Vox AC10 Review: Classic Look And Feel

This is a review of the Vox AC10.

The classic, single-speaker Vox AC10, launched in 1959, went through many cosmetic alterations before being retired in 1965, but its distinctive circuit remained mostly unchanged, and was featured in many of the company’s best – selling line of amplifiers.

The AC10 inhabited a desirable spot between those two most popular amps that were noted for their harmonically rich overdrive and melodic clean tone, having more power than the small, practice-size AC4 and being more portable than the renowned and gig-ready AC15.

With the Custom Series AC10C1, Vox has brought back this vintage all-tube amplifier, which flawlessly reproduces Vox’s famous Top Boost tone in a lower-wattage amp with the extra bonus of an onboard studio quality reverb for much more flexibility. The new AC10 Custom is not the same amp as the earlier Vox AC10 Custom.

I’ll go through the AC10, which was one of Vox’s initial amplifiers and is a more cheap, stripped-down version of the AC15. Continue reading to learn more about the Vox AC10’s characteristics, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

VOX AC10C1 Guitar Amplifier Head
  • 10 Watt tube combo offering the classic VOX Top Boost tone
  • EL84 power tubes; 12AX7 preamp tubes
  • Custom 10" VX10 speaker made by Celestion
  • Simple but effective Gain, Bass, Treble, Reverb, and Master Volume controls
  • Extension and External speaker outputs; By-passable Effect Loop, Distinctive VOX Styling.Output Power:10W RMS

Overview of the Product

This tube amp is meant to be a lightweight substitute for the company’s popular AC15 and AC30 versions. It basically has the same Vox character tones as the original, but in a more streamlined and compact shape.

It lacks the frills seen in other amps, but it does include all of the fundamentals, such as two preamp tubes (12AX7) and two tubes (EL84), as well as the company’s well-known Top Boost circuit.

It also has a Celestion VX10 10″ speaker in a closed rear cabinet, which are both designed to enhance the amp’s voicing.

Features

Below are the features of the Vox AC10CA.

Construction

The build quality is excellent, and the diamond pattern grille fabric, black tolex, and gold Vox logo instantly identify it as a Vox product. The leather holding handle is sufficiently strong, and the buttons are smooth and fast.

There are no rattles or unwanted noises even at high volumes, and the entire design feels totally roadworthy, with no sophisticated, multi-channel circuits to fail in the middle of a show.

The AC10C1 ditches the square shape of the original in favour of a more mobile, rectangular design comparable to the AC15 Custom. The amp features increased low-end resonance and volume projection because of the extra length. It ’s lighter than its estimated 27 pounds when used in pairs, making it a great candidate for a private sound system.

Because there are no frills and whistles to entice potential buyers with a plain design like this, it all comes down to tone. So, Back to the main question: how does the AC10C1 perform?

VOX AC10C1 Guitar Amplifier Head
  • 10 Watt tube combo offering the classic VOX Top Boost tone
  • EL84 power tubes; 12AX7 preamp tubes
  • Custom 10" VX10 speaker made by Celestion
  • Simple but effective Gain, Bass, Treble, Reverb, and Master Volume controls
  • Extension and External speaker outputs; By-passable Effect Loop, Distinctive VOX Styling.Output Power:10W RMS

Performance

Starting with a clean sound, low gain, and high master volume, it’s clear how much this amp shines and chimes. Classic Vox cleans are immediately evident, along with a plethora of dynamics that are a lot of fun to play.

The master volume has plenty of clean headroom at these settings, but if clean tones are your style or you require a clean amp for putting pedals into, you’d be extremely reluctant to play with a loud drummer on stage.

The Vox sound is one of my favorites. Luckily, the AC10C1 allows me to achieve that tone in a small and powerful enough for gigging amp.

What sets it apart is how precise and focussed its Top Boost tone is, regardless of which guitar is connected to its input.

The tone is precisely shaped by the bass and treble EQ knobs, while the gradual taper of the boost and master volume knobs allows for lots of clean headroom before blasting into intricate overdriven crunch. The cleans become dazzling and have a nice and clear sheen when the treble is dialed up.

The bass knob gives enough weight to adjust the amount of heft for more muscular tones. Since it lacks the loud digital distortions present in most built-in reverbs, the reverb has a big splash but doesn’t overpower the music.

The AC10C1 is a budget-friendly small amplifier with superb sound. Some may be turned off by the lack of an FX loop and low volume clean tones, but the AC10C1 could be just what many guitarists have been looking for: a cheap Vox tone in a smaller chassis that is loud enough for smaller performances and sessions. It’s definitely worth a look.

Pros

  • Many customers are impressed by how simple it is to make the AC10C1 sound amazing, and even specialists believe it accurately replicates Vox’s Top Boost Tone.
  • Many reviewers claim that the AC10C1 is quite loud for a 10W amplifier, and that it should be enough for professional gig use.
  • Many people praise the AC10C1’s build quality, claiming that it is sturdy and reliable on the road.
  • Variable and dynamic. Lightweight and compact, but with a classy appearance.

Cons

  • Some customers believe the amplifier is pricey, while others wish it had more functions to justify its price.
  • While many people like it because of the Vox tone, some think it’s too bright.
  • Since it’s a single channel amp, the Vox shimmer is unavoidable, so if you’re not a fan of the traditional Top Boost tone, look elsewhere.
  • The use of digital reverb is limited.

 

Alternatives

Laney Cub 10

Tone, volume, and gain are all adjustable on the preamp. The Cub 10 is a complete sleeper when it comes to amps. This beast will open up and amaze you with its potential to rumble if you replace the standard HH speaker with a Jensen Mod 10-70. Pure 6v6 clean tone, grit, and hairiness in a small, straightforward package.

Laney Electric Guitar Power Amplifier, Black (CUB-SUPER10)
  • POWER RATING: 10 Watts / 6 Watt RMS
  • SPEAKER: 1 x 10 Inch HH Custom
  • CHANNEL: Single with Switchable Boost
  • EQ: 3 Band
  • POWER AMPLIFIER: 1 x EL84 Tube

How Much Does It Cost?

The Vox AC10 Custom is one of the most popular and pricey alternatives. It’s one of the most popular guitar combination amplifiers, and there are dozens of popular competitors in the same price point, including the Marshall DSL40 and Marshall DSL Series.

The Vox AC10 Custom costs $300.99 more than the typical guitar combo amplifier ($279).

Where Can I Buy From?

The Vox AC10 can be found and purchased on websites like ebay, reverb, musicians friends, and guitar centre.

VOX AC10C1 Guitar Amplifier Head
  • 10 Watt tube combo offering the classic VOX Top Boost tone
  • EL84 power tubes; 12AX7 preamp tubes
  • Custom 10" VX10 speaker made by Celestion
  • Simple but effective Gain, Bass, Treble, Reverb, and Master Volume controls
  • Extension and External speaker outputs; By-passable Effect Loop, Distinctive VOX Styling.Output Power:10W RMS

The Verdict 

The VOX AC10 puts all of the flagship AC30’s famed Top Boost character into a smaller package with more headroom, adaptability, and chime.

The AC10 has the potential to be the complete contemporary rhythm track amplifier. With the volume and gain knobs cranked up, it’s a deadly lead machine. The best part is that it will only cost you around 450 dollars. 

When you consider how many pedals you’ve bought for the same amount of money but will never sound as awesome as the AC10 blasting away on its own, this little Vox amp rapidly becomes a winner for sure bang-for-your-buck amp title.