AC4 Review

manufacturer: Vox date: 09/13/2010 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Vox: AC4
On/Off Switch. 4, 1 and 1/4 watt attunator. Volume and Tone knob. Has one extrenal speaker plug. 1 channel.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9.6
 Features: 8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) pictures (3) 18 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
AC4 Reviewed by: BrokenDstring, on september 13, 2010
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: Yet another installation in the low-wattage tube amp arms race; boy is this a good one, too! This line from Vox was introduced in 2009 and mine was made late in that same year. I bought this 10" combo tone machine about 4 months ago and I believe I found the perfect fit for my playing lifestyle. This amp is versatile, if you're looking for a gorgeous top end on your cleans and some nice, tube-driven dirt. Those of you that are familiar with this amp know that it only has one channel; lower volumes are clean and the volume drives the tubes in to overdrive. However, a very cool feature on this amp is the built in attenuator. You can Switch between 4 watts, 1 watt and 1/4 of a watt. This is very, very handy. 4 watts is the perfect level for jamming with friends and 1/4 is excellent for bedroom or dormroom practice. The third, and final, knob is the tone knob. The tone know is very responsive, in my opinion. Dime it for that true Vox top end, or kick it back to balance your tone out a little bit. Basically this amp is great at being what it is, a small practice amp with no frills. It looks classic, it sounds classic and the controls are classic. It loses a point for not having reverb though, that would have been just perfect. // 9

Sound: Right now, I'm only using my Epi Les Paul Plus through it, but I cannot wait until my partscaster comes together. I can only imagine what a strat will sound like with this thing. However, my LP sounds awesome through it. A guitar known for that chunky, round, low end being played through an amp known for chimey, singing top end is a very cool combination. However, it breaks up entirely too early. You will find that this is the main, and one of the only, complaints with this line from Vox. However, a tube change and some tinkering can fix that. This amp is very quiet and doesn't seem to hiss much at all... 4 watts will do that though. As I said in the features section, the sound is very vintage, but a tube screamer can push it into some nice, tight distortion. This is no monster, though. An 8 for almost zero headroom and very harsh tones when the volume is at 90%+. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I do not gig yet. There are some opportunities that might pop up, and when they do I will probably buy a bigger amp from Vox. Like the AC15 or AC30. Vox has stolen my heart with their amps and I am not ashamed to admit that. It seems to be very reliable, though. A tube change is coming very soon for this little guy and I cannot wait to get in there and look around. It seems to be very sturdy, but I won't be kicking it down the stairs any time soon. The only thing that worries me is the fact that this amp is completely enclosed except for about a 3" by 1" strip of vents on top near the tubes. It gets very hot, really quick. So that may be a problem for tube life, but I am a tinkerer and a tone freak so tube changes will come often. No serious problems here; a 10. // 10

Overall Impression: I play classic rock 90% of the time, and Vox tube amps just seem to be a great fit for that style. I have some metal moments and even with the tube screamer it doesn't quite get there, but it serves me well regardless. After seven years of playing and going through a few bad amps and a couple "wanna be's" I am very happy with this amp. Minus the few problems I highlighted earlier, this is perfect for my playing lifestyle and my tone needs. One last thing that you may want to look into before you buy this amp; is the 12" mini stack available? I wish I had gotten the mini stack instead, the 10" speaker just isn't quite doing it. That doesn't matter too much in the overall scheme of things though. If this were a 12" combo, with reverb and maybe a preamp volume it would be absolutely perfect for everyone. What it is though, and what it does, is damn near perfect for me. You can argue for the Valve Jr, the Blackstar 5w, the Champ 600, the Handsome Devil/Killer Ant or even the Bugera 5 watter, however none of them sound like this amp, and this amp probably doesn't sound like any of those. For what it is, its great. // 8

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overall: 7.8
AC4 Reviewed by: SameOld, on october 27, 2009
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 330

Purchased from: Long & McQuade

Features: On/Off Switch. 4, 1 and 1/4 watt attunator. Volume and Tone knob. Has one extrenal speaker plug. 1 channel. 10 inch 16-Ohm Celestion VX10 custom speaker. One 12AX7 Pre amp tube, one EL84 Power tube. 20 lbs. It's simple and it's sleek. A lot of people are looking for more features in an amp, but I think at the price you get a lot of versatility, and excellent sound quality to boot. By adjusting the tone and volume knobs on the amp and your guitar it's possible to achieve a myriad of sounds. I'd like bass and treble knobs; furthermore, the lack of a standby Switch may confuse some people. // 6

