Hogy/Procos - Why is a vintage AC-30 so great?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by smilefan, Jan 7, 2005.


  1. smilefan

    smilefan Member

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    I probably have never heard one set up perfectly with
    the right tubes. I've heard a few I really like, alot
    I thought sucked. The PCB board reissues sound nice.
    But I never heard one in person that dropped me to
    my knees (I HAVE heard vintage Fenders and Marshall
    that did).

    What is it about a perfectly tweaked AC-30 that makes
    it legendary? Would it be better to buy an AC-30
    head (I've seen some affordable prices), or go for
    the highly priced/prized 2x12 combo?

    Appreciate any info. I have never been down the
    EL-84 road yet.
     
  2. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    I'm sure Hogy and Procos will be here soon enough to let you know their thoughts, but it's really simple. Find a good one, plug in, and crank it. Nothing else I've ever played through comes close to sounding like a really good AC30, but, they can sound pretty flat if they're not taken care of. Simply magical tone, especially with a Tele or a Strat IMHO.
     
  3. guitarman_1

    guitarman_1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a 1960 ac30/4 input. It is the rarest of the ac 30 variety. It is incredible sounding. This is the version with the ef 86 pre amp. It sound a bit more marshally than the top boost models. Voxes are tempermental, but when serviced correctly, the boutiques dont begin to compare. It has to do with the trannies, speakers, older parts. Most of the magic in old amps is in the trannies. The iron now doesnt compare. It may be wider frequency bandwidth,but the tone is not the same.
    If you want to see akiller amp. I cant post pics, i dont know how, but I will e mail you some and you can post them.
    Thanks.
    Orlando. :)
     
  4. procos

    procos Supporting Member

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    Well I don't know the technical reason why but after talking with Hogy I think a big part is as guitarman says the trannies. I also think the original blue speakers have alot to do with the sound. I ran my Vox through my TR 2 x 12 with a Red Fang and G12h30 and though it still sounded outstanding it sounds alot better through those original blues. The tone is hard to describe but it is just what I have always thought of when I hear Tom Petty and U2. Also my Vox in particular cleans up better than any amp I ever played period.

    Usually I find to get the best clean out of an amp you run the volume(gain) on most amps low so it doesn't distort and keep the guitar volume on 10. Well with my Vox the best cleans come when you run the volume at around 3:00 and then turn the guitar volume knob down to around 4(with humbuckers) and the clean tone is glorious. It chimes like no other amp and has a full clean tone that is unrivalled. It really makes playing a breeze because you set your amp for the maximum gain you want and then just use your guitar volume for clean, crunch and singing lead.

    I own a Komet Constellation and though it is a killer amp it doesn't really compare to my Vox in the cleaning up with the guitar volume category.

    Hope this helps you out.

    Chuck
     
  5. fifty9 335

    fifty9 335 Member

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    I have audio of a 1963 ac30 with a strat. I dont know how to direct link it but you can go to www.hotmonkeylovenyc and click on video. The guitar is straight into the amp. The audio is done directly with the video camera but you can still hear it pretty well. AC 30's are great. :)
     
  6. fifty9 335

    fifty9 335 Member

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    sorry I forgot the .com at the end of that link so its
    www.hotmonkeylovenyc.com

    Not trying to spam here guys, just think the audio of a vintage ac30 is on target with this thread.
    Stock amp with original Blues...and stock 64 stratocater. :)
     
  7. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    I am here as you are here as you are me and we are
    Email them to me, Orlando, I'll post them.

    I gotta see it!
    :)
     
  8. procos

    procos Supporting Member

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    That video confirms something I said to myself the other day. I was playing some blues stuff with my Suhr Strat through my Vox and thought to myself "This amp would be perfect for SRV" and your video just completely confirmed that. Just wish I could play as good as you.:D

    Chuck
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    They're great because every single one of them was tested by the Beatles! ;)
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I'm kidding, of course. Actually, only a few of them were tested by The Beatles. The rest were tested by Tom Petty and The Edge when they worked in the Vox shipping room. At the same time.

    It was back when Hendrix was working in the Marshall factory, hand building plexis.

    :cool:

    Nothing in the world does the Kerranggg of an AC30 quite like a vintage one.

    Not to mention all that chimey stuff. I was around when the vintage ones were new. They even sounded great back then.
     
  11. procos

    procos Supporting Member

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    Man your old.:D

    Chuck
     
  12. davebc

    davebc Member

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    Amazing! Killer tone and really,really nice playing!That might be the best AC30 I've ever heard.(at least for my taste).I should be embarrased.Even after 35 years of playing,I've never had much experience using a real AC 30,and so never realized its potential for being a great blues amp.
     
  13. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Isn't it amazing that old Fenders, Marshalls, Voxes, when they put production costs first (instead of components and build quality which relate to performance & tone), that some truly amazing pieces resulted? Kind of hit or miss, though, even with the same model. Almost Darwinian in nature. :D
     
  14. fifty9 335

    fifty9 335 Member

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    First of all thanks for the Kind words....I did not realize it was a great blues amp untill recently too. I just purchased that amp not too long before that tape was made.

