Let me begin by saying that this amp is everything that the AC30 is but with just Celestion Alnico Blue speakers. In my opinion this is the only way this amp should come. My favorite speaker is the Celestion Greenbacks but I play hard rock and metal and they fit my tone, but when it comes to Vox AC30 then there is only one speaker to be had and that is the Celestion Alnico Blue. This was the speaker of choice when the amp began in the late 50's early 60's and still is the best voicing speaker for this particular amp. It sounds better in every way comparatively to the Greenbacks. The tone is brighter but sparkles and drives a lot better in my opinion.
30-watt power output (8 and 16 ohms)
Birch-ply cabinet features solid bracing and a natural high-frequency diffuser
2 x 12" Celestion Alnico Blue speakers
3 x ECC83/12AX7 preamp tubes
4 x EL84 power tubes
1 x GZ34 rectifier tube
Fitted with matched Ruby Tubes for extended dynamic range
Traditional VOX 2-channel design
Top Boost and Normal
High and Low inputs for each channel
The Normal channel provides an additional BRIGHT switch
The top boost channel provides a HOT/COOL switch to achieve even more gain
Master Volume/BYPASS switch completely bypasses the Master Volume section
OP mode switch cuts the output power level in half
Vintage fawn-colored vinyl, reminiscent of the 1960 classic AC30
2 x 1/4" output jacks for extension cabinets
Included VFS1 footswitch controlls the Top Boost channel's HOT/COOL switch
Premium, custom-fit dust cover included
Number of Channels 2
Speakers 2 x 12" Celestion Alnico Blue
Effects No Effects
Reverb No Reverb
EQ Ch 2: Treble, Bass; Master: Tone Cut
Amp Modeling No Amp Modeling
Number of Models 0
Number of Tubes 8
Preamp Tubes 3 x ECC83/12AX7
Power Tubes 4 x EL84, 1 x GZ34 (Rectifier)
Inputs 2 x Instrument (Ch 1), 2 x Instrument (Ch 2)
Outputs 2 x Speaker
Footswitch I/O Yes
Effects Loop No Effects Loop
Weight 70.6 lbs.
The ability for this amp to take pedal is exceptional. There isn't really any better amp that can take pedals better than this amp. Throw a delay pedal and a TS9 in front of this amp and you'll get some great tone that is hard to beat.
I like this amp with every guitar you can throw at it. My personal favorite would have to be a nice Gibson Les Paul. It gets a round warm tone that fills the air. Say you want to get a nice U2 sound then slap a Fender Stratocaster in front of it and use the master gain controls and you'll get a great Edge tone.
The only thing that I don't like about this amp is the Greenback speakers. Don't get me wrong the Greenbacks are my favorite speaker but I mostly use Marshall's so it works for me. I think this amp sounds best with the blue alnico speakers. They get you a great solid chimey tone that mixes best with the amp.
I would recommend this amp to anyone who needs a vintage Vox Ac30 tone. Or any sound engineer who needs to add to his catalog. At new these amps come in at around $1400, which isn't bad for a Vox Ac30. Years ago Vox did a run of hand wired and they were almost twice the price. I think these may be made in China which would constitute the lower price.
What type of amplification (Tube,transistor,...)?
This tube amp is one of the best amps of all time. It's an older model, but don't let that fool you. It really rips when you crank it.
How much power is delivered?
It's 30 watts, but it rips.
What connection types are there?
There are your basic 1/4" inputs
What are the setting controls, effects?...
There are three main controls, tone, volume, and vibrato. There are three volume controls (normal, brilliance, and vibrato), tone controls (bass, mid, treble), and two vibrato controls (speed and vibrato-tremolo).
Can you easily get a good sound?
It is more difficult to get a bad sound than a good sound out of this amp. Amazing tone. The amp is powerful without being muddy, the sound is clear and crisp.
Is the manual clear and sufficient?...
The manual is pretty unnecessary, but it's easy enough to read I guess.
With what guitar(s)/bass(es) or effect(s) do you use it?
I use this amp with my Strat and with a Les Paul. I like the Strat more.
What kind of sound do you get out of it and with what settings ("clear", "heavy",....)?
With my Strat, I tend to get a bright, twangy rock sound that sounds great for classic rock and blues. It can be pretty sweet, too, when you make it a more clean, calm warm sound.
What are your favorite sounds and/or the ones you hate?
I don't like the sound when the vibrato is up too much. Otherwise, everything sounds great. I really like the sound of the vibrato, it's hard to beat among amps of this nature. The only thing I like more is the Fender Twin vibrato, but this is a completely different beast anyway.
Is the frequency curve sufficiently neutral?
The frequencies don't get too out of control, so I guess it's pretty neutral.
What thing do you like most/least about it?
I like the great tone that you can get out of this amp. I sometimes struggle to get a good lead sound out of it, but usually a little compression and distortion is all you need.
Did you try many other models before getting this one?
I have a Fender Deluxe that I like that is somewhat comparable to this, but I've tried some other Vox amps and haven't had as much luck (specifically the Valvetronix).
What is your opinion about the value for the price?
The amp is definitely pricey; most amps that are classics like these are. It's definitely something you have to invest in, so obviously, not for the faint of heart. However, it's so rewarding that it's worth it.
