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MF MD HG Ask Our Gearheads 07-08-14

Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp  

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Product #H68239

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    Vox

    Turret board construction and hand-wiring make for rich, versatile voicing and classic sound.

    In VOX's history, there may never have been a series of amps boasting such a lofty and pure sound as the new Hand-Wired Series amps, which includes the AC15HW1 15W combo. The VOX Hand-Wired Series relies on the painstaking technique of turret board hand-wiring, a method requiring a high level of skill and craftsmanship. The result is wiring that's beautiful in its artistry and ensures an efficient signal path with minimal loss and no restriction in amplitude. In the AC15HW1 combo, tubes, transformers, speakers, chassis, and custom parts all join together in an ideal state to deliver the richest and most powerful sonic experience - the ultimate VOX amp. Not bound by tradition, the VOX Hand-Wired Series also provides a variety of new functions that keep pace with the needs of today's artists. Offering a rich variety of tonal shadings, the enormous potential of the VOX Hand-Wired AC15HW1 combo will reveal itself in any musical scenario.

    Constructed for ideal sound and power
    Turret board hand-wired amps are every amp designer's ideal and every guitarist's dream, representing the ultimate in amplifier construction. Hand-wired amps are assembled entirely by hand, requiring staggering levels of technical expertise and care, and as such are often exclusive to today's limited productions or high-end models. The VOX Hand-Wired AC15HW1 combo pairs these demanding methods with rigorously-selected custom parts. These premium components are wired with a truly artistic degree of perfection. The result is that the subtle nuances of the guitarist's touch, the guitar's audio signature, and the natural character of the vacuum tubes are passed with perfect transparency to its 12" Celestion G12M speaker, noted for their broad midrange attack and restrained top-end, providing a punchy attitude when chording, and a searing lead tone when driven hard.

    True all-tube design - preamp, power amp, and rectifier
    The VOX Hand-Wired AC15HW1 is a true all-tube amplifier, employing vacuum tubes in the preamp, power amp, and rectifier. The preamp uses three classic ECC83/12AX7 tubes, while the power stage uses a duet of EL84s, along with a EZ81 rectifier tube. Combined, these three elements provide the vibrant, organic, and unmistakable tone that is the heart of the classic VOX sound.

    Two-channel design: Top Boost and Normal
    The VOX Hand-Wired AC15HW1 amp preserves the traditional VOX two-channel design, providing a Top Boost channel and a Normal channel. True to form, the Top Boost channel delivers the legendary AC30 sound with a fully interactive tone stack. VOX has also added a new and unique Hot/Cool switch. The Cool setting produces the orthodox Top Boost sound, while the Hot setting bypasses the tone circuitry altogether to create a more pure sound to achieve richer gain. A VFS1 footswitch is included with this VOX Hand-Wired Series amp, so you can quickly change between Cool and Hot, right at those moments when you need an extra dose of drive. The controls for the Normal channel consist simply of a volume knob, giving you a cleaner and more natural tube sound. In addition, this channel offers a Bright switch that adds emphasis to the upper harmonics of the tone when engaged.

    Meets the challenge of today's broader tonal palette
    The traditional, inimitable sound of the legendary AC30 continues to fascinate the guitarists of today. Many modern players have viewed this timeless design and desired more up-to-date options. While continuing to preserve the classic AC30's sonic character, the VOX Hand-Wired Series AC15HW1 combo offers the flexibility to meet the sound-creating requirements of a broad range of scenes and styles. The addition of a Master Volume and an Output Power (OP) mode switch lets you change the power amp's output level, delivering more detailed control over the gain/volume relationship, in turn providing more control over your sound. Despite being decked out in the retro-style fawn-colored vinyl suggestive of a 1960s-era AC30, this amp is not a mere nostalgia product. It's definitely designed for today's music scene.

    "Old School" Master Volume bypass
    The old AC30 had no master volume, nor indeed do most hand-wired amps. With such amps, high-gain sound meant that you needed to play at high volumes. High volume is unavoidable if tone is the primary consideration, but it can be inconvenient in many situations. The VOX Hand-Wired Series provides a master volume control, but also provides an MV/Bypass switch that completely bypasses the master volume section. This means that the legendary sound that has fascinated guitarists for more than 50 years can be faithfully reproduced, giving you a direct and pure high-gain tone.

