AC15C1 Review

manufacturer: Vox date: 08/27/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Vox: AC15C1
It's about as versatile as a tube amp of this sort can be - you can get classic Vox clean tones and some great distortion out of it at reasonable volumes.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 7.8
 Features: 7.6
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) pictures (3) 23 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.5
AC15C1 Reviewed by: hmbeast, on august 09, 2010
5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: Sweetwater

Features: This amp was produced in 2010. It's about as versatile as a tube amp of this sort can be - you can get classic Vox clean tones and some great distortion out of it at reasonable volumes. The reverb sounds lovely as does the built-in tremolo. There is no effects loop, nor a headphone jack. The amp has two inputs, one for the normal channel and one for the top-boost channel, which obviously boosts the high-end of the signal. The top-boost channel has a responsive EQ with treble and bass, though the normal channel does not. Finally, there's a knob called Tone Cut which can increase or decrease higher frequencies depending on where you have it set. // 9

Sound: I'm using an Ibanez guitar with Seymour Duncan split-coil pickups ('59 and JB). I play rock - Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, so basically anything that has a Vox-type sound. Therefore, the Vox AC15C1 is a perfect choice for me as far as my tone goes. The amp has some slight buzzing when it's inactive, but that seems to disappear even by having your fingers touching the strings. The sounds the amp can make range from nice, jazzy, reverby cleans to more twangy cleans to some passable heavy-rock distortion, depending on your pickups. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've only owned this amp for a short while. I can't in good conscience take any points away from it because it feels sturdy and I've not yet had any problems. The handle on it is made of leather, I believe, and all of the knobs and materials seem to be of good quality. It's still manufactured in China rather than the UK, but I would gig with this amp without a backup for sure. // 10

Overall Impression: This amp is a great match for the sort of indie/alternative music that I play. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi sounds perfect. Pedals sound quite nice too. Overall, I'm very pleased with this amplifier and would recommend it as a fairly cost-effective method to achieve some sweet sounds. // 9

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overall: 7.3
AC15C1 Reviewed by: TheGroundZero, on april 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: You already know about the amp features, I presume. You can find all the data and info you need from the manufacturer website and from about 10,000 other guitar and gear websites. This is a very simple amp design. The Normal channel has a volume control and the Top Boost channel has volume, bass, and Treble controls. This is a Master Volume amp also. // 6

Sound: I have a pretty diverse style of play and quite various range of guitars. I have a Jackson DKMG, '87 Charvel 1A, and a Fender Telecaster with Vintage noiseless pickups. Bottom line is, this is a pretty simple amp that projects the sound of your guitar. I find the controls are similar to the Marshall JCM800. If you dime the bass it gets flubby and if you dime the treble it makes your wife bitch for hours on end. That being said, you can actually find just about any tone you're looking for somewhere in between those two extremes. The tone controls(bass and treble) actually have a wide range of sound. You have to be patient and put some time into it. As far as the dirt goes... It's good enough for AC/DC, Stones, Foo Fighters, or anything else just short of heavy metal. Also, this is the absolute loudest 15 watts you will ever hear. Seriously. No joke. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I'm a hobbiest who jams with friends on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, so I will report back on this. It appears to be fairly well constructed, but only time will tell. I do have to say, I like the "dogbone" style handle. Anything that makes transportation easie gets a thumbs up from me! // 6

Overall Impression: For someone who plays "straight up" rock, this is an ideal amp. It takes pedals well if needed. I have put everything from a Fulltone OCD to a Wampler Plextortion to an MXR Fullbore Metal on it and it took them all in stride. I had these pedals tweaked for a Fender Twin Reverb and had to totally retweak them, but what do you expect? After a few hours of playing around, I was very satisfied with what I was hearing. // 8

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overall: 8
AC15C1 Reviewed by: sg4ever, on december 16, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 479

