Vox AC30 build quality

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by devbro, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. devbro

    devbro Member

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    So I wanted to hear the AC30 classic with my own ears. I went to GC in Fountain Valley. Of the 2 they had, one wouldn’t fire up and the other sounded like it had a blown tube or something - very scratchy and crackling. Not willing to give up, I went to GC in Lawndale. They also had two and to my surprise, one wouldn’t fire up and the reverb wasn't working on the other. All of the amps were 2x12 combo's with the cheaper Vox speaker and the ones that wouldn't fire up simply made no sound. The stand-by light wouldn't come on. The sales people in both stores also tried them and could not offer an answer. Are these amps poorly made?

    Anyone know of a store inthe LA area with a working one? I'd still like to hear one.
     
  2. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    I'm not 100% sure, but I suspect Vox may have moved production on much of their product line to China. Their prices have certainly dropped dramatically enough to point to some changes in either their production or components.
     
  3. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Devbro - I bought mine used (though it was darn near new..still had tags and everything) and had it shipped here from NJ. No problems. Thing has fired up and sounded great every time. I also played on at the GC in Hollywood and another at Wild West guitars back in January. Again...no problems.

    So...I think it's really unfortunate that you ran into some stinkers. I have no doubt they're out there...and no doubt that GC is the best place to find them <shrug>...

    What part of LA are you in?
     
  4. mild

    mild Member

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    Haha, yeah that sounds like the Custom Classics. Fifthstone is correct, beginning in 2003 all production of VOX products was moved from England to China. Build quality has been noticably poorer since the move, and the quality of components has been lessened. Whilst this is slowly changing, and has been improving (especially just recently) it has done nothing to help the "unreliable" reputation that VOX AC30's carry. Also, it has forced prices up for the Korg/Morris/JMI era articles up even more, now that English made AC30's are no longer in production.

    Consensus on the AC30CC's is that if you can find a good one, that sounds great to you, and doesn't break, then you are doing well. However, they ARE prone to break, and perhaps more so than the usual UK built one.

    ... and by that I mean, you are buying an AC30 - one of the most poorly designed, but greatest sounding amps of the electric guitar revolution. It is *the* British Invasion amp, but it will definitely break - they run so hot, that they always do. Expect to be servicing it at least once every 2 years, if not every 6 months.

    Oh, and make sure you can lift it too...

    And that's pretty much all I've got to say about these amps. They are awesome, just be aware what you're signing yourself up for if you buy one... :)
     
  5. AchtungBaby

    AchtungBaby Member

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    Does this mostly apply to the combo versions, or the head version as well??
     
  6. wordsonyou

    wordsonyou Member

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    The major quality control issue that Vox has had on the early ac30CC series was the fact that anyone who heard a pop or a whistle when they fired up the 1st tube amp they could afford, decided rather than to swap the tubes or make some easy fixes to launch a tirade on the net. Not saying that is the case with anyone on this board, but the reality is that most of the problems were exactly the kind of problems caused by long shipping bouts from so far away as China - loose tubes causing failures, cracked tubes causing pops, microphony or fuse blowing. If these dealers had taken 30 seconds to tighten tubes etc before selling we'd hear alot less of these hard luck stories.

    The other major complaint has been the ghost note issue - as if it were a defect - by those new vox owners who are ignorant of what it is.

    Combine the above ignorance with a hatred towards the fact that they were made in China and you've got a poopstorm of internet no-it-alls that think the CC is a pile o' dung.


    The reality is the failure rate has been low, the customer service superb, and 99.9 percent of buyers have been pleased. The ones who are pleased rarely spout it all over the net. If this product were really so bad you'd think one would have been returned to our major retailer up in Canada - so far none of have been returned!!!! I have owned 3 CC products and gigged the bejeesus out of them - not so much as a pop. The CC's have been a homerun success for Korg - stores can barely keep them in stock up here - they are turning heads for sure in Canada and the reliability up here has been stellar based on the largest retailer's data.
     
  7. lord preset

    lord preset Member

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    It never ceases to amaze me how many large retailers (GC and others) will let messed up gear sit on the floor, driving potential buyers away in droves. On a recent amp shopping trip to LA we played a Fender Supersonic head at GC that sounded great (well at least as great as a Supersonic can sound) while a Supersonic combo at another store sounded flat an had no headroom at all. It was clearly not working as designed, but the salesman was oblivious. Similarly, I was trying to sell someone on an AC15CC but the one at GC in LA sounded nothing at all like the killer amp I had played previously in a different store. My friend walked away convinced that AC15CCs must suck. No one I know is going to buy an amp that sounds bad in the store in the hopes that maybe a few tweaks will fix it.
     
  8. wordsonyou

    wordsonyou Member

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    It's true, but that is exactly why the stores should make sure the amp is in basic working shape before putting it on the floor - a basic check to make sure the tubes are working, seated properly and not cracked might take all of 10 minutes...you can't blame an amp for shifting in shipping...
     
  9. wordsonyou

    wordsonyou Member

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    ...and while we are on the topic the only Voxes I had blow up on me in a live situation where Korg UK ones - a tbx blew up on live TV once - but that doesn't mean all Korg UK products are crap...I just had a bad rectifier tube. My CC's have never failed - not once - what does this tell you - nothing - other than check your tubes regularly - they are the major reason for failure in Vox amps of any era.
     
