The VOX amp builds date back to the late 50s. The AC15 eventually inspired the AC30 that VOX still makes and is available today, now known as the AC30C2. AC 30s have been responsible for many of the world’s greatest guitar parts, heard on recordings since the late 50s. Some of VOX AC30’s most important ambassadors include legends such as the Beatles, Brian May of “Queen,” The Edge from “U2” and Tom Petty’s guitarist Mike Campbell.
I love my AC30C2 for both studios and live playing. In the studio, it is important to be able to pull out many sounds for different artists and the AC30C2 works perfect. Soft felt-like tones can emit from the AC30 by dialing in the “Cut” feature. I depend on the headroom and the darkness the AC30 provides for projects that need a mellow tone. Clients often request a vintage crunch tone and the AC30 is perfect for that old school dirty tone. The “Brown Sound” is a characteristic the AC30 is known for. Clients frequently request this tone and the AC302C is my choice every time. When I dial the volume down on the amp’s “Top Boost” channel, I can add high gain distortion pedals for high gain requests and it shreds every time.
My Favorite Studio Applications with my AC30
I favor the AC30C2 for stereo rhythm track in the studio. I will dial the tone for a crunchy rhythm, then I will simply alter a tone control and the “Cut” knob on the second take. This adds a nice difference between the two takes, but close enough for continuity. AC30C2 has a lush reverb that pleases the client every time. Also, the ACo30C2’s Tremolo is second to none and often a great choice for a guitar part on a recording.
A great tip for a power rock rhythm tone is use an AC30C2 and overdub three takes. The first take crank the “Normal” channel’s volume for a filthy raw tone with no reverb and pan the finished track hard left. Next, double the track, but plug into the “Top Boost” channel and crank it up, with no reverb, the tone controls at 12 O’clock and pan this one hard right. Finally, triple track the part using the “Top Boost” channel with the gain at only 11 O’clock and the tone controls all the way up, with the reverb set at 8 O’clock. Pan this track directly up the middle and mix it lower than the tracks panned left and right.
I am a big fan of using the AC30C2 on a Blues gig. The versatility of the AC30C2 makes it perfect for clean and power blues guitar parts. This amp loves pedals going through the input and that is why I like it for classic rock gigs as well. Classic rock can span an enormous amount of guitar tones, and the VOX, with some pedals, nails them all. Lets not forget country guitar tones, as this amp is perfect for the grit required in modern country rock. With the amp’s big verb and ability to clean up, the AC30C2 is great for the traditional country.
A Tip Using the AC30 Live
A great tip for live playing, when using pedals for your higher gain, is to jump the channels. Plug your guitar into the top input of the “Top Boost” channel and connect a mono patch cable from the lower input of the “Top Boost” channel into the tp input of the “Normal Channel. This gives you access to both channels. Dial in the “Top Boost” channel’s volume under 11 O’clock, then dial in the “Normal” channel’s volume to 1 O’clock. Use the treble and bass from the “Top Boost” channel to your liking. This setting should be a great platform to front end your drive and was pedals.
Click to learn the best guitar rig for your style of music.
Click for an amp buyers guide.