The AC-30CC Inside Story

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When Dick Denney first designed the AC-30 in 1959, he used a unique chassis design that used a steel base for the power and rectifier tubes and a vertical aluminum member to support the preamp tubes and control panel. When head Vox engineer, Steve Grindsrod, designed the new Vox AC-30 Custom Classic amps in 2004, he incorporated this original chassis design.

The tube complement in the AC30CC amp chassis is comprised of three ECC83 preamp tubes, four EL-84 power tubes, and a GZ34 rectifier tube.

This second view also shows the stunning resemblance of the Vox AC-30 Custom Classic chassis to the original 1964 JMI Vox AC-30 chassis.
In addition to an all tube, analog signal path in the AC-30 Custom Classic amplifiers, a three spring reverb pan is standard.
While the AC-30 Custom Classic amps utilize modern printed circuit board construction, there is plenty of hand wired aspects to the amp as well. Look at those neatly bundled wire harnesses!
Here you see more hand wiring plus a very important aspect of the design of the AC-30 Custom Classic amps.

The quartet of EL-84 power tubes, along with the GZ-34 rectifier tube have their tube sockets mounted directly to the steel chassis. This allows for proper heat dissipation and prevent problems with overheated PC boards.

Now, on to the control panel.

The AC-30 Custom Classic amps have two channels, Normal and Top Boost. Each channel has one input jack.

A small toggle switch called "Input Link" alllows you to combine these channels. Many have linked channels with short jumper cables on older AC-30s, but chief Vox engineer Steve Grindsrod designed this feature right into the new AC-30 Custom Classic amps.

In the 1960s, Vox offered three versions of the AC-30 for guitarists. They were the AC-30 "Normal," the AC-30 "Treble," and the AC-30 Top Boost.

Next to the volume control for the Normal channel on the new AC-30 CC amps is a small toggle switch.

When the switch is flipped to "Brilliance," this channel takes on the tonal characteristics of a 1964 JMI Vox AC-30 "Treble" amp.

When the switch is flipped down, the amp takes on the tonal characteristics of a 1964 AC-30 "Normal" or standard amp.

Move an inch or two to the right on the control panel, and you are at the Top Boost channel on the new Vox AC-30 Cuustom Classic amplifier.

The Top Boost channel on the AC-30 features that brilliant tone so popular in early Beatle recordings.

Just as on the 1964 JMI Vox AC-30, there are separate treble and bass controls. There is also a toggle switch that allows one to select between "standard" and "custom" EQ settings.

In the standard position, the tone controls work exactly as they worked on a 1964 JMI Vox AC-30 Top Boost amp. By selecting the "Custom" position, the tonal circuitry is reconfigured to the tone circuitry of the highly desired and legendary Vox AC-30HW hand wired limited edition series of amplifiers from 2003.

The reverb section of the AC-30 Custom Classic amplifier features the same "Tone" and "Mix" controls as found on the AC-30HW hand wired series of amps from 2003. Also is included is a "Dwell" switch that provides a selection between "Low Drive" and "High Drive."

The low drive selction would be the normal reverb setting found in amps with reverb. By selecting the high drive position, the wet signal transforms to a very deep and lush reverb, loaded with "surf tone."

Tremolo is available on both the Normal and Top Boost channels.
Following tradition, the AC-30CC amps also have a tone "Cut" control, which is sort of a global treble control for both the Normal and Top Boost channels.

A Master Volume control allows you to crank the preamp for that famous sweet overdriven, violin like "Brian May from Queen tone" without lifting the roof off your house.

On the lower control panel:

All AC-30 Custom Classic amps include a speaker patching panel for extension cabinets. Plug your extension cabinet into the left jack, named "Extension," and you will hear both the internal speaker or speakers in your combo amp plus the extension cab.

Plug your extension cabinet into the right jack, named "External," and the speaker or speakers inside your Ac-30 combo are muted, allowing you to use your combo amp just like it was a head.

The switch called "O/P Select" allows you to choose between an 8 or 16 ohm total load to the amplifier, and is used in conjuction with the speaker patch panel explained above.

The "Output Bias" allows you to choose the resistance of the bias resistor on your EL-84 output tubes. Choose between an 82 ohm (like a vintage AC-30) or a 50 ohm (hotter tone and output) resistor.

The switch "Smoothing" allows you to change the amount of filtering in the B+ voltage of the amplifier. You may choose 22 uf, like a vintage AC-30, or 44 uf for a tighter sound.


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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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