TOP BOOST AMP SHOOTOUT(Asian VOX vs boutique amps) FIGHT!!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Kidguitar12, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. Kidguitar12

    Kidguitar12 Member

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    Hello everyone!

    I have searched in google the title of this post and nothing came up so Im just going to start this thread and see where it goes! If there is a thread already covering this topic please feel free to post it.

    I would like to know what everyones favorite top boost amps are out there, pretty simple, no bells and whistles, just pure chimey overdriven top boost tone.

    To start it off maybe compare the following amps (trying to keep the price under $2000):

    -Dr. Z Stangray
    -Morgan Abbey (the simplest of the morgan top boost family)
    -Jackson Ampworks Britain/Scarlett
    -Badcat (So many voxy models!)
    -Valvetech Hayseed
    -Divided by 13

    Do you think that it takes an arm and a leg to get that tone with a boutique amp, or does anyone think that VOX does it just fine?

    I'd like to hear everyones opinion that opens this thread SO LETS GO PEOPLE!
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  2. 8len8

    8len8 Member

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    I've never heard an amp referred to as "top boost". What does that mean?
     
  3. Kidguitar12

    Kidguitar12 Member

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    Top boost is a circuit made famous by VOX that had its first debut in 1963. Its an additional gain stage to the VOX AC amps.
     
  4. Charlie_Pace

    Charlie_Pace Member

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    I've owned boutique amps that replicate/do their own take on that classic sound (Matchless, /13, Jackson Ampworks), but in a mix, I haven't heard one that sits better than my AC15HW1. Below is a clip of me playing that amp and only one pedal (DMM Big Box).

    http://youtu.be/_UNapx25a6g
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
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  5. Kidguitar12

    Kidguitar12 Member

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    Charlie_Pace,
    I'm not sure why but your link just takes me to a Mercedes Benz Commercial on Youtube.
     
  6. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    I've never played any of the boutique AC30s but my Vox HW AC30 is awesome.

    If you want Top Boost then go no further than a Vox.
     
  7. Charlie_Pace

    Charlie_Pace Member

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    Ha! Just re-added it. Weirddd.
     
  8. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    Nice tune and tone. I love a tele into a Vox.

    You know, I've got a Vox AC15, Matchless Lightning and DC30. . .I would think that any comparison of Vox TopBoost tone must include those amps.
     
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  9. Kidguitar12

    Kidguitar12 Member

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    Good stuff man Im loving that tone!
     
  10. ceanat

    ceanat Supporting Member

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    Dug the clip.....Great. I don't say that too often. That AC15HW is the sound I have been after for awhile. I pulled a new AC15HW out for a play a few years ago (straight out of the box) and just got a blizzard of nails wherever I tried to tweek it it. So passed on it but I must have been doing something wrong and will take another look. Thanks for posting.
     
  11. Gretsch&Vox

    Gretsch&Vox Member

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    Since VOX is the originator of the top boost circuit, that the other amps are based on, why is it not included? Sorry; it makes no sense to me.

    I have played the vintage ones, and owned a number of the more recent ones since 1987. The AC4*/15* Hand Wired VOXes are the best VOX amps that I have ever owned.

    *With Celestion Blue Alnico.
     
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  12. Kidguitar12

    Kidguitar12 Member

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    I'm pretty suprised none of the boutique guys are speaking up here. So far we have only heard from the folks who prefer VOX amps. If your a a tone seeker with boutique VOX top boost style amp like I listed above we would love to have your input. I will say that from what I have read in other forums some folks feel that the VOX CC, and HW are not the best choice because of the fact they are not built with the quality that they once were when they were made in England. I myself have not had much luck in the past with modern Korean/Chinese Amps.
     
  13. playthecray

    playthecray Member

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    This speaks volumes.




     
  14. David Garner

    David Garner Member

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    I think the notion that old Vox amps were "built with ... quality" in England is fallacious. My cc2 may not be the picture of reliability -- I don't know since I just got it. But it's not like a hallmark of Vox's reputation is quality and reliability. They're pretty much known as amps that sound great -- when they work.
     
  15. NortheastHick

    NortheastHick Supporting Member

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    quoted for truth
     
  16. Kidguitar12

    Kidguitar12 Member

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    So if the VOX cc & hw are truly the best sounding top boost style amps out there then why does the boutique market exist?
     
  17. Wagster

    Wagster Member

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    The Dr Z Stangray is not a top boost, it's closer to an early EF86 AC30 like the one Hank Marvin played.
     
  18. David Garner

    David Garner Member

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    I'd offer a couple of reasons. First, the boutique amp market exists because people tend to chase tones and are willing to pay a small fortune to get them. I'm guilty as charged -- my Deluxe Reverb is a handwired boutique clone. So if people perceive that these new-fangled amps like mine with its switchable filter caps and bias and only 2 inputs and its fancy switch to combine the inputs and its hoodoo voodoo effects loop doesn't quite capture the tone of a 60s Vox, they'll spend good money to get a boutique. Second, I'd wager the reliability issues are a huge issue. A Dr. Z or Morgan or Valvetech is pretty much bulletproof. An old Vox isn't. A new Vox sometimes isn't (our singer's AC15 has had all sorts of minor issues). Third, unlike Fender and Marshall clones, most Vox "clones" aren't really clones at all. The Morgan AC20 isn't anything like an AC15 or AC30, really. It's based on an AC30 normal channel, but it's not the same thing. Matchless amps are very different in both tone and design from Voxes, they just happen to be loosely based on the circuit and use EL84s and sometimes EF86s. Dr. Z doesn't really have a clone either. Probably the Prescription or the Stang Ray are the closest, but neither is a true AC30/AC15. The Hayseed is probably the closest of the clones other than JMI, which is intended to be a straight clone.

    The other thing is that Vox has done a great job of keeping the costs down. Yes, they're made in China. Yes, the new ones have MDF cabinets. But they don't cost an arm and a leg, so it's not just a few hundred more for a clone. And on the used market, you can get a Custom Classic with a birch ply cabinet and chassis mounted pots, tube sockets, etc., for a song. Including trade value (and assuming what I'd have taken for the trade) I have about $500 in mine, including an extra set of speakers. And since it sounds phenomenal, unless it proves to be unreliable, I doubt I'll ever feel the need to get another Vox-type amp unless it's a smaller one like an AC4 or AC15.
     
  19. Charlie_Pace

    Charlie_Pace Member

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    Thanks man! I actually use the Normal channel with the following settings.

    Volume at 1:30-2pm
    Into high input
    Bright switch off
    Cut knob unutilized

    I know its not top boost, but to me it's better than (I prefer the normal channel to the top boost channel).
     
  20. Kidguitar12

    Kidguitar12 Member

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    David garner,

    Thanks for the informative post. This was exactly what I wanted to address when I started this thread.

    What your saying is, is that the boutique amps have better build quality and that they add their own tone to the original top boost tone. But if your really searching after the true unchanged top boost tone then just go VOX, and pray for reliability.
     

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