Vox AC30TB and AC30TBX Amplifiers

© 1996 - 2024 The Vox Showroom, all rights reserved. No use on online auctions, eBay or Reverb.
The Vox AC30TB and AC30TBX were the first amps
produced by Vox during the Korg ownership era. I feel that this reissue of the AC-30 has real historic significance.

To many, the most celebrated AC-30 was the top boosted 1964 model manufactured by Vox under the original JMI ownership. Built like a tank, the JMI AC-30 was hand wired on tag strips fastened to a sturdy steel and aluminum chassis. The cabinet was constructed of 13 ply baltic birch plywood. This was the AC-30 that was in production at the time the Beatles first came to America. JMI produced this version of the AC-30 until 1967 when their parent company, Royston, filed for bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, Vox changed hands numerous times between 1967 and 1993. The AC-30 was the sole Vox amp model that survived the various ownership changes, although most agree that the quality of the amp was steadily declining from 1969 through 1990.

In my opinion, the real low point for the AC-30 happened in 1985. The circuitry on this Rose Morris produced version of the AC-30 was mounted on a single printed circuit board that was easily warped by the heat generated by the amp. The original preamp gain structure was attenuated by a new circuit design that limited output. The GZ34 rectifier tube was eliminated, and the cabinet was made of particle board. All one can say is that these cost saving measures probably saved the AC-30 from extinction.

Rose Morris took a step in the right direction when they introduced several new Vox AC-30 models in 1990 and again in 1991. These amps showed significant improvement over the previous models.

However, Rose Morris did not have the manufacturing resources to produce the amp cost effectively. Rose Morris started to lose interest in Vox. This time, not only the future of the AC-30 was in question. Rose Morris wanted to dump Vox altogether.

Rose Morris entered into an agreement in 1992 to sell Vox to Korg, a Japanese based keyboard manufacturer. Korg worked

at selling off the remaining Rose Morris amp inventory while they were developing the new AC30TB and AC30TBX.

The former Rose Morris Vox manufacturing facilities were small and relatively inefficient. Recognizing these production limitations, Korg approached Marshall Amplification PLC about having Marshall produce new Vox models for Korg under contract. This arrangement would be a natural fit as Korg was the distributor of Marshall amplifiers in many countries around the world.

When considering the specs for the new Vox AC-30, Korg/Vox decided that the new amp should incorporate the original electronic

design used in the 1964 JMI "Top Boosted" AC-30. Finally the AC-30 would return to the circuits that Dick Denney designed for the amp. The only modifications would involve issues regarding safety certifications required by various countries. Three such changes from the JMI Vox days are easily noticed. There would be no rotary "voltage selector," the three ventilation vents were larger, and a standby switch was added.

Under encouragement from Vox, Celestion reissued the Vox Alnico Blue speaker for the new AC30TBX. The AC30TB used the Celestion Greenback. The only difference between the AC30TB and the AC30TBX was the speakers.

The AC30TB and AC30TBX cabinet was constructed of 13 ply 3/4" baltic birch plywood.

Vox purchased the "two pin" plastic corners for the AC30TB, AC30TBX, AC15TB, and AC15TBX from North Coast Music. North Coast owns the original injection mold for the Vox corner.

The eleven tube complement included four EL-84, five ECC83, one ECC82 and one GZ34.

It is easy to determine the age of an AC30TB or TBX from the serial number on the ID plaque on the upper back panel of the amp. Look at the picture of this ID plate at left. The serial started with "M-2000," suggesting the amp was produced in the year 2000.

The AC30TB and AC30TBX survived in the Vox line for ten years. Near the end of the run in 2003, escalating manufacturing costs caused the retail price of the AC30TBX to reach $3200. Such increased pricing in a post 9/11 economy caused AC-30 sales to sag.

Additionally, the world wide demand for Marshall amplifiers had grown to a point that Marshall no longer wished to build Vox amps. They wanted to dedicate their production facilities exclusively to the production of their own amps. An era ended when the last UK made AC-30 amps were shipped in 2004.

The AC30CC2 and AC30CC2X, made for Vox by the International Audio Group in China, replaced the AC30TB and AC30TBX in 2005.

My thanks to Mike Truttschel from the Britins for allowing me to photograph his AC30TBX for the Vox Showroom.

The Vox Showroom offers the following additional resources for the AC30TB and AC30TBX

Model Dimensions Weight MSRP Street Price

27.52" x 10.51" x 21"

75 lbs.

$1999 - 1994
$2600 - 2004
$1399 - 1995
$1799 - 2004

27.52" x 10.51" x 21"

75 lbs.

$2499 - 1994
$3200 - 2004
$1799 - 1995
$2199 - 2004

North Coast Music offers many repair parts and accessories for the AC30TBX. Some are shown below.
Replacement VOX logo
AC-30 Amp Covers
Road Cases for the AC30TBX, plywood, foam lined, twist latches, swiivel casters, all plywood with carpeted exterior, swivel casters
Vox "Egg" Foot  Switch with cable and 1/4" plug
Schematics for the AC30TB and AC30TBX
Gold Fascia Strip
Two pin replacement corners for the AC30TBX (p/n NCM-020)
Exact replacement handles for the AC-30TBX (p/n NCM-104)
Current reissue brown or black diamond Vox grill cloth

White and gold cabinet piping for the ACTBX
Exact Replacement vinyl for the AC30TBX


The VOX Showroom!

Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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