I have a Fender Hotrod DeVille410. I like it well enough, it's got a decent sound, overdrives OK, and is plenty loud for most venues I find myself in.

But I really would like to open up the character of my sound. I dunno, the DeVille just seems kinda dull. Nomatter how I fiddle with it or adjust the bias, I can't get a real sparkle out of the clean, nor can I get the type of blossom I need from my drive channels.

I'm seriously considering selling it and going to a Vox AC30. I just need more character in the sound, something more dynamic. The thing I'm wondering about however is that on those occassions I find myself playing live, mic'ing the amp isn't usually an option. I don't know if 30 Watts is enough power for me, especially given that I like a lot of clean headroom if I need it, and the reports I've read about the newer AC30s getting ugly if pushed too loud.

I suppose I could always buy an extension cabinet, but I was just wondering if anybody out there has any experience with the AC30s. (I would consider an AC50 as well, they're damn close to being as good as the AC30, and doing it with more power)

I'm just in a conondrum as to whether I should sink money and time into my DeVille with new tubes, perhaps a capacitor mod on the drive pot, and see if I can't liven it up, maybe even new drivers... or if I should just call it quits on Fender amps and make the switch over to Vox. I like the power and clean of Fenders but I play enough alternative rock that I'm really finding myself wanting more play from a slightly drity sound. Hence my desire for a Vox.

This will be especially important if I switch my primary axe from a Strat to a Parker Nitefly Mojo, which I'm planning on in the next 6 months. The pickups in my Am. Strat help liven up the sound, especially since it's a texas special with plenty of pop, but I worry about trying to match the smoothness of the Parker with my currently lackluster amplifier. I think the sound would come out really sterile.

Anyway, my big concern is getting an amp that will provide intricate tonal qualities to any guitar you run through it, so I'm just asking if anybody with experience thinks I should move on to a new amp or try to modify my DeVille. I would miss the 60w 4x10 config, but it doesn't help being powerful if the sound isn't appealing.
I've been through alot of crap with the gear I have had over time. Let me just say if you like your Deville enough to have bought it in the first place that means it at least deserves a chance. With your situation you could try a tube swap and see what different sounds you can generate to fit your likings. Like you said there are so many thing you can do to the amp to change its tone and make it more suitable for you. Fenders are ment to sparkle on their clean channel once you dial them in right. It could be old tubes that is bringing it down or your guitar or pickups. Something is possibly mudding up your signal. As for distortion I am not a fan of Fenders OD and I don't think it has enough balls for me. The best I can say for this is try a good OD pedal like a Maxon Tubescreamer.

If you don't go this route and the Fender just isn't for you then by all means get the AC30. I love the AC series amps personally and I would like to get one one day when I can justify owning one. They are plenty loud enough to gig with. I know 30watts seems low but its enough. As for your clean headroom issue a tube swap would help give you some more breathing room. If you could afford it you could by the head and two 2x12" cabs to split the sound so you can cover more room. But that might be pricey. All in all its an amazing amp.

If you still want to get that sparkly clean you want a a great OD you could look into getting a Traynor YCV50 amp. I know you probably have your heart set on the Vox but give this a look. The clean headroom isn't amazing but once again swap out the tubes and you got a beast. The lead guitarist in one of my bands has it and it is amazing after he swapped the tubes.

Anyway thats all some stuff to think about. Good luck with whatever path you take.
PRS Singlecut Trem

Member #2 of the Coheed and Cambria fanclub, PM dementedpuppy to join.
I'm getting kinda disillusioned with Fender, honestly. The more I get out and watch and talk with other performing bands, the more I find that Fender's gear isn't on par with their past. Most of their new products are good, probably better than average, but not the "holy grails" they want you to believe. I'd like to make my DeVille sound awesome, especially since I was able to pick it up for $400 and keep it on hand, maybe just for something different. But I think if I'm going to continue performing, I have to switch rigs.

Does anybody have anything to say on the AC30 vs AC50? Vox bills the AC50 as having the AC30s tone, but with more features, and more power. But it's been my experience that the more power you put in an amp, the harder it is do get a consistently pleasant tone from it, they just don't seem to "behave". Big dogs don't always like to play nice.

But if the AC50 really is capable of everything the 30 is, I'd be hard pressed not to go for those extra features, considering the price is about the same. Though I suppose money really isn't an object.