Knowing what you know now, would you make the same choice?...
I would definitely make the same choice again if I had to.
Precision and quality of the sound?
There are few amps that rival the sound of this one. Incredibly clear, warm, and crisp sounding, nothing about it is bad.
The Vox AC30 is a classic tube guitar amplifier. I'm not sure how many watts are delivered, but this thing can really crank. It has 1/4 inch inputs for your instrument. In terms of tone control, it is split into three sections - volume, tone, and vibrato. In the volume section there are knobs for normal volume, brilliance volume, and vibrato volume. The tone section has bass, treble and cut and the vibrato section has speed and vib-trem.
The AC30 is quite easy to use and getting a good sound out of this is quick and easy. If has a variety of tone controls (listed above) that allow the user to get a variety of different tones. I don't have a manual for this but I've never needed to use one.
This amp definitley suits my style of music as I play a lot of rock music. The AC30 has become famous because of the crisp, warm tone it gives off. I use it with guitar only and generally use it for the clean tone as it is rich and is great for playing Beatles and Rolling Stones songs. This amp is great for Beatles songs because they were using these! The overall sound quality is unique and it has built a reputation for having a great tone.
I've been using AC30s for about five years. I love using them whenever I need to record a clean electric guitar track, but it can also crank pretty loud and give you a nice overdrive sound. I would compare this to a Fender Twin Reverb as they are similar sounding and are in the same price range. I like the AC30 better than the twin when it comes to slightly overdriven signals, as the crunch it produces is legendary. The price is set right for an amp like this and I would definitley recommend it to anyone looking to get a high quality guitar amplifier.
-(2) 1/4" inputs, 1/4" bypass loop, 1/4" to Speaker Cab
- Front panel controls: Inputs x 2 (Top Boost & Normal), Input Link Switch for blending channels, Normal Volume, Brilliance Switch, Top Boost Volume, Treble,
EQ Standard/Custom Switch, Bass, Reverb Controls (Tone, Mix, Dwell Switch), Tremolo Speed & Depth, Tone Cut, Master Volume, Standby Switch, Power Switch
- Rear panel controls:
Loudspeaker output jack x 2 (Extension & External), Output (O/P) Impedance Select (8 or 16 Ohm), Output Bias (82 "Warm" or 50 "Hot", Smoothing (22uF "Vintage" or 44uF "Modern", FX Loop (Send, Return and Bypass Switch), Footswitch Jack (Tremolo and Reverb), HT Fuse, Mains Input, Mains Fuse
-It would be nice if there was a way to change the channel settings through a stomp box, but on my model, there was only a reverb and tremolo effect switch pedal, which I never use.
The AC30 is slightly difficult, initially, if you are trying to do, as I do, and take advantage of the awesome low end tone and the clarity of the amp but still having an effects rig, with distortion and or overdrive. This amp isn't made for metal, but its definitely worth the learning curve, once you pull out your first growling lead line or erupt into a shred-fest.
Tip: The crunch already in the amp is well worth toying with, and you should probably set the amp tubes to "Hot" on the rear of the head portion for gigging, even though this will shorten your tube life, I think the sound is well worth it.
As for the manual they give you, it will do wonders for you if you want to use your AC30 more for what it was designed for, ie Classic Rock style music; however, it may take some time tweaking your AC30 and the effects rig to make it sound like a snarling beast.
After all is said and done, my amp sounds like a better balanced version of a B-52, with a really warm bass tone that drives my dropped C tuned guitar lines growling straight through the mix without ever sounding cheap, hollow or tinny.
Currently, I'm running with the Ibanez Tube Screamer Pedal and the Boss Compression Sustain Pedal, as well as a Digitech multi-fx pedal.
I have an ESP MH400 with a Licensed Floyd Rose, a really amazing Aria Pro Les Paul Copy (which plays smoother than butter), and an American Strat (Diamond Anniversary model ^.^)
When I'm playing around with blues and country/classic rock sounds, this amp is perfect. Once I got my whole pedal scheme situated, then this became an amp that was well above even the type of amp that is usually used for the type of music that I play.
I've been playing Guitar for a good few years now, and as a few of my closest friends seem to love to remind me, I'm the guy most other guitarists hate. Fact is, I had the time to practice 10 hours a day, productively. I started only four years ago, and am at a point where there are few things that I can't play if I have the music and two hours to rehearse.
Enough about my playing ability.
As for my Equipment experience, my first few amps were much more stereotypical of the metal-esque genre of music that I typically write. There's My Peavey Studio 112, my Peavey 5150 Blockletter and then...there is my Vox AC30.
The AC30 is marketed strongly to guitarists looking for a bluesy, classic rock or jazz sound, but I've come to feel it is the quintessential metal amp too. Granted, it doesn't come stock with the type of distortion or gain of some amps, like say the 5150, and this causes the necessity for a pedal rig, but the overall tone of the amp is so rich that it even makes my cheap digitech multi-effect pedal sound amazing, warm and alive. Please understand that, prior to this amp, I only used that pedal to practice silently because it always just sounded too digitized and cold to me, now it is part of my gig-rig, and I use the wa and delay on it pretty often.