First gig with Vox Tony Bruno TB18C1

sgguitarzz

Silver Supporting Member
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2,269
Well Saturday night I had to a chance to use my new TB18C1 with the band. At home it sounded great but I was concerned how it would work out with a full band. I bought this purposely to use in some of the small bars we play in where the Vox AC30C2 is too much amp but volume wise and physically.

The amp is rated at 18 watts and at the beginning of the night I was worried if I was being heard. I had to make some adjustments and turn it up a bit but after reviewing some videos from the night I was actually even too loud at times. I think the issue was we were setup very tight and the amp was right behind me aiming at my knees. Next time I will either get a stand to angle it up some of raise it up so I can hear better.

I will have to say that overall I was very pleased with the sound of the amp. It has a real beautiful chimey 3D clean that is great. Chords just ring. It took my Zoom G5 patches great. We are a cover band and do everything from Beatles, Tom Petty, Billy Joel, ZZ Top, George Thorogood, Neil Young - you name it. Typical fun classic rock stuff. I mainly just used the master volume all the way and had the volume set to about 12:00 to 1:00. B,M and T were set to about 12:00 as well. I mostly used the reverb off the Zoom patches. I got great compliments on my playing and the sound of the amp. The guys in the band seemed to like it as well.

If I had one thing that may need improving is that while the amp has a great chimey sound I would like a little more bottom and mids - a little more thump so to speak. I am not sure if that is just a settings thing or maybe a speaker change. It has a Celestion G12-65. I was thinking maybe a Vintage 30 or Eminence Governor might thicken it up. i will play a few more gigs though before I do anything. Also not sure if better tubes might maybe also help. It only has 2 12ax7's and 2 6V6's. Do 6V6's need to be biased? Self biasing would be a nice feature. I am also going to play with the mid boost switch. They definitely missed the boat not making that foot switchable. It was certainly a pleasure moving around a 43 lb amp vs one that is almost 2 times that. Overall a really nice amp at a great price.
 

Chicago Slim

Member
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4,263
Thanks for the review. I got my TB18C1, last week. I bought is a replacement for my 40 watt, two 6L6, 12" combo. I was only using the larger amp for outdoor shows. I'm 60 years old, with a neck injury, so I wanted to scale down.

I mainly play clean and use a Zoom MFX pedal, mainly for Tape Echo, Tremolo and the ZZ top patches, for overdrive. So far, the only thing that doesn't sound good to me, is when I use the pedal and on-board Reverb, together. I agree you you about the Mid Boost needing a foot switch. As I play clean, I have been using the Low input, while using the Zoom MFX pedal, and High input, when plugging direct. Which input have you been using?

The one change that I plan to make, is replacing the speaker. I have an Eminence Lil' Texas, neodymium speaker, that should reduce the weight, about 6 lbs. I mainly play 6V6 amps, so I am used to a Fender type of sound. For now, I've just been trying to break-in the Celestion speaker. It sounded very sterile on day one. And started improving, after a couple of hours.

My only concern is, just how closed the cabinet is. Do you worry about the confined heat effecting tube life? Or is this like your AC30? Like I said, I'm a Fender guy, used to open backed cabinets.
 

sgguitarzz

Silver Supporting Member
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2,269
We are both in the same boat. I will be 60 in April :). It is definitely nice to scale down. The AC30 is great but I have to carry it up and down a flight of stairs each gig so that is not easy. Thank goodness my son goes to the gym lol.

I agree about using the reverb with the patches from the G5. It seems to multiply the effects to the extreme. I ended up just basically turning it off. On it own though the reverb sounds nice. I used the high input for the gig. I will have to experiment a bit to see which will work best.

The closed cab seems to be a Vox thing. Both this and the AC30 run pretty hot. I have not had any tube issues with the AC30 in the 2 years I have it. I did change the tubes once but that was a maintenance/upgrade thing and not because of any problems. One of the reasons I bought this amp was because I used a Bruno Tweedy Pie 18 in the studio and loved it but could never afford one. I think the price point on this amp is just right.

Since you have used 6V6 amps do you know if you need to bias after a tube change? One of the things I love about EL-84 amps like the AC30 is you can change tubes without worrying about biasing which I do not know how to do myself.
 
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Chicago Slim

Member
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4,263
There is virtually no information, with this amp. Not even a flow diagram. My Laney is cathode bias, the SCXD is adjustable bias. I have a blonde SCXD that I adjust, and a black one that I never bothered to set. I can't hear any difference, on a modeling amp. I plan to swap tubes, and if I don't hear a volume drop, or more noise, I won't worry about it. I'm trying to resist taking it apart and changing things, for a while. I try to bounce idea's off of Billy Zoom. He says, "Tubes a supposed to run hot, about 600 degrees. If they designed it to work with a closed back, I would trust them to have designed it properly". I normally use Eletro-Harmonix or JJ 6V6's.

