Your first Vox like amp. Which one of these?

Your first Vox like amp. Which one of these heads

  • Dr. Z. Z-wreck Jr head

    Votes: 9 14.3%
  • Victory VC35 head

    Votes: 4 6.3%
  • Morgan AC 20 Deluxe

    Votes: 15 23.8%
  • Badcat Players series cub 15R

    Votes: 8 12.7%
  • Dr. Z Maz Jr 18 NR MKII

    Votes: 2 3.2%
  • Other (in the $1300-$2000 range)

    Votes: 25 39.7%

  • Total voters


Gold Supporting Member
I'm going to second "get a real Vox". The others are sorta chimey, EL84 amps, but they don't sound like an AC30. If you want to start small, get one of the Chinese ones with the blue speaker. If you want to jump in to the $1500 range, the first handwired head will get you an EF86 and a 12AX7 channel for less than $1000. Lots left over for a speaker cab with a pair of blues (or Fane A50s).


I really love my Victory VC35. It has all the features you would want out of an amp like this.
  • Kinda goes between AC30 and AC15 tones with the 35 and 12W options.
  • Mix of fixed and cathode bias at full power to avoid thermal issues with EL84s, cathode biased at 12W. Basically at full power you can safely crank the amp without excess heat or tube reliability issues.
  • Really good PPIMV.
  • Footswitchable fx loop.
  • Good footswitchable digital reverb (real spring on the Deluxe version).
  • Bass cut switch for avoiding the flubby, overly bassy sounds at higher gain settings. This is separate from the bass knob.
  • Mid boost switch for making it sound surprisingly Marshallish.
  • Enough preamp gain to go to a heavy fuzz-like tone with the gain cranked. Excellent for stoner riffs for example! Turning on the bass cut still keeps it tight.
  • Tone knob is reversed from Vox amp tone cut knob behavior so the higher the knob, the brighter the amp. Makes more sense for users.
  • Lunchbox size so it's under 10 kg
  • Comes with a carry bag.
Pair it with a cab of your liking and you have a rig that is a helluva lot handier than hauling around some hefty AC30 combo or having to worry about running out of headroom on an AC15.


Gold Supporting Member
All of these are great amps, including the "lowly" AC15 they are based on. I would agree that they vary quite a bit in sound. For me, I went in to just try a Zwreck Sr...and after about 15 minutes I had that horrible/wonderful feeling that I wasn't leaving the store without it. The reason I say you really have to try them, at a good volume.


Gold Supporting Member
There’s this.

-bEn r.


Silver Supporting Member
I think the OP was looking for a Vox head. I previously owned a Vox AC15HW1X and agree it is a great sounding amp. I got tired of lugging the amp to rehearsals and gigs which is the only reason why I sold it.

Any reason for ‘Vox like’ rather than Vox?

The AC15HW1X is a great amp and can be picked up very affordably.


Gold Supporting Member
Ac15hw is where my search ended. So the handwired ac30 head is the obvious choice in your price range, if you must have a head.

Just bear in mind the cab and speakers are a huge part of the vox thing. I have an ac4hw with a scumback speaker in it and while it's cool, it's not the vox thing (unless you use an eq pedal). But run through a load box using the same ir, the ac4hw and ac15hw can be made to sound pretty much identical.


My first AC30 was a C2. Not bad, but I played a TBX and it was worlds different.

If I was buying my first ever VOX-y amp, I'd be looking for an AC30CC2X or at the more expensive end of things, an AC15HW1X.


Though hard to find, my personal favorite Vox like head is a WEM/Watkins Control ER-30. These are a PA amp which sports 3x12AX7 preamp with a quad of EL-84. After I acquired one a few years ago, my tech remarked that it was what he would hope a Vox AC-30 would sound if it actually rocked. It has a great treble boost circuit on the amp's input. All point to point wiring, it does clean & dirty sounds with great aplomb. I believe it has Partridge transformers. One of these rare beasts just sold on eBay for a reasonable price. I should have bought it, but really couldn't justify owning another. Not as gear addicted as I used to be. Here is the listing:

If you live in the UK, here's another. It's still under the $1300:

Here are some internal shots

Dick Denney definitely looked at what Charlie Watkins was doing. So did Marshall(the 18 watt Marshall is very influenced by the Watkins Dominator-some would say it's a ripoff). Though they're are known quantity, the Watkins amps are still not given the esteem they deserve.


Valvetech Hayseed 30 Head for sale on Rvb for $1200 + Shipping. .... ( NO AFFILIATION )........Says perfect condition, and never left the studio.

Is a 63 Top Boost, Handwired clone. This basically IS a Vox 1963 AC30. With a couple up-grades.

For $1200+ shipping, for the money this amp HEAD is hard to beat, If it said VOX on it, made with the came components ect, it would be at least a $2500 head new. Guy really is giving it away for $1200/Shipping.

Get a 2 x 12 cabinet, 2 Scumback Scumnico SC75s x 65w, and youve got as good of an AC30 top boost ever made.

Id have Pete Mather make the cabinet.


Also voted VC35. I have it and I’m deeply in love with that amp. Fantastic tone, wonderful pedal platform and loads of useful feature. I’ve paired it with an Alnico Gold and for me, it’s just perfection.


The Hayseeds were all over the shop with a constant stream of running updates and tweaks and changes which really annoyed owners. How could it be a dead nuts 1963 TB Vox if it was constantly updated for it’s life?

A Vox AC30HWH is hand wired and is an excellent amp and probably costs $1200 new. It’s a legit TB circuit too plus has a Normal ch and defeatable MV. If you want less filtering just change the caps which is a 30 minute job.


Silver Supporting Member
Don’t change the recipe before you make it for the first time.

Get a Vox.


I’ve had a few AC15s and liked them very much. I have a Bad Cat Black Cat now and LOVE IT.

I don’t think it is as far away from Vox as other people suggest, although you can aww it away from avid if you choose. To me, this is a strength, not a weakness. It isn’t a one trick pony.

It depends on how dead set you are on an archetypal ‘Vox’ sound. I am deadset on archetypal Fender and Marshall sounds, so I’ve not liked the boutique amps I’ve tried that try to get in the ballpark. I’m not deadset on archetypal Vox sounds, so i love the Bad Cat.
Don’t change the recipe before you make it for the first time.

Get a Vox.
Vox has changed the recipe many times. Unless you’re buying a vintage unit, most of the “clones” are closer to the original circuits than anything with a Vox emblem on it.

The Vox name has also been bought and sold a number of times. So although Korg currently has the right to put a Vox logo on their amps, that doesn’t automatically make them any more “original” than anything else.

Have a look at the schematics and AB some amps. It’s quite telling.

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