GAS mostly, to be honest. Distortion that doesn't get muddy. More British Vox-ness. Of course I could just get a tube screamer and a holy grail reverb and keep using what I've got, but the idea of swapping out a speaker sounds interesting.
     
  4. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

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    Since you stated you have the AC4TV, I'm assuming you have the 10" combo. The speaker in it is the cheap Celestion Custom for Vox 16Ω VX10, a cheap harsh, bright speaker with only a little bass response. If you're after the vintage 60's Vox tones, then either a Celestion G10 Gold or a Weber AlNiCo Blue Pup would be the speakers to use. If you want more of a 70's or woody tone, then a Celestion G10 Greenback or a WGS 10" Green Beret.

    Tubes will help also. The favored current production power tube is the JJ EL84. There are ood reports when using a good NOS tube (Brimmer!). If using modern production tubes,try several different ones. My favorite in my Voxes so far is the Tung Sol 12AX7.

    Some reports of a bit more headroom and more bass response when the output transformer was replaced with a bigger, better model.
     
  5. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

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    The Weber 10" British series are popular. I recently got a silver ceramic one and it's got all the Vox Chime covered...


    -tINY
     
  6. paratus

    paratus Friend of Leo's

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    IMO if you don't mind spending money you will never get back, go ahead and mod to your heart's content. Just realize that an AC4TV is pretty limited in what it can do, and even though a speaker swap and to a much lesser extent some tube rolling can change the sound of the amp, it is still a 4 watt amp. You might like it, you might not.

    You ask about just getting an AC15...IMO it would make a better platform for modding. I have one and I like it a lot. I don't use pedals with it, and it still has the stock Greenback. It has a very nice clean tone, is quite controllable at the edge of breakup, and when you turn it up it gets dirty. You may find the MV useful. if you need to play quieter.

    Good luck in your search!
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  7. MadJack

    MadJack Friend of Leo's

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    Nice thing about swapping speakers and tubes (and reverb tanks in the AC15C1), you can put the stock ones back in, if you want to sell it as stock. I don't consider compatible tubes or same sized (and same impedance) speakers a mod on an amp, any more that I consider stock sized tires of a different performance rating a mod to a car or truck.

    If you can do a transformer swap, then as most of the Voxes I've dealt with, use spade or quick connectors (available from Mouser), so no wire cutting of the stock transformer leads is needed. With the appropriate transformer, the most you might have to do, would be drill a mounting hole, for the larger transformer. This I consider a mod, but one that is simply reversed. When you start clipping, swapping or paralleling electronic components, you are in major mod territory, that could result in permanent damage.
     
  8. DannyStereo

    DannyStereo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Two things:

    1) What MadJack said, as always.

    2) An AC15C1 will piss off your neighbors. Period. If you're strictly at home, stick with the 4 and invest in a nice overdrive so you can have clean/overdrive.

    I've owned all variations of the AC4. Hands down the AC4C1-12 was the best of them all, after tube and speaker swap. You may consider one of the C1 AC4s, since they employ the current 'Top Boost' channel, which is higher gain and you get a Master volume, which I prefer over the power scaling on the TV model. Just a thought.
     
  9. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    Any mods for making the 8" combo less murky sounding when cranked?
     
  10. DannyStereo

    DannyStereo Poster Extraordinaire

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    You could try a 5751 in V1 and a different speaker, but in my experience, the single EL84 working to a boil just won't be super clear.
     
  11. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    It's mostly the lack of treble that bugs me about it honestly. It's like the tone knob is getting rolled back.
     
  12. Lunchie

    Lunchie Poster Extraordinaire

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    The AC4TV doesn't get any better with speaker/tube swapping. They are in need of a bigger badder cab. If you run it through a 112 with say a Greenback, you will probably be much happier. The Night Train 112 cabs can be had on the cheap and come with a Greenback in them.
     
  13. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

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    A bigger cabinet with a 12" speaker would be about the only worthwhile upgrade to get a better/bigger sound out of your AC4TV.

    When I owned a couple of Champion 600s I spent nearly $150 on mods and upgrades on one and left the other stock. The modded one sounded better but not enough to make me feel I hadn't wasted my money.

    My current little amp is an old Crate 508 converted into a lunchbox head. I run it through a cabinet with a Jensen C12K I took out of my DRRI. It sounds so much better that I use it for low volume gigs
     
  14. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    I recently got myself an AC15HW - and I love it!
    BUT, if all of your playing is in the house, you really don't need AC15.

    You'd be better off experimenting with some pedals (for OD, reverb, etc...) and maybe looking into an external cabinet for a 12" speaker.

    Of course, if you're looking for someone to help justify a new amp purchase, I can do that, too.
    :D

    An AC15C1 is a really nice amp (tried one out before buying my "HW") - plus you'd get your reverb built-in.
    And the Master Volume works very well in keeping the level reasonable when the neighbors are home.
     
  15. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    I'll add that I have the 8" speaker version, and it sounds fine when I'm playing alone. It just turns to mud when I play with a drummer.
     
  16. raf

    raf Tele-Afflicted

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    I really like my AC10C1. Affordable, has some jangle, pairs up nicely with my tele.
     
  17. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just did a cap mod on my AC4TV...

    ... and it now sounds very close to the normal channel on the AC15C1 I used to have. I replaced C5 with a capacitor of a higher value. It really opened-up the low end frequencies of the amp. That mod is discussed in this forum someplace.
     
  18. Monotremata

    Monotremata Tele-Afflicted

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    Screw the neighbors. Get the AC15C1.. Those things are killer. I love mine so much its replaced my JCM800 as my 'go to' amp for most things now.. But then again I also run it through the Marshalls 4x12 and that 'little 15 watts' keeps right up with the 50w 2204 I own. On its own, its still pretty damn loud. The Normal channel on 10 gets some pretty gnarly classic crunch you can control with your picking hand so easily..
     
  19. Heavy Blue

    Heavy Blue TDPRI Member

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    This^^^^

    To the op, idk jack about the AC4 but if it's like most of my other 3-5 watt experiences you'll never be happy with it. You can have good cleans or dirty overdrive...but not both.

    Like Monotremata, I have an AC15C1 and love it. Great cleans and like as Mono was referring to, the normal channel cranked is great. Most underrated amp channel ever. My neighbours must be more tolerant cause I've never had a problem with them, in 2 different cities. I do want to get an attenuator though so I can crank the top boost channel as it is simply too loud cranked at home cause it'll hurt the ears. You oughta hear it through a Z-Best cab, it's great! :D Still miss the Carmen Ghia that went with it though. Oh to have the time back...

    All that being said if I was in the op's shoes I'd seriously consider an AC10 as well. It wasn't out yet when I bought my 15 plus I got a killer deal on it (roughly the same price or even a bit lower as an AC10). No normal channel or tremolo though.
     
  20. ozcal

    ozcal Tele-Holic

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    i had an ac4 tvh... i thought it sounded like @ss compared to my ac15c1... granted the ac15 is not going into the stock greenback... i like the greenback but i have a 65amps 2 x 12 cab (blue and g12h30)... sounds awesome...

    sold the ac4 and couldn t be happier...
     
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