Which amp? Blackpearl 30 or AC15 handwired?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by soldierscry, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. soldierscry

    soldierscry Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Halifax NS
    I'm stuck on which amp want to get so I thought I'd ask for your help.
    The two amps I'm looking for are the Genz Benz Black Pearl 30 112 combo or the new Vox handwired AC15. What I'm looking for is something a little lighter then my traynor mark II to bring to smaller gigs and a something that I can use at home with out waking up the neighbor hood..lol

    I play Jazz/blues, rock, folk. and really like the on the edge of breakup sound where i can use a boost to push it in to OD. The main thing is I don't want anything thin sounding.

    hope you can help
     
  2. MartinC

    MartinC Member

    Messages:
    2,597
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sydney
    Both nice amps ... if you're referring to the AC15H.

    I think tonally the AC15H is superior, but it does need to be turned up to give up its best (more than what I think of as bedroom volume). The BP has power reduction options that'd help out there and it's probably more versatile ... though I've heard some say that its versatility is not on-the-fly versatility. Setting up a good clean sound and a good OD sound from the boost switch might not be possible ... probably needs pedals.

    I'd be inclined to go with the AC15H personally. Very sweet tone.
     
  3. stump

    stump Member

    Messages:
    1,267
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Central Massachusetts
  4. oldschoolguy

    oldschoolguy Member

    Messages:
    2,255
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    I have the Black Pearl. Completely happy with it. Very versatile, all around good amp and mine has been completely reliable. I have wanted to try out the Vox 15 to see how the clean sounds--somehow I'm thinking that it will be more jangly, prestine-like-- I don't know quite how to describe that but....cleaner than the Pearl's clean which actually suits me just fine; the Pearl's clean is not Fender-esque nor is it ice-picky or overly bassy)
     
  5. HEAVENandHELL

    HEAVENandHELL Member

    Messages:
    462
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Location:
    McCordsville
    I'm a BP30 owner as well. The not "versatil-on-the-fly" comment was made by a gentleman who was going to a line 6 modeling amp so maybe he just needed an extreme amount of versatility.

    I love my BP30. Awesome tones. Great boost switch. You will need pedals if you need to go from R&B to Metal but that's true of most amps.
     
  6. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

    Messages:
    11,263
    Joined:
    May 4, 2003
    Tough choice! I needed that AC15, if only because I wanted the defining Vox sound and could not find it in anything else. If you, like me need to have a real Vox sound, then at least try this amp. I slid into the drivers seat a skeptic but came away from the two hour test drive shell shocked - with joy. However, the Black Pearl is quite an amp and has a bit more bells and whistles {read: more tonal options}. I do like the Benz but would not purchase if I was fixed on a true Vox tone. The AC15 is a pure and simple {two great} Vox tones with enough shaping controls to shine with any guitar.
     
  7. dotlikeimpact

    dotlikeimpact Supporting Member

    Messages:
    929
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I owned the BP and wasn't totally happy with it. Bit of midrange honk. The AC15HW sounded great to me, but no reverb. Then again, the BP has a terrible reverb circuit. Just awful.
     
  8. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

    Messages:
    11,263
    Joined:
    May 4, 2003
    An amp like the AC15 just doesn't gain from verb. Actually, just gets in the way and adds clutter to the notes and jives the harmonics up; even at low volumes the AC15 deals it. Must be the big birch cabinet and those EL's cooking in the red zone?
     
  9. John Thigpen

    John Thigpen Member

    Messages:
    3,581
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2002
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    I would have chimed in earlier, but I just traded my BP 1x12 for a BP 3x10, which arrived today. I wanted to try it out before answering. I think the Black Pearls are great sounding amps, and do a really nice transition from clean to dirty. I set it about half way up on the gain, and two thirds up on the boost. It's clean without the boost, but very touch sensitve with the boost on....nice crunchy breakup if you dig in. It sounds great with single coils, but I was really surprised how good it sounded with humbuckers. I have no issues with the reverb at all...I rarely turn it up past 9:00, and it sounds good at that level.

    I demoed a PRS Korina McCarty through an AC15 (in the wooden cabinet...I'm not sure which model that is) at Sam Ash last December. I loved that PRS, but also wondered how much of the tone was the amp. Very lively and touch sensitive. It sounded much edgier than the Black Pearl, in a good way. However, I'm not sure how much clean headroom you'd get out of it, if that's an issue. I'm sure the Black Pearl would have much more headroom.

