Vox Ac-30

Discussion in 'Other Amps' started by RobLaQuinta, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. RobLaQuinta

    RobLaQuinta Active Member

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    Hi

    Have any of you any experience with the AC-30? I've been using a small Fender Princeton Chorus for a practice/small gig amp. But, I'm becoming increasingly unhappy with it. My effects board has stereo outputs, so I don't really need a stereo amp. I need two good sounding medium power amps.

    I've heard the circuitry in the English Vox AC-30s is similar to the older Marshall combos. Is that true? Or, is the only similarity the value of the tubes?

    Either way, I think two AC-30s may be just what I need. Especially since the price on small Fender and Marshall 212 combos have gone crazy. The Marshall combo I was looking at was an older JCM 50-watt that sells for about $1500. And, that's in rather poor condition. No way am I buying two of them. I can get two AC-30s from a good Vox connection of mine for about $800.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    Is it a real AC30? or a amp made in China? Real AC30 says: "Jennings UK..." and was made in the 1960s. :photos:

    The real AC30 is the most sought after amp in the world, it is basically the holy grail of guitar amps.

    The AC30 made in China is probably nothing at all like a real one.

    There are actually 3 VOX amps, only 1 is the real one.
    VOX made in England - the only real Vox amp.
    Vox made in California (thomas organ) which is the fake one...many times solid state
    And Vox made in China.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  3. liontato

    liontato Well-Known Member

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    The handwired are pretty nice. One AC30 is loud. Two will be extremely loud.
     
  4. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    For $800 a pair, these are made in China, not England. A real one is easily over $3000.
    The ones made in China are made out of cheap parts. I have worked on some, and they are not like the real ones.
    So, It may say "AC30" on the outside, but it's not really. Typical for products that are made in China.

    Vox had secret schematics.
    So the schematics you see probably don't match the real amp that was made in UK. Inside the real amp was circuitry that was never on the schematics.
     
  5. colchar

    colchar Well-Known Member

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    For a time they were also made by Marshall.
     
  6. Deep Purple fan

    Deep Purple fan Well-Known Member

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    This ‘real’ AC30 comments are cork sniffer bullshit.

    I have a Chinese Made AC30 I bought new in 2017. I use a BSM Blackmore clean boost in front. You can nail anything from Clapton, to The Who, to Purple, to Zeppelin, to AC/DC, ETC without problem. I can do a Blackmore Made in Japan tone no problem.

    HERE’S THE REAL STORY, it’s not a high gain amp. Think JTM45. It shines 0n clean and crunch. Strats sing through them. I really like mine. I think I paid $899 minus a 15% coupon. Well worth it. Don’t buy the China argument. Obviously it is made overseas with lower cost components but I doubt you can notice the difference and it should last 5-10 years no problem.

    My amp is sitting on the spot vacated by my Astoria which is getting a tube job. Right next to a Friedman BE100 and it more than holds its own.

    Just remember....it’s very clean. You will need an overdrive pedal to get a nearly Dirty sound. It takes pedals well.

    Highly recommended.
     
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  7. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    The reproduction is not like a real one.
    You can call an amp made in China "AC-30" but that doesn't make it an AC30.

    Yeah they make SVTs (super vacuum tube) in china too, but many of them don't have any vacuum tubes in them at all...only transistors.

    The REAL story:
    You can put a VOX label on an amp, that doesn't make it a real vox amp.
    Thomas Organ put "vox" labels on their amps too, but they were not real vox amps either.

    Yeah : I can put a "Cadillac" label on my Volkswagen too...and that makes it a Cadillac?

    That's a picture of a real AC30.
    [​IMG]

    NOW: post a picture of the inside in your China AC 30. Show us how real the amp made in China is !
    I really want to see this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  8. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    "Just remember....it’s very clean."

    A real one is not clean, it grinds and screams with sustain. (no effects required)
    That's probably why it became one of the most sought-after amps on the planet.

    The real one....GRINDS.
     
  9. Deep Purple fan

    Deep Purple fan Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate that you like the vintage stuff. But the imports are pretty darn good. By clean I mean, you need to drive the mother. There is no magic gain knob on it.
     
  10. liontato

    liontato Well-Known Member

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    An actual ac30 has something the reproductions do not have. The reproductions are close but there is a lot more to a real ac30. AMS is right on that. I’ve played the handwired ac30 and it was pretty sweet. Better than the standard Chinese ac30. Most of the schematics I have seen are drawings. I’ve never seen a factory issued ac30 schematic.
     
  11. Garrett

    Garrett Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the education on the AC30. I didn’t know the original schematics were unpublished. But I would assume the hand drawn circuits are true to the original?

    How close are the boutique builders to the original?

    Is there a drawing of the original circuit you can build where the volume can be tamed with either a MV or attenuator that retains the top end sparkle? Or is the high volume part of the magic like a JTM?

    I like EL84’s for that chime.
     
