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Vox "chime" - does it exist outside of internet forums?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by 3-Chord-Genius, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've owned the following Vox amps: AC15C1, AC4-TVH, AC4C1-12, AC10C1, and NT-15H. Each of these amps has been described in reviews, and forums, as having the "famous Vox chime". I convinced myself of this with each one I've owned.

    They're good amps; nonetheless, right now I don't have any of them and I can look at it from a distance: I really never heard anything "chimy" about these amps, any more so than any other amp. Some people online commented that you need to use a "chimy" guitar like a strat. That makes sense, but then isn't the chime from the guitar, not the amp?

    With the AC4TVH in particular, I listened very closely, for great lengths of time, and thought perhaps I found the chime, but it may have just been me hoping I heard it.

    So, if none of us had heard of the term "Vox chime", and just bought one of these amps, would we hear it chime?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  2. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    I'd say a lot of things are like that in regards to electric guitar terminology. For instance, I don't find a Tele especially "Twangy" through a Marshall stack. Seems like when people use that term it refers to how a Tele sounds through a Fender combo amp.
     
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  3. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Originally, or at least, a ways back, I understood "chime" to mean upper-midrange with a bell-like quality. Hard to describe, you know it when you hear it. Vox and Marshall have a lot of upper-midrange content in their sound. Orange, too. You could also say the amps "sing", there's a vocal quality to those amps. Duane Allman certainly had some chimey moments with his Marshalls. The term has been over-used, just like "scooped" midrange has been over used. Under-experienced players are looking for extreme examples of these sounds ... most of them are fairly subtle in reality.
     
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  4. GFrank

    GFrank Tele-Meister

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    Get yer hearing checked
     
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  5. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Hold on a second I've got some belly button lint the chime listeners could study.......
     
  6. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    You say "chime"...I say good clean tone with slight breakup and plenty of treble...

    ;)

     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
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  7. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

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    I dislike that term. Pigeon holing a amp maker brand like that limits the possible purchaser demographic.
    I have an AC30 that I crank up and drive with an overdrive or treble booster and it’s anything but chimey.
     
  8. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Is Vox using the term? Or are players? Should they not? (Freedom of speech ...)

    BTW, I know that only refers to Gov't ... so censure?
     
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  9. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Roger McGuinn, Marty Willson-Piper

    Don't know about the Chinese amps. Need popcorn.
     
  10. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    AC15 owner. I always found the term chime kind of strange for the Vox. I'm going to use some subjective tone words here. I would refer to the "chime" as the high treble breakup on clean sounds in a sparkling and sizzling fashion. There's this sparkling and raspy high end breakup while the majority of the signal stays a little cleaner.
     
  11. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I disagree ... but I think Wally could fix that.
     
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  12. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Topboost (or EF86). Celestion Blue. This vid is a bit telling. It's not even a Vox amp but shows how endemic the speaker is if you want to nail certain tones. Chime clean especially is no NFB and cranked upper mids via topboost. Normally those two things on a Marshall or Fender can cause horrible overtones. Not on the Vox.



    To me, upper mids, the way a Blue sounds is the key. If you use lots of pedals it's probably not that different to other amps.
     
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  13. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    You're missing the AC30 in there don't you?
    There's not such a thing as a generic Vox chime, the chime does only exist in AC30s and when they are cranked to almost full and no distortion, or very little. My finding is:

    1. It's only heard on cleaner signals cranked up on AC30s. Make that even certain select AC30s.
    2. Only with vintage specs or lower output single coil pickups. Teles, strats, Brian May guitars, Burns and the like.
    3. Les Pauls with P90s or HBs? Forget it!

    It is a sales hype, myth that there's a generic "vox chime".

    As I've understand it, it seems to be mostly present in the compressed side of the output tubes, that consists of a little sag. I've heard select pieces when Brad Paisley plays (he's not even using AC30s) some of his amps that has this zzzzzing, or even buzzzz inside the decaying notes. Onomatepoetically is sounds like there's an underlying "zzzzzzzzzzz" that rings together with the note. Like there's something physically buzzing inside the tubes at the same frequency as the actual note. But really, it isn't. Just an imaginative metaphor. On the opposite end, I've never heard Brian May produce any "AC30 chime" because he plays them full on with distortion. Still he uses 3 of them, and SC pickups.

    I think by and large it's a phsycoacoustic phenomenon, and it is a sweet spot, that combines whenever guitar, pickups, and settings on the amps hits it, and gels. Just at a select sweet spot. But definitely not heard on lower volumes. And as demonstrated by mr Paisley, there are other amps that can do this too, of course.
     
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  14. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes.
     
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  15. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    If I only had $3500 laying around that wasn't going to be spent on "the house". (sigh)

     
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  16. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like the sound of that amp with BOTH speakers! ( a good player will do that!)

    I can't explain how they do it but I do hear some of that 'Vox Chime' ( clean or dirty) in my little SS Vox Pathfinder - mine has a Vox/Celestion 8" Bulldog that came out of a Cambridge 15, which may contribute, but not sure...

    Something just harmonically richer ( talking Clean tone here) and complex that I don't hear with my Fenders. Neither is better.
     
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  17. tanplastic

    tanplastic Tele-Holic

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    That does not match my idea of "chime".
    The term implies a more sonorous sound, rich with high-mid frequencies.
    It doesn't have to be clean either, as The Edge and Brian May use a distorted chimey timbre.
    Just my opinion of course.
     
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  18. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    For all my low-end experience with “Vox chime” I take it to mean “harsh”.
     
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  19. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    “Chime” is just a word. Got three seconds?

     
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  20. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    So far, I've heard four options in the comments:

    1) "Chime" is in the upper-mids;
    2) "Chime" is in the upper-trebles frequencies;
    3) "Chime" only happens with a cranked AC30;
    4) "Chime" is in the Celestion Blue speaker.


    The "upper-mids" is where I think I may have heard it with my AC4TVH. Also, I heard that The Edge produces his "chimey" tone mainly through his pick choice. I ordered a set of these from Germany and there is quite a bit of truth to that. Holding these picks backwards like he does, where the part with the bumps hits the strings, indeed adds a ton of "chime".
    51QfkQUp-+L._AC_.jpg
     
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