When it comes to producing combo tube amps, Vox is amongst the leading experts in this field. With over half a century of experience, they have created amplifiers that have defined genres, eras, and styles.
The Vox AC15C1 encompasses all of the qualities that have made the brand successful. A 15-watt combo amp, it is based on the original model which played a large role in creating the legendary British sound of the 60s and 70s.
Perhaps you’re looking for a powerful, clean tube tone, or you need some added crunch and overdrive to color your guitar’s output. After reading this guide, you’ll know whether the Vox AC15C1 is the right choice for you.
VoxAC15C1 - Overview
The AC15C1 includes the following features and components:
- Celestion 25-watt Greenback speaker
- 2 x EL84 power tubes
- 3 x 12AX7 preamp tubes
- Spring reverb
Sound & Tone
The original Vox AC15 is one of the most iconic amplifiers to ever be created. Responsible for the classic British tone that defined rock music half a century ago, the amp has a rich heritage.
This newly updated version stays true to the warm, powerful sound of the original. Most of the components and circuitry remain unaltered – as the old saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don’t fix it!".
A large contributing factor to the overall tone of the AC15C1 is the classic selection of tubes. In the preamp section, Vox has used three 12AX7s, which are renowned for their warm and inviting tone.
The power amp section consists of two EL84s, a common choice for amplifiers aiming to produce the vintage British-style tone.
This classic combination of preamp and power tubes drives the sound into a Greenback speaker. This marks a departure from the conventional AC design. But rather than moving away from the associated tone, it enhances the Vox sound.
You can expect ample power from the 12 inch Celestion, 25-watt Greenback speaker. They’re used in many of the finest tube amplifiers around the world and combined with this vintage Vox amp design, the speaker flourishes.
The Vox AC15C1 is not designed to look or perform like a modern amplifier. Its charm and appeal are that it feels like it has been stored in a time capsule since the 1960s.
Consequently, don’t expect to find all of the state-of-the-art connectivity options on this all-tube amplifier. There’s no effects loop for isolating certain pedals, but this shouldn’t deter you.
The AC15C1 does however cover all of the fundamental inputs and outputs. On the front of the amp, you get a pair of ¼ inch jack inputs, one of which is labeled as “normal” and the other which is labeled as “top boost.”
When you plug into the former, you get the standardized Vox tone, with plenty of substance across the frequency range of the guitar.
Alternatively, hooking your instrument up to the “top boost” input will result in a more prominent treble output. This is great for specific songs or sections that require you to cut through the mix.
If you like to use a footswitch to toggle between the different channels, you’ll be pleased to learn that Vox has installed a specific input for this purpose on the AC15C1. The footswitch can also be used to activate or deactivate the onboard reverb unit.
Just like on the legendary original AC15, this amplifier contains the staple effects – spring reverb and tremolo.
Both of these effects have their own section on the upper tier of the amplifier. The reverb control allows you to add more space to the output, and thanks to the spring design, it has a pristine and high-quality sound.
The tremolo effect has two controls. One is for adjusting the depth of the effect and the other alters the speed. By using the onboard reverb and tremolo, you can cause significant alterations to the overall sound of your guitar.
Another add-on by Vox is the inclusion of a 2-band EQ. This allows you to add or remove some of the low and high frequencies, to ensure that your guitar sounds as clean as possible when played through the amp.
The ”tone cut” control, which is positioned next to the master volume, is another useful addition. If you find that the amp sounds a little harsh, you can quickly dial in the coloration to restore a desirable tone.
Founded in the small English town of Dartford, Kent, in 1957, Vox is one of the most impactful and influential amplifier manufacturers on the planet.
Their list of endorsers includes The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, Radiohead, and more. With the introduction of their AC30 amp, they were largely responsible for the iconic “British Invasion” tone that took the world by storm.
Throughout the decades that followed, Vox continued to be the preferred choice of millions of guitarists globally. Their amps and effects pedals have been used across a wide range of genres and musical styles.
After suffering a slight dip in popularity in the 1990s, Vox was purchased by Korg, another amplifier and effects manufacturer. They went on to restore the original values of the brand, with amps like the AC15C1 spearheading their revival.
Tube combo amps don’t get much better than the Vox AC15C1. I’m always a little skeptical when manufacturers remake their classic models from decades gone by. But Vox has done so in a classy and impressive manner.
The AC15C1 is capable of producing a wide range of authentic tube-driven tones. You can extract warm overdrive when the gain is cranked, or the amp produces smooth, understated tones at lower levels.
If you’re a fan of the classic British guitar tone of the 1960s, you’ll love the Vox AC15C1. It’s the perfect tribute to the classic original, with all of the best qualities still intact.