Which Vox Amp?

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smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 144
Have been looking into getting my hands on a second hand AC30, and keep reading different things on the models/speakers available. 

Im looking at the newer models with the master volume as opposed to any older/vintage amps. A lot lot of people saying that the Chinese Alnico Blue speakers are not great,but others saying they are fine/can’t tell much difference? Other people advising to go for the Greenback option, but in general all are saying to stay away from the wharfdale’s.

Anyone on here care to weigh in? 


Also, one of the reasons I’m looking for one is to downsize slightly for some upcoming gigs where I need to travel a bit lighter if possible, so I had also looked into AC15’s. I’m a bit worried about lack of headroom with the 15’s though - is this misplaced? Will the 15 be get more than loud enough for small/medium gigs, stay clean enough and take pedals? I’ve got a small 15 watt amp for bedroom playing which gets kind of farty with the volume cranked for gig levels (although I’m guessing this is a lot to do with the small, 10” speaker as much as anything else).


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Comments

  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 320
    Depending on your drummer and the sound you like, the 15 may well run out of clean room. It’ll be very loud but if you want super clean, you probably won’t get it. If you like a little grit and crunch as your starting place, it’ll be fine.

    As for the difference between the Chinese and UK blue speakers, I couldn’t tell them apart. 

    I had them both together at one point, side by side out of their amps they were exactly the same in build quality and appeared to be the same materials. In the same amp, they sounded totally identical to my ears. So if you wasn’t kudos points, go UK. If you just want the great Blue tone, take whatever comes 
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 144
    Drummer in one band isn’t crazy loud, and I will mostly be going for a bit of grit/medium drive but at the same time, I still don’t think I’d want to run out of clean headroom.

    i probably wouldn’t be able to tell the UK/Chinese speakers apart either, good to know that there not too much of a difference though, if any
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  • uncledickuncledick Frets: 227
    I'd agree with the above re the speaker origin.  My AC15C1X goes plenty loud enough on stage although it can be a bit 'beamy'  Rather than go to the AC30 I'd probably opt to either mic it through the pa or add another 1x12 for a bit of width.
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  • BlacksheepBlacksheep Frets: 281
    Although if you want super clean you are wasting the Vox’s big tonal selling point, IMHO.

    I’d advise trying to borrow or hire an AC30 for a smallish gig before buying. They are ferociously loud, especially with Blues.

    You may find an AC15, especially a twin, is a better bet


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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 320
    smudge_lad ............

    i probably wouldn’t be able to tell the UK/Chinese speakers apart either.......
    Surprisingly easy. One said made in the UK, the other said made in China ;) 
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 144
    uncledick said:
    I'd agree with the above re the speaker origin.  My AC15C1X goes plenty loud enough on stage although it can be a bit 'beamy'  Rather than go to the AC30 I'd probably opt to either mic it through the pa or add another 1x12 for a bit of width.
    9 time’s out of 10 I’ll be mic’d up through the PA, but sometimes the places we play seem to have awful PA’s so will need to just play through the amp only
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 144
    Although if you want super clean you are wasting the Vox’s big tonal selling point, IMHO.

    I’d advise trying to borrow or hire an AC30 for a smallish gig before buying. They are ferociously loud, especially with Blues.

    You may find an AC15, especially a twin, is a better bet


    I’d never really go super clean unless I was using a dirt/fuzz pedal on its own.

    Wont the master volume make the 30 more usable? 
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 1195
    There is a guy on here selling the handwired AC15 (green speaker, I think) for a bargain £550. I have the blue speaker one and it's fabulous.

    Agreed the clean room isn't huge but it's ok. And agree even more that running it clean would kind of defeat its purpose.

    Try one. 
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • uncledickuncledick Frets: 227
    Although if you want super clean you are wasting the Vox’s big tonal selling point, IMHO.

    I’d advise trying to borrow or hire an AC30 for a smallish gig before buying. They are ferociously loud, especially with Blues.

    You may find an AC15, especially a twin, is a better bet


    I’d never really go super clean unless I was using a dirt/fuzz pedal on its own.

    Wont the master volume make the 30 more usable? 
    The 15s have Master Volume too.  Very easy to dial in.  I can look at the next song on the set list, twiddle a few knobs and just hit the first chord knowing what it's going to sound like.  
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 4825
    The older Marshall-built Voxes are much cleaner than the Chinese ones imho. You can get a loud clean sound, but still get that edge of overdrive sound out of them.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32686
    The older Marshall-built Voxes are much cleaner than the Chinese ones imho. You can get a loud clean sound, but still get that edge of overdrive sound out of them.
    I didn't find my Marshall-made AC15 had enough clean headroom, even after I put an original Vox alnico speaker in it. It just didn't sound that good pushed hard either - it sounded small and over-compressed, not really like an AC30 at all. Then it blew the power transformer... which is common, I had to replace another one recently for a customer too.

    The modern AC15C1 is a better amp, but I still don't think it sounds as good as an AC30 at any volume. The AC30 clean sound is a thing of beauty, although they still don't take heavy dirt pedals well.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • xbrooomxbrooom Frets: 250
    edited June 10
    This is going to be a shameless mention, but the best Vox type amp I've ever tried is actually one I'm currently selling. A Magic amps X-Brit.

