Vox experts....help me understand the AC15HW

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by crazyneddie, May 11, 2019.

  1. crazyneddie

    crazyneddie Member

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    I love this amp. I live in the normal channel, but I notice how much the Top Boost settings effect the tone, especially the hot/ cool switch.
    How does the TB channel work? The tone controls confuse the heck out of me and once I realized how the TB channel interacts with the normal channel, I found myself not understanding the TB channel and tone stack at all.

    BTW you cannot get a bad sound out of this magical amp.
     
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  2. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten Member

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    The 12:00 position is the tipping point for the Bass and Treble controls.

    Treble knob: for positions below 12:00, this will add midrange. It'll take treble away too, but it's adding more midrange than reducing treble. Above 12:00 it will start to scoop midrange out as it's adding more treble.

    Bass knob: for positions below 12:00 it will just take low end out without changing much of anything else. Above 12:00 it will start to scoop midrange out. Be careful with the bass knob on a Vox, as it can get woofy pretty quick, especially with hum buckers.

    Use your ears. The biggest mistake people make with Vox TB tone controls treating them like a Fender or Marshall and dialing things in with their eyes. I can tell you on my Voxes I often have the treble control darn near at 0. I also have the bass control very low sometimes as well. IMO, use the treble control to dial in the midrange content you want. Use the cut knob and your guitar's tone knob to tailor the top end. It'll be plenty clear even with the treble on zero if you have the cut opened up and your tone knob opened up. If you want more of a scooped old school Vox chime, turn the amp's treble knob up higher and tame any undue top end with the cut knob and/or guitar's tone knob.

    Essentially:
    Rock and roll: Treble set very low, bass up to taste...as high as you can get it before it starts sounding woofy.
    Vox chime: Treble around 12:00 or 1:00, Bass at noon or below, and use the Cut to tame any highs.
    Make it sound like a Silver Faced Fender: Turn the Treble and Bass on 10.
    No nonsense balanced sound for all guitars: Treble at noon, Bass at 10:00.
     
  3. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    @crazyneddie

    Trivial semantics if you wish to change the thread title...

    The correct term is "Voxperts".
     
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  4. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    The truth about Vox AC15 and AC30s is they are a total mind screw and all you can really do is keep messing around with the controls to find what works... and I promise you, you will find loads of classic tones in there, but it is not very intuitive.

    I had a Marshall before my Vox, and I am glad I made the change. I can get it to sound more "Marshall" than my previous Marshall. And "Fender Chime" just pours out the front.

    Stay with it.
     
  5. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    beautiful explanation ! :aok
    one important, if slightly trivial detail to add :
    don't give up !
    the TB actually isn't nearly as cryptic as it might appear at first glance.
    I initially struggled myself, big time, but it became pretty intuitive after a while ..
    just use your ears and let go of any preconceptions.
    and have fun - the unique response of the two controls can be quite refreshing ...
    cheers,
    Rhino
     
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  6. crazyneddie

    crazyneddie Member

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    Exactly what I needed! Thanks much!
     
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  7. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten Member

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    No problem. I’ll also add that you should start with the Cut control wide open and dial it back only if you want to shave off high end.

    That control is in the power section. It dies nothing when it’s up full. As you turn it down, it progressively removes the highs. As such, you can think of “full up” as the default position.
     
  8. tenchijin2

    tenchijin2 Supporting Member

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    I believe you have that backward. At "0" the tone cut is cutting NO treble. As you increase it, it progressively darkens the tone.
     
  9. crazyneddie

    crazyneddie Member

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    I can tell you guys both mean the same thing.
     
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  10. tenchijin2

    tenchijin2 Supporting Member

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    I think you're right. Most people think of "wide open" as the farthest point clockwise, or "10" on the dial of 1-10. In this case, the most treble is found in the full closed position, or 0 on the dial.
     
  11. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    TB is a weird, interactive circuit. But it is extremely versatile and only two knobs are required to essentially get the functionality of three (TMB).

    Additional notes:

    Bright switch on Normal -- depends on the guitar and part. Off is traditional. On is compatible with more guitars IMO, especially if you want shimmering cleans. This channel has some killer driven tones with singles.

    Master Bypass - Sounds a little better with that pot out of the circuit.

    Tone Cut - Very cool control for recording but I often leave it wide open when doing a wide variety of tones and just control tone using the guitar's knobs.

    Hot - This is a partial bypass of the tone stack and it lets through a ton of treble. You can get some great tones but sometimes you need to bring the Treble way down. Or Tone Cut or Roll back the tone knob on the guitar.

    It will sound better as that speaker breaks in.
     
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  12. 6789

    6789 Member

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    Next try jumping the channels. Plug into the normal channel and then run a short cable from the other normal channel input over to the top boost channel input. Then you can blend both channels together.
     
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  13. harvey j

    harvey j Member

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    If you want Fender tone buy a Fender, because a Vox won't even come close.
     
  14. fiveightandten

    fiveightandten Member

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    Thankfully, that’s true.
     
  15. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    One thing I have to do is pull the bright cap out of the TB channel.

    It's not necessary IMHO.
     
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  16. playthecray

    playthecray Supporting Member

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    I do this a lot with mine, but I still feel most of the magic is in the normal channel. IMHO the amp greatly favors single coil pups as well.



     
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  17. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Truth.

    But that's one reason why I own a Power Station.
     
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  18. 6789

    6789 Member

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    I agree 100%
     
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  19. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Are you specifically referring to the TB channel here, not the Normal channel?
     
  20. Gretsch>Vox

    Gretsch>Vox Member

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    I run both channels simultaneously on my AC30HW2. I didn't remove the cap on the TB channel but I did lower the value. Kept the cap on the normal channel the same, though usually off.

    I'm picking up an AC15HW1X tomorrow, can't wait to get that
     
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