- Gear Diary
- Guitar Circuit Wiring
- Guitar Potentiometers
- Guitar Preamp Cable
- Guitar Tone Capacitors
- Guitar Treble Bleed
- Pedal Building
- Photo and Video
- Semi-Hollowbody Electronics
- VOX AC15
- same Celestion Greenback G12M speaker
- same preamp and power amp tube complement (3 12AX7’s and 2 EL84’s)
- same two channels: Normal and Top Boost.
- same tone cut and interactive EQ controls
- same weight – 48 pounds. Handwired is larger but birch plywood is lighter than MDF
- same AC15 legacy and tradition
Wow. Yesterday, I had a chance to play a session through a new Vox AC15C1. Really dynamic and responsive to play. Great character and presence, and a really nice break up when you dig in.
My usual session amp, a late-eighties solid-state Fender Stage 185, is increasingly unsatisfying to play- seems I can never find the right level of brightness in a band setting. Cranking up the presence, or tweaking the treble tends to make it harsh before it becomes pleasant. The clean channel is pretty nice, but the drive/boost channel tends to feel a bit fizzy.
Vox has just released a new hand-wired series, including the AC15HW1, pictured left. After my experience with the AC15C1, I’m anxious to hear whether the use of top-shelf components, hand wiring, tube rectifier, birch cabinet, ruby tubes, can make the already great sounding AC15 even better.
I also really like the ability to kick in extra gain with the new hot/cool foot switch, and the the OP mode switch to drop to 7.5W for nighttime playing.
The only things missing from the hand-wired series are the tremolo and reverb. One tune in yesterday’s session, Glen Phillips’ excellent laid back version of I Want A New Drug, calls for a bit of tremolo- but every time I tried kicking in the AC15C1’s trem, I just found it distracting and reached back to flick down the knob- perhaps I was just overdoing it, but I think I can probably live without it :) And while the AC15C1’s reverb is very warm, smooth and pleasant- I rarely use reverb. And I must say, if you turn the verb knob up over about 10%, it just sounds huuuuge, like you’re playing inside a water tower.
Warning- explicit photos follow:
Full disclosure- I work for Korg R&D, which owns Vox. So perhaps I’m a little biased towards Vox, over other alternatives (employee discount, woo-hoo!)
UPDATE 3/22/2011: I did eventually buy that AC15HW1, and it is a thing of beauty. I borrowed Chuck’s AC15C1 again and made a video comparing the two.