Took a chance on a Vox AC15 clone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Dave, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Dave

    Dave Member

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    I've been looking for a Vox-ish amp for a while now. I was considering ValveTech, TopHat, Gabriel, 65 Amps, Dr.Z, Vox Heritage, etc. While searching eBay I stumbled upon an AC15 clone built by some anonymous person. I read the description and it looked like a nice amp, all top notch components. So, for the hell of it, I emailed the seller asking many specific questions. He sent a detailed, thoughtful reply and ultimately convinced me to buy. He's an engineer for GM and builds 3 or 4 amps a year as a hobby and to make a little cash on the side. As luck would have it he lives near me and he agreed to deliver the amp. Very cool guy.

    Long story longer: I get the amp home, hook it up and I'm blown away. It's super quiet, the cleans are gorgeous and the distortion is absolutely righteous! The low end on this thing is amazing, full and tight. It does not sound like a low wattage amp. The tone controls work really well too, very flexible. Killer amp by any standard, boutique or otherwise.

    How much? $700

    Here's the specs, copied from his auction:

    The Specs

    • [*]Input : Hi & Lo Impedance Inputs
      [*]Output: Approximately 15-18 watts, Cathode Biased
      [*]Output Tubes: Matched Pair of JJ EL84’s
      [*]Preamp Tubes: (1) JJ EF86 (or Phillips E80F), (1) JJ 12AX7
      [*]Rectifier: (1) NOS Amperex EZ81
      [*]Controls: Volume, Gain, Tone, Contour, Cut
      [*]Speaker Output: Dual Speaker Outputs (4/8/16 ohm selectable)
      [*]Fuse: 3 Amp Slo-Blo
    The Build

    Transformers:

    • [*]Power: Heyboer Power Transformer (285-0-285)
      [*]Output: Mercury Magnetics Tone Clone (VXo-15A-M)
    Military grade potentiometers
    Cliff jacks (input & speaker output)
    Ceramic tube bases
    Orange Drop PS Series Caps
    Sprague Atom & F&T filter caps
    Carling brand On/Off, Standby
    20g gauge solid core Vintage-Style cloth-covered wire
    Custom laser engraved face plate
    Rigid aluminum chassis

    And here's the amp, complete with temporary head cab:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Either this guy is a genius or I've totally underestimated how easy it is to build a great amp. I am inspired. I think I'm going to take a stab at building my own some day soon.

    Sorry for the long post. I just feel pretty lucky for finding such a great amp for so little money. :eek:
     
  2. Ricky_Rockhardo

    Ricky_Rockhardo Member

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    Good for you, hope you get plenty of good service from it. Care to share the seller's 'bay name?
     
  3. Dave

    Dave Member

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    Thanks. I hope so too.

    He made it pretty clear he doesn't want it to be anything more than a hobby, so I'd rather not give out his name. I am going to buy another amp from him though. ;)
     
  4. Ricky_Rockhardo

    Ricky_Rockhardo Member

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    I put a link to this thread into another just below yours a few minutes ago. I'm sure he'll list something else soon. Hope yours is a keeper.
     
  5. Dave

    Dave Member

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    He might, you never know.

    I'd say it's a keeper simply because I think it would be tough to sell an amp built by an anonymous hobbyist. ;)

    What I've taken from this experience is that there's probably lots of so called "hobbyists" out there who build outstanding stuff.
     
  6. guitarpkr67

    guitarpkr67 Supporting Member

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    I was eyeballing that on ebay the last few days. Hope you like it. I too am looking for a good ac-style amp.
     
  7. murkat

    murkat I like sea otters Silver Supporting Member

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    ^ as well as I, that looked very nice. Sounds like it went to a good home. enjoy!
     
  8. schmerf

    schmerf Member

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    I also was eyeing that. I hope you continue to enjoy it.
     
  9. johnrea_77

    johnrea_77 Silver Supporting Member

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    Looks like you got a great deal to me. It appears to be built with attention to detail. Who knows, maybe this guy will go big like some of the other b-builders that start small.
     
  10. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Damn... I think I've been in contact with this "guy" - he seemed totally on the level and legit, very cool and no pressure wanting to sell an amp. I ended up having the same reservations about resale value (oh yeah, I didn't have the money either :mad:).
    But now, hearing your review (and hearing my new AC15CC and wondering how much better I can get, although for now I AM happy) I can forsee one of these in my future.
    BTW - I like your temp cab. I assume it works fine as is for now?
     
  11. Dave

    Dave Member

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    I got the same impression from him. When he replied to my questions he suggested I also have a look at the Gabriel Voxter and 65 Amps London, since his amp is a very similar circuit. In his words: " I wish I could take credit for the circuit, but it really is a standard Vox EF86 pre mated to an 18 watt power section. I did make a few tweaks to some of the values in the preamp based on a lot of tinkering with previous amps. Nothing groundbreaking." Humble and honest, you gotta love that.

    Yeah, I'm pretty much stuck with it. Good thing I like it! But it's built with quality components and should be easy to repair.

    Well I've heard the AC15CC and I think it's great, you should be happy.

    It ain't pretty, but it works for now. The chassis is actually a combo chassis, so I'm either going to have to order a custom head cab or build my own.
     
  12. Ryan

    Ryan Member

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    Ah-ha! So you're the one who snagged that. I was watching it on the bay after seeing it in the amp emporium here. I nearly snagged it, but you beat me to the punch. Glad to hear it's rockin!
     

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