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Talk me out of the Vox ac4
Old 6th August 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Talk me out of the Vox ac4

I had an ac15 a while back. I traded it for a Blues Junior, and I can't stop kicking myself for that.

The Blues Junior is really loud. I play gigs with both volumes at 3, max, and it's still pretty loud.

I want something that'll get me close to the ac15 tone. Would any of the ac4s do? (The tv, c1-bl or c1 cream.)
Old 6th August 2014
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
zombiesarebad's Avatar
 

I really like the AC4's, but to me the best of the small/cheap Voxes is the Pathfinder 15R. Yeah, it's solid state, but I think it's an incredible amp for the money (they can usually be had for around $100!).

Check out this video of one being compared to an AC15 and see what you think. Personally- after having played both- I'd take a Pathfinder over and AC4 any day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnI_PrAaRBw
Old 6th August 2014
  #3
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Maybe the AC4HW, but a Greis 5 is much better quality in a 5 watt refined, hand wired Champ circuit. The Greis 12 Reverb is a refined Princeton Reverb build.

The Reeves 12 with power scaling, is ideal where volume is a serious issue
and loud enough for playing out.

The Emery Sound Superbaby & Microbaby are also very well built and make it easy to experiment with numerous tube configurations.

The Allen Chihuahua is quite cool too, 10 watts more towards tweed,
but is also designed for low volume operation.

Maybe after two amps, its time to save up for something you'll want to keep.
Old 6th August 2014
  #4
Something different than the Ac4 (which I love by the way): what bout a fender tweed champ? there a lots of DIY kits out there and as far as i know they are sounding awesome!!
Old 6th August 2014
  #5
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If you decide the AC4 is it, I'd go with the AC4TVH with a 12" cab of your speaker and open/closed back preference. The 10" (or 8") just doesn't get it.
Old 6th August 2014
  #6
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

If you go for an AC4, I'd go for the hand wired version.

Actually the new AC15HW is a far better amp than any of the earlier Chinese
PCB offerings.

If you add up what you have already spent on entry level amps, perhaps this time, you should hold out and upgrade.
Old 6th August 2014
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zombiesarebad View Post
I really like the AC4's, but to me the best of the small/cheap Voxes is the Pathfinder 15R. Yeah, it's solid state, but I think it's an incredible amp for the money (they can usually be had for around $100!).
A couple of my son's friends came into the studio one night and we recorded them jamming with one guitar through an Orange Tiny Terror and the other through my Pathfinder. In the recording it's hard to tell the difference. Out in the room, though, the Orange was much louder -- I don't think you'd want to try to gig or even rehearse with a rock band with the Pathfinder, but it does sound amazingly good. Pretty sure mine was around $80 new.
Old 6th August 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
microwave's Avatar
The AC4TVH works well as a recording head (never tried the combo). Very "voxy" in character, so a bit of a one trick pony imho but if that is what you like it does it very well for little money. However amongst the inexpensive 5w heads the one I'm currently having an affair with is the Ampeg GVT5H. I changed the generic Chinese valves with better ones on mine - its a beautifully clean head (Fenderish but with more weight) with that great 70's style breakup when you push it with a compressor or boost pedal, and takes distortion pedals beautifully (then again so does the AC4). The baxandall eq works so well that I find myself never needing to eq on the desk.
Having said that, I don't think that any of these small amps will be loud enough for gigging unless you play very small clubs with a jazzy drummer, or you're ok with miking them. Nothing wrong with using an amp that is louder than you need, it gives you more headroom (unless you like to play cranked up).
Why don't you sell the Blues Junior and buy another AC15, given that you were happy with it?
Old 6th August 2014
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

I have some news. I remembered that my grandmother gave me a large sum of money for university, to buy textbooks and whatnot. I saved some money with used textbooks, so I was wondering: would it be morally wrong of me to buy a real Vox ac15c1, using about 200 or 250 dollars from the money my grandma gave me?
Old 6th August 2014
  #10
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microwave's Avatar
No.
Old 6th August 2014
  #11
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Ask her, not that complicated.

If you received a large sum of money, then maybe invest it wisely in an AC15HW1, a much better built Vox than the C-1 series.
Old 6th August 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 

They're so cheap - why not grab one. It's definitely a good enough amp to be useful in a lot of situations.
Old 6th August 2014
  #13
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

If this is just something to have around the dorm, then cheap is fine, less worry.

I just have a thing about players who keep buying cheap gear, spending more
in the long run and ending up being stuck in an endless chain of mediocrity.
Old 6th August 2014
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetualchange View Post
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

I have some news. I remembered that my grandmother gave me a large sum of money for university, to buy textbooks and whatnot. I saved some money with used textbooks, so I was wondering: would it be morally wrong of me to buy a real Vox ac15c1, using about 200 or 250 dollars from the money my grandma gave me?
Dont worry to much! If this amp is going to make you happy go and get it.
Old 6th August 2014
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetualchange View Post
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

I have some news. I remembered that my grandmother gave me a large sum of money for university, to buy textbooks and whatnot. I saved some money with used textbooks, so I was wondering: would it be morally wrong of me to buy a real Vox ac15c1, using about 200 or 250 dollars from the money my grandma gave me?

For a dorm room, or even a frat house, don't buy anything too expensive.

A lot of people push hand-wired tube amps as the end-all-be-all. But, if you don't own a recording studio or play professionally, it's really just an ego trip these days (and a lot of pros are starting to use modeled amps live - for reliability). The modeling amps from Vox are top-notch when it comes to sound quality - and if you don't like the mostly passable effects, just get the AC15VR and be done with it...



-tINY

Old 6th August 2014
  #16
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

For a dorm room, or even a frat house, don't buy anything too expensive.

