I want a killer AC15 or AC30 -- what should I look at?

neu18

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
700
Amps are made of resistors, capacitors, tubes, transformers, etc. I have a vintage Vox 61 AC-15 and a 65 Vox AC-30. They go for months or years without breakdown. I do a few shows a year but log lots of studio and practice hours. I usually need a repair every 4-7 years. Last time a cap only.

Plus, the vintage Vox will go up in value. There are several good boutique amps, but most of the best only partially approximate the tone and compression from a good or great vintage amp.
Boutique guitar builders exceed the sound of many of the best vintage instruments.

The Marsha is one of the few boutique amps I've heard in some time that rivals/equals or surpasses good vintage amps.

Also the TopHat Ambassador line out-blackfaces a Fender blackface. Many of you can chime in on other examples.

The JMIs are chimey but harsh and very stiff sounding. They have vintage tone but the compression is not there like on a Vintage Vox. They are overly bright which overlaps somewhat with the harshness factor.

will richardson

Did you try them with Celestion Blues or "JMI" fanes? Big difference
 

localmotion411

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,391
Just received an Xits X10 from the emporium today; can't wait to check it out at lunch. Between that and the Magic Brit TB86 I've got on order, I'll have EL84 tones down!
 

jerrymc1966

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
166
tried alot and Divided by 13 RSA31 and 2-12 cab with blues was the best. Has the half power switch as well..
 

Rev2S

Member
Messages
1,596
I had an Avalon 30 a couple of months ago but didn't bond with it. I'd love to try an HC30 or a /13 RSA 31 or 23.
I have a AC15 with a Blue in it. I have held on to that amp the longest...I had a Hot Cat 30, RSA31, Top Hat, etc and sold them all and have just the AC15 now. You can't beat it for the money and it sounds great. The HC30 cleans were great but the gain was buzzy to me. As for the RSA31, the cleans were outstanding but I couldn't find an overdrive pedal that sounded good with it.
 

ghostnote

Member
Messages
497
...I tend to favor very rich chimy slightly dirty cleans and run all pedals up front. I use a lot of delay and volume swells, tremolo, etc. so the amp needs to be as rich and deep sounding as possible to accentuate this.

Sounds like a spot on description of a Tophat King Royale. I don't tend to run dirt pedals in front of mine (don't need to - I just dig in to the strings for compression and grit), but it takes trem pedals and delay just fine.

One more thing, Tophats are built really well. I've had mine for almost ten years with no problems whatsoever.

.
 

mjt335

Member
Messages
658
A buddy of mine has a Heritage Briton 2x12 with blues and that thing is AMAZING! Tough to find though...
 

localmotion411

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,391
Well after a few minutes of exploring the Xits X10 last night, I'm pretty confident that this amp will satisfy my jones for a chimey gritty AC-style amp.

It is the most enveloping, satisfying little amp to play and by FAR AND AWAY the most touch sensitive and expressive amp I've experienced. Dig in and rock, back off and chime -- perfect! Oh, and takes pedals like crazy; the amp is very rich and sustainy and sounds like an old amp. There are a lot of tones in this little (actually very little) box. The two-position bright switch changes the character of the amp a good deal, adding volume, gain, and top end. The treble/bass controls are interactive and allow control of the midrange as well depending on how they're set. It can get super swampy and flubby (which I LOVE for certain applications), which had me nervous at first, but then it can also tighten up and rock -- not sure how Michael pulled that off.

Anyhow, I have a newfound love for Xits amps and have a feeling that if Michael can recover from his recent awful accident and keep on keeping on that I'll be buying more of his creations. They are flat out gorgeous to hear and see.
 

ROKY

Member
Messages
7,202
Sounds like a spot on description of a Tophat King Royale. I don't tend to run dirt pedals in front of mine (don't need to - I just dig in to the strings for compression and grit), but it takes trem pedals and delay just fine.

One more thing, Tophats are built really well. I've had mine for almost ten years with no problems whatsoever.