  12. liontato

    liontato Well-Known Member

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    I’m sure the boutiques and drawings are close if not spot on. Taming any amp involves compromise in tone to a degree. An ac30 is very loud. That’s what it was designed to do. I would probably play at a reasonable volume with pedals if I had one. A handwired ac15 has good reviews and the volume is much more reasonable.
     
  13. colchar

    colchar Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.

    And if you don't need crazy volume, an AC15 is a great amp too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  14. colchar

    colchar Well-Known Member

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    If it is made by Vox or under contract to Vox, it is a Vox. And if it is their AC30 model then it is an AC30.

    By your logic the current production Camaros aren't real Camaros or any Marshal made after they started using PCBs isn't a real Marshall.

    You can say they aren't original AC30s, but you cannot say they aren't AC30s. As was said, your claim is just corksniffer bullshit.
     
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  15. colchar

    colchar Well-Known Member

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    So there is no clean on an original? You might want to listen to some Hank Marvin with or without The Shadows.
     
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  16. AlvisX

    AlvisX Well-Known Member

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    Having played AC 30s from the 60's on....There's been so much variation in them anyway that it don't really matter .

    AC 30 is my 1st choice on my rented backline request list...tweed basssman reissue being 2nd
    I always feel fortunate when I get one ...I know it's gonna be a good show ,once I finish dickin around with them backwards knobs

    A few years back I got a Chinese AC 30 CC2 for $300 that was blowin fuses. I fixed it and found it to be a GREAT sounding amp . I would still have it had I not torn a ligament in my right knee and was ordered by the Dr. to lighten the loads I put on it.HEAVY !!!
    Traded it for a Bassman Ten ,which I tweeded and put in a Bandmaster Rev headbox.

    Anyhow ,I have no issue gettin what I want out of a current AC 30 ...clean /dirt ,just a matter of knowin how to work your gear

    I'd buy another one if I could get a good enough deal on it .I keep my eyes open for a CC head

    But to the OP, a Marshall 4104 is damn sure worth shoppin around for ,certainly a better built amp than anything currently on the scene. I haven't bought one since about 2002...for maybe $600. These days ...if you beat the bushes,exercise a little patience, you could find one for a grand or under
    The combos have always generally gone for less money
    Also HEAVY

    My 2c ...

    BTW, Im in a studio in Napoli today using an.....AC 30
    A 6 holer, I think a Korg , sounds GREAT
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  17. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    I have a couple of AC30s. An early 64 AC30T combo with candy red panel blue woden trannies and original Celestion blues. Fantastic amp which is the sum of all of its parts, no master volume, just turn it up. The other is a later 64 grey panel top boost with parmekos and still has full complement of yellow print mullards. Needed a cap job as it has had very little use. Much louder and can be really in your face for volume.
    The reissues are not far off at all, not quite as complex harmonics but that could just be tubes and speakers.
    Clean headroom is not bad at studio volumes but on stage with a loud drummer you need to turn up louder and the break up starts to appear and with a little crunch and a rich mid range bloom.
    Unless you are playing stadiums they are loud amps ( the blues are very efficient speakers). Imo they don’t handle attenuators as well as my Marshalls, Oranges or Hiwatt.
    The output stage is cathode bias and no NFB. Preamp is pretty conventional with Vib-Trem that is not bad. Not really like any Marshalls I know of (the 18w are not dissimilar in that they all share similar DNA.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  18. RobLaQuinta

    RobLaQuinta Active Member

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    Wow.

    Thanks to all for your responses. What a resource!

    My source is a Vox afficionado, everything from Super Beatles, to the amps he sold to Tom Petty. He wanted the MRB function available only on certain year's productions.

    I'm used to heavy. My SVT (I thought it was Superior Valve Technology), both 810s, my 2205 and Carvin are all workouts to move. I'm guessing an AC-30 should weigh about the same as a Deluxe Reverb or equivalent...? Right?

    I'm actually looking for the clean "chimey" sound. I have plenty of effects to shape it as I need.

    Again, thanks for all the responses. I will take pictures when I get to see the amps.
     
  19. heltershelton

    heltershelton Active Member

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    i have a damn good "fake" ac30cc2x.
    i dont care what anyone says, its a really nice sounding amp.
    its also made well....has a birch ply cab.
    i did have a problem before i learned about the standby.....it was blowing the main fuse because it was eating rectifier tubes, but since i quit using the standby ive had zero problems.
    its loud as hell too.
    with my ocd pedal i can make that amp sound just about any way i want it to sound.......even heavy duty metal tones.
    ive had it for 8 years now and it has proven to be a really good amp. just because something is made in china does not mean it sucks. i have never played through a 60s ac30 so i dont know about those. i like having the master volume though.
    i would like to see if people could tell the difference just by hearing and not seeing. i doubt they could.
     
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  20. AlvisX

    AlvisX Well-Known Member

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    Dig this...
    My little friend the last 2 days on a recording project I was workin on in Napoli
    In lieu of payment ,I shoulda told the label to just deliver this bitch to my door...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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