Vox AC30 is here! (title changed from "incoming")

Ugly Bunny

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2,453
...or tell me I'm an idiot. I don't care - either way, I'mma be in tone heaven in two days :)

It's the Vox AC30C2X with the AlNiCo Blues (I heard they're the 'chimey'-est)...

I've wanted one of these babies for some time. Something in me just said "pull the trigger" today. I'm not 17 and suicidal anymore, so I knew it wasn't that; so it must have been my GAS. And I listened!

While I used to play heavy metal pretty exclusively, I've recently become enamored with blues and, well, for lack of a better term, "tone." That is, thanks to TGP, I've learned to appreciate the nuances of tone - of low gain OD, clean boosts, toob overdrive, etc. I've loved every example I've heard of the Vox AC30 but never really considered the amp. I've been rocking my Mesa/Boogie Mark IV 1x12 combo for the last couple years. I've also got a Mark V combo and a Blackstar HT5RS.

I had definitely considered the AC15 strongly - the price was good at Sweetwater since they had a floor model; but I have found that 1x12s can sometimes tend to sound boxy when compared to their 2x12 counterparts. That's what sealed the deal with the Blackstar - I compared the 2x12 "stack" with the 1x12 combo and there was no question: the "stack" sounded much bigger, fuller, and airy even at the same volume so it came home with me. And thus, I got the AC30 over the AC15. Also, I'm a zealot when it comes to insiting my amps have FX loops, and the AC15 does not have one. Part of why I was interested in the AC series was I was looking forward to trying FX into the front of the amp - including delays and modulation. But now I can have the best of both worlds. I'm also intrigued by the various input capabilities.

SO....

Any tips on how to christen her when she get here in a couple days? Particular ways to jump the inputs that are magical? any particular effects in the loop that shine with the AC30 (I've got a ton)? Would I be better served by leaning the amp up toward me or leaving it flat on the ground? FWIW, I live in an apartment so I doubt I'll ever - in my lifetime - get to use her at full volume lol!

Cool story, bro, right?
Thanks for reading :)
FYI, totally joking about confirming I made a good choice. All my best purchases have been impulse buys like this. I have no doubt I'm going to love it and maybe not play any of my other amps once I get it lol. And if not? Meh. I'll sell it - probably at a loss but whatevs. Cheers, y'all!
 

WhoJamFan

Silver Supporting Member
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2,605
Neighbors gonna hate when you discover what a little volume increase does to an AC30, not to mention when you hear what driving the power tubes do.
This ain't no bedroom latenight amp.
Congrats on the impulse, great amps, clip that dang bright cap right out of there(if it has one)and pedals will work great with it at lower volumes.
Blues take a solid 40+ hours to really do what they do best. Highly suggest Celestions guide on breaking in speakers located on their website. You might want to rent some cheap rehearsal studio time when you first get it so you can spend an hour following their instructions, then another cranking that baby up and seeing where the "magic" is.
Then take it to the pad, and enjoy.
 

Ugly Bunny

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2,453
Ah! Good advice. What does the clipping the "bright cap" do? Sounds like it would make it duller? Is it too shrill to start with?

But yeah - that's excellent advice to rent a room for an hour or two to break in the speakers. I'm sure that would make it sound better even at low volume. Unfortunately, that's all I ever get to play at, but I've had good luck with most amps at that volume. Besides, if I never really know what I'm missing, how can I be upset? ;)
 

Ugly Bunny

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2,453
Hmm. Started looking at the bright cap mod; thinking I may be inclined to remove the cap but run jumpers and place it on its own toggle which could attach to the chassis. I guess I'll have to see how bright it is without it - but thanks for the tips!
 

picnic

Member
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2,294
I had a modded AC15. Seller had put in mini toggle to bypass the bright cap. That may be an option for you. I left the cap in the circuit position
 

chillybilly

Member
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3,809
You will love the Blue speakers especially if you've been playing through Greenbacks or V30s to date.

