1 Posted on 06/22/2010 at 04:55:29
A few years ago, Vox launched their legendary AC30 as an amp head or as a combo, all made in China at an affordable price. This year, VOX is spoiling us with a hybrid series, using a special amplification technology mixing transistors and tube. This 15 Watts model is what’s on the menu for today.
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2 Posted on 03/29/2014 at 13:07:17
A very nice review. I've got one of these amps, and actually love it. And, yes, it IS loud enough to play in a band situation, but...
I was going to change the speaker in it. I found the stock driver a little harsh, lacking in bass, and not very loud. I talked to a guy at VOX, and he advised me to wait a while, really give the stock one ample time to break in. I'm glad I waited. After a few weeks of exercise, the thing changed its character dramatically, all for the better. The low end became more distinct, the strident highs smoothed out, and though I did not measure the SPL, the apparent increase in loudness was pretty obvious, both to me and to my mate, who, at the same amp settings, started yelling at me to turn it down. (In the meanwhile, the kid was yelling at me to turn it up. Who to believe? Right. We all know the answer...)
I do agree that the OD2 channel is just out of character for a VOX labeled amplifier. It puts diode clipping into the circuit, and definitely reaches into that "modern metal" territory, which sounds silly coming out of such a classic box. It's useful for those who like such things, but being more of a purist (I've got other amps for that noise), I find that I only ever engage the setting to make sure the button still works.
The channel switching lag is only a nuisance for me sometimes, as I don't tend to change channels often. Instead, I tend to mostly be in OD1 and use the volume control on the guitar to clean things up, as the amp is beautifully sensitive to it.
All that said, if you need a ton of clean headroom, you'd be better off with something else, and I'm not even sure the AC30VR would be sufficient, though it's twin 12s would certainly help. Plugging this one into a big cabinet helps, but it sort of goes against the principles of having a compact, light, portable package. I love the fact that I can carry this in one hand, a guitar in the other, a folding amp stand in the third, and I'm ready to go. No pedals necessary.
And, yes, an amp stand really helps. By focusing the speaker towards you, you can compete with even a loud drummer (ours is), and mic the thing for the mains. Works like a charm. I still miss my Marshall full stacks, but my back is a lot happier, and I can drive a smaller car, now...
[ Post last edited on 03/29/2014 at 13:07:55 ]
3 Posted on 04/01/2014 at 12:09:00
Thanks for your feedback and observations. The degree to which the speaker changed tone after the break-in period is surprising. Good move on your part that you checked with the guy at Vox, and didn't just replace it.
Regarding switching to a more manageable-sized rig, it's always nice to find a setup that's smaller and lighter, yet can still get the job done. When it's 2AM, the gig is over, and you have to load up your car, it's great not to have to deal with a heavy and huge piece of gear. I can totally relate to that.
Glad the amp is working out for you.
4 Posted on 06/01/2015 at 16:23:35
Nice review although again this amp is definitely adequately loud for rehearsals and gigging. You'd have to have a very loud drummer for it to be a problem. Larger venues would require some micing up but you'd find that with most amps around this size.
I play in a four piece band with another guitarist, a bassist and a fairly heavy hitting drummer and I rarely have to turn the master volume past half way otherwise it drowns out the other band members. Stick a clean boost in front of it as well and it'll be your best friend in no time!
It is fairly heavy and large for a 15w amp but I personally like that about it. It feels formidable and the larger housing seems to project the sound a bit better. The channel switching is the biggest flaw in my opinion, there's a slight delay meaning it's not instantaneous so if you're switching on the fly regularly it's going to sound clumsy. Fortunately though this amp takes pedals better than most other amps I've played through so a good overdrive and a clean boost will probably have you forgoing the distortion channels anyway.
All told though I am thrilled with this amp and having come from playing through all valve amps to this I really don't feel like I'm playing through a solid state which is a testament to the sound quality out of this thing.
Great review though and sorry for being so late to the party on this one!
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