The Vox AC30 is a 30-watt guitar amplifier that has become familiar with many as one of the staple sounds of rock and pop guitar playing. A visual icon almost as much as a sonic one, it can be recognised in the documentation of many important parts of music history, perhaps most famously, The Beatles’ recording sessions at Abbey Road as well as as a permanent fixture backline of bands like Queen and U2.
The first models followed the smaller, 15-watt AC15 and were manufactured by Jennings Musical Instruments (formerly the Jennings Organ Company), who had previously produced the Univox synthesiser. The original design of the AC30 featured two EL34 power tubes and is known as a ‘TV Cabinet’ chassis design. By the 1960s, the now classic design had been implemented, replacing these with a quartet of EL84 power tubes and the ostentatious tartan grille-cloth, which have both come to be highly distinguishing features. This fundamental design has been in production since then, with varying revisions over the years.
While it is widely-used across the world, it is inextricably tied to the description of ‘British’ guitar tone, due its original place of manufacture and early users. The character of its sound is often described by words such as ‘chimey’, ‘bitey’ and ‘jangly’, a characteristic largely owing to its EL84-based output section. Even with lower gain settings, its tone is harmonically rich and never quite as clean as some other makes of amplifier. As the gain is increased, a rich saturation is introduced with a thick midrange bark and an aggressively bright edge that can be tamed with a unique high frequency ‘Cut’ control.
Based on current-production AC30 C2X
Output Power: 30 Watts RMS into 16 Ohms
Speaker: 2 x 12" 8 ohm Celestion Alnico Blue
Inputs: Normal input jack (high and low), Top Boost input jack (high and low), FX RETURN jack, Footswitch jack
Outputs: External loudspeaker jack, Extension loudspeaker jack, FX SEND jack
Dimensions (W x D x H): 702 x 265 x 556 mm / 27.64 x 10.43 x 21.89 inches
Weight: 33.4 kg / 73.59 lbs.
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