should I dump my super reverb for an ac30??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by re-animator, Jan 19, 2008.


  1. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    i'm talking reissues here.... I've spent a lot of time playing both amps (i've owned the super for a few months, and played many many amps before deciding)... but now I feel like i'm stuck. I feel like i need to make a decision before continuing to dump money for pedals and mods to make the super do what i want it to do.


    the style of music I play is probably closest to powerpop. Main influences are zeppelin, the beatles, the stones, the who, yardbirds, eric johnson, santana, journey, the faces, neil young, queen, rory gallagher, tom petty, allan holdsworth. Need to cover a lot of styles, but nothing really to the extremes... mostly just straight ahead rock/pop/blues music.



    I basically have three sounds that I use all the time with slight variations...


    clean - this is why i got the super... dig the blackface clean tone. Love the deep piano-like feel with rich highs and airy lows. sometimes I feel like the lows should be more solid, but I get by. To me the super reverb is the ultimate clean tone. I remember liking the chime of the ac-30, but i'm unsure if its gonna cover everything i need. Its got its own piano thing going on, but Vox = wurlitzer. Fender = steinway. the cleans are just bigger with the fender... can a vox be dialed in a bit more fendery??

    crunch - this is definitely ac-30 land. Love Rory Gallagher's rhythm tone... also a fan of neal schon's. To me, this is where the super lacks the most... I am currently using a BoR for rhythm and it sounds pretty good, but it doesn't have the dynamic of a cookin amp, and the bass-flub kind of gets in the way sometimes. I like the 4x10 speaker configuration, but it certainly lacks a lot of punch for rhythm. The ac-30 I feel like i could just slam with boost and get a great rhythm tone out of.

    lead - usually I boost my super with ODs or just use fuzz. If "piano" comes to mind for my clean tones, "violin" would probably be the word for my lead tones. Santana, Eric Johnson, Hendrix, May, Fripp, etc. but also Jimmy Page, jeff beck, neal schon, etc. I like the airiness that open-back 4x10s give to my leads... it makes them sound bigger, but I feel like it loses a lot of the punch and power of a closed back 4x12 or 2x12. Maybe open back 2x12 is the answer?? Regretfully, i've never been able to play lead on an ac-30 with all my pedals, so i can't really comment on how it'll sound in comparison with my fender. My main dirt comes from:
    treble booster, bc-108 fuzzface, big muff pi, voodoo lab sparkle drive (usually a boost), keeley ds-1 or mi audio tube zone.

    Guitars I use are mostly a tele, but also a les paul. Both are traditional configurations, nothing fancy.


    My current setup is a little whacked out because I run a fake-two-amp setup with a/b box. My cleans are bright and blackfacey in the vibrato channel of my super, and my dirt pedals feed into a darker normal channel with the bright switch off and the treble rolled down. I like the ac-30 reissues because they are also 2 channel. I could use the top boost for my clean signal (chorus, echo), and the darker smoother normal channel for my dirt pedals. This would mean I wouldn't have to change my whole setup that much, but still be closer to my tone omega point.

    here's what i'm wondering:

    whether or not it would be easy to coax good lead tones out of the ac-30 normal channel given my pedal setup and styles.

    which amp has more headroom?? I set my amp relatively clean and hit the front end hard with dirt and boost for my overdriven sound.

    how is the FX loop on the ac-30? noisy?

    how aggressive is the open back 2x12? I've only owned 10" speakers in the past, but I would assume it would fall between the very open sound of an open back 4x10 and a closed 2x12/4x12.



    another thing to worry about is that I'm also in need of a smaller amp... for smallish gigs and jams. I was thinking about keeping the super and getting an ac15cc to supplement it, but the ac-15 lacks a normal channel, which is really what i love about ac30s. Its much easier to find the BF tone in a small package (DRRI, PRRI coming out) than it is to find the vox tone.


    I guess my big gripe about the super is just that i feel like BF fenders just don't take pedals well. I know some people will shoot me for saying that, but I feel like they are so EQ'd in the preamp stage and that they eat up so much gain from the front end that they can be next to impossible to dial in right for applications requiring things other than clean or slight dirt. The ac, i think is more versatile, while retaining a bright and chimey clean tone... even if it isn't as fat as a fender.





    so am i overestimating the ac-30?? are there things I don't know about the super?? anybody owned both?? are there good alternatives out there??
     
