#1
I'm looking to upgrade my amp in the near future.

Budget? - Around $400

Genres? - I like to play a lot of modern indie and alternative. Stuff like U2, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket and Muse

Would consider new or used.

Home or Gig? - Most of my playing is at home. I play at church on Sundays. There's no drummer. Play mostly clean at church and the other genres at home.

Closest City? - Live closest to York, PA though it's not a big city. Closest big city would be Baltimore.

Current Gear? - Current amp is Vox VT15 (I use the AC15 setting and Boutique Clean the most). Current guitars are Epiphone ES-335 Pro and Fender Fat Strat. Current pedals are Digitech Bad Monkey, Boss DS-1, Boss BF-2 Flanger, Joyo Analog Chorus and Digitech Digidelay.

I'm open to suggestions. I've been looking online at the Vox AC15VR and Bugera V22. Would also consider Vox AC15C1 but I don't know if it would be versatile enough for what I like to play.
#2
I think an ac15 would be a great choice for you. It does a lot of things very well. A good fuzz pedal would also be a good choice, especially for black keys stuff. And if you like the setting on your amp now, you'll like it even better when you get the real thing
Peavey Classic 30
PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow
+some pedals
#3
Yeah, AC15, maybe a Blues Jr. but only as a second option. Most of the sounds you were talking about are going to depend more on your pedalboard.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#4
First of all - great OP

I'll let others recommend a new amp. Unfortunately, there are not too many new amps under $400 that I would consider - outside of a Peavey Vypyr or larger version of what you already have

The AC15VR is a solid state amp right - but not necessarily a modeling amp? Valve Reactor? LOL - there are no valves. That's worse than 'Valvetronix' How can they call it a Valve Reactor with a straight face?

I'm a used amp guy as I think you get more bang for your buck. All of my current amps were purchased used.

I'd look at this stuff:


http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5155217773.html (not really but looks interesting)
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5156378447.html Peavey Prowler
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5156871852.html Line 6 Amplifi (not sure)
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5155859796.html Peavey XXX (not really for your style but)
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5147403213.html Crate V32
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5115260474.html Line 6 Flextone III
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5055071284.html Peavey Valveking
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5112776828.html Egnater Tweaker
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5141178863.html Music Man
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5139185356.html Traynor YCS 50 head
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5111688088.html Carvin Nomad
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5095276445.html Marshall Class 5 (no clean channel)
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/msg/5048058923.html Crate V50


Obviously, you would negotiate the price and talk these down just like any other classified.

I'd probably go for that Valveking or the Traynor YCS. The Traynor will need a speaker cabinet - you could probably find one in the $200 range. Or build one.

Otherwise, the Bugera V22 is a decent piece of kit.
#5
Thanks. Just to clarify, are you suggestion the real deal AC15C1 and not the VR? I know it's great for that Vox sound and what I'm playing in Church. But will it sound good at bedroom levels? And what i'm playing at home can I play some higher gain stuff like Muse without in sounding terrible?
#6
The VR is actually a hybrid. There is 1 tube just to give it a tube like sound. The valvetronix have the same thing. And i'm not totally opposed to that. I like that it has 2 OD channels. It seems like it would add some versatility.
Last edited by dombar335 at Aug 6, 2015,
#7
Quote by dombar335
Thanks. Just to clarify, are you suggestion the real deal AC15C1 and not the VR? I know it's great for that Vox sound and what I'm playing in Church. But will it sound good at bedroom levels? And what i'm playing at home can I play some higher gain stuff like Muse without in sounding terrible?


Real deal ac15. It will sound good at bedroom volumes. You probably can play higher gain stuff, but you may need a pedal for extra gain.

Quote by dombar335
The VR is actually a hybrid. There is 1 tube just to give it a tube like sound. The valvetronix have the same thing. And i'm not totally opposed to that. I like that it has 2 OD channels. It seems like it would add some versatility.


The one tube isn't really going to do anything. But if there's a shop nearby go and play an ac15.
Peavey Classic 30
PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow
+some pedals
#9
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
I scanned the specs and didn't see a tube in there

Maybe I missed it.

1 preamp tube does not give an amp a tube like sound. I'm 99% convinced it is a gimmick. Don't want to sidetrack your thread though - carry on


You are correct, I don't see it listed under specs. But it comes up on sites under Hybrid Combo Amps.

Here is a comment from a demo on Youtube that explains it. (I've seen similar explanations of it elsewhere too) "Yes it is hybrid, but this one is actually in reverse. It has a solid state pre and power section but there is a 12AX7 in the power section that acts as a small front end to the power amp. The idea is still to emulate tube response and tone."
#10
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
I scanned the specs and didn't see a tube in there

Maybe I missed it.

