Vox VR Series

There is little doubt that the AC-15 and AC-30 established Vox as a world player in guitar amplification. The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Animals, Searchers, Shadows and many other bands played AC-15s and AC-30s. These bands carried their amps from their homes in Liverpool and Manchester to London, onward to Europe, and eventually to America and the world.

In recent years, the Vox AC-30 has had a resurgence of popularity in both rock and roll and country music. Most guitarists have either played or owned an AC-30 or an AC-15.

Few amps have the tone and style of the AC15 and AC-30. Unfortunately, the price of these amps has kept many from owning one. Recognizing a opportunity, Vox designed the AC15VR and AC30VR. These would be AC-15 and AC-30s amps that all could afford.

The ingenious design concepts of the AC15VR and AC30VR are described below.

The AC15VR and AC30VR feature a solid state analog preamp circuit that was designed to model the tone of the classic Vox "top boosted" AC-15 and AC-30.

While the AC15VR and the AC-30VR each have only one input, both amps have two channels. The optional VFS2 foot switch allows remote switching between channels.

A Belton digital reverb chip provides reverb.

The power amp of an AC-15 uses two EL-84 power tubes, the AC-30 uses four. Vox hoped to maintain the tone and presence of the tube power amps used in the original AC-15 and AC-30 amps. Ideally, a tube output section should be used, but the cost of the transformers and related circuitry for a full tube output section would make the new VR models too expensive. The solution was to use the patented Vox Valve Reactor power amp circuit in the AC15VR and AC30VR.

The concept of the Vox Valve Reactor circuit is to use a 12AX7 preamp tube in an unusual way - as the heart of a one watt power amp. The one watt output from this 12AX7 then supplies a tonally transparent solid state power amp to achieve the final 15 watt output for the AC15VR, or 30 watt output for the AC30VR.

The design and materials that were used in the original Vox AC-15 and AC-30 cabinets make a significant contribution to the higher price of these amps.

The original design of the AC-15 and AC-30 cabinetry used 13 ply baltic birch plywood. To reduce the price of the new amps, this material could be replaced with medium density fiber board. The use of MDF board would reduce the production cost of the amp while still maintaining the same basic density of the original baltic plywood case.

Another expensive cabinet design detail in the original amps was the use of gold "tadpole" string in the sides of the cabinet shell. To help keep costs down, the gold string was eliminated in the VR Series.

However, all the other Vox cosmetic details are incorporated, including a front panel with brown Vox grill, gold "T" bar molding and white piping. The cabinet is covered in original "basket weave" Vox vinyl with three Vox handles and three air vents.

A small "VR" logo is in the lower right hand corner of the amp grill



The VOX Showroom!

Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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