.
I've had mine for 7 years, now and it's been bullet-proof .:boxer
 

57special

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,804
The Magic Brit II is absolutely what you are looking for. It is simply an incredible amp. I have a KILLER 1963 AC 30, but I find myself, more and more, playing the Magic.
As someone mentioned earlier, it gets THE Vox tone at reasonable volumes, but will keep up with a drummer in a band situation. Also, the two channels are like have two amps for the price of one.:bow
Yup. I've owned a 65 AC15 Twin, numerous old JMI AC30's, and a couple of AC10's. All were different, some better than others, but my Magic Brit definitely hangs in there with them, and has the most useful set of features of any of them.
It doesn't weigh a ton, nor have collectible parts that one must baby (i.e. vents.handles, corners,speakers,etc.).
Moods will take the amp back if you don't like it. He is a no BS guy, and he wants you to love his amp.

Call me crazy, but i liked the Vox CCH for the $$. I haven't tried a whole bunch of other Vox style amps , so i'm not going to say the MB is the best ever or anything, just that it is real good.
 

jdolll

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,083
Just out of curiosity, what didn't you like about the ac20? What kind of cab/speaker were you using?
 

localmotion411

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,391
Just out of curiosity, what didn't you like about the ac20? What kind of cab/speaker were you using?
It was a 1x12 combo with an older Austin Speaker Works KTS-70 speaker. It was just a bit too modern and "new" sounding, not organic/gritty/greasy/spitty/chimey enough. Make sense?
 

Faded

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,146
A Top Hat Supreme 16. w/ a blue cab... hands down one of the most organic sounding early 60's AC15 type amps with the right combination of tubes, transformers and wiring. Also a Bad Cat Cub II non reverb is a pretty convincing non-EF86 AC15 circuit.
 
Messages
85
Yup. I've owned a 65 AC15 Twin, numerous old JMI AC30's, and a couple of AC10's. All were different, some better than others, but my Magic Brit definitely hangs in there with them, and has the most useful set of features of any of them.
It doesn't weigh a ton, nor have collectible parts that one must baby (i.e. vents.handles, corners,speakers,etc.).
Moods will take the amp back if you don't like it. He is a no BS guy, and he wants you to love his amp.

Call me crazy, but i liked the Vox CCH for the $$. I haven't tried a whole bunch of other Vox style amps , so i'm not going to say the MB is the best ever or anything, just that it is real good.
I'm curious to know what the features are. I can't seem to find that info on the web. Is there master volume/power scaling? Does he give an fx loop option?
 

xray

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
936
I've played/own a bunch of different Vox style amps including AC10 reverb twin, Trainwreck Rocket, old AC30's, XITS, Vox AC15TV, JMJ etc
The best is this one,(below) but the JMJ I just got is a close second. I would look seriously at a JMI AC15/30 and get some vintage tubes and maybe an old Vox silver speakers or Scumbacks.
 

localmotion411

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,391
Played the X10 at church today for the first time. Best tone I've had I think ever. Low volume setting with the gain up a bit, kept the compressor and OD on and rode the volume knob, holy crap. Keeper.

Didn't like the ASW KTS-70 that came in it at all, just harsh and flubby. Swapped it for a Celestion CL80 (only other speaker I had), and it happened to sound amazing. I wasn't too sure about it at first but man did it kill today. Very happy!
 
Messages
106
Carr Artemus should be one of the top amps to consider in your quest. I just got one yesterday and my search for a "Vox" is now over.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,671
I've never owned an AC15 or AC30 and don't know a lot about them. I'm just looking for the perfect, richest sounding AC-style amp for chimy sustainy pop rock tones. I want something durable that won't be a maintenance nightmare.

I've owned a Morgan AC20 but am looking for something a little richer sounding and more organic.

I'm currently leaning towards either a handwired new Vox, something by Matchless or /13, an Xits, or an older English-made AC30.

What about the JMI amps? Keep in mind that money won't be an issue when I finally can afford the amp, and I don't like to settle.
How about an honest to goodness JMI-era 60's Vox AC10 Twin? Still has the original Elac speakers in there too, I see. Not my auction, and this seller is posting up mad amounts of vintage gear which will either make you feel better or scare you off, but there you go:

http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE-VOX-AC10-AMP-/280549645974?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0
 

tele_jas

Member
Messages
3,754
I'll throw my $.02 worth in to make the choices even harder. Valvetech Hayseed 30. www.valvetechamps.com

Best AC30 style amp I've ever had.
Gonna quote myself here and give it a +1.......

But

I'm also going to say this.... The Hayseed is my be-all/end-all AC30 amp (and all around), but I'm really digging my Winfield Cyclone amp right now too. VERY AC15/30-ish. Plus a new head is only around $750.... They're small, light-weight (12 pounds) and come in cool colors!
 




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