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How would an AC30 play with my pedals?


Hey all:

I'm thinking of selling (or trading) my Mesa Rectoverb combo for an AC30. I love the Mesa, but I think an AC30 would be a better fit for what I'm trying to do now.

For pedals I currently keep it simple... Fulldrive 2, TS9, DD20, Vox Wah. Every now and then I'll throw a trust BD2 in there. How does the AC30 work with these pedals? Everything just hunky dory?



The venerable H.W.
I think it handles pedals really well, but you should be aware of the problem I ran into. Your Mesa clean channel is more american in flavor if I recall correctly. A TS9 and fulldrive as you know will add mids and arent particularly strong in the Bass and treble departments. The AC 30 is mid heavy and they dont have the tightest bass.Its not a bad thing its what gives it the AC30 sound. I like my fulldrive into my Hayseed but its not a very versatile sound in my opinion. You may want to consider purchasing an overdrive that is more well rounded or even scooped.

They do take pedals well, second only to a fender in my opinion.
What type of tone are you looking for? I use a MXR Zakk Wylde OD in front of my ac30 and if you adjust the top boost channel properly,and use the tube rectifier(vintage mode option) it freak-in rips for rock tone.I don't use a lot of the gain from the OD more for volume (hit the pre-amp hard) and tone shaping.I will say this,,,I have a ac30-cc 2x12.I swapped out the whafedale's for Vintage 30's,along with a JJ re-tube.And IMO this will destroy any fender for pedal friendliness.
I have tried many OD pedals with this amp,DS-1,SD-1,Keeley BD,BSIAB II,Blackstar,,,but the MXR is really smooth and doesn't get fuzzy to me.The SD-1 is really nice too though.TS-9's are supposed to sound great with this amp too.The ac30 weighs about the same as your mesa also,,both about 75-80lbs.You cant go wrong with the AC-30.Good Luck Man these baby's are great!!


Silver Supporting Member
AC30 IS great with pedals -- though I did NOT like the FDII in mine (mid heavy/muddy sounding) and I did not like a standard TS808. The Lovepedal Eternity and TREX MOller are great dirt pedals to work with this amp. Lots of people love the Hotcake through it (though I think the Eternity is better) and the GasPedals Carb is supposed to be a killer in the AC30.

Also depends on the channel you're playing through.


AC30 is fine with pedals. If you are using the clean channel then you might find it a bit more midlley than you are used to but a bit of adjustments and should be fine.

I use a T Rex Moller, T Rex Mudhoney, MXR 108 Fuzz, MI Audio Crunchbox and Vox Satchurator in front of mine with a Bad Horsie II Wah, Micro Pog, Guyatone SV-2 and a G-System - sounds fab.

I've had the same amp for nearly 23 years and had a variety of stuff in front of it and it always seems to respond well - but I have found that once you get your clean sound then tweak the pedals not the amp - you will get results quicker that way.

Depending on which version of an AC30 you get, another trick to try is to have a jumper cable between clean and brilliant chanels - this gives you some light OD at low volumes and it doesen't get too dirty when cranked either.

it's a fun amp to put pedals in front of - have fun ;)


Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Yes AC30s get along very well with pedals. I do agree with OrangeAD though--the AC30 is plenty mid-rich already. I think you'll find that the pedals that are most pleasing with this type of amp are boosts and distortion pedals that have strong low end. Just MHO.


Hate to be the spoiler here. I've owned AC30s and pedals, and I've also owned a lot of mesas: 2 rectoverbs, 2 dual recs, etc...

A Vox w/ a pedal is going to be massively wimpy compared to a recto style gain.

Now, that's not to say for 1 single second that it would sound bad. They just have their own sound.

I had fun running a vintage rat through an AC30 for a while, but it has nowhere near the articulation and oomph that a mesa amp has.