    It's built based on the old circuits (using a normal and top boost channels), voiced to match the JMI era amps. And even though it's a 15w amps, it's built to be much more like a 15w AC30, then an actual AC15.

    This means it actually sounds bigger and with more headroom then a regular AC15 circuit, pretty much an AC30 with 2xEL84s.

    Built with NOS components, including mullard mustard caps, a very nice birch ply cab, just like the old ones and Mercury magnetics transformers spec'd out specifically for Magic amps.

    This comes with a british celestion blue.






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  • BlacksheepBlacksheep Frets: 281
    Although if you want super clean you are wasting the Vox’s big tonal selling point, IMHO.

    I’d advise trying to borrow or hire an AC30 for a smallish gig before buying. They are ferociously loud, especially with Blues.

    You may find an AC15, especially a twin, is a better bet


    I’d never really go super clean unless I was using a dirt/fuzz pedal on its own.

    Wont the master volume make the 30 more usable? 
    I’m not a fan of master volumes on el84 amps. I think an attenuator works better. But, again in my experience, for a small gig you have to attenuate an AC30 too far. If you have to cut more than about  6db the famous ‘chime’ can get a bit mushy. 
    And while we’re bigging up the AC30 let’s not forget that the AC15 is THE original Vox sound. The AC30 is simply a boosted version. More volume does NOT mean improved tone. 
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 144
    @brooom - that’s a cracking looking amp, but way over my budget.

    I’ve also only just realised that the 15’s don’t have an FX loop, which I do use quite a lot, so I guess this narrows my search down quite a bit!
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  • xbrooomxbrooom Frets: 250
    Is your budget enough for one of the handwired Vox series AC15s?

    Something along these lines, these are also great little amps in my opinion.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VOX-AC15-HW-hand-wired-combo-1x12-blue-alnico/302751634352?hash=item467d6753b0:g:Z1cAAOSw8FBbCvLX
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 144
    Yeah, I’ve looked at these too, but as per my comment above, I use an FX loop which the 15 doesn’t have :(
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8985
    AC30CC2X ... has everything I need - just don't use the standby or it will eat GZ34s for breakfast.

    Am beginning to GAS for one of those tiny handbag sized jobs with the Nu-Tube and the class D o/p stage ...
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • randersonranderson Frets: 25
    I rehearsed yesterday with my 60's AC30 for the first time in ages. Proper pro band so volume wasn't OTT crazy but still plenty loud enough especially as we were playing to track too through monitors. With that said I couldn't turn my Vox up past about 2/3 on the dial of the normal channel (if you imagine numbers there). It is a bl**dy loud amp.
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 3912
    edited June 11
    The couple of AC30s I played live with, were loud enough to bend lamposts and street signs...

    Crazy loud, imho.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9440
    I have played live through borrowed AC30s a handful of times (including a lovely old 60's one, a 90's Korg and a mid-00's CC). Every single one was still too clean and nowhere near the perfect "chime" when the soundguy asked me to turn it down... I do actually think I prefer AC15s to 30's. I had a go on a 60's AC15 in Nashville a month ago and it was AMAZING with an ES-330

    FWIW I'm now a total convert to Badcat and adore my Cub III 15R. The best master vol i've used and does all the Voxy sounds you would ever want, Which reminds me I have a rangemaster kit I need to build & try with it :)  
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 144
    AC30CC2X ... has everything I need - just don't use the standby or it will eat GZ34s for breakfast.

    How well does the master volume work with getting edge of breakup/chime etc? A lot of people keep saying “it’s a loud amp” but surely the MV must give some control/more useability?
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  • smudge_ladsmudge_lad Frets: 144
    edited June 11

    I wish I could afford that....I’d need to sell
    both my current amps, maybe an old guitar and some pedals to get there

    @garfy - drop it under £1k and I’ll take it, lol
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 544
    I've only stood close to one AC30 and I swear it seemed louder than a 100w stack!
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32686
    smudge_lad said:

    How well does the master volume work with getting edge of breakup/chime etc? A lot of people keep saying “it’s a loud amp” but surely the MV must give some control/more useability?
    Yes, it does - but you get the breakup without the compression which is a key part of the 'chime', so it's not quite the same. Still useful to have though.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • garfygarfy Frets: 79

    I wish I could afford that....I’d need to sell
    both my current amps, maybe an old guitar and some pedals to get there

    @garfy - drop it under £1k and I’ll take it, lol
    :) 
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  • guitargeek62guitargeek62 Frets: 1628
    ICBM said:

    The AC30 clean sound is a thing of beauty, although they still don't take heavy dirt pedals well.
    You’ve surprised me there, one of my favourite albums (Foo Fighters self-titled LP) was recorded with just an AC30 and a RAT - it sounds superb to me!
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32686
    guitargeek62 said:

    You’ve surprised me there, one of my favourite albums (Foo Fighters self-titled LP) was recorded with just an AC30 and a RAT - it sounds superb to me!
    I wouldn't describe the Rat as a heavy dirt pedal though. It's a medium-gain, very midrangy pedal.

    I mean something like a Big Muff or something else with a more scooped sound and a lot of bottom-end - AC30s don't like those.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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