AC30CCH Review

manufacturer: Vox date: 05/17/2010 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Vox: AC30CCH
The VOX AC30 Custom Classic 30 Watt Head is the culmination of over 45 years of high quality, guitar amplifier design and fabrication. VOX has taken the best AC30 designs and added a number of useful, very cool features to create the most tonally flexible and affordable AC30 to date!
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8.3
 Features: 8.7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) 1 comment vote for this gear:
overall: 8.3
AC30CCH Reviewed by: JayJayE, on november 28, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 0.6975

Purchased from: Shimamura Music

Features: Firstly compared to past AC30S I guess the features are pretty good. In built are a decent reverb and tremelo and it has an effects loop. Another cool feature, is the switches on the back that let you change the biasing and smoothing. I've seen this on a Mesa before but not so much other amps. I give it an 8 though mostly because there is no channel footswitch (the footswitch is the reverb and trem). This is easily to fix however by using an A/B box and the channels (normal and top boost) are blendable which I really like. // 8

Sound: Now, I'm not an expert on Vintage AC-30's except what I hear on CD's so I can't really judge how "Vintage" it sounds. However, I was looking for an amp to gig with and this one won hands down. Vintage or not, I know it's the amp for me (which is how it should be, right). The cleans are wonderful and glassy, the normal channel being "drier" than the top boost which has more "bite". Cranked, this amp can get that real "classic rock" '60s Marshall kind of tone but it won't do metal with out help from some kind of gain pedal (doesn't bother me, I don't play metal). Gain turned down you can really get some nice, bright, shimmering cleans, perfect for Radiohead, Coldplay, Floyd, and whatnot. Right now I'm running both channels blended (top boost 11 o'clock, normal 9) so it's just breaking up a little. With my Ibanez Talman (with P-90s) and Rat (for leads), usually through a Marshall 1960A 4x12 cab I'm getting a really punchy, aggressive UK indie/punk kind of sound. Good for the Chilis funk sound, too. I'll be taking the amp in for recording soon. I'm really looking forward to it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Well, there's good and bad news here. Good. Despite being made in China and some bad press (don't believe rumours people, it isn't true just because some school kid read it on UG and re-posted it) these amps are actually very solid and built very well. I haven't taken it to enough gigs yet to judge but I bought a road case for it and it seem to be holding up okay. Lots of people talk about changing the tubes but I'm fine with the ones in it. And talking of changing tubes. Bad. The tubes are mounted in the most insane position to get to and you can't change them without basically dismantling the amp. I can't find much wrong with this amp, but this is a real b*&tard. Also for a 30-watt head, it's insanely heavy (19 kilos). // 7

Overall Impression: I've been playing for 14 years adn the styles I play have changed over the years. I own a Mesa Subway Rocket, an Epiphone Les Paul and an ES-335 copy though these days I mostly play an Ibanez Talman (with P-90s), as well as a Japanese Fender Strat. My main distortion is a RAT and I uses others effects too (DD-6, Small Clone, Phase 90). The Vox is absolutely perfect with my set up, with both the Talman's P-90s and the Strat's singles you can hear the tone of the guitars very well. My bands is mainly influenced by '70s UK Punk (Jam, Clash, Gang of Four) and post-punk (Smiths, Cure), dub/regaee and '60s rock. People say (don't know if it's true) that we sound like Arctic Monkeys, The Futureheads, The Stokes, Bloc Party, the kind of thing. We gig once or twice a month though we've been taking it easy lately. So for the music I play (semi-dirty aggressive indie/punk sound) it is just ideal and is plenty loud enough. The only thing I regret about buying it is not finding out about the tube layout but even if I knew, I probably would have bought it anyway. Despite not being able to Switch the channels, I love the "blend" channels option, since I like to have that "gritty dirty clean" sound of the clean channel being pushed and I just use the volume knob on my guitar to clean it up. If I hadn't have gotten this amp, I may have gotten a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe but I'm really happy with my choice. If it was stolen, I'd most likely buy it again (either the head or combo). // 9

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overall: 9.3
AC30CCH Reviewed by: Maj_Tom, on july 18, 2007
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 678.61