  10. goodtone

    goodtone Member

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    I had a Rose-Morris Vox AC-30 from the early 90's. Got burned real bad from Hi Way music with that amp. The volume would cut off than go back on. I brought that amp back to them about 4 or 5 times ! But to no avail could they fix it. Had to sell it for a loss. I considered buying their latest helping but did'nt want to take the chance. I'd rather save up and buy boutique with no miles and better build quality.
     
  11. B Bent

    B Bent Supporting Member

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    FWIW I bought an AC15CC a month or 2 after they came out and the thing sounded like complete CRAP and then it died after the 4th day. I took it back and got a refund!!
     
  12. devbro

    devbro Member

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. You may have saved me $1500 and a blackeye at a gig :messedup.

    I'm very pragmatic with what I hear on the internet. If 50% of people asked indicate they've had trouble, it's a pretty good indication that build quality is an issue. It's like a bell curve, you'll always find the extreme opinions from never a problem to piece of crap, but if most fall into the middle ground, pretty much answers the question.

    Hey Leon, I live at the base of PV. Didn't I sell you a Hotplate a while back?
     
  13. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yup, I did buy a hotplate from someone off Crest and apparently, it was you! (Man...I do too much buying/selling to remember everyone's screen name.) I subsequently sold it. That 8ohm Hotplate and my VT-40 did NOT get along, yet the 16 ohm version sounds great with some of my other amps... anyway, you're welcome to check out my AC30 CC if you're interested...
     
  14. hogy

    hogy Member

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    Right, the guy tried 4 new China "Vox" amps in a row, none of them worked properly, and you question his attitude. :NUTS
     
  15. MightyGuru

    MightyGuru Member

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    Too many horror stories around the CC for me to buy one. A shame, really.
     
  16. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    At the risk of going off topic...

    Made in China has become synonymous with cheaply built crap. Think back to the 60's (if you can) and you might remember that Made in Japan had the same reputation. Today, there's general consensus that Japanese-built or engineered products (think Lexus or Toyota, SONY, etc) stands for top shelf quality (in general).

    Nowadays, it's nearly impossible not to have at least a few major appliances in your home built in China. I have a Dell laptop built in China, among countless other things. Even Harleys use a large number of parts sourced from Chinese factories. And tubes? Forget about tubes! My point is that this is phenomenon is a fact of life. In the interest of staying cost-competitive, many manufacturers move their production to the cheapest viable production line. Today, it's China.

    Many goods that come from China (like the Dell laptop I mentioned) function as well as I demand from them. Some don't. I wouldn't really consider a made in China guitar at this point, but wouldn't rule it out in the future. Production quality will likely improve over time. But for now, I think music gear made in China is going through the inevitable teething pains.

    I guess my main point here is that it might not be a great idea to purchase a Vox amp now when they've just recently moved production to China. I would think Vox cares about its legacy and wouldn't allow the quality control issues to go on unchecked. But for now, I would approach this purchase with caution. My two cents.
     
  17. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    to add to the stories, a friend found an AC30CC head at a good deal... within 2 weeks at home it was acting up and not working right.... seems to be a real pattern.
     
  18. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    If you want a bulletproof Vox, the AC30HW is it. I also have no trouble gigging a well maintained JMI. If you want the equivalent reliability in a non-Vox clone, then look at the handwired JMJ, new JMI, or Hayseed.

    The PC board AC30's do not seem to have a stellar reputation at this point, although keep in mind there are many more of them built, so you tend to hear more horror stories. A 5% failure rate on 1000 amps is 50 bad stories; on 20 amps, it's just one bad story.
     
  19. wordsonyou

    wordsonyou Member

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    Where do you get that I was questioning his attitude???????? The CC has been flamed on the net I believe improperly. I have fired up at least 20 at stores with no problems...interesting that my anecdotal stories hold no sway. Not surprising that a forum that holds boutique amps in such high esteem seems to be the main pissing ground...it is too threatening to people's paradigms that a 900 dollar amp could sound as good as a 3000 dollar one. Flame away. :NUTS:NUTS
     
  20. boomchickaboom

    boomchickaboom Member

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    There's plenty of paradigms to be threatened.

    Sure plenty of cheap amps sound good, or even great. I just bought a solidsatge Unicord Stage 25 that sounds as good as many Champs I've heard.

    So what?

    A Peavey Classic 30 can both be a good sounding amp that can be had for fairly cheap AND an amp with one of the worst designed boards I've ever seen. And one that showed up for repair at the shop I worked at more often then any other amp.



    So?




    AC30's, UK or Chinese have never been a super reliable amp. Didn't Matchless start, at least in part, as a roadworthy AC30?

    I'm not suprised the Chinese made ones aren't any more reliable then the UK made ones. We sold the UK made AC30s. 4 out of 5 of 'em arrived DOA. Sometimes it was a simple failed tube. Most times they just went back. Sounds like the Chinese ones follow form. No matter where they're made they're great sounding amps.....when they work, which tends to be not quite as often as some other amps.


    A $900 AC30 head will never be as well made as a $900 Dr Z Ghia head. Which one sounds best to each of us is subjective however.




    Cheap amps can sound great. Boutique snobs need to deal with that.

    Great sounding amps can be made like ****. People with good ears but not a lot of cash need to deal with that.

    So?

    d
     

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