    Features

    • 15W
    • 12" Celestion G12M Greenback speaker
    • Hand-wired turret board construction
    • Birch-ply cabinet featuring solid bracing and a natural high frequency diffuser
    • All-tube design
    • 3 ECC83/12AX7 preamp tubes
    • Dual EL84 power tubes
    • EZ81 rectifier
    • Fitted with matched Ruby Tubes that provide extended dynamic range
    • Traditional VOX two-channel design: Top Boost and Normal
    • High and Low inputs for each channel
    • The Normal channel provides an additional BRIGHT switch
    • The top boost channel provides a Hot/Cool switch to achieve even more gain
    • Master Volume/Bypass switch completely bypasses the Master Volume section
    • OP mode switch cut the amp's output power level in half
    • Vintage fawn-colored vinyl, reminiscent of the 1960 classic AC30
    • Choose either Celestion Alnico Blue or Celestion G12M Greenback
    • Included VFS1 footswitch controls the Top Boost channel's Hot/Cool switch

    Its rich variety of tonal shadings and enormous potential will reveal itself in any musical scenario. Order now!

     
    Customer Reviews
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    Review Snapshot®

    by PowerReviews
    VoxHand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp
     
    4.9

    (based on 8 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (7)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    100%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Easy to use (3)
    • Excellent sound (3)
    • Warm / comfy (3)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur recording (3)
      • Home studio (3)
      • Performances (3)
      • Professional recording (3)

      Reviewed by 8 customers

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      Displaying reviews 1-8

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great Amp!

      By Giantrobotsinla

      from Burbank, CA

      About Me Professional Musician

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Good Warmth
      • Portable
      • Powerful

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        This amp really nails the classic vox sound. No, it really does. No pedals necessary because it's very responsive to your guitars volume and your picking dynamics. 15watts is plenty loud and still has enough headroom to be clean when you need it. It would be too loud for a bedroom-type amp but is perfect for any band situation. If you know and love the old school vox rock 'n roll sound this one will not disappoint.

        Comment on this review

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Classic 60's groove with a twist.

        By Elwood

        from New York

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth
        • Portable
        • Powerful

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Performances
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

          This amp, for me, is not too big, not too small. Gobs of headroom, that classic Vox sound and enough volume to cover any situation. This amp I highly recommend.

          Comment on this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Best Amp

          By Bubbatrubba

          from Richmond, Va

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Excellent Sound
          • Good Warmth

          Cons

          • Can't Think Of Any

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Performances
          • Playing Thru It
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

          I have owned my Vox AC15HW1 for about 6 monthes. I am still blown away by this amp.I have owned countless amps and this one is the real deal. Usually I tire of an amp not long after I buy it but this ones my baby. The tone I'm getting out of it continues to slay me. I upgraded the pre amp tubes but found that the Ruby's that were in it when I bought it actually sound really good. It sounds good whether in top boost mode or normal. A modern day vintage amp. Buy it! You won't be disappointed.

          Comment on this review

          (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Fantastic Amp

          By Arthur Orton

          from Virginia

          Comments about Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

          I love it. Never planning on selling this thing.
          Lots of modern options added to a classic amp: master volume bypass, 1/2 power switch, bright switch on the normal channel, hot switch on the top boost channel. Lack of reverb is the only drawback, but honestly, I haven't missed it yet.
          Very well built. Fit and finish are great. The sounds out of this thing are fantastic. My jaw dropped when I plugged in and strummed a couple chords. Even the girlfriend came in from the other room and said "wow." She's not big into picking up these sorts of musical details either. I went from a more budget 2 x 12" tube amp to this 1 x 12" and the sounds aren't any smaller. The cabinet resonates in a way that makes it sound like a way bigger amp. Very happy with the results.
          On the one hand you can get an AC15C1 for about half the cost and it'll give you similar tones and volume, plus reverb and tremolo. The AC15HW1 sounds a lot better in person. There are some comparison videos on youtube that capture some of the difference, but in person it's pretty drastic. This thing gives you THE vintage tones, boutique level tones for less than a lot of boutique amplifiers cost. Sure, it's made in Vietnam, but I can't tell. The wiring's beautiful, the construction is good. To me it was worth every cent.

          Comment on this review

          (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Rockin' Amp

          By RECO Fan

          from Austin, TX

          Comments about Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

          I can't recommend it highly enough.