  2. mrmega

    mrmega Member

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    Bump for a great well thought out post.


    I have never owned a BF SR so I cannot compare them.


    I will say that I love my AC30. IMO It takes a lot of pedals well and I love the sounds I get with it and a Tele. I doubt an AC30 has as much headroom as a BF SR but like I said, I cant say because I have never owned a BF SR .

    Why not have one of each?
     
  3. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    I've left my SR days behind but the thing I always liked most about that amp was the bottom end "WHAP" of the 4 10's when you play clean and loud.

    Based on my interpretation of what you wrote, the Fender clean isn;t the be all and end all for what you do. I thought AC30 type of amp for more of what you described than SR type amp.

    But I also agree, figure out a way to have both.
     
  4. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    While the tones of an AC30 with AlNiCo Blues is the foundation of great
    tones, the reliability of current production Vox circuits is a total crap shoot.

    The AC30 clones generally have far better build quality and roadworthiness.

    Before you invest your hard earned money in current production Vox,
    I'd play every 4XEL84 amp you can get your hands on.

    Bad Cat, 65 Amps, Matchless, Divided By 13 RSA31, Hayseed, Top Hat, JMJ, just to name a few.

    The budget killer for many is the extra cost of upgrading to the Celestion
    Blue AlNiCo's, Tone Tubby's or Weber Blue Dog AlNiCo's.

    Therein lies your classic 4XEL84 tone.
     
  5. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    No amp does it all but I think you'll get better service out of the SR than the AC30.
     
  6. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    I would not dump the Super Reverb at all, but add to your sonic arsenal
    as budget allows.
     
  7. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    yep!
     
  8. slopeshoulder

    slopeshoulder Senior Member

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    Try a new Menatone TBIAC with your Super. It may give you what you need. It does for me, and it is remarkable.
     
  9. dB

    dB Supporting Member

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    I'd keep the Super ans wait until you can afford the Vox.
     
  10. Strat God

    Strat God Member

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    I've also just abandoned AC30's - actually have TWO reissues collecting dust.....
    for me it's back to Marshalls.:munch
     
  11. 67super

    67super Member

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    +1

    Don't get rid of a good amp but add to it. Putting a cranked DR next to a SR is real nice. I know it's not the VOX sound but a cranked DR is awesome. Of course carrying 2 amps around, especially if your hauling PA gear gets to be pain in the ass.
     
  12. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    You can still use the speaker enclosure of your super if you buy just
    a 4XEL84 head.

    In a perfect world, I'd have the Super cut down to a head too and
    then go for a new separate speaker enclosure.

    Then you could amp switch through the same cab.
     
  13. voojo

    voojo Gold Supporting Member

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    +1, That pedal is on my shortlist. Go to Menatone's website and check out the soundclips, they are done through a Fargen Blackbird which is a Blackface inspired circuit. Killer sounds!
     
  14. mcgriff420

    mcgriff420 Member

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    +1 going for some type of 'blue' speaker.

    Or.. get a 4 el84 head to sit onto of the super, then use a radial amp switcher to A/B to the same cab.

    fwiw my alltime fave el84 amp is the Maz senior, there's shades of a few diff amps in there -vox, fender, marshall.
    It has Hi/Lo inputs but that doesn't really count as 2 channels.


    ...
     
  15. Eskimo_Joe

    Eskimo_Joe Rocker, roller, way out of controller Supporting Member

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    I was bandmates with a guy who had one of the new AC30 reissues and he had some of problems with it, and it's clean tone was not that clean, especially compared to a super.
     
  16. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    I'd definitely look at a good ac sim pedal - V-Stack Brian May, Carl Martin AC Tone or one of the boutiques. Hard to beat a Super Reverb for lush cleans with a lot of presence across the room. Don't get rid of it.

    A couple simple mods I did on a couple of my old Fenders which are easy and completely reversible gives you a bit of extra range; Have a tech wire the bright switch on the left to function as a fat switch on a Vibroking. Then have hi wire the reverb and trem into both channels. You end up with a much fatter tone than stock and you can blend the two together with a jumper cable once they're in phase. Works very well, it's cheap and can be pulled easily.
     