    Procos, glad you kept your amp. If you'll remember I emailed you when you were going to sell it and were a bit dissapointed in it. I thought you should give it another chance. I picked this one up at that time and though it sounded amazing. :)
     
  15. Hipster Dofus

    Hipster Dofus Member

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    I have been playing 21 years now and I have only played 1 AC30RI in a GC for a few min.:( It sounded great, but not really a fair assesment.

    I had know Idea how good one would sound for Blues! Never really thought of it that way..?

    How loud do the amps have to be to get that "tone"? Clean edge sound..

    I know my Maz jr HAS to be at least 1/3 up to give up the goods.
    My Tone King comet clean ch gives up the goods @ 9:00 or 10:00
    The Shiva had to be loud for me to like it, same with the Ruby I had. The Matchless Clubman gave up the goods at 9:00 or 10:00 with the master wide open.

    Just looking for a referance amp to contrast with..........

    Anyone ever play a Maz Jr or Sr next to a Good AC30?
     
  16. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    AC30's are great blues amps. That critical touch sensitive transition zone between clean and break up is so incredibly smooth with an AC30 that it makes a very expressive amp.

    I have both a HW and a '62 JMI but I use the HW almost exclusively for gigs because it is more versatile and I like the sound of it a little better overall. The JMI does need to get fairly loud (vol 50% or more) to get to the sweetest spot, but you can bridge channels to get crunch earlier. I can dial in the HW to sound extremely close to the JMI, but the JMI can't get close to copping some of the HW tones when you start playing with the master vol and/or reverb.

    I owned both a Maz Jr and Maz Sr before I got into AC30's. As a point of reference, I don't think they sound very close to an AC30. They have more midrange and the tone stack is quite different. The cut works about the same however. The 2x12 Maz Sr would be closest to the HW, but I much prefer the HW, based on my experience with both.

    I've mentioned this before, but if I were looking at getting a used Korg RI AC30, I'd wait for the AC30CC's coming out this month. There are several new models coming out with master vol, reverb, and switchable cathode resistance. The 1x12 combo should be under $900.
     
  17. Hipster Dofus

    Hipster Dofus Member

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    I thought the Dr Z's were maybe 1/2 vox, and 1/2 fender. Maybe the Z's are more Fender/Marshall. I love the Z Jr, but I would like more Volume sometimes...I know there is the Sr Z, but someday I will have to try a Vox.
    Right now, I just have to avoid selling what I have to pay bills..:mad:
     
  18. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    I know I'm the odd man out here but if I had a choice between a vintage AC30 and a current Maz 38 and the rules were I had to keep the one I picked, i.e., no taking and selling the vintage Vox to buy a Maz 38 + more, based admittedly on the small sample size of those amps I've actually personally played, I'd take the Maz 38.
     
  19. 908SSP

    908SSP Member

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    I know when I first got my AC30TBX it made me want to play old Beatles tunes. Which is great fun and that's why I play to have fun. While I could play with another amp it was just better to my ear to play those songs with an AC30. It was almost a deja-vu type experience like "man that's they way they are supposed to sound". Like coming home to the smell of apple pie it just seemed so right. I am really glad I can have that sound in my arsenal.
     
  20. amper

    amper Member

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    Considering the style of music I come from (late-80's/early-90's type alternative rock, mostly brit inspired), and the fact that my two main guitars are Rick's, you'd think that an AC30 would be the perfect amp for me...but for some reason I've always been put off by the styling and the tales of heat-related failures, so I've never really checked out the AC30.

    Also, someone I know in another band scored a re-issue AC30 at a good price, but I've always thought that his sound was much to loud for the rest of the band.

    BUT...the other night I stopped by the local GC to check out the new '57 Twin (very, very nice, BTW), and I came across an AC30HW in the quiet room. Since the '57 Twin was out on the main floor, I couldn't really get as much of an idea of it's sound as I would have liked, I decided that checking out an AC30HW would make it a non-wasted trip.

    I'm quite sure that I will regret ever plugging into that amp. I was absolutely blown away by the depth and quality of the sound coming out of it. The AC30HW is truly a masterwork of the amplifier arts. I could care less if it sounds exactly like a vintage AC30--this re-issue sounds divine to me.

    When the AC30HW first came out, I thought to myself, "Eh, so what." Now that I've actually played it, I'm thinking, "What can I sell to get the money for one of these things, and who will sell me one?"

    Yes, I will definitely regret playing through that amp--that is, until I finaly score one myself. Now I'm on a hand-wired re-issue kick! All I need is a Fender '57 Twin (and hopefully Fender will now make a *real* re-issue '59 Bassman), a Vox AC30HW, a Marshall 1974X, a Marshall JTM45 Offset, and I'm good to go...:D

    I really think this hand-wired re-issue thing has something to it. I don't care if they sound *exactly* like the originals. Every one of this type of amp that I've played through (all the above except for the 1974X) has been an amazing piece.
     

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