          I play rock music. Big, loud-ass rock music. So when I hear people demoing Vox amps and playing this plinky-plink nasal-y stuff (which certainly has a place) - I'm disappointed. I usually run into the high inputs on both channels, do something sensible with the TB tone stack, normal channel bright switch disengaged, full power, MV BYPASSED (this one is important - you'll see what I mean!) - and it's an incredibly straight forward, full-of-big-fat-tone, portable-but-big-for-a-112-combo, gonna-kill-your-friend's-50-watt-volume-wise rock machine. Plain and simple. Looks really sexy on stage, too. Who doesn't like that?
          While the amp looks, and certainly can be, pretty straight forward, it's can also offer you a baffling number of options depending on your needs. You'll probably find the setting that works best for you and stick with that, but I experimented for WEEKS with the different avenues I could take for my tone. I use an A/B switcher to run into the Normal & TB channel, so just from that you have a nice channel-switching amp. Depending on your A/B box you can run the channels together (or you can jumper them with a small patch), which adds a new level of flexibility. Add in the switchable watts, voicing control, MV bypass, and High/Low inputs, and you have a LOT of ground to cover. They all sound different, and most sound great.
          Turret board and writing is top-notch. Cabinet is beautifully tolexed and the thing is built like a tank.

          Two minor complaints:

          1. There's an annoying tube/spring retainer rattle that drives me nuts at certain frequencies. This is a common problem with combo amps that have tubes mounted down toward the speaker - so it's a vintage design flaw rather than Vox's construction flaw. It also doesn't help that I play this thing very, very loudly at practice and shows.

          2. One of the Ruby EL84s failed after a few weeks of playing. Again, not Vox's fault - and to be honest it gave me the opportunity to upgrade.
          I understand this isn't an inexpensive amp, but it is a LOT of amp for the money. Some people complain about the fact that these are manufactured in Vietnam, but frankly the quality control is as good or better than plenty of US-made products, and I'd take that trade-off any day to be able to purchase a handwired amp with this build quality for under $2k. In fact, I'd challenge folks to find a better built, more flexible, better sounding amp within $500 of this - regardless of where it's made.

          Comment on this review

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Great Amp!

          Comments about Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

          This is a great sounding amp. It's a nice addition to my collection of Fenders. The tube rectifier gives it a great "feel". The cabinet construction is superb as well as the tolex, piping and grill cloth. I bought this used through MF, condition 1. The amp is a little pricey at full retail, I bought at a decent price. This is a great sounding/looking amp, although quite heavy for 15 watts.

          Concerns: The amp makes a loud "pop" when powering off, followed by a few "crackles". When running it is dead quiet, however. Other owners I have spoken with have had mixed results with the quality of their amp, but mine is fine. The tone is so incredible I'm willing to take it to an amp tech at any price if it fails. It is a bit odd, however, that this "handwired" amp is noisier than my printed circuit board amps.

          That being said, I've gigged extensivley with this amp for the last 45 days and it has performed flawlessly. I've received many compliments on the great tone, I will be keeping this one.

          I recommend this amp, but be advised it may need a tube swap or a little attention from a tech.

          Comment on this review

          (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          The Answer to Your Prayers

          By Daniel Pond

          from Newfoundland

          Comments about Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

          This amp is all you will ever need, stack any vintage sounding amp up next to it and this Vox ac15 will destroy it. It handles any play style and can go from clean to a very crisp overdrive with just the switch of the channel. This amp is very versatile with it's bright switch on the clean channel and the hot switch on the drive channel. It also gives you the option of High gain and Low gain inputs to better suit your play style and guitar. Yes this is a master volume amp but you have the option to bypass the MV like many other boutique amps. This amps speaker ( Celestion Greenback) sounds killer with any distortion/overdrive pedal. It is a pricey amp but you will not regret buying this amp.

          Comment on this review

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Vox AC15HW1

          By weldr

          from los angeles

          Comments about Vox Hand-Wired AC15HW1 15W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

          This amp is just incredible. Took off the back panel and looked inside, such an improvement from the previous handwired amps in my opinion- great components, really well laid out... The plywood cabinet is top notch, it's larger, closer in size to the ac30, but it really resonates well, much better sound than cheap fiberboard. Ventilation is good so it's not quite so bad on the tubes as a lot of other vox amps... I switched the greenback out for a Celestion Alnico Blue, which sounds better to me. Changed the tubes which was also an improvement. I might not have wanted a master volume normally, but you can bypass it- perfect! I think the quality of the fawn covering and even the plastic handle etc is actually very good, it looks nice and not cheap. Am happy to have this thing sitting in my living room. Add a little analog delay and this thing will put out some amazing tones, and it's not as loud as an ac30 so you can hit that sweet spot without shaking the neighborhood. Haven't played it in a band situation yet but I would think it would be loud enough unless you want something really clean with a loud drummer. It's an ac15 after all... but the best 1x12 I've heard!

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