My new VOX AC-4 TV - compared to Champ 600

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Amaryllis, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Amaryllis

    Amaryllis Gretschie

    115
    Jun 3, 2008
    Germany
    Wow all,

    shortly after my wife gave birth to Moritz, I bought a small Vox AC-4 TV, brand new here in Germany. Last weekend, I finally had the chance of trying it with my SSLVO, my 125th Annie, my Palo Escrito Tele and my 72 Tele. I compared it to my Champ 600.

    1) Sound

    The Vox gives a authentic 60's tone - Very british, chimey in the highs and rather stiff at the bottom. Compared to the Champ, the Vox is brighter giving more feel to the G-B-E-strings but losing some sweetness on the lower 3 strings., which the Champ is good at.

    Attenuated from 4W to 1W or even 0.25W you receive much more headroom. The amp overdrives really at bedroom levels. The overdrive is not comparable to the Champ. The sound receives much more overtones than with the champ, which has to be cranked up all the way to get overdriven. That is not really at bedroom level. I tried to rebuild the sound on the champ and I came close using an 170 Euro Fulltone OCD with a clean Champ setup.

    2) Levels

    Wow - The Vox might compete with a drum set, something you won't try with the Champ. With it's 10" Celestion Speaker he really has balls, if you like. But you must not, you receive your sound at low levels, too.

    3) Components

    Fender uses a cheap 6" speaker. I modded one of mine with a Jensen, but that didn't pay off. I might try a Weber. The Vox has a special 10" Celestion speaker. A whole different world.

    4) workmanship

    I was really astonished - I just openend the Vox, and I have seen the Champ before. The Champ is dirt cheap: pressboard with evidences the litter they have used to make it, aluminum foil for shielding. The Vox instead looks fantastic inside. Not like a handwired one, of course, but for 249 Euro really a perfect craftmenship and good components.

    I attach a picture below, just be amazed.

    4) Appearance

    The Vox is built like the heritage series of Vox: White rough Tolex. It perfectly fits the sound, I think. The Toles is wrapped perfectly around, into the last tiny edge. The Champ is period correct two-tone with a soft Tolex. Once you remove it as I did before, you'll find masses of smelling glue.

    X) Final:

    I basically prefer the sweetness of the Champ over the Vox, but I could not decide which one to give away once I must.

    The Champ is good with the Tele's but a bit clumsy with the Gretsch's, especially with the Annie (TV Magnatrons I believe). The SSLVO is jazzy with the Champ. Champ stays clean until level 6-7 of 10

    The Vox is other way round: It's too harsh with Teles, but excellent with Gretsch. With TV Jones, it is hard to keep the Vox clean, though. Too much output. You only stay clean at really low levels, approx. 2-3 of 10.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. DevilYouKnow

    DevilYouKnow Country Gent

    Age:
    47
    Jan 18, 2009
    Fog City USA
    Great review/comparison. Thanks for the research time and sharing the results. Nice looking amp. I'm off to look for one now. Might even be better than the overpriced Epiphone Jr. by Gibson. 4 watts louder than the champ by far huh? I'm sold.
     
  3. Gretschy

    Gretschy Synchromatic

    Age:
    45
    958
    Jun 11, 2008
    Montana
    Hmmmmm, interesting......louder but less headroom.....
     
  4. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    TV Jones are REALLY LOW OUTPUT... I'll bet lower output than the tele's pups (despite the fact that TVJs are humbuckers). So it's strange to hear the gretsch distorts before the tele.

    I have a C600, modded with new tubes & a Weber, and I totally agree with everything you said about the Champ. Especially how it's great with teles, but not so great with Gretsches. I was on a pre-order to get the AC4, but had to cancel due to lack of fundage. I'd love to hear/see a side-by-side test of the C600/AC4TV.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  5. Jukebox

    Jukebox Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Jun 2, 2008
    Foreston,MN
    That was really a great review!! Thank you!
     
  6. Poppatwang

    Poppatwang Synchromatic

    932
    Jun 2, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    Amps can have clean headroom (or not) independent of perceived volume.
    Don't forget the Vox is using a 10" speaker. I don't know it's efficiency but that plays into loudness too. Say the smaller speaker is 10db less sensitive and it's moving less air volume. That's a huge difference in perceived volume.

    I gig regularly with a 10 watt amp in most club settings. A lot of other guitar players are amazed when they hear it. They assume it's at least twice the wattage. But all other things being equal, you need ten times the wattage to double your decibel output. So my amp with a modern high efficiency speaker can hang with a Deluxe Reverb (22 watts) with the stock inefficient Oxford.
     
  7. Sunshine

    Sunshine Synchromatic

    621
    Jun 28, 2008
    Espoo, Finland
    I have to agree.

    Great review by the way!

    Here is mine :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    hey Sunshine!

    See you're also sporting a DA5 there. Awesome little amp! Just curious, how close can the DA5 get to the AC4TV tone? I realize we're talking tubes & a 10", vs SS & a 6", but still... the little DA5 has some amazing tones in it for a 6" speaker/Solid State.
     
