NAMM 2024: Vox has long been revered for its AC amps and, none more so than the vintage AC range that powered much of the Beatles’ output. Then there’s those that followed, not least Brian May, The Edge, Rory Gallagher… the list goes on.
Now Vox has announced the AC Hand-Wired Series – the result of a detailed study into those very amps, described by the firm as “our homage to our legendary ’60s legacy”.
The study reportedly examined classic AC15 and AC30 builds and has resulted in a build that revamps the units power supplies, output transformers and cabinet construction, alongside the expected quality improvements of hand-wired circuitry.
The power supply has supposedly been rejigged to eliminate the occurrence of unwanted, high-pitch ghost notes while still maintaining the lively, dynamic qualities that players prized in the ACs.
Meanwhile, a new custom output transformer has been produced, which hopes to more closely capture the saturation and distortion that occurs when driving the original AC units.
In total, there are seven flagship entries to the new collection (as well as a dedicated cab), ranging from the AC4 Hand-Wired practice amp all the way to “majestic” AC30X Hand-Wired, which reportedly “revives the quintessential Vox tone”.
Between those two, you can find Voxes of varying output power, including Hand-Wired iterations of the AC10, AC15, AC15X and AC30. The boutique British amp brand has also bolstered its options with an AC30 head, which comes accompanied by a matching V212X cabinet.
In terms of internal components, Vox has curated a faithful assembly of tubes, with each unit coming equipped with ECC83/12AX7 and EL84 valves. Naturally, as you work your way up the wattage, the tube section grows, with the AC15 and all those above it also flashing ECC81/12AT7 and GZ34 valves.
As for speakers, Celestions are used throughout the range. Each offering is loaded with either one or two 12” GM12 Greenback speakers, depending on its size, while the ‘X’ iterations are equipped with 12” Alnico Blue speakers.
Across the board, Vox’s painstaking approach has also been applied to the physical construction of each Hand-Wired unit. Indeed, as its research showed, the slightly thinner cabinet materials of vintage AC units were “instrumental in producing its rich and expansive midrange”.
As such, careful attention has been paid to ensure each Hand-Wired model closely follows this tonal precedent, achieved by replicating the exacting thickness of the reference vintage amps.
In Vox’s own words: “It’s a marriage of form and function, where every aspect of the cabinet’s construction contributes to delivering a sound that’s as faithful to the original as possible.”
That Vox has doubled down on its own tube amp collection – and sought to use its valve supply to produce a high-end range of premium hand-wired amps – is yet more evidence that established amp brands are not fazed by the booming popularity of its digital competition.
It’s a sentiment seemingly shared by the likes of Marshall – which announced its return with a vintage-inspired take on its JTM45 – and Gibson, which re-entered the tube amp business with two Falcon combos.
The new AC Hand-Wired Series will be shipping this June, with prices to be confirmed.
To find out more in the meantime, head over to Vox.
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