A lot of people push hand-wired tube amps as the end-all-be-all. But, if you don't own a recording studio or play professionally, it's really just an ego trip these days (and a lot of pros are starting to use modeled amps live - for reliability). The modeling amps from Vox are top-notch when it comes to sound quality - and if you don't like the mostly passable effects, just get the AC15VR and be done with it...



-tINY

What some may call an ego trip, others like myself would call a smarter long term investment.

I've had my fill of play and toss consumer grade electronics and snide comments from people who encourage others to buy inferior products in order to justify their own cheapness.

The OP has already spent quite a bit of money between the two amps he already bought.

Why not at least consider buying something built to last decades for not much more. That's all I was saying.
Old 6th August 2014
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
I've had my fill of play and toss consumer grade electronics and snide comments from people who encourage others to buy inferior products in order to justify their own cheapness.
Would you encourage others to buy an M-Audio Project Mix like yours?
Old 6th August 2014
  #18
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Would you encourage others to buy an M-Audio Project Mix like yours?
Not really.

Back when I purchased mine circa 2004,
FireWire was the way to go with a Mac G5.

Today, I'd be going Thunderbolt.
Old 7th August 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
The AC4 is 16ohm output. That's a bit of a pain if you have 8ohm cabs you want to use.
Old 7th August 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 
mcgruff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetualchange View Post
would it be morally wrong of me to buy a real Vox ac15c1, using about 200 or 250 dollars from the money my grandma gave me?
Of course it is. Do you need to ask?
Old 7th August 2014
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

For a dorm room, or even a frat house, don't buy anything too expensive.

A lot of people push hand-wired tube amps as the end-all-be-all. But, if you don't own a recording studio or play professionally, it's really just an ego trip these days (and a lot of pros are starting to use modeled amps live - for reliability). The modeling amps from Vox are top-notch when it comes to sound quality - and if you don't like the mostly passable effects, just get the AC15VR and be done with it...



-tINY

Modeled amps suck unless you're willing to cough up for an Eleven Rack or better.

If you like the Lil' tube Vox, go for it.
Old 7th August 2014
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilDW View Post
The AC4 is 16ohm output. That's a bit of a pain if you have 8ohm cabs you want to use.
Not really. It'll drive an 8 ohm cab.

The rule of thumb is that you can go to a lower impedance on a tube amp (which is why many tube amps have shorting output jacks to protect the tranny) but not on a solid state amp, which will put out excessive current into a lower than rated impedance. Operating a tube amp into an OPEN circuit will blow the amp.
Old 7th August 2014
  #23
e17
Gear Nut
 

The solid state voxes I have played sounded great, but when I played my Ac30, even at "bedroom" levels, it just sounded so much better. I'd just get another AC15. At least you can gig it if needed and at AC4 volume levels it will still sound great.
Old 7th August 2014
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Joe_K's Avatar
If you know that you really like the AC15c1, wait and get it. Sounds like you have a Blues Jr right now, so no rush, right? I'd avoid jumping into anything that you also may not like as much. AC15 is a versatile amp that will work in all kinds of situations (except for situations that strictly call for hand-wired amps. )
Old 7th August 2014
  #25
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

I think the OP first needs to talk to his grandmother about funding.

Being away from home, stuff breaks, certain classes require additional tuition, specialized software, Lots of surprises.

You should have some savings in reserve.

Present your case and see what she says.
Old 7th August 2014
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
I think the OP first needs to talk to his grandmother about funding.
Grandma will just tell him to save up until he can afford an AC15HW1. :-)
Old 7th August 2014
  #27
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Grandma will just tell him to save up until he can afford an AC15HW1. :-)
Wisdom of the ages.

It's funny now since my kids are out on their own, how many times they've found out I was right.
Old 8th August 2014
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Modeled amps suck unless you're willing to cough up for an Eleven Rack or better.

They suck a lot less than a big iron amp with a tired rectifier tube or an output that's gone microphonic....

And if you don't have roadies, they suck a lot less on your back.

Do what you want in your studio: On the road, decent modeled amps sound better than they need to for most venues' acoustics.



-tINY

Old 9th August 2014
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

They suck a lot less than a big iron amp with a tired rectifier tube or an output that's gone microphonic....
Weber copper cap rectifier replacements. The cost the same as a new tube, mimic exactly the behavior of a tube rectifier including sag and limited inrush current, and they never need replacement (or won't for a very, very long time.) And they plug right in with no modification to the amp. They also don't draw filament current so you power trannie runs cooler and lasts longer.

Outputs rarely go microphonic, although they can develop a rattle if they're very, very old. So what? It's like replacing the tires on your car or the strings on your guitar.

Quote:
And if you don't have roadies, they suck a lot less on your back.
That's why we use smaller tube amps than we did when we were young.

And a "Rock and Roller" cart for the bass amp.

And the OP is talking about a Vox AC4 - that's hardly a "big iron" amp - it's a baby amp that a child could carry with one hand.

Quote:
Do what you want in your studio: On the road, decent modeled amps sound better than they need to for most venues' acoustics.



-tINY
They only sound adequate if there's nothing real onstage to compare to.

My little Pro Junior with 2 knobs and 15 watts and a couple of pedals blows away any Line 6 rig I've heard. Or anything else short of an Eleven, and I'm not convinced about the Eleven, either - I've heard it sound good enough on recordings but don't know if it would hold up live.

And there's also the matter that it looks downright silly for a band to be prancing around onstage with no amplifiers, not even little ones.

(As an aside - you know, it's a pain preserving your formatting while doing a multi-section quote! )
Old 9th August 2014
  #30
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

If I went to see AC/DC and they rolled out on stage with modelers, I'd want a refund!

That pretty much goes for any group!
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