We take a look at the new VOX 60th Anniversary AC15 & AC30 Amplifiers which have just been announced and celebrate with a giveaway of a VOX AC10C1 and the VOX Tone Test at PMT
The announcement of the VOX 60th Anniversary AC15 & AC30 Amplifiers has got the VOX amplifier geeks here at PMT extremely giddy with excitement. So much so that we’re giving away a bunch of FREE t-shirts and giving one lucky person the opportunity to win a VOX AC10C1 amplifier when you take the VOX Tone Test at PMT Music.
Take the VOX Tone Test at PMT Music, get a free T-Shirt and go into the draw to win a VOX AC10C1 amplifier
So we’re asking all of our customers to come down to any PMT store and try out a VOX amp – if you do, you’ll get yourself a limited edition VOX t-shirt, completely free. We’ll even enter you into our prize draw to win a VOX AC10C1, all you have to do is let us snap a picture of you playing a VOX amp in store. It’s that easy!
Find your nearest PMT store and nab your free t-shirt (while stocks last) and enter our prize giveaway.
A brief history of VOX Amplifiers
VOX amps have been there alongside some of the world’s most important bands and throughout the most important times in modern music. They helped define the sound of an era. That 60s jangly sound you know – yeah that’s a VOX amp. That early Beatles guitar tone – that’s a VOX amp. From Jazz, to Rock to Pop, the VOX amplifier has been a mainstay on stages and in studios all over the world since they were first introduced in the late 50s and rose to prominence in the mid-60s thanks to the likes of The Shadows, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many more iconic bands championing them.
The VOX 60th Anniversary AC15 & AC30 Amplifiers pay respect to this iconic sound and faithfully recreate some of the most coveted, period accurate models. But to understand the impact that these amps have had and really appreciate these anniversary models, you should know a thing or two about the history of VOX amplification.
As we mentioned above, the VOX sound helped define an entire era of music when the Beatles, Stones and Yardbirds decided to travel across the globe and seek world domination. Blues rock n’ roll would go on to soundtrack the mid-1960s and the signature chime and jangly sparkle of the VOX amplifier would be heard throughout. The VOX AC15 and AC30 amplifiers are still widely used today and appear on stages and in studios all over the world.
The story starts with Tom Jennings who was operating out of a shop in Dartford, Kent, England in 1944. Due to the popularity of the accordion in World War II, Jennings was making a living repairing these instruments and selling used instruments. However, after the war, the demand for accordions was replaced with the demand for keyboard instruments. Seeing a business model in the market, he would go on to found the Jennings Organ Company and produce home and church consoles, and in 1951 the coveted Univox. This Univox electronic keyboard would become a highly sought after instrument thanks to its built-in tube amplifier and loudspeaker.
Not content with creating keyboards, Jennings tried to cannibalise the amplifier within the Univox to create a guitar amp – albeit unsuccessfully.
A few years later, Dick Denny, a guitarist with an interest in electronics and former co-worker of Jennings showed him an amplifier he had built that was loud enough to compete with the instruments in a big band setting. Denny also showed Jennings a collection of amplifiers he had constructed with a built-in tremolo. Suitably impressed, Jennings hired Denny on the spot as an engineer in 1957 to start creating amplifiers.
This is where things got interesting!
Utilising Denny’s circuitry design and Jennings' overall blueprints the pair constructed the first VOX amplifier. The VOX AC1/15 would be introduced in 1958 and was a 15-watt 1x12 combo with a duo of EL84 power tubes. This was loud enough for guitarists to compete with other instruments on stage and was perfect for those players who were making the change from acoustic to electric guitars and wanted to make a racket on stage.
The name would be shortened to AC15 and the amplifier would become a go-to amp for musicians eventually finding its way to Hank Marvin of The Shadows. Suitably impressed with the sound, Marvin would go on to request a louder amp that could compete with screaming fans and be heard on bigger stages.
A legend was born!
Denny would secretly come up with the plans to what became the first AC30, which was bigger and louder and could provide Marvin with the sound he needed. Apparently, Jennings wasn’t too impressed with this design, considering he only found out about it when he saw the paperwork for some parts that Dick Denny had ordered.
