vintage 60s "holy grail" Vox AC30 experts... which one of current Vox lineup nails that sound?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by dirtytony, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Not directed at anyone particular here - but you guys realise the whole 'just go buy an original because nothing comes close' thing, is close to impossible for 99% of players, right?
     
  2. WillLane

    WillLane Member

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    I'm a VOX fanboy but I'm not a purist. Owning a 60's model would be nice but I don't think its necessary to get genuine VOX tone. That said, out of the ~recent~ and accessible offerings, the 90's /6 TB RI (AC30TBX) are generally considered to be the closet in sound and circuit to the holy grail amps.

    Two of the biggest changes were the removal of the voltage selector and inclusion of a standby switch. They float around $1,500 - $2,000 but if you are diligent you can find them around $1,000. I found one on GC a few months ago and snatched it up.

    I also have a C2, but the /6 TB RI is just a different animal. They both get VOXey and sparkly but the /6 TB RI does it better. But you can find C2's at nearly half the price of the /6 TB RI's. I've also had a bit of experience with a CC2 and to me they are kind of in between the /6 TB RI and the C2.

    I've been told the HW series is worth the money as well but I haven't yet personally be able to work with one. The AC30S1 sounds more like it is a VOX-inspired circuit rather than being an actually VOX circuit.
     
  3. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    Used Vietnamese Handwired amps (AC30HW2/AC30HW2X) are a good, affordable alternative to a vintage AC30. TBX amps are also a good value IMO.

    Do the new AC30s sound the same as the JMI-era AC30s? No. No amp sounds the same as an old JMI AC30. Old JMI AC30s have a lot of variation at this point in time. VOX used many different components over the years and there few several variations of the circuit. Many components have drifted and/or failed and been replaced.

    The best modern AC30 I have (AC30HW60) is bolder/beefier, louder, has lower noise, and is cleaner than my '62. The '62 has a smoky vibe with more complexity and compression and less lows and volume. And the '62 doesn't respond as fast or accurately. Both sound awesome, yet they have differences. If you can't get a good sound out of either, it really isn't the amp's fault. The old one isn't the best for everything and neither is the new one.

    Don't convince yourself one is better without even playing it. There are killer old and new VOX amps out there.
     
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  4. bluesbreaker59

    bluesbreaker59 Silver Supporting Member

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    Not true. I am a player. I found my AC30 head on here for $1800. New AC30’s made outside the UK sell for near as much or more for a combo with blues. Matchless, Badcat, Morgan, Komet, etc all seem to have heads that go for more. So YES, if you’re patient, players can get an old AC30 that sounds awesome. I waited 17 years for the right one.
     
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  5. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Surely that's a rare find then.

    I stand by my point.

    In most cases it is just not feasible.
     
  6. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Member

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  7. flopman

    flopman Member

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    This!

    Our church has a 1995 6TB. Those era Voxes are often hailed as the closest to sounding like the originals. It sounds nothing like modern offerings!

    What’s remarkable to me is that the bass is so full and the top end, while clear and full of harmonics, is not overpowering or brittle.

    But maybe the market equates Vox with “chine” and so if they don’t make a stupidly bright AC30, people won’t buy it?
     
  8. dumbell78

    dumbell78 Member

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    :eek: lot more patient than me.
     
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  9. chillybilly

    chillybilly Member

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    Hand-wired is now taken to mean meticulous pin-neat builds but hand-wired in the early days could also mean wide, even random manufacturing variances.

    Steve Stoeckel, talented musician (member of the Spongetones) and talented (and now retired) amp tech said that the Spongetones made it a point to use vintage Vox gear. Unsurprising given their sound and frequent comparisons to the Beatles, but he noted that the innards of various Vox amps looked like an explosion in a wiring factory. Even as a qualified tech he quickly gave up trying to coax them back into working order and they were obliged to rely on other amps.
     
  10. Surfguitar

    Surfguitar Member

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    In the past I had a Vox AC30HW2 and it sounded good when I bought it I knew it
    was not going to sound like an AC30 from the 60's. I like the sound that the Beatles
    Rolling Stones & the DC5 got with there Vox Amps. I'm not a purest so having the
    AC30HW2 fit what I was doing. I sold the Amp to pay bills and now it looks like I
    can get that Amp back. For me that Amp covered the British Invasion from the 60's
    and for the band I play in that Amp was great.
     
  11. buddyboy

    buddyboy Gold Supporting Member

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    Thank God, I don't care for the sound of Vox amps. From reading this thread, it seems it's even harder to nail the tone of a great old one than it is with me trying to nail the sound of an old Fender with something new! Difference is that I can play my old Fenders and they keep working with little upkeep!
     
  12. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    buy an old ass one
    buy a current one and mod it
    buy a current hand wired one, play it for 60 years, and see if it sounds like a vintage one in 2079

    those are your options
     
  13. darkphader

    darkphader Member

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    Spongetones are (were) awesome! Some of their stuff is so Beatle-esque and even sounds like George Martin produced it; almost to the point of "lost Beatle songs".
    (Sorry for the generally off-the-main topic response)
     
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  14. Sean Mac

    Sean Mac Supporting Member

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    I think I paid 350 Irish pounds for my '63 JMI coppertop. In 2002 or thereabouts. Before euros.

    Less than 500 usd.

    Beat to s**t on the outside but Haddon iron and 71 greenbacks. Westrex chassis build with no numbers.

    Is a minty clean one with Blues worth it's current price?

    I have no inclination to spend 4K to find out.

    A good "player" is easier to own and perhaps more of a pleasure to use.
     
  15. bluesbreaker59

    bluesbreaker59 Silver Supporting Member

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    Mine is also a Westrex build, stamped right in the chassis. Also no serial number anywhere
     
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  16. gillman royce

    gillman royce Member

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    Yeah the Hayseed 30 came close . Not surprised he's out of business as he was hard to work with. The Magic Brit was truly amazing. I'd suggest you go on YouTube & check out The Doug & Pat show for their AC10 head. They use it on everything so you get a good range of guitars/pups. If you like that tone : 1) A guy - check the D&P - has cloned it; OR 2) buy a 65 AMPS Lil Elvis which is co-designed by the late Derrick Underwood of Vox who did the AC30. I refer to mine as an AC12 & is the reason why I sold my Hayseed 30.
     
  17. Hilltopper

    Hilltopper Member

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    Don't think I'd seen this before - the Lil Elvis is Vox-inspired? Is the circuit similar to the London (which I think is supposed to be Vox/Marshall)?
     
  18. gillman royce

    gillman royce Member

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    The Lil Elvis was co-designed with the late Derrick Underwood who did the original Vox designs in the Dick Denny era. I think of it as an AC12.Go to YouTube & check out The Doug & Pat Show. They use an AC10 head for everything. If you like what you hear, investigate further. As to the London, is was designed before Dan Boule met and spent time building & learning from Mr. Underwood.
     
    Hilltopper likes this.
  19. murraythek

    murraythek Member

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    What made him hard to work with?
     
  20. s360guitarist

    s360guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    He was 'off-putting'...(IME)
     

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