1 preamp tube does not give an amp a tube like sound. I'm 99% convinced it is a gimmick. Don't want to sidetrack your thread though - carry on



From the Users Guide page 4: "The Power amp stage uses a 12AX7 vacuum tube (or valve, depending where you live in the world) in a configuration that we at VOX call Valve Reactor"

Any time you see "Valve Reactor" on VOX literature, it's shorthand for "A single 12ax7 that doesn't actually do shit!"

Just thought you should know...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#11
Quote by Arby911
From the Users Guide page 4: "The Power amp stage uses a 12AX7 vacuum tube (or valve, depending where you live in the world) in a configuration that we at VOX call Valve Reactor"

Any time you see "Valve Reactor" on VOX literature, it's shorthand for "A single 12ax7 that doesn't actually do shit!"

Just thought you should know...



You know this because you're an engineer ?
#13
Quote by sfx
You know this because you're an engineer ?


No, I was only a lowly Naval Electronics Technician for several years, doing circuit board level troubleshooting and repair on audio, telecommunications and radar equipment who when his enlistment was up chose to work in the newfangled field of personal computers for another several years. Let's compare CV's shall we, and then we can discuss this like gentlemen...

And perhaps the electrical engineers that are here will chime in as well.

Your turn.


Even easier, I've got the AC15VR schematic pulled up on my computer, what part of the signal path would you like to discuss? Do you feel the voltages applied to the 12AX7 are adequate for the claimed response curve? Perhaps I could provide you a link to the schematic and you could then model the circuit? (I use National Instruments Circuit Design Suite, but I'm open to any software you might be more comfortable with.) In that case we could apply varying signals to the input and monitor the results at the input and output of the tube to ascertain the variations?

Just let me know how you would like to proceed?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Aug 6, 2015,
#14
I suppose my main concerns with the two AC15's is

1. is the AC15C1 worth the extra cash for my playing habbits (Mainly home use, not gigging)?

2. Would the AC15VR even be much of an upgrade?

I suppose I can only answer that by playing both and deciding for myself.
#15
Quote by dombar335
I suppose my main concerns with the two AC15's is

1. is the AC15C1 worth the extra cash for my playing habbits (Mainly home use, not gigging)?

2. Would the AC15VR even be much of an upgrade?

I suppose I can only answer that by playing both and deciding for myself.


IMO, the answers are "Yes" and "No".
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#16
Thanks for all of the feedback and suggestions. Another thing I need to consider is I need to haul this back and forth twice a week to practice and church. Would the weight of the AC15C1 be a problem? The specs list it close to 50 lbs.
#17
Quote by dombar335
Thanks for all of the feedback and suggestions. Another thing I need to consider is I need to haul this back and forth twice a week to practice and church. Would the weight of the AC15C1 be a problem? The specs list it close to 50 lbs.


That's really up to you? I wouldn't see it as a problem, but I don't know anything about your transportation situation, health and physical conditions etc.

#50 really isn't that much unless you have to lug it on public transportation etc.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#18
Quote by Arby911
That's really up to you? I wouldn't see it as a problem, but I don't know anything about your transportation situation, health and physical conditions etc.

#50 really isn't that much unless you have to lug it on public transportation etc.


I suppose that is true. 32 years old and healthy (as far as I know!). I have to carry it about 50 yards. Hardest part is trying to load everything in while wrangling a 2 year old!
I suppose I can live with another trip back and forth to the car.

Definitely leaning more towards the AC15C1. I see guitarcenter.com has a couple listed at $399 used so it looks like it's around where I want to be. Thanks for all suggestions.
#19
Quote by Arby911
No, I was only a lowly Naval Electronics Technician for several years, doing circuit board level troubleshooting and repair on audio, telecommunications and radar equipment who when his enlistment was up chose to work in the newfangled field of personal computers for another several years. Let's compare CV's shall we, and then we can discuss this like gentlemen...

And perhaps the electrical engineers that are here will chime in as well.

Your turn.


Even easier, I've got the AC15VR schematic pulled up on my computer, what part of the signal path would you like to discuss? Do you feel the voltages applied to the 12AX7 are adequate for the claimed response curve? Perhaps I could provide you a link to the schematic and you could then model the circuit? (I use National Instruments Circuit Design Suite, but I'm open to any software you might be more comfortable with.) In that case we could apply varying signals to the input and monitor the results at the input and output of the tube to ascertain the variations?

Just let me know how you would like to proceed?



I have both the Valvetronix and an ac4tv tube amp.

If I pull out the 12ax7 in the valvetronix, the amp wouldn't work at all.