Purchased from: eBay

Features: This is most likely a model from this year or perhaps last year. It has a top boost channel and a normal channel that you must be plugged into to use (choose it and plug the cable in), master volume, a tone cut knob for the whole amp, depth and speed for it's built in tremelo, reverb with a level knob, two band eq and volume for the top boost channel, and volume for the normal channel. On the back there is an input to plug in a footswitch for the effects on the amp, and an input for running either an external cab or an extension cab. I find the amp to be surprisingly versatile if you will simply work with it. This is not a channel switching head with three channels that have tone switches and independent three band eq for each channel, but the seemingly few features it sports are highly functional. The eq is doing something and the tone cut knob is another important variable that will effect how you set your eq. The tremelo adds nice depth and shimmer to your tone and the reverb can add a lot of mood and depth to your tone as well. Even the balance between your volumes is important (although I like it with as much master volume as possible, no matter what). The only thing that I can really say is that the reverb is pretty uncontrollable. It is either slight or very cavernous with a long trail off. I suppose that can turn people off, but I'm not a reverb junky. If I wanted that much control, I would buy a nice sounding pedal as there are many quality reverb pedals out there. It's very simple, but it is what it is. Although, some might be turned off by the simplistic design. // 8

Sound: I typically use my Fender Strat with it as it sounds better than the cheap humbuckers in my other guitar. I use a Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET and a Visual Sound Route 66 for dirty sounds. Between my Strat and the amp, it aptly covers any tone I want short of a very hard rock sound. I use it to cover my Indie and alternative rock niche which it suits just fine. The normal channel is warmer and cleaner while the top boost channel is more strident and easily overdriven, so there's a reasonable amount of tonal options. By itself, the tone is the familiar chime and jangle of a Vox amp. The cranked up overdriven sound is more raw and messy sounding than an AC30 which is more refined and clean sounding to my ears. It would suit a wide range from old 60s music to, clean blues, to some bluesy rock by itself, but I use it set clean with a little breakup and add overdrive via a pedal or two. Works like charm. Think of the more amp-like sounds off of a Switchfoot album or maybe certain Foo Fighters tones, and you get the idea for the sounds you can get with pedals. It's very crunchy yet clear with nice chime at the same time. Do note that this is not a metal amp. You can get some nice distortion when you goose it with an overdrive pedal, but this is not for drop C breakdowns and skull crushing tight distortion. This is a classic British amp that can jangle and chime all night. I wouldn't say that there is a lot of clean headroom before the tubes start to breakup. There really isn't a lot and it will start to overdrive at around 10'oclock on the top boost channel and at around 11'oclock on the normal channel, both played with a Strat. However, diming the master volume does yield a tremendous amount of volume considering that this is only a 15 watt El84 tube amp feeding into one twelve inch speaker. It's not unrealistic to expect enough clean volume for any small to medium sized venue as long as you can apply a microphone. The only thing is, this amp can be very bright. It's a lot better once the Greenback breaks in a bit, but it can still cause some harshness when using pedals for dirt. I performed the simple bright cap mod to the top boost channel and now it's more smooth and usable with pedals, whilst still retaining a lot of brightness. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I can't speak definitely on this area of critique, since I haven't had it for years. I can state that the amp seems to be built well and the insides look good and well put together. It has performed admirably onstage without any unusual noise or faultiness and cuts through the mix nicely. I haven't brought a backup amp along, but I think it's a smart thing to have a backup plan for when things go south, no matter what you play. So far so good though. I expect only the normal tube changing as long as I take good care of it. // 8

Overall Impression: I'm very impressed with it the amp. I have thrown blues, jazz, funk, and lots of different rock at the amp, and it has held up well. While I also like to play more heavy styles, it definitely fits the more Indie and alternative rock niche I was wanting to fill. I've been playing for about six years but I'm just now starting to amalgamate some proper gear. I'm using my strat, a Line 6 DL4, TC Electronic Nova Repeater, Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET, Visual Sound Route 66, and a TC Electronic Polytune with it, all with good results. I would later look into a more modern sounding amp to suit other styles, but it fits the milder range of my playing just fine. I would certainly want another one if something happened to it, but I might look into a Fender just for a different flavor and more potential for a pedal platform (definitely favoring the easier breakup from the Vox though). I compared and looked at other amps in the price range and a little higher, but it seemed like they were compromising to fit a wider range of sounds or didn't quite do what I wanted. This one was it for the sounds I had in my head. // 8