Sound: I'm playing through a Statocaster. The Vox is quiet in spite of the single coils. The 10 inch speaker really gives it that extra oomph and sets it apart from other low-wattage tube amps. I noticed almost no difference in sound quality when switching from 4 to 1 watt, however 1/4 watts felt a little flat. The amp is quite bright; it is extremely responsive to pick attack. It's a joy to be able to go from a chiming clean to a gritty crunch just by hitting the strings a little harder. You can't achieve anything truly brutal with the Vox, however it does classic rock a la AC/DC very well. The cleans are extremely bright and shimmery; the overdrive can be sleek and smooth or dirty as hell depending how you play. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I haven't experienced any problems with it. Vox is a respected manufacturer of quality products; furthermore, I have a 1 year warranty. At 4 watts, I couldn't see gigging with the AC4, however it's great for jamming with other guitarists, and playing by myself. // 8

Overall Impression: For rock, blues, funk, and anything in between the AC4 is affordable bliss. It won't give you uber gain, unless you're running a pedal through it. In this price range you'd be hard pressed to find another option that would give you such a warm sound. There are certainly features some guitar players might wish it had, but the Vox AC4 is deceiving in it's simplicity, and with a little creativity it's possible to coax anything from ACDC to Chili Peppers out of it. // 8

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overall: 9.5
AC4 Reviewed by: Duv, on november 12, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 169

Purchased from: PMT Birmingham

Features: (2009) A very simple amp; no frills and great essentials make up for its lack of variety. On/Off Switch. Input jack. Tone control. Volume control. Attenuator knob which can change the output from the full 4W, 1W or 1/4W. 10" Celestion speaker. 1 x 12AX7 (pre) / 1 x EL84 (power) valves Admittedly there isn't much in the way of settings and variety, BUT it gets the 8 score for the attenuator which makes it perfect for bedroom/apartment playing, the valves which give it a good punch, and the 10" Celestion speaker which sounds great. Since for the money it is tough to find amps with high quality components like these, this has to get an 8. // 8

Sound: At the moment I'm using this amp in my London flat so I have my Epiphone Casino (P90 single-coils) and Fender Telecaster (also single-coils). I play mostly blues/rock/indie/minimalistic/atmospheric music. This amp is able to handle exactly what I want to do, but is not necessarily an 'all-rounder' of a guitar amp. Firstly, in relation to minimalistic stuff I play the Vox is great for it's warm 'Voxy' sound and fantastic cleans even at relatively high volumes. Arpeggios and stripped down melodies sound wonderful. The 10" speaker sounds great and packs a much larger punch than the 8" version or the Fender Champion 600 which has a smaller speaker and provides more clarity and depth. When the volume is increased past about 5/6 o'clock the sound does break up, but this is perfect for the other types of music I play. For blues and so on the Vox is tonally rich enough to give me the kind of texture I'm seeking when playing blues. As for playing Indie the crispness of the sound produce sounds great, especially when using the telecaster. All in all a great sounding amp which is able to cover the range of styles that I want to play. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have only had the thing for a month so I couldn't comment BUT in terms of style of design and the general solidness of it, I would say that the build quality seems good and rugged. It also seems to have relatively thick walls, and there are no fiddly bits. // 10

Overall Impression: In terms of the styles of music I play this Vox is a perfect addition to my arsenal. I bought this amp for use when I'm away at university (and can't bring my Marshall DSL401) and I must say that the sound of this thing is fantastic. Warm cleans that seem to swim over you, and also the capability of it being able to provide crunch and bite at higher volumes and with the tone control rolled up make it a perfect bedroom/practice amp and I would definitely recommend it to anyone or rebuy if stolen/lost. The attenuator is a great feature and I since I play good guitars through this thing, and have the relevant pedals that I want I was not concerned with features or too much EQ, the tone control is all I really need to get the sounds I want. Further this amp can handle using my TS9 Tubescreamer, Delay and Compression pedals no problem. It was between this or a Blackstar HT5 and I bought this because it was notably cheaper (on the HT5, which was also great, I felt that I would be paying for features I might not necessarily use), and the sound was so much nicer. The warmth, richness and organic sound is unrivalled when looking at the competition. This amp reminds me of listening to vinyls. They sound great in an imperfect way and are full or richness and tone that you don't really get with CD's or MP3s. This really is a superb amp and I couldn't speak more highly of it. // 10

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overall: 9.3
AC4 Reviewed by: SuBl1miNaL, on february 17, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 250

Purchased from:

Features: This amp is exceptional at creating great tones for classic rock and Rock. It has that great Vox sound in a small, compact, all-tube amp. This is a very user friendly amp as it only as three knobs. One knob switches the watts being used and you can switch between 4 watts, 1 watt, and 1/4 watt. The second knob is for tone, which adjusts treble and bass, and the last knob is volume. This is the perfect amp for bedroom practice, and I can still Jam with my friends when I need to. // 8

Sound: I'm am running a MIM Standard Stratocaster and occasionally my Epiphone Standard Les Paul through it. With my stratocaster I can nail the Jimi Hendrix tone with my Little Big Muff, and with my Les Paul I can get Slash's tone relativly close. If you want to get more distorted with this amp you'll have to get some pedals as there are no EQ settings like gain built into the amp. The AC4TV excells at those classic rock tones (Hendrix, Clapton, Zeppelin) and through my LIttle Big Muff and V847 Wah Pedal I can get good Sabbath tones and have a great Wah sound. Through no pedals the clean sound is excellent, but as you turn up the volume it does get more distorted. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have had this amp for half a year now and I have had no problems. I would defintely use this amp to gig for small bars and gigs without a backup as I know I can rely on it. I have not had to change the tubes on it yet and I play at least 3 hours a day. So far I have hit a couple walls and stuff with it but there are no scratches and it still plays like it was brand new. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall I think this is a great amp for someone who is playing small gigs or in their bedroom and on a budget. I can create a tone for everything I need to play from Clean to that Classic Rock Crunch to that Fuzzy Sabbath sound. If you're into metal a lot I don't recommend this as it probably won't be able to handle it so well. If this were stolen I would buy it again in a heartbeat, and I also have friends telling me they love it when they come over to my house just to play on my AC4TV. // 9

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overall: 9
AC4 Reviewed by: patbuck2, on july 19, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 169.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: +I don't know when it was made. I'm assuming that it had to have been made sometime in early 2010 or sometime in 2009 because I bought it new. +I would say that the amp is versatile for the styles of music I play. I usually play classic rock, blues, funk, folk, prog, punk, and any combination of those. +It has one channel, no channel switching, no effects, and no headphone jack. +I would like it if it had more tone control options such as bass, middle, and treble because the basic "tone" knob doesn't cover mid range very much. I pretty much use everything except the extension to connect to a cab because I don't have or use a cabinet. +I use this amp mostly in my bedroom. I have used it once for a talent show in a gymnasium to a few hundred people. It has enough power for bedroom jamming and it can actually get quite loud. I didn't even have the volume at half way when I played the talent show. +It's a 4watt tube amp. You can Switch to 1 watt or 1/10 watt. It's just got volume and tone knobs. // 9

Sound: +I use my Johnson Catalyst on it. It's an HH guitar and I usually use the neck or bridge positions. Rarely the middle position. +It suits my style just fine. I love a good clean tone and I pick pretty heavy, so I naturally break it up a little bit from my hard picking. +It's not too noisy when you aren't playing. It can get quite loud on the 4 watt setting. I usually have the volume around 2-5 (out of 10) depending on the watt. I usually play in my bedroom. +It has a great clean tone, which I love. It sounds nice with a little bit of overdrive. When you crank it really loud, it starts to get kind of muddy. It's good for blues and some classic rock. +To distort it, you just have to crank the volume up. Anything past 5 (out of 10) is pretty distorted. +The distortion is not very brutal at all. // 8

Reliability & Durability: +I can depend on it. I would probably be able to gig with it so long as it was to a smaller crowd. I don't know if a drummer would overpower it or not. It can get surprisingly loud. I would probably have to gig without a backup because I don't have one. +It has never broken down. // 10

Overall Impression: +I play mostly classic rock stuff like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. I also play some old school punk like MC5, Sex Pistols, and the Clash. I do have some other types of bands out there. I usually don't stray too far from rock or blues. The amp is a great match for this. +I have been playing for over 2 years now. I also have a Johnson Catalyst, a Yamaha F335, an Ibanez WH10v2, monster cables, and jim Dunlop tortex .88mm picks. +I don't really think there is anything I had asked before buying it. +If it was stolen or lost I would probably try out some other low watt tube amps and decide from there if I want to try anything else or not. +I love it's clean tones. I don't really like that it only has one tone control. I wish it had treble, middle, and bass. My favorite feature is probably the ability to change the wattage to sound different. +I did compare it to other products. I compared it to an Epiphone Valve Junior and a Bugera V5. I chose this one because of the wattage changing, the tone control, and the price. +Again, I wish it had treble, bass, and middle controls. // 9

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