AC10 or AC15

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by epimetheus81, Sep 29, 2021.

  1. epimetheus81

    epimetheus81 Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Hey Folks,

    I've been looking to upgrade my amp for a while (currently using a Katana 100) and have been staring longingly at AC15s. Most threads have said they're to loud for an appartment, so I've held off and been watching out for used AC10s.

    Right now i've got eyes on an AC10 marked at 340€, a 15 in maroon bronco marked at 400€ and, to make things more complicated, an AC15cc1x at 490 on local ebay. I'd like to try the 10 to be safe about volume, but I'm looking at 15 for the normal channel and tremolo/reverb.

    I play mostly clean and use pedals for drive, so I'm wondering if I can't keep the 15 at a lower volume while still getting decent clarity and chime. I'm open to trying an attenuator, but i think the speakers are wired to make that difficult.

    What do we think?
    Andrew Griffin likes this.
  2. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    I think that one of the main reasons one amp it's too loud for bedroom use it's the dimension of the speaker. With his stock 8" speaker, my 7w Champ was not loud at all for home use. With an high-efficiency Warehouse 10" speaker, my modded 5w Champion 600 was too loud for home use, especially if you need some growl without pedals.
    Personally, I'd love to think that an amp must have more than one dimension so I could use it even on a small stage if I need to, so I wouldn't never go under AC15 for that reason, but if you mostly play clean maybe the AC10 would do it both inside or outside your house. I'm sure both would sound great.
    epimetheus81 and Craig Encinitas like this.
  3. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013
    Is weight a factor for you? The ac10 is so good and so fun that I choose it over the ac15 BECAUSE the 15 is unnecessarily heavy for a small combo amp. If ya gotta move it around, the ac10 is much easier to handle. And if you are a strictly at home player, the ac10 is MORE than enough volume.
  4. NowEarThis

    NowEarThis Gretschie

    Jun 23, 2021
    Northern Rivers NSW Australia
    The AC15 is seriously loud ! and guessing the 10 probably somewhat loud too. Have you considered the AC4?
    maloburro, GlenP, kdm1218 and 2 others like this.
  5. epimetheus81

    epimetheus81 Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    I've considered the AC4 (and just missed out on one!) but read mixed reviews. I also wasn't too convinced by some of the videos I saw. The 12" seemed decent. Would it do the work?
  6. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    I have an almost new AC-10. Great little amp and I’m selling it for a good price

    AFCC756A-608E-4FF1-A387-04BB28D92295.jpeg 7BAB4CE9-9F25-4C25-AE9D-C91571F1ED22.jpeg D2E2A90F-9EEE-45F4-8832-E3EB6049B7B5.jpeg
    maloburro, Bertotti, pmac11 and 2 others like this.
  7. epimetheus81

    epimetheus81 Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Nick! Sadly Customs and shipping to the EU would be a bear, but I'd be headed your way if I was back home. I'm from Shreveport, but most of my close friends are in NOLA.
    nickurso likes this.
  8. fishman919

    fishman919 Electromatic

    Sep 4, 2012
    Lubbock TX
    I recently almost bought a used AC15 but eventually passed because of the size and weight. I went with an AC4 with the 12in speaker and I'm happy with it.

    The AC10 is probably ok but due to how it's put together I think the upgrade options are more limited. Look at videos on replacing the tubes or speakers to see what I'm talking about.

    You might also check out the Mini Superbeetle. It's pretty good through a bigger cabinet. I decided not to get one because I wouldn't have any use for it's small 10in cab.
  9. epimetheus81

    epimetheus81 Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Thanks for the replies. I just had someone here to buy gear from me with a 15 in the apartment. The look on his face when I asked how loud it was!
  10. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    I own, or have owned, the AC4, AC10, AC15, AC15 hand-wired (x2) and the AC30. The winner is: (drum rollllll): The AC10

    I'll tell you why if you'll indulge me.

    AC4) Cute little practice amp with very little tone. No reverb, crappy speaker, minimalist design.

    AC15)(All variants) A rep for being loud but no, it is barely able to keep up to a medium hitting drummer. Gorgeous tone, good reverb and tremolo but stupid heavy for a 15 watt amp.

    AC30) LOUD! but amazing tone, great reverb, and tremolo. I'd love it a lot but only if I had a road crew to move it. Really, it is a behemoth.

    AC10) Very good tone and with the stock speaker, not too loud. The digital reverb is surprisingly good. Tubes and speakers are easily changed by simply removing the back panel. While heavy for its size it is still quite manageable at 27 lbs.

    Vox amps can be a small project if you want to get the best out of them. They ship with really crappy Chinese tubes and you can make a huge difference by simply changing the tubes and (sometimes) speakers.

    The good news is the amp only has four tubes, the same tubes as the AC15 too! I recommend the JJ EL-84 (x2) and the Tung-Sol 12AX7 (x2). These are economical tubes and will give you terrific sound and decent service life.

    For a speaker, I highly recommend the Eminence RF10C Red Fang. It sounds fantastic in this amp and its USD price is only $89. As a side benefit, it is much more efficient than the stock speaker and truthfully raises the amp's volume to that of an AC15, keeping up to a medium drummer.

    Set up this way, I have gigged my AC10 - unmiked - with a band in a fairly small venue and it was very adequate. And it sounded great.

    If you made it this far you probably know how full of it I am but these are my experiences with these amps. Vox makes terrific amps but to keep the cost competitive some corners are cut. They are, however, easy to fix.

    I hope it helps.
  11. tenthstreet

    tenthstreet Electromatic

    May 10, 2021
    I have an AC15, and I’ve played it in both apartments and my city-based row home. It can get loud, but I’m able to mitigate that by keeping things a bit lower and using my Red Llama clone pedal for overdrive. The one downside of it (not sure about other lines) is that there’s no headphone jack, so I can’t play it at night when the kids are in bed. But I do love it, overall.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
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  12. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Are you aware that Vox AC10 will not deliver Vox AC chime/jangle because it has a cheap chinese made ceramic speaker (the 1 x 10″ Celestion VX10). The amp still sounds good, just not like a real Vox AC. They need good alnico speakers or a Celestion Creamback to deliver Vox chime/jangle.

    AC10 also only has the top boost channel so it's clean headroom is very limited and the top boost channel is famous for not taking overdrive pedals well. It's reverb is ordinary too imo. Weighing 12 kg and having no mids control doesn't help either :D

    AC15 (only the model with Alnico Blue speaker) is better imo but is too loud for an apartment and, as Tony65 says, its absurdly heavy for only 15 watts.

    If you particlualy want the Vox AC tone there are other amp makers who do it better than these chinese made Vox re-issues imo :)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
  13. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    AC10c1 is the perfect amp.

  14. epimetheus81

    epimetheus81 Electromatic

    Mar 2, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    Would you put Laney on that list of alternatives? There