The Vox 60th Anniversary AC15HW60 Limited Edition Amplifier (2017)
A Look "Under the Hood"

The JMI AC-15/4 set the gold standard for Vox tone
when it was introduced in 1960. It featured an impeccably designed "point-to point" hand-wired chassis produced by Vox in the UK. This iconic two-channel tone monster disappeared from the Vox line at the end of the JMI era in 1967.

The Normal channel of the JMI AC-15/4 featured an EF86 preamp tube. Vox head engineer Dick Denney so liked the higher gain and rich harmonics of the EF86 pentode tube that he also designed it into the preamp circuits of Vox AC-4, AC-10 and AC-30/4 amplifiers. The Vibrato channel of the JMI AC-15/4 included the complex "Vibravox" circuit that offered both vibrato and variable speed tremolo.

Only three hand-wired AC-15 models have been produced since the demise of the original JMI AC-15 in 1967: the Vox Heritage Series AC15H1TV (2007), the AC15HW1 (2010) and the Sixtieth Anniversary AC15HW60 (2017).

The Heritage Series AC15H1TV was manufactured for Vox in China and featured a "hybrid" hand wired chassis design. Rather than utilizing the "point to point" construction technique, the electronic components of the AC15H1TV were hand-wired to turret lugs mounted on printed circuit boards. The twin-channel amp included an EF86 tube in the first channel and Top Boost tone controls in the second. Vibravox was not included. The transformers were produced in China by Sanecore.

The AC15HW1 was manufactured for Vox in Vietnam and featured true "point-to-point" hand-wired construction. The twin-channel AC15HW1 preamp circuit was redesigned to eliminate the EF86 preamp tube and to add "Top Boost" tone controls to the second channel. The Vibravox circuit was not included. The transformers were sourced from an unspecified Oriental supplier.

After years of manufacturing amps in Korea, China and Vietnam, Vox decided to produce the AC15HW60 in the UK. The limited edition AC15HW60 was released in the fall of 2017 in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of Vox.

In literature promoting the AC15HW60, Vox stated that "The 60th Anniversary AC15HW60 is a faithful recreation of a true landmark amplifier in Vox's rich history, the EF86 equipped AC-15/4 from 1957." The EF86 equipped AC-15/4 was actually introduced by Vox in 1960, as evidenced on JMI schematic OA/031 "AC15 Amplifier Circuit No. 3," dated April 4, 1960. The circuitry for the 60th Anniversary AC15HW60 is based on this OA/031 schematic.

The twin-channel AC15HW60 chassis featured point-to-point hand-wired construction. The Normal Channel included the EF86 preamp tube and the Vibrato channel featured the original "Vibravox" circuit. The two-position rotary "Vib/Trem" control toggled between tremolo and vibrato; the three-position rotary "Speed" control modified tremolo speed. The two-position rotary "Brilliant" control adjusted the tonal response of the "Normal" channel while the variable "Cut" control rolled off the treble in both channels simultaneously.

The power transformer, output transformer and the choke were made in the UK by Demeter Windings.

The AC15HW60 included a UK made 12" Celestion G12 Alnico speaker painted in "mid 1960s" silver paint. It included an original style Műller H1777 cone and a gold Vox sticker on the magnet cover.

A single button "egg" cast aluminum foot switch remotely enabled the Vibravox effect. Vox turned to North Coast Music to produce the "egg" foot switch cases from the original UK sand cast mold.

Official Vox AC15HW60 promotional video clip, used by permission of Vox Amplification


The VOX Showroom!

Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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