Fortunately, Jennings would come around to the idea and help create the AC30 in 1959. This was a 30-watt 2x12 version of the AC15, which would provide the power needed. However, Hank Marvin had another request – an amplifier that could provide a treble boost and a beautifully rich clean sound at high volumes. This would become the AC30 Top Boost that we know today.
A cash -strapped Liverpool band
Fast forward a few years to the early 60s when a manager of a little-known Liverpool band approached the pair asking for free amplifiers. At first the VOX company said no until a deal was struck where the band agreed to use the amplifiers exclusively. That band was the Beatles.
Thanks to the fact the Beatles would use VOX amplifiers exclusively, the brand would become synonymous with that sound and earn great visibility all over the world.
Two more musicians who met on a train in Dartford would also see these amplifiers and aspire to get their hands on one. These two lads – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would eventually form The Rolling Stones and strike up a relationship with the team at VOX. In fact, they would go on to appear in an advertisement surrounded by amplifiers in 1965 – the advert would read “VOX: Sound of the Longhairs” resonating with long haired music fans everywhere.
After seeing the Beatles and the Stones using these amps, the Kinks and Yardbirds would also pick up a collection of VOX amplifiers and bring them on their “Invasion” of the USA. The rest as they say; is history.
When VOX had its first inklings in 1958, creators Dick Denny and Tom Jennings had no idea that the amplifiers they designed would go on to become an icon. But we’re sure glad they decided to start manufacturing them. Where would we be without that classic VOX sound?
VOX 60th Anniversary AC15 & AC30 Amplifiers
The new VOX 60th Anniversary AC15 & AC30 amplifiers have been created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of these two legendary amps that have reached iconic status, and to honour the impact that these amps have had on the music world. Both these anniversary AC30 and AC15 amplifiers are faithful recreations of the most revered designs in VOX’s history; the 1957 AC15/4 and the 1964 AC30/6.
Both of these amplifiers have been completely hand wired and put together by the engineers at VOX here in the UK, using premium components and some custom wound transformers designed specifically for this set. Each amplifier utilises Baltic Birch for the cabinets, adding an unrivalled acoustic resonance and superior sound that will surely make these amplifiers stand out.
In addition, they also include authentic Celestion AlNiCo Silver speakers, which the team at Celestion have resurrected exclusively for VOX’s 60th Anniversary.
Each amplifier is available in EXTREMELY limited quantities and only throughout 2017, so if you want to take home a piece of history, you better get your pre-order in quickly.
VOX 60th Anniversary AC15
The VOX AC15HW60 60th Anniversary Hand Wired Guitar Amplifier is a faithful recreation of the amplifier that started it all; the 1957 AC15/4. This amp embodies all the lush sounds and revered tonal qualities that first featured in the EF86 equipped AC15 from 1960 but with modern reliability and premium components.
You have 2 channels to play with; Channel I (Normal) which provides all that rich and articulate tube tone that propelled VOX amps into history. Channel II (Vib-Trem) provides players with that vibrato of a vintage VOX that is so sought after these days. It’s everything you want in a vintage VOX ac15, but with modern reliability and superior attention to detail.
VOX 60th Anniversary AC30
The VOX AC30 is THE sound of the British Invasion. When the Brits decided to try and take over America with their long hair, catchy tunes and pop sensibilities in the early 60s, they brought with them the VOX AC30 amplifiers and the sound of the “Top Boost”. This amplifier was marketed as the “sound of the longhairs” and would go on to help define an entire era of music, appear on countless rock and pop records and be heralded as one of the finest guitar amps ever created.
VOX have honoured the rich history of this amplifier with the VOX AC30HW60 60th Anniversary Hand Wired Guitar Amplifier.
The AC30 was developed in 1959 for professional players needed more power on stage. It would quickly go on to become the go-to amp for professional recording and touring artists, and still retains its position to this day. The VOX 60th Anniversary AC30 has been built to faithfully recreate the 1964 AC30/6 amplifier, providing players with the ultimate VOX tonality. The team at VOX have hand wired this amplifier with a factory integrated Top Boost circuit found on the Brilliant Channel. However, you get far more tonal options with this beautifully crafted amp, as you have 6 inputs to choose from including the classic VOX Normal & Vib-Trem channels that provide that distinguished, pure tube sound and signature VOX chime that became the soundtrack to an era.
If you want that definitive VOX sound, this is as close as you can get to it, short of using a time machine!