Also, on the side of clean amps, an AC30 is a mushy amp when taking pedals compared to something like a twin reverb. 30W is not a lot of headroom for a pedal amp and you're dealing with an EL84 power section rather than 6L6s. EL84s have this beautiful emphasis in the upper midrange, but they're not bold. 6L6s are bolder but don't clip as 'beautifully'. The problem, is that this soft clip generally results in a mushy or squashed sound from OD and distortion pedals. My OCD sounded unbelievable through a Twin, but sounded insanely different, much more honky (due to upper mid emphasis) and didn't have nearly the articulation that it had through the twin. It's all about what you're going for.

So, again, you can get some great sounds from them with pedals, but it's not going to come remotely close to your recto voicing.
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That really depends what you want and how you use the pedals. I can tell you though, that it will be very very different.


thanks so much for the info fellas. from my very limited experience hearing these amps, it does feel to me like they are somewhat mid-heavy already. I just didn't know if that would cause issues when I plugged in something like a tube-screamer circuit. If there are any demos out there that you know of with an AC30 and any of these pedals, I'd appreciate a heads up!

I do really dig my mesa... but I'm not really using it for all of it's abilities. I stay on the clean channel 99% of the time. I use it in the "push" mode to give it a little edge and then use my overdrive pedals for my "thicker" sound. I never really switch over to that second channel and crank the gain to get that thick, meaty, saturated mesa recto tone. It just feels like I've got a whole lot of amp that I really don't have much of a need for. It is a fantastic amp, I'm just not really using it to the maximum, because I don't have a need for one of the things it does REALLY well anymore.


Here is a Video of the band i am in "Martha's Trouble"

I used a Fulltone Fulldrive 2 through out the whole song. into a 2001 british made Vox AC30

its hard to see the amp in the video but its behind me one the bottom of my road case, the line 6 was for the band after us



The Edge doesn't seem to have much trouble.

I'm waiting on my AC30 but my pedals sound great trhough my AC15.


klon free since 2009
Gold Supporting Member
Fulldrive 2: Nicht Nicht {comp cut: Ach Ja Vassap}
TS9: Nicht Nicht
DD20: Ach Ja Vassap
Vox Wah: Ach Ja Vassap
BD2: Ach Ja Vassap

AC30's love some pedals.


I'm new to the AC30 thing and I've discovered that the AC30 does not play nice with most overdrive pedals. a TS-9 and Boss SD-1 sound awful through the AC30.
The best sounding pedal (that I have in my arsenal) so far is the Marshall Guvnor but even that leaves room for improvement.

I started a thread on good od pedals for the vox. I'll be looking at getting something better in the long run.


The venerable H.W.
I really become suspect when people say that certain amps dont work with certain pedals. To be honest I didn't have much luck using mt hayseed with ts style ods, but when i was trying to get those hillsong tones it works and its what they use.
Granted I couldn't use it for more than one or two songs but still it had its place.

In my opinion, i enjoy the Tim and an OCD V3 into my hayseed.


check out these guys for fx-users with an ac30.
Teppei Teranishi - Thrice
The Edge - U2
almost anythin Radiohead...

haven't tried it in person but reckon the AC30 goes great with pedals...


Gold Supporting Member
I have a 65 AC30 and the church is using a 66 with the wrong speakers and a MM transformer. Both of them weren't happy with TS9, TS808, FDII type of pedals. I tried many of my overdrives thru it, there's a thread on it here somewhere. In the end I use my Hermida stuff (Zendrive, Mosferatu) for 90% of the church tones, but also really liked the Klon, Barber Burn Unit, Tech21, Crispy Treble Boost, SHO, Foxrox Zim (because the semi-parametric EQ lets you dial out the mid-muck.

The biggest difference between the AC30 with pedals and the Rectoverb is the attack of the notes. The AC30 is underfiltered and cathode biased so it sort of sags into notes: soft attack and long sustain. The Mesa is overfiltered, fixed bias, big transformers, so the attack of the note hits hard. Can you live with that? If so, AC30s are a great basic sound that allows lots of cool shaping with pedals...

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