I have both an AC15 and AC30 and the AC30 just looks 'correct' in terms of its proportions. Maybe it's because we've seen so many of them over the years but....

I recently retrofitted a Blue into my AC15.

The twin-speaker setup obviously moves more air but my cod-science theory is that two speakers will vibrate/oscillate slightly differently and make a fuller, 3D sound. I don't think the AC15 sounds boxy compared to some other single-speaker amps I've heard, probably because it's only 15W, but it is definitely more directional. Tilt the AC30 up if you like especially to get maximum apparent volume from minimum dial setting but the twin-speaker setup makes this less of a priority. As you already know, you may never need or be able to go past 10-20% on the master of this blaster.

Not to foster any buyer's remorse but I was reading up on the Bad Cat Unleash last night which is both a reamper and an attenuator. The Unleash V2 has a loop, obviating any amp's lack of. With the powerful AC30, the Unleash might allow you to crank up into the sweet spot while keeping volume to a hush. It's easy for me to spend other people's money but something to consider. The Fryette Power Station has a quasi-religious following here and also has a loop (among other features).

I've never really used loops but effects-wise the AC30 loves a Timmy. Mine loves an OCD. I use a Janglebox compressor frequently with mine for some intense treble response with a Rickenbacker or any other guitar really. The clarity of the Blue speakers means delays do very well, whether digital or tape-simulations (I have a Time Factor which is a bit of both).

The usual caveat with an AC30 applies - it's heavy. Oahu may tip slightly when you get it o_O. Let's hope you have an elevator in your building or don't plan on taking it in and out of your apartment frequently (even though I do and have done so often at my house :eek:).

I have a good friend who is a USN LCDR in Honolulu.
 
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Roccorobb

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1,666
I like the bright cap. At least on my cc (which has a toggle). Between the box and the two marks you're in good company. But if you really want to be tgp elite you need to add a 5e3 and some sort of reactive Load to your arsenal
 

vatore3rd

Platinum Supporting Member
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312
SO....Particular ways to jump the inputs that are magical? any particular effects in the loop that shine with the AC30 (I've got a ton)?

Here's what I do (o'clock values as viewed from the front of the amp):
  • Run preamp volume about 5 o'clock.
  • Run master volume as loud as you can: < 3 o'clock is cheating the amp, 3 - 5 o'clock gets you in the ballpark, 100% is the real deal. Not much volume difference between 5 o'clock and full (11 o'clock) so might as well go all out once you get to that point :love:. In an apartment, 3 o'clock may already be too loud, but I'd shoot for that.
  • Tone controls to taste (I usually dial back the bass to tighten things up).
This gives you a wonderful dirty clean. Just learn to love that for a while. Either channel, both channels, tinker with guitar volume and tone controls. Single coils or humbuckers. Try everything but don't rush through. Take the time to appreciate the subtle character each combination brings.

Then:
  • Prince of Tone in boost mode to push the amp for more drive -- works with either channel, but jump channels for more thickness (an ABY box is good to make it simple to switch/jump channels).
  • Beano Boost cranked for heavy stuff especially with humbuckers -- use only with normal channel.
Sinful. Enjoy.
 

MissoulaGriz

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Messages
1,415
You made a great choice! That is a stellar amp in every possible way. I'm a recent AC15C2 owner and after years of vintage Fender and handwired Plexi's, I honesety think I found my "sound" through the Vox. And you're right, 2x12 is a great choice and does not sound boxy at all. It sounds Voxy.
It will be far from a one trick pony. I've never played an amp that has so many tricks up its sleeves and tones available. From the interactive tone and bass controls on the Top Boost, to the Cut control, Normal and Top Boost channels, Reverb and Tremolo....these amps are incredible. The compression and crunch are completely addicting and the clean tones are like ringing a church bell.
Dang...sounds like I'm writing their advsrtising copy but yeah, Vox is that good!!!
Yes, it will be a loud amp but down the road you can get a Powerstation or something to attenuate a little.
Don't think about modding the bright cap yet...get to know it first then go from there. Having it mounted as a switch is a great option and one I'm considering for mine.
Cheers!!!
 