My 6V6 amps:

 

sgguitarzz

Silver Supporting Member
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2,269
Nice collection. Since Tony Bruno is such an acclaimed amp builder I am giving him the benefit of the doubt on his design. If I need to change tubes once a year or so then so be it. If I like the amp it is worth it.

It is so amazing how Vox has dropped the ball on getting these amps into the stores and selling them and that more people are not checking them out. Even with this thread there is no interest from anyone else other than the two of us. It kind of reminds me of the poor job Fender did with the old Sunn name. This is my first 6V6 amp.
 

sgguitarzz

Silver Supporting Member
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2,269
I got mine from Zzsounds who I have had great luck with. The order was put in on a Thursday, finalized on Friday (due to me putting in the wrong 3 digit security code from my card) and was in my house on Saturday. Pretty amazing.
 

misa

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,654
I'm really interested in these amps. Got a low offer accepted from Sam Ash through eBay for a TB18C, but then changed my mind. If I was to get one, I like the specs on the TB35C1 more with the tube driven spring reverb and birch ply cabinet. For my benefit, I'm hoping they continue to fly low on the radar and prices drop further.
 

sgguitarzz

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,269
I'm really interested in these amps. Got a low offer accepted from Sam Ash through eBay for a TB18C, but then changed my mind. If I was to get one, I like the specs on the TB35C1 more with the tube driven spring reverb and birch ply cabinet. For my benefit, I'm hoping they continue to fly low on the radar and prices drop further.
I hear you on that. Some good deals to be had. I would have looked into the TB35 if I didn't have the AC30. Even though the TB18 has a digital reverb it is suprising nice and warm if you do not overdo it.
 

scmavl

Enjoyer
Gold Supporting Member
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3,568
How do you like the Cowtipper? Isn't that a very Fenderish sounding amp? Definitely not cheap but I have heard great things about it.
The cleans and reverb are amazing. I didn't like the overdriven sounds on mine (22w, 6V6 version) at all really. But the cleans... WOW.
 

guitarsenal

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
853
The cleans and reverb are amazing. I didn't like the overdriven sounds on mine (22w, 6V6 version) at all really. But the cleans... WOW.
I've got a Cowtipper 22 as well. I've never heard better clean tone.
 

slopeshoulder

Senior Member
Messages
7,866
How do you like the Cowtipper? Isn't that a very Fenderish sounding amp? Definitely not cheap but I have heard great things about it.
Fendery, but not as scooped. Big bottom, highs are never harsh, incredible reverb, powerful EQ, endless clean headroom, supremely musical, and the best damn pedal platform in the planet.
 

justnick

Member
Messages
3,671
I think it's great. Particularly excellent gigging package, and I love how it sort of splits the difference between an AC15 and Deluxe Reverb. Great sounds.

 

johnrea_77

Gold Supporting Member
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1,025
Hey sgguitarzz - copycat - Zoom G5 into two TB18c1's (one is used as an extension speaker with a hardwire bypass installed in the back middle slot).

 

MogwaiBoy

Member
Messages
3,734
Best looking Vox amp ever in my opinion. Black on black is just hot. No grandad's-pants brown in sight!
 

phoenix 7

Senior Member
Messages
25,744
How do you like the Cowtipper? Isn't that a very Fenderish sounding amp? Definitely not cheap but I have heard great things about it.
Hope you don't mind me chiming in -- I've got a Cowtipper Pro II 22-watt 1x12. It's really the perfect gigging amp. Beautiful sound and it sounds huge for its size. Keeps up with LOUD drummers and fills fairly large rooms by itself un'mic'd. People have repeatedly told me they can't believe it's just a 22-watt 1x12. It took me a while to dial it in right and break in the speaker, but I couldn't be happier, and I've got some other really nice amps.
 

Stonebandit

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,780
Great to hear that some of the crew have got theirs out there gigging.

I have the Vox Bruno 35, however am confined at the moment with living arrangements, so I guess it is what comes under bedroom use primary.

Serious overkill, however we I hear about these amps the Tony Bruno series was only available in its 112 or 212 configurations. Very happy with having purchased one while available. It will be able to get put thru its strides hopefully when the Uni semester gets on its way and am able to did some fellow muso's.

The 112 definitely has some punch and versatility. It's not like I haven't given it a chance to open up when the neighbours are out...

A hot little bugger when running thou.

Reverb is sweet and takes pedals really well to change up the flavour. It must be said that I am only cracking the surface of this amp no doubt.
 




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