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overall: 8.3
AC15C1 Reviewed by: Ohld School, on march 06, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 499

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: It has the reverb, tremelo, top boost, normal channel, bass, treble, master volume, foot switch input, ext. Speaker, Celestion G12 Greenback 12" speaker. It's built like the proverbial tank. Weighs around 50 lbs. Comes with three AX7's in the pre amp and two EL84 power tubes. I have read these give the Vox the infamous "chimey" tone. They are Chinese made tubes. Going to shoot for 8 on the features, because of the lack of footswitchable channels, middle EQ knob, each knocking off a demerit. It has 15 watts, but I only play this in my basememt, and therefore is plenty loud. I usually don't have it above 1:00 setting on master volume on the top boost channel (top boost volume maxed out), but probably around 2:00 on the normal channel. // 8

Sound: Amazing sound. Can be crystal clear, or straight up raunchy. I put JJ tubes in the preamp and it has made a ton of difference. So much that on the normal channel I can get an impressive amount of gain with my Ibanez RG2EX with passive EMG style pickups on the bridge settings. The Celestion is an amazing speaker and has a smooth but husky tone. This is my first tube amp and if most tube amps sound like this, then I'm never going back to solid state. I can play speaking level tones in the normal channel and get good crunch with my Big Muff Pi pedal. When I do crank it up, I just love the pure sound of tube crunch with a touch of overdrive on my pedal. The highs come out very sharply so I turn down the tone on my guitar and crank the treble down to about 10:00. // 10

Reliability & Durability: For all of my ooh-ing and ahh-ing of the sound, I have to report that I did return the first one I purchased. It had a terrible rattle in a few places on the amp, and the tubes were rattling (sounded like a hiss) that was super annoying. Also had a noise when I adjusted the volume. Went back to GC, got a brand new one that they just opened out of the box, and all of those issues disappeared. Rock solid, just wish it came like that the first time. I don't gig (guitars anyways... I'm a 25 year vet on the drums though!) but I would have to bring a backup. True story: Went to see U2 in Michigan at MSU last year and, sure enough, after a few songs they had to replace one of Edge's AC30's! // 6

Overall Impression: Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Black Keys, Phish. The Vox works great with these styles and a fuzz or distortion pedal. I've only been playing for 1-1/2 years, and I probably spoiled myself with this amp, but I've had solid state amps that I just couldn't bond with already. Even though I'm a beginning guitarist, I'm an experienced musician and have an ear for the good stuff. I love the looks of the Vox, old school ya know, but I can totally take it in a blues or hard rock direction. The price was right, and I would probably get another one, or the AC15C2 which adds another greenback. The only thing holding me back is that I did replace the weak sounding AX7's, and that I had to go back and get another amp. Can I give it a 9-1/2? // 9

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overall: 8.5
AC15C1 Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 27, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 650

Features: This amp is awesome for the type of music I play. I use this amp to play country, classic rock and jazz. The only thing I wish it had would had a setting to get distortion at a lower volume. The other thing I would add to this amp is presettings. I use this amp for everything. // 7

Sound: For the Most part I use my Austin Telecaster and Fender Startacaster and I play country, rock and a little jazz with this amp. This amp is awesome you can go from smooth jazz to a gritty country style. The distortion gets on my bad side sometimes, because somethings I would like to practice some rock music and I can with out turning it up all the way. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This amp is very dependable. I use it almost every day for at least 3 hour and I've never had a problem with it. Would I use it on a gig without a backup? Yes This thing has A least a few days. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp is awesome for my style of music. This amp was one of my personal favorites for the money I spent one it. I've been playing for around 6 years. Some other gear I have is a Sting Ray by Dr. Z. That is an amazing amp as well as this one. If this amp were stolen, I would go to the nearest place that sells them and buy it hands down. I really would like to own a Vox Night Train or a Z Wreck made by Dr. Z. This amp is the best amp I've ever play and a order another one to use as by backup a few days ago. // 10

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