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AC15HW or just plain old AC15
Old 2 days ago
Here for the gear
Spano's Avatar

Thread Starter
AC15HW or just plain old AC15

I know the rectifier is better in an AC15HW (handwired) but it's double the price....

I want the amp for home recording so the details matter alot to me...

How much of a difference really is there between a handwired AC15 and your normal run of the mill AC15...

also if there is boutique clone at a better price point I would be forever grateful to be pointed in that direction.

OOO and i know a little off topic but are those CREAMback Celestions something to write home to mama about?

haha peace and stay safe, we're all in this together!
Old 2 days ago
Lives for gear
Man companies like Vox charge so much for their handwired amps id be tempted to look for a clone

That being said I'm a Marshall guy and know dick about Vox
Old 1 day ago

Hand-wired are for people who plan on doing extensive modifications, have the rigors of touring to worry about, or just have to have the more expensive option.

Speaker selection is going to be more important in your case... that and good, non-microphonic/rattling tubes.


Old 1 day ago
Lives for gear
The HW versions tend to use better quality components as well
Old 1 day ago
Gear Maniac

Old 1 day ago
Gear Maniac

Old 1 day ago
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mintaka007's Avatar
I prefer handwired whenever possible because the great techs in my area tend to not want to touch PCB amps. As has been said, they also many times use better components as they can charge more for the amp itself, keeping the profit margin in the upper range.

Most of my amps are handwired either vintage or boutique, but I do have a couple tubers that are PCB, one being the ac15c1. I wanted that amp for it's specific tone, and have been happy with it. I didn't even mess with changing the speaker as it sounds good to me stock. People who play through it love it as well. If an HW came up used locally for a good price, I would probably pick it up as I like the sound of the PCB version, so I assume I would like the HW. This way if something ever went wrong or I did want to mod it it wouldn't be a pain in the butt.

I never got to try out other versions of the ac15 (c2 etc), but just went off of the folks on this forum and others that recommended the c1 above them, at an affordable price. I paid $400 for the limited addition red tolex version, so not much to lose there, and it is purdy.

I may just be lucky, or maybe it's confirmation bias, but I love all my handwired amps, and haven't wanted to sell any of them. They usually just increase in value as well, so resale if I ever decide to do so will be profitable and easy.
Old 1 day ago
A friend brought a Chi-com pcb version to the shop. I replaced the 12AX7B Chi-com tubes with a Tungsol in the first position and a couple of 12AX7A EH's. I also removed the three 10 pf caps in the input jack pcb, that sucked out air.

The rest inside is PCB parts, 1/4 or 1/2 watt Asian metal film resistors and some .1 uf 400V caps. Yes, you could rip it out and put in WIMA poly film, but why bother?

The amp sounds great with those tweaks. Better power tubes should be used.
Old 1 day ago
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noah330's Avatar
Used Gibson GA-15RV
Old 1 day ago
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Brent Hahn's Avatar

Originally Posted by Spano View Post
How much of a difference really is there between a handwired AC15 and your normal run of the mill AC15...
When I was trying out new, stock ones in a store a few years ago, the HW was a little beefier. But as you say, the price difference was vast. I went with the basic Chinese, but only because I got an amazing deal on it elsewhere, and it was only going to sit in the studio. If I had planned to gig with it, I definitely would have gone for the HW.
Old 1 day ago
The cabs really make it sound better to me. see 2nd video for what i mean.

Old 1 day ago

The voicing on those is very different. Wonder what the circuit differences are...

I like the OD on the HW, but cleans on the custom.


Old 1 day ago
Gear Head

I've had an AC15HW1 for about five years. Its a really nice sounding amp, and I have used it a lot to record and play clubs. If I had to do it again, I would by the standard AC15 with a Celestion Blue speaker. There may be slight tonal differences due to the cabinet size, but for gigs, the smaller size and built in reverb on the standard AC15 are better for me. I tend to grab my Fender Princeton reverb when I play out for these reasons.
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