Price paid: £ 435
Purchased from: Andertons Music Co
Features — 7
The Vox AC10C1 was released in 2015, aimed at people who wanted a warm, tube Vox sound without the weight or cost of the AC10's big brothers, the AC15 and the AC30. It has a very simple control layout; gain, bass, treble, reverb and volume, as well as a single non-latching toggle switch to turn it off and on - no standby mode. The AC10 has a 10" speaker and is rated at 10 Watts. By no means is this amp therefore supposed to replace it's big brothers, but it does a fairly good job at keeping up, especially for the price. On paper, it seems like a great little amp... let's see...
Sound — 9
Tube amps are still massively sort after, even with modelling amps becoming ever increasingly high in sound quality and usability. They're also very expensive, so you can't expect this little amp to have the same high quality sound as a boutique tube amp, however it's outstanding for the price. The AC10 has 2 x 12AX7 and 2 x EL84 tubes, as well as a 10-inch Celestion VX10. Straight out the box, this little beast sounds great. It's really easy to get that silky smooth sound, and if you crank the gain you can get a pretty decent overdrive too. Unfortunately, the build quality is where Vox managed to save their money on this one. The quality of the chassis is not nearly as good as that of the AC15 and AC30. I've noticed some rattling (this model is known for these slight noises) which cannot be heard at high volumes, but its annoying nonetheless. The tubes that the amp was shipped with are also of low quality, mine lasted me a few months before giving up. Luckily I was still within the manufactures warranty so I was able to get a replacement set of tubes free of charge - but this is definitely something to be weary of. The tubes did die slowly though so I got plenty of warning before they finally gave up. Despite this, the sound is great for the price, and works really well with pedals, which is a definite bonus for me.
Reliability & Durability — 9
So, I've owned this amp for just over a year and a half now, and despite the tubes blowing up early, it's served me very well. I've used it live, mic'ing it up and using the on stage volume as my monitor, however it's plenty loud enough for small gigs, it keeps up with a drummer easily. Now that the tubes have been replaced, it's a nice dependable amp that I use for rehearsals and gigs due to its sound quality and portability. It sounds great in almost any venue, and the built in reverb isn't crap for once, although it's quite easy to start swimming in it. Dialled just right, the reverb can definitely help you achieve a full sound, even if you're adding a reverb pedal, the built in reverb is still useful.
Overall Impression — 9
I'd love to tell you what sort of genre I play, but the truth is - I don't know any more. If I say this wrong, someone will almost definitely start getting offended so I think that is better left unsaid. But yes, this is a good match for what I play ;) I've been playing for 11 years, and I own too much gear. (is there such a thing?) One thing I wish that I'd done more testing on is the cheaper build quality. I regret not sitting down with it before purchasing it. That's a real rookie error though, I don't think you should ever buy gear without testing it out (unless it's a patch cable).
If it were stolen / lost, would you buy it again or get something else? I'd probably get something else. The new Fender Bassbreakers look very nice, and some of the Orange products take my fancy too.
I love the portability of this amp, the sound quality and the aesthetics. I can't stand the build quality and I'd definitely spend the extra money to stop the annoying sounds. My favourite feature is definitely the portability of it. Should you buy an AC10C1? Yeah, you probably should if you're in the market of a low cost, decent sounding tube amp from a very reliable brand.