    Regarding the Black Pearl 3x10 vs. the 1x12, the jury's still out...probably until I can play it out somewhere. At household volumes, the 3x10 sounded good, but not necessarily better than the 1x12 (Unfortunately, I didn't get to try them side by side). However, that 3x10 is HUGE for a combo...bigger and heavier than my old Peavey Classic 50 4x10, or a tweed bassman. And at 86 lbs or so, a bit of a bear to move around.

    John
     
  10. MartinC

    MartinC Member

    Messages:
    2,597
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sydney
    That's a shame that didn't work out ... you asked me what I preferred about the Hughes & Kettner Statesman just prior to you buying the BP (in here http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=357984&highlight=kettner). If you can, try a Statesman. Still loving mine ... and if you look at the AC15H as common ground, I agree that it's a gem. ;)
     
  11. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

    Messages:
    3,541
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio, Tx
    To me the Black Pearl seems to be built better and have a higher consistency. Much more versatility as far as features and being able to get tones at a lower volume. Definitely a "Vox-inspired" amp and it does a fine job at it. I'm not a big Genz Benz fan but I really do recommend the Black Pearl.

    The AC15HW on the other hand IS the Vox tone. You will immediately hear all the chime and tone that Vox is known for. Super simple and straight forward. Just turn it up and work the guitars volume or hit it with some boost pedals. Very loud and even at 15 watts and needs to be cranked to get some dirt with the NMV setup. Tonally, my ears would gravitate to the AC15HW but the QC on these amps are terrible. Enought for me to stay away, as good as it sounds, its just not worth owning a ticking time bomb.

    Hard choice, but both are great amps!
     
  12. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

    Messages:
    11,263
    Joined:
    May 4, 2003
    Serious? I opened it up and it was really clean. I had the same concern and stayed away from vox in the past becauseof this. But I was walked through the whole amp prior to a purchase. I think it will hang and have spied it on the road for some major acts. I've actually had more niggles with the higher priced stuff than I have had with anything production, sans my Carr amps - which are built insanely well. Anyway, I'm knocking on wood just in case!
     
  13. soldierscry

    soldierscry Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Halifax NS
    Thanks for the info guys :) Looks like this is not going to be an easy one. but it's looking like the BP30 might win the battle as its on sale right now and is4oocheaper then the ac15.
     
  14. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

    Messages:
    3,541
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio, Tx
    Yes, and my experience is first hand as I've worked in the MI industry for the past 7-8 years. In that entire time Vox was one of the many lines I delt with. QC is a huge concern with the MIC Vox stuff. It was really bad early on and then it improved. Now its all over the place.

    Couple things to protect yourself is to have a warranty from a dealer that will replace or exchange, or possibly add on a non-3rd party extended warranty that certain dealers offer in house. Some of them include full replacement for 3 years. Another thing is to have it "modded" and replace the "lesser" parts and components. There are a few guys on TGP that can do some killer mods to the MIC Vox amps.
     
  15. embot

    embot Member

    Messages:
    108
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Location:
    SoCal
    Thinking of getting an AC15 myself. Care to elaborate on which components to upgrade.
     
  16. XKnight

    XKnight Member

    Messages:
    11,095
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    Are your direct experiences specific to the Handwired Vox AC15 Heritage Series? Can you estimate how many of those particular VOX Heritage Series amps you've seen that had issues? If you can elaborate on what specifically was wrong with them that would be very helpful as well. Thanks!
     
  17. soul1

    soul1 Member

    Messages:
    152
    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
  18. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

    Messages:
    3,541
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio, Tx
    No, its apparent throughout the Chinese Vox production tube amps.


    I don't remember any exact numbers but its certainly enough to bring up conversation. One dealer, I deal with locally has had problems with 2 of the last 4 AC15 Heritages, one was a standard white and the other was the mahogany model.

    I'm by no means a tech, but I recall being told about all the Vox stuff from bad tubes, blowing fuses prematurely, no reverbs, no output, ect. If I don't forget, I can look into getting a list of the issues most commenly found in them.
     

Share This Page