  9. Sunshine

    Sunshine Synchromatic

    621
    Jun 28, 2008
    Espoo, Finland
    DA5 can get really close to AC4TV. What I like in DA5, is clean sound and effects that it carries. Especially "auto wah-wah".

    My buddy was visiting my place today and I think he answered very good, when I asked his opinion: "it's like comparing whisky and cognac. Other has a very good sound and effects - other is a TUBE AMP".
     
  10. Gretschy

    Gretschy Synchromatic

    Age:
    45
    958
    Jun 11, 2008
    Montana

    I suppose my thought is, if you have have a tube amp with lots of volume, but lower headroom, why not just turn it down to clean it up? IMO headroom=volume without break up.

    IOW if both amps are set on 5 and the Vox is breaking up but the Champ isn't but the Vox is louder, then if you turn it down to where the perceived volume is the same (say 3 on the Vox =5 on the champ) is it still breaking up or is it clean now?

    Generally speaking, the perceived volume in the upper volume registers doesn't change that much in amps that size. It's just break up.

    And for the record, IMO Vox amps, even when clean, are a little dirty. If you want clean clean, always go Fender.
     
  11. DevilYouKnow

    DevilYouKnow Country Gent

    Age:
    47
    Jan 18, 2009
    Fog City USA
    Alright so I'm about to pull the trigger on one of these ($199-delivered). Thing is ... I found out that there's an AC-4TV Head/Cabinet combination. It's a 12" speaker? Any problem there? Y'all think the 10" combo is a better option? Just asking because I have a mesa boogie recto cabinet (Celestion V30, full back enclosure).

    And I'm thinking I'll get the head and wait on the cabinet or even build a super high quality wooden one (guitarfarm I'll be needin' your advice here) with a top-shelf speaker like a weber or the like. Thoughts? Ideas?

    I've got a crappy line 6 15 watt and a borrowed Gibson Les Paul Jr. Amp. But .... I want better than the line 6 and something to call my own. So talk me into (or out of) this notion. Thanks in advance.
     
  12. DevilYouKnow

    DevilYouKnow Country Gent

    Age:
    47
    Jan 18, 2009
    Fog City USA
    And due to Rule No. 1, here's the item for consideration:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    THanks!!
     
  13. Bonedaddy

    Bonedaddy Banned

    Jun 8, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Where'd you find it for 199? Enquiring minds want to know ;)
     
  14. roadjunkie

    roadjunkie Country Gent

    Jul 4, 2008
    Middletown,PA
    199 is the going price for the head. With the cab it isn't the bargain the combo is. Go to the Vox site and watch the video they use for the AC4 head and cab.
     
  15. Bonedaddy

    Bonedaddy Banned

    Jun 8, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Yeah RJ, I'd seen the videos. I think the combo is a screaming deal, considering you get the celestion speaker in it.
     
  16. mugsy

    mugsy Synchromatic

    760
    Nov 3, 2008
    Indiana
    I haven't seen the head/cabinet in stock anywhere yet, so you may have to wait for those.
     
  17. DevilYouKnow

    DevilYouKnow Country Gent

    Age:
    47
    Jan 18, 2009
    Fog City USA
    Sweetwater. Again it's the head only but I'm thinking it's one better than the Epi Valve Jr., which I've learned here lately can be a hit or miss purchase.
     
  18. roadjunkie

    roadjunkie Country Gent

    Jul 4, 2008
    Middletown,PA
    I used to run my Prince Royale (Tophat version of an AC4 with an ef86 pre) thru my celestion blue cab. Small amp heaven! The stock 8 inch would fart out past 2 o'clock! I talked to Brian and told him he needed to make that amp with a Blue stock. He said he never even thought of doing that but the amp was already doomed as it's no longer in production. I'll find a used one again I'm sure because I do miss it.
     
  19. DevilYouKnow

    DevilYouKnow Country Gent

    Age:
    47
    Jan 18, 2009
    Fog City USA
    There's a 12" Celestion in the cab. Vox claims specially designed (I think its a low 10 watt rated speaker) for the AC-4TVH. Anyway, at $160 that's a pretty good deal for a hip looking celestion in a cabinet and I might just hook it up.

    Here's a video from NAMM of both the combo and the head cabinet:

     
  20. Amaryllis

    Amaryllis Gretschie

    115
    Jun 3, 2008
    Germany
    Amazing - I checked again after reading your comment: You may be right, it#'s rather "dirty" than overdriven. So in the end, they both might stay equally clean - But the Vox is louder... Promised! ;-)

    Really? I would swear that the TV Jones (Classic or Magnatron) have far more output than a Tele Single Coil (Texal Specials on my Palo Escrito) Now i am interested, maybe I find the Spec's... Thank you!

    It is IMHO, the Celestion looks good, too. Not like an low budget I-have-a-Celestion-decal-on-me speaker.
     
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