To everyone who has subscribed to this blog, id like to apologize for the posting delays, things have been crazy around here and i haven’t been able to get behind my computer and type away. I have some great ideas for new posts and they are most certainly in the works. Anywho….now the good stuff!
Vox AC50 Combo Amp Review:
It seems like a lot of people enjoyed the post i did about my guitar collection so I figured I would do a follow up post with photos of my amplifier and pedal board set up. I’ve been through quite a few amplifiers and countless pedals through the years and for the current music projects i am involved in this set up really works well for me. I figured i might as well share that passion with other gear heads like myself. What i love most about my set up is the fact that i have a diverse tone arsenal ranging from very thin twang (telecaster/jag), to more robust thicker rhythm tones (ep hollow body). The amp that i use helps bring all these different sounds together in a unique manner; only resulting in EAR-gasms. The VOX AC50 combo amp has a wide range of tones to choose from and dialing them in is super simple! This amp also comes in a Head version if you’re a big fan of half or full stacks. Here’s a quick rundown of the features this amp has and why it’s awesome!
The VOX AC50 CP (classic plus) is a discontinued VOX 2×12 combo that was released in the early-mid 2000’s. It’s half-brother the AC30 has seen more favor with players and it’s amazingly pristine clean tone has stood the test of time. The AC50 packs a bit more watt output and has a similar clean tone. The ac50 has a separate EQ for channel 1 and channel 2 (clean/dirt), and one interesting knob on the clean tone side called the “tone cut”, which allows you to musically roll off the high end.
The major difference lies in the structure of each amp. Mainly the fact that the AC30 has the EQ controls on the top of the amp, while the AC50 has the controls on the front. The AC50 also has a dirty channel, which the AC30 does not. I love this amp because you get the best of quite a few worlds with it. The beauty of the amp is in its tone diversity. You can get surf rock tones, pretty wet sounding built-in reverb, choppy jazz chords, staccato picking stuff sounds great also. When you crank this amp you can really feel that tube presence in the room, like every note is singing in the depths of the grand canyon. Coming from a more heavy amp set up (PEAVEY 5150 head / JCM 1960 CAB) this amp was a big change for me, but was very easy to get used to. This amp has a more over-driven Marshall like distortion sound that resembles classic rock styles, which you can crank with an overdrive gain knob located between the clean channel EQ (c1) and the dirty channel EQ (c2). The amp also features a “fat” switch, which you can turn on to get some really dark broken-up sounding distortion, almost similar to a big muff, except a little more sustainable. The tube power this amp has is fantastic and the amp really glows at high volumes but I’ve found that pushing the amp too hard causes you to blow tubes occasionally. I’ve probably only had the amp for 2 years now and have already re-tubed 3 times.
If you plan on using this amp for heavier sound rock then id recommend going with higher gain tubes, like groove tubes or ruby’s. The AC50 CP is a great amp for small shows but can really get loud as hell when cranked past 6 or 7 (after playing a 100 watt tube head i didn’t think this amp would really be able to size up, but it comes pretty close. I’ve gone deaf many times playing this amp….) This amp can get especially loud, even unmic’d it will cut through lows nicely. I mainly got this amp because I wanted to down size my rig, because I stopped touring a few years ago and really just wanted something that was more manageable for my current music situation. The kind of music I generally play involves a lot of clean/delays and heavy guitar writing, but more in an indie/punk kind of way. We don’t have breakdowns or anything but the music can get pretty heavy at times and we have a fair amount of finger tapped parts to keep things interesting. This amp probably wouldn’t be great for metal seeing as its only a 2×12 combo, if your going for that kind of sound it’s probably better to settle for a mesa/orange/peavey. I’ve played some larger shows with this amp and it’s made it through quite a few gigs unscathed. It’s heavy-duty construction leads me to believe that this amp could take on a few tours in necessary (although its pretty damn heavy at 75 lbs). I am happy that i chose this amp over the AC30, even though that amp sounds incredible as well. For me, this amp has everything i wanted in one place, excellent lows and mids from both cleans and rhythms but when turned up can really give you some gargantuan balls if you want it to. The AC50 is an excellent choice for any long time player or someone who just uses it to practice at home. This amp has really pushed me to hone my playing style and in fact has now made me a huge VOX fan.
Here’s some more photos of the AC50CP, next post will include clean and dirty tone video demonstrations as well as my pedal collection samples and what you can do with them!