AC30cc, HW or a clone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Gasp100, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    What mods are basically required to get the best out of the AC30cc? I already have 2 nice Weber Blue Dogs (ceramic, but sweet nonetheless). I've seen some fairly good deals and I'm intrigued, but I don't know enough about amps to tweak beyond replacing tubes and speakers (ie. I don't know where a bright cap is, but I've heard that's almost a must for these).
    I know the Lyle mods are supposed to supercharge this thing, but that is some cash (and wait list too, right)?
    Is it too much for home studio use? How about the AC30CC1 <1x12> - is it the exact same thing but with only 1x12?
    At this point, money IS an issue so something like the Hayseed (new), Top Hat, etc... are probably out of my price range. Maybe a used AC15 (or 30) HW, but that would be stretching it.
     
  2. Johnkenn

    Johnkenn Member

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    The AC15HW is FANTASTIC...I
     
  3. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

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    The HW line is the best sounding stuff from Vox.
    But,
    There are also a bunch of great boutique amps out there that pull off great Vox-inspired tones. Here are some:

    • JMJ30
    • JMI
    • 65amps London
    • Matchless C-30
    • Bad Cat
    • Hayseed
    • Gabriel
    • Top Hat
    • D13 RSA31
    There's more that I'm forgetting but you get the idea.
     
  4. JimiStiff

    JimiStiff Member

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    Does anybody know, if the HW Series has the same reliability issues as the CC-series? i'm thinking about getting a HW AC30 Head for my celestion gold cab...
     
  5. elgalad

    elgalad Senior Member

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    The reliability issues of the early AC30CC's have been fixed by Vox. I haven't heard of anyone having any problems with Custom Classics manufactured since the start of 2008. They come with decent tubes now as well. Mine had Tung-Sol 12ax7s, EH EL84s, and a Sovtek GZ34.
     
  6. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    the AC30ccs are now among the most reliable AC30s ever released. Don't know about extended reviews of the ac30hws though.


    AC30s are un-reliable by definition... the CCs have fixed a lot of the problems though. The tone is fantastic too. Feature set is also great.
     
  7. stratocaster

    stratocaster Member

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    Most of Lyles mods can be done very easily if you can use a soldering iron and follow simple instructions, the Plexipalace is a wealth of information for Lyles mods and instructions.

    My CC2 is a NOS 2004 model bought direct from Vox/Korg earlier this year and i carried out the following mods courtesy of Lyle.

    Effects loop mod (not required on post 2006 models).
    Trem speed mod (not required on post 2006 models).
    Treble cap mod - makes the TB channel useable.
    Normal channel gain increase mod - increases maximum gain on the normal channel.
    Swapped R6 & R7 to 220k (JMI spec) - gives the amp a bit more 'growl'.
    Swapped grid and screen resistors to 1.2k and 470 ohm respectively, not a tone mod, helps protect against damage to the amp in the event of a power valve or rectifier failure.
    Swapped out the crappy Sovtek rectifier (these were the cause of alot of the reliabilty problems on early CC2's) use a JJ or Weber copper cap.
    DON'T use the standby switch, it just hits the power valves with full B+ voltage (not good)

    Incidentaly, Lyle rates the CC2 as being very close to JMI spec tonally, and as having better quality circuit boards and signal path layout than the TBX's, i love mine, it's been reliable and is the most versatile amp i've owned.
     
  8. stratocaster

    stratocaster Member

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    Which part of

    "money IS an issue so something like the Hayseed (new), Top Hat, etc... are probably out of my price range."

    did you not understand??? :D ;)
     
  9. khudson

    khudson Member

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    I went for Vox AC15H combo. The tone is sweet, with dual amp features plus lots of eq settings. I probably would have went with a Hayseed as my first choice, but didn't feel like waiting 5 months for an amp. The Top Hat was a little out of my range price wise. I am really happy with this Vox 15 & have no regrets. Check to see if you can score a used one somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008
  10. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

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    Honestly, I just skimmed over the OP's post...

    But actually,

    HW AC30 aren't the cheapest things going and boutique offerings aren't very far off, especially if you go pre-owned from sources like here.

    On another note, I feel the QC of the Vox CC/HW have definitely improved since their introduction but are still very shotty. I have first hand experience with this. It something that would make me want to spend a little more for reliability and quality.
     
  11. Mastervolume

    Mastervolume Member

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    Isn't that what a standby switch is designed for?...

    If you are using the copper cap I WOULD recommend that you USE that standby.

    The standby is made so that you can turn the heaters on your tubes and get them "turned on" before high voltage is applied. Then the standby is turned off and the tubes get all of the b+.

    With a tube rec, it needs to warm up to get to operating voltage so.. most amps with tube rectifiers really don't need a standby switch. As the rectifier heats up so do the other tubes bringing the amp up gradually all at the same time.
     