"A single 12ax7 that doesn't actually do shit!" is quite a huge claim. This opens vox to class action lawsuit.


My simple logic is this. I have the amps, you don't.

I like both of them, the valvetronix and the ac4tv. I speak from user experience.

The tube in the valvetronix (also valve reactor) works, and does shape the tone. It does have it's uses. It may not sound exactly like a tube amp, but good enough for my ears.

What is your experience with a Vox valve reactor based amp/circuit aside from being very sure that "A single 12ax7 that doesn't actually do shit!"

Many users have swapped various 12ax7 and have reported different tonal changes. I trust their experience more.
Last edited by sfx at Aug 6, 2015,
#20
I'd go for the AC15C1. My dad just bought one to use. He used to use a Vox VT15, and my bassist has a AC30VR that he uses for guitar. I've played on all of them for a long time. The real AC15 blows them all out of the water. Sounds great!
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#21
Quote by dombar335
I suppose that is true. 32 years old and healthy (as far as I know!). I have to carry it about 50 yards. Hardest part is trying to load everything in while wrangling a 2 year old!
I suppose I can live with another trip back and forth to the car.

Definitely leaning more towards the AC15C1. I see guitarcenter.com has a couple listed at $399 used so it looks like it's around where I want to be. Thanks for all suggestions.

Just get a cart or a dolly.

I personally would rather carry a separate head and speaker cabinet even though in total it weighs more than a combo. But with what you've described with your pedals and guitar and cables and two year old a cart with locking wheels is what I'd do. You could even leave the amp up on the cart for better sound projection. Paint it black and affix a couple of Vox stickers on it.
#22
Quote by sfx
I have both the Valvetronix and an ac4tv tube amp.

If I pull out the 12ax7 in the valvetronix, the amp wouldn't work at all.

"A single 12ax7 that doesn't actually do shit!" is quite a huge claim. This opens vox to class action lawsuit.


My simple logic is this. I have the amps, you don't.

I like both of them, the valvetronix and the ac4tv. I speak from user experience.

The tube in the valvetronix (also valve reactor) works, and does shape the tone. It does have it's uses. It may not sound exactly like a tube amp, but good enough for my ears.

What is your experience with a Vox valve reactor based amp/circuit aside from being very sure that "A single 12ax7 that doesn't actually do shit!"

Many users have swapped various 12ax7 and have reported different tonal changes. I trust their experience more.


If you pull out the AC fuse, the amp won't work either, but it doesn't affect the tone...

Feel free to continue to trust your confirmation bias and that of others, I'll rely on physics.

In the interest of communication, allow me to clarify my statement. I don't believe that the tube, as used, provides the "tube amp" experience as claimed in the documentation. It is of course technically true that it does "something" (even if it merely acted as a signal conductor it's still at the least performing the function of a piece of wire, hence it is indeed doing something) but that pretty clearly wasn't the intent of my comment.

Here's a hint though. Science beats superstition, bias and magic ears EVERY SINGLE TIME!

You asked if I was an engineer as if that meant something, yet here you are ignoring any hint of technical expertise in favor of your personal bias. If you didn't care about the engineering aspects of the amp, why try to use that as a weapon?

I've offered to actually evaluate the circuit with you without bias entering the equation, you've offered that you're right and I'm wrong. Which of us do you suppose is taking the more rational position?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
Last edited by Arby911 at Aug 6, 2015,
#23
Sorry to bump a thread I made a little while ago. I had to get some tires so the amp purchase got put on hold. I've been taking a closer look at the AC4. Seems to me it would make more sense for home use and lugging around. But there seems to be a few different ones out there. I'm mainly looking at the Vox AC4C1-BL and the AC4C1-12. Does anyone have experience with these? Is it worth the extra money for the 12" speaker? It seems like the 10" version can be picked up used pretty cheap. I don't see as may used 12's out there. Any thoughts?
#24


Quote by dombar335
Sorry to bump a thread I made a little while ago. I had to get some tires so the amp purchase got put on hold. I've been taking a closer look at the AC4. Seems to me it would make more sense for home use and lugging around. But there seems to be a few different ones out there. I'm mainly looking at the Vox AC4C1-BL and the AC4C1-12. Does anyone have experience with these? Is it worth the extra money for the 12" speaker? It seems like the 10" version can be picked up used pretty cheap. I don't see as may used 12's out there. Any thoughts?
I think an AC15 would be a better run for your money. I don't think the AC4 would be much a leap from your current amp. At Church, are you micing your amp or just using the speaker volume? Not sure how loud/clean the AC4 would be in that regard. Also with that, it might break up and distort too easily for you.
Last edited by Will Lane at Sep 2, 2015,