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drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
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30,234
The bright cap is a bypass cap that lets high frequencies thru when the amp is turned down. It does nothing at gig volumes! I've had Voxes that needed it done, but more that were fine with it in place. Try it before you make any changes! Some Voxes are fussy about drive pedals, hard to say ahead of time, but the Hotcake, the Timmy, the Bluesbreaker and derivatives (including the PoT/KoT) all work really well.
 

WhoJamFan

Silver Supporting Member
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2,605
The bright cap is really only a problem at lower volumes when trying to gas it with drive pedals. There is more treble available in that amp than most people ever use, so it's very easy to dial back in what removing the cap does with the amps eq.
I have an AC15HTVH without that cap and at any volume there is never a shortage of treble. In fact, I can't even turn the treble control past 3:00-even with my Les Paul-without it being way too bright, and I like bright.
I have a Badcat Unleash I use to reamp my AC4Tv head into my 2x12 cab to bring the little guy up to monster volumes if I want.
It also gets used to knock my Hiwatt down for late night jams that don't end with "Reed and Malloy" giving me a lesson on noise levels-haha
 
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WhoJamFan

Silver Supporting Member
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2,605
AFAIK, the bright cap was only added to the equation from the CC series to present.
There wasn't one added from their first amps in the 50s up to the CC series, or at the very least, I've never seen anything posted about it in any pre CC Vox, including the TBX, Rose Morris, and JMI era AC15/30 amps.
But
Definitely try it first and see if it's an issue for you. Wouldn't recommend drilling a hole anywhere for a toggle switch to bring the capacitor in and out of the circuit until you know you are going to keep the amp, as it can affect resale and might void your warranty.
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,922
AC30s are simple circuits, and seem more sensitive to tube changes than less simple circuits. If the way the amp clips is unpleasant (eg fizzy) or the tone falls short of your expectations, try better tubes. IIRC, my handwired AC30 came loaded with Ruby. At bedroom levels, the preamp tubes will be most important. But really, nothing major needs to happen out of the box -- just, you know, plugging it in and enjoying the sounds it produces :)

Try to get it out of the house to break it in nice and proper ;) I wouldn't think about modding it until I'd had it for a few months because you probably have a return policy if it doesn't excite you from the get-go. Happy incoming NAD!

FWIW, I have the Handwired AC30 and it became my most-used amp. It only needed a tube change to get there -- and I've got several "better" amps.
 
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WhoJamFan

Silver Supporting Member
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2,605
Also, untill those Blues start really breaking in, they may sound a little bright and stiff.
I have speaker break in cd from ear candy that has worked quite well for this. Some scream "snake oil" but I've had great success with it AFTER doing Celestions break in procedure and you don't need to turn the amp up loud to run the CD.
Bottom line, everything sounds better on an AC30 once the speakers have broken in, remarkably so in many cases where the initial opinion of playing a brand new one is "Damn this thing is bright and stiff".
This has been my personal experience, so don't give up on it if your initial impression is similar.
Enjoy!
 

C-4

Member
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15,521
Instead of considering mods on an amp you don't even have yet and have never played, consider breaking it in, spending some time with it. Just a thought...


Also, the blue speakers will need some time to be broken in, but when they get there, (about 40 hours), they will sweeten up and you WILL hear a difference.

Congratulations, and Merry Christmas. I hope you really enjoy this new amp. It's Killer! :)
 

Sigmund Floyd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,533
I have the AC30 with Greenbacks, love it. I did clip the bright cap while back because it was the "thing to do" but I don't really know now. Sounds great anyways, from clean to natural overdrive. They do shine when cranked though.
 

MissoulaGriz

Member
Messages
1,415
I agree with the above 100% regarding speaker break in and tube swap. Tube swap would be the first thing I did....from there, just play that thing and preferably, try to get it somewhere where you can open it up over 50% volume so you can get those cones moving.
 




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