  12. stratocaster

    stratocaster Member

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    Which is exactly why i said to not use the stanby on a AC30CC, by not using the standby, the power valves get a slow voltage build up, which is much kinder to them than the sudden voltage surge (B+) that they receive when the standby switch is used.

    Also, if the copper cap is a Weber (WZ34 for the CC2) you don't need to use the standby, they have a thermister to slow down start-up voltage.
     
  13. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    AC30 CC excellent choice for home studio, the thing is sooo flexible.
     
  14. Teh RedWizard

    Teh RedWizard Supporting Member

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    If he can afford a used HW Vox,he can afford a used King Royale.
     
  15. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    The AC15 Heritage is a lot of great Vox tone for a very fair price. It's built well and looks like a million bucks. The cabinet screams and projects a BIG VOX sound. I'm very impressed with mine. The EF86 side is a blues machine. I have a Dario miniwatt that does sound smoother, louder and sweeter than the stock tube but there's nothing hurting with the amp straight out of the box, other than the break in speaker time. If you crave a Vox sound then there's nothing missing from this amp. It's a loud amp with enough clean headroom for most players, especially if your a touch player. And if you're not, then there's plenty of grind. PLENTY!
     
  16. thudle

    thudle Member

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    I have a TBX. Are you saying that in order to preserve any tube/amp failure that I should never use my standby switch?
     
  17. Mastervolume

    Mastervolume Member

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    not at all.

    Hitting a tube that is warmed up and ready to go with full B+ is fine.

    don't worry about it.

    When turning your amp on you can just throw both switches if you want.
     
  18. thudle

    thudle Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. I always use my standby switch, especially when I turn the amp on.
     
  19. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow, lots of good info here. I should clarify (or fess up) and admit I've been down this road a lot lately, a few times actually ;) If you do a search for the AC15HW you'll probably see a few of my posts exclaiming it IS a GREAT sounding amp (to my ears, I LOVED the cleans, edge of breakup, starting to growl -- the higher gain stuff was a tad raspy but that's okay).
    My Dig on the AC15HW was that while buying TWO from Musicians Friend, they both were messed up when switching between triode/pentode, the bass shift positions on the ef86 channel, etc... (basically, any switch when moved) created huge pops and clicks that were unacceptable imo.
    Many people recommended swapping all tubes immediately -- I did not, I got my money back but now I'm starting to think new tubes might have fixed the issues. Anyway, these were loaded with EH, Sovtek's and Tung Sols. I might start to save up and try going down that path again, I'm not sure. I've seen the AC15HW heads go for as low as $650 and there are 2 AC15HW combo's on evilbay going for ~$1K.
    I also had a Fargen El Bastage and that was a really cool, simple single ended class A Voxy machine. This one was the first incarnation with 1 EL84 and one ef86. I dug it a lot, but had to move it (and took a big loss on a little amp) for something else. If that had a few more features and more power I think the Bastage could compete with a lot of other amps in the Vox camp.
    Then we go to the Winfield Cyclone AC15. This thing was awesome, unfortunately I also had to sell that for another piece of gear (which has ALSO been sold!). The only real knock I had on that was there wasn't much gain to be had, but I bet Winnie could tweak it for my tastes. That might go back on the list -- it's a very simple layout (ef86, 12ax7 PI, 2 EL84's) so now where near as many options as an AC30CC, but all tube goodness and a solid price ~$750 for the head.
    I think that's it..... I'm considering saving up <really selling off stuff I shouldn't> and going for a Hayseed or a Top Hat Club Royale used or buy the AC30CC used and hack at it using the outline above provided by Stratocaster (thanks, very cool btw) or talk to Lyle about working on it. I think all 3 of those options put my in the ~$1K arena.
    The JMI, Bad Cat, DST and Xits(?) look amazing but that's well, well above my ranges.
    Sorry for being so long winded, who knows maybe this post will help someone else with the great advice. Thanks!
     
  20. AshlandBump

    AshlandBump Silver Supporting Member

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    Just for clarification, there's a difference between the Vox Heritage (hand-wired in China) series of amps and what's typically referred to as the AC30HW, which was made in England.

    I've owned a TBX, AC30HW, Hayseed, AC30CC, and a JMJ30. For the price, I was not happy with the AC30HW at all -- was dark and muddy (could have been a bad one for all I know, others who have owned it said theirs didn't sound like that) -- I bought it because I thought it would be a better TBX and it wasn't. The JMJ30 is the best "Vox" of the lot I've owned. The Hayseed was good; the CC I owned was made in 2005 and not well made - it rattled like crazy and sounded like it was going to fall apart when cranked. I've played other CCs and they were much better. I've read good things about Lyle-modded CCs, that's probably the direction I would go (or Don Butler/ToneMan mods) if I didn't have the JMJ.
     

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