  17. blackba

    blackba Member

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    Since you are thinking of an AC15CC, why not check an AC30CC1, its the 112 version of the AC30CC. That is what I have and its great. I did put an Alnico Gold speaker in my AC30CC1, that was a big upgrade.

    That model was discontinued, so you would have to find one used. Also the Older AC30CC's had low end loss when the effects loop was used due to a wrong value cap in the effects loop, you change that cap and its fine. Both the Vox AC15TBX and AC30CC1 I had/have been very reliable. I heard some bad things before I bought each one.

    You should be able to get a used AC30CC1 and Alnico Gold speaker for $1000 or less.
     
  18. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    I had both but kept the AC30 TBX...Brit-built a few years back. Perfect for what you are wanting for your type of music.
     
  19. CocoTone

    CocoTone Senior Member

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    I agree. I have a Super, as well as just aquiring an AC 30 CC head and cab, that I loaded a pair of well broken in Greenbacks, and although I haven't yet, can't wait til I have a gig where I can use both together, and switch back and forth. They both have different cleans, which is nice, and the Vox does the crunchy thang like nobody's biz.The tonal variety that this rig would give is nothing short of fantastic. :AOK

    CT.
     
  20. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    lots of cool thoughts on this... I just feel like I need to clarify a little.



    as much as I would LOVE to have both (how about a plexi while we're at it :) ) its not really as much of a money issue as it is a space issue. There's just no way I can have space for both at this point. College hates musicians. Well sort of-- it has its ups and downs. But I graduate after next year and that will probably mean more space.

    I definitely would want to have both tones available to me in the future, and like i said, it would be easier with an ac-30 as my primary amp so I could use a DRRI as my secondary amp when I want the clean american fender sound... and also have something that's crankable at a lower volume. If i keep the super I'll be missing out on the singing vox normal channel tone, which is really what I dig about vox's. I do like the ac-15cc, but i don't think it really does the job for me.


    to me, the 4x10 open back cab is what I like most AND least about my amp. I dig it because its awesome for cleans, and adequate for leads. It sucks big time for rhythm though (at least the way I play it). The bass is never quite solid enough. I feel like if the bass was solid enough, it would take away from the clean tone though.

    basically, on the aforementioned sounds, this is how I rate the super.


    Cleans: 10

    Crunch: 3

    Leads: 5/6


    That's not all based on the 4x10s though... its also the preamp that i've got issues with. For all the magic it does for clean tones, it rapes my pedalboard. Pretty much everything I do with drive tones is to combat the mid-scoop and gain-eating that the preamp does. As much as I dig these amps, they are definitely "straight in" amps or something you just use a few midrangey pedals with. A lot of my dirtboxes have become completely useless with the super, and the rest have to be utilized in a different way. So along with the preamp, the open back 4x10 cabinet is the reason why I don't think pedals or even another amp head will take me to where I want to be.

    Now with the vox, i understand the top boost cleans are a very different animal from what I'm used to.. But it is also something I dig. Yeah its not fender, but its better than adequate. An open back 2x12 should still give me some of the open-airiness that I dig with the 4x10, but maybe it will solidify the bass for rhythm. Using an ehx polychorus should also regain some of the open sound. Also the normal channel preamp/power stage on the voxes LOVE being slammed with pedals from what I understand. They aren't really gain eaters like the fenders are.... and i would assume its much easier to push a vox into "singing" distortion than a thumpy fender. When overdriven, the only real sound I get from the fender is abbey road era George Harrison... which doesn't really work that great in my band context. I find it to be a little scratchy and harsh... a little farty without being emphatic enough.


    To me, the ac30 is definitely a 10 in the crunch category... maybe a 7 or 8 in the cleans. If it can do as good or better on leads than my super, then it may be time to make a switch.... I can get a DR later to cover my fender needs, even though the sound isn't quite as big as the super, it would definitely be an ultimate grab 'n go amp.

    so before I take my whole setup down to the nasty guitar center environment, I'd love some feedback (maybe clips??) from pedals slamming the normal channel of an ac30.



    maybe if there's an adventurous TGP'er in the san diego area with an ac-30 we could play swaps for a week and see how it goes??



    oh and also, i'd probably spring for weber blues or alnico blue/silver bell in the ac30.
     

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