Purchased from: LA Music

Features: This amp is very versitile. It can produce an excellent clean sound and all the degrees of overdrive you want. It potentially has three channels. There is normal, top boost, and a blended channel of both. You have to Switch inputs (there are two) to change from normal to top boost, but in top boost you can flip the link Switch to blend the two. There is an effects loop on the back panel that has a Switch which with you can select -10db (stomp boxes) or +4db (racks) settings. There is not an assigned head phone jack, but with an adapter you can most likely hook up through the loud speaker out put in the back. This amp is fairly straight forward, but has many subtle features and nuances. To name some there is a brilliance Switch (treble boost in normal channel), custom and standard EQ Switch, reverb with mix, dwell, and tone, tremolo with speed and depth, a tone cut knob, pre-amp and master volume controls, output bias of 82 (warm) or 50 (hot), and Vintage or modern smoothing settings. This amp is 30 tube watts and is plenty loud for personal enjoyment and small to medium sized venues. I am playing it through a A212BN cab (Vox)which sounds very nice. Spending some time with this amp and getting to know how to milk the tone you want really makes it Shine. // 9

Sound: I'm playing a Mexican Fender Strat and a Gibson Les Paul Studio through this Vox and I play mostly blues, rock, and alternative rock. This suits my style of playing, because you can get an amazingly punchy clean sound and a really growling overdrive on another setting. If you are playing with a single coil guitar through it on the Vintage smoothing setting with the top boost on, it will hum a bit, but that has never bothered me with amps. This amp can get any sound except distortion. Even at it's highest settings for gain you can still play any intervals you want. You propbably won't want this amp for metal. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I have not had this amp too long so I can't say how it will react in the long run. Everything is very solidly made and is sturdy so far. So for now it will get a ten. // 10

Overall Impression: This is my first serious amp and it suits all my styles. I own a TS9 and other pedals, but I only run the TS9 into this amp. If this amp were stolen I'd be really upset about it and buy another and have to be extra careful. I love the tonal diversity you can achieve with this setup. There is so much you can do with the total of three volume knobs on the amp (pre-amp and master knobs) and the tone and volume on the guitar. If you have the guitar low you can go completely clean and move the knob a slight turn and you have that crunch you need. I compared this with a lot of Fender amps and Mesa Boogie products in a similar price range. They all held some good features and sounds, but the Vox AC30CCH was the most interesting to me. I couldn't ask for much more from this amp. // 9

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overall: 8.8
AC30CCH Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 17, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 1280

Purchased from: Manny's

Features: I purchased the amp in 2006, so I'm guessing that's the year it was manufactured. I play mainly blues and rock, and the amp certainly covers those styles with ease. It has two channels, the normal channel, which is fitted with a brilliance switch, and the revered Top Boost channel. The channels can be linked together which considerably extends the amps sonic palette. It has an effects loop, and also the amp's output bias can be switched between 82 warm, and 50 hot, which means it can run at 22watts like an early AC30, or at 33watts. // 9

Sound: I play a maple necked Highway One strat. As far as blues and rock tones are concerned it has no problems nailing them. The amp is very transparent and allows the natural sound of the guitar to show through. The normal channel can produce either dark and gritty blues tones, or bright, punchy tones. This channel works very well for clean tones. The Top Boost channel has a lot more gain, and this is where that, rich, creamy, warm overdrive, and shimmering clean tones, that are pure Vox, can be found. The tone controls of the Top Boost circuit are very interactive, and as the bass or treble are decreased, the mid range is increased. With a fair amount of gain dialed in, and the treble and bass rolled of a touch, even a strat can roar wonderfully. This amp is capable of wincing highs, so it pays to play around with the guitar's tone control(s), however I would describe the amp as being quirky, yet very interactive, and warm. It doesn't take long to find a great sound, and once you do, it doesn't need tweaking- very much plug and play. As the master volume is wound up, the natural compression of the EL84's begins to Shine through, making for great lead sounds. However, the AC30 is very distinctive in its tonality, and players might find that is either a case of love it or hate it. I personally adore it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I would depend on this amp at a gig without a backup. It might be made in china, but it's solid. After more than a year, the tubes died, which makes the amp buzz. However, the amp still sounds great and it disappears at high volume. Obviously, being an all tube amplifier, if it is dropped, the tubes may not survive. // 8

Overall Impression: I feel the AC30 is a great match for blues and rock, as it is versatile and very player friendly. For the price, it was the best amp for what i wanted to play. I would definitely buy another if it was stolen. I love that distinct Vox sound- the shimmering cleans, the gritty lead sounds, the creamy overdrive. My favourite feature would be the ability to link the two channels together. This feature allows the amp to become even more versatile. // 9

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