NAD: Vox "Tony Bruno" TB35C2

6AM

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After years of wanting one, despite the pretty horrible clips on YouTube, sitting at home recuperating from a brain surgery I accidentally bought one on Reverb (don't ask). For context, I have owned: a Matchless HC-30, Matchless HC-85, Vox AC30CCH, Bad Cat Hot Cat, Bad Cat Black Cat, Bruno Underground 30, and currently own a Fender black face Dual Showman and a Valvetech Hayseed 30. Minus the Fender, those are a lot of Vox type amps. I keep trying to find one with bigger bottom, but I think I've decided it's not going to happen. That's why I ordered this, I think. I don't remember. Too many pain pills.

I'm a 4x12 guy, and all of the above were plugged into 4x12 cabs. What kept me away from this (other than the clips) was that it only came in combo form. I bought this thinking if I liked it, I could take out the speakers and chop the cab into a head.

Anyway, I got it today. It's not as heavy as I thought it would be, but yeah, it's not light. Using my souped up J Mascis Jazzmaster, I first I left it plugged into the two combo speakers and turned the EQ's to noon. The tone I got was nice, pretty thick, kind of dark but bouncy. I then realized that the bass boost switch was on. Turning that off, I lost most of the bounce and a lot of the thickness. It was still kind of dark, but way more usable. Pushing the treble up, I got a nice sparkly top end with a thick bottom end. That's the one thing an EL84 amp can't do (at least I haven't found the one that can). It's all top and midrange and ends up sounding pretty small and thin.

Despite the stock Celestion speakers sounding pretty good for a combo, plugging into a 4x12 proved better (keep in mind everything after this is me talking about it with the 4x12). More controlled bottom and a bigger all around sound. It also took pedals better through the 4x12. I tried my Gibson Les Paul Custom with seemingly predictable results. It still sounded good. More "crunchy" (I hate that adjective). I tried my MIM Telecaster with a Dimarzio Hot Area T in the bridge. Oh my gosh. This could be the best cleanish Tele tone I've ever experienced. It twangs, but it's not overly biting. All frequencies just seem perfect. Damn. I'm still kind of reeling over that.

For the people who just want the comparisons to the main amps I named dropped above; here they are. There is a slight similarly to the Underground 30. The UG30 could get overly bass as well. Obviously the 6V6's are a major difference. I actually like the Vox TB more. The reverb is actually not as deep, but is reminiscent of the reverb on the UG. Compared to the Fender... it's sorta Fendery, but it doesn't scream Fender. It's Fendery in that it lacks mids at noon, but you can much easier get more mid content out of the Vox TB than a blackface. Compared to the Valvetech Hayseed 30 (which is supposed to be as Vox as Vox can get), the Vox TB can approximate the sound of that pretty well with the bass at about 10:00 and the mids way up at 2:00 or 3:00 and the treble at 1:00. The Hayseed cannot do what the TB35C does. Obviously, the construction on all of the aforementioned amps are far and way superior to the Vox TB.

Final thoughts. I don't know who Vox marketed this to, but it was seemingly no one. It seems like most video clips included a guy plugging in an LP and playing some blues licks. I don't think that's this thing's strongest suit. Honestly, if you play a Tele as your number one, whether you play country or something else, you owe it to yourself to try one. Really. It sounds that good. I maintain that it sounds better as a head than a combo, but the OEM speakers sound decent. There is a LOT of bass on tap. The bass boost switch really seems unnecessary. I love my low end, but I find the best sound with the bass below noon. I guess if you're using the amp as a combo it might make sense, but I still doubt it. If you can find a 35 1x12 combo for like $500, you can do a lot worse and, depending on what you play, not much better.
 

6AM

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1,995
Introducing the Vox Tony Bruno TB35H.


I chopped the combo cab down, created a new grill, and retolexed it (albeit poorly).

The more I play this amp the more it really does remind me of a warmer sounding Underground 30.
 

MickeyJi

Member
Messages
2,012
Those are cool amps! I was considering buying one when they were blowing them out for ridiculous money a couple of years ago but decided against it because of the weight and got a handwired Deluxe clone instead. They sounded awesome though, somewhere in the sweet spot between a Blackface Fender and a good classic Vox.
 

6AM

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1,995
The weight is why I chopped it into a head. A 2x12 combo is for people with better backs than myself.
 

goldtone

Silver Supporting Member
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513
I have the 1x12 and your description is spot on. I've had it for years now, and actually sold a Bruno 30 and kept the Bruno/Vox.
 

moosewayne

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,974
Awesome!
Agreed, Vox had no idea who to market the Bruno amps to and that's a damn shame.
MAJOR bang for the buck in the used market, though.
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,645
I almost scored a 35 watt model for $375 last year. These Amps are vastly underrated IMHO.
 
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NortheastHick

Silver Supporting Member
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6,712
I almost scored a 35 watt model for $375 last year. These Amos are vastly underrated IMHO.
My local M$P was blowing the 18's out for $399 new and $499 for the 35. They still took a while to sell, but all gone now. I wasn't a big fan of them, though I couldn't wait to try them when first announced. The 18 was kinda cool, the 35 was really dull sounding, maybe a tube?
 

6AM

Member
Messages
1,995
The bass can be overwhelming and the amp has to be running at around noon or higher to get the best sound of out of. That may have been the "dull" sound you were experiencing.
 

thebard42

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
832
I had a TB18c1 that I picked up when Sam Ash was blowing them out, and while it was ok I flipped it for a large profit. However, I just picked up a used TB35c1 for $400 and can say there is something special about the bigger circuit. This everything I have ever wanted out of a Fender (said as a guy who gigs an Ac30).
It was seriously a crime how poorly Vox marketed such an amazing sounding product line. It probably would have sold better without the Vox badge, under a new subsidiary or something.
 

jpage

Senior Member
Messages
9,226
The only issue I had with these is access to the tubes. Isn't there like 10 screws that need to be removed to reach them? Who thought THAT was a good idea?

Get better man--congrats on the successful surgery
 

thebard42

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
832
The only issue I had with these is access to the tubes. Isn't there like 10 screws that need to be removed to reach them? Who thought THAT was a good idea?

Get better man--congrats on the successful surgery
It looks that way, but it is only four large screws on the side. That is actually a step up from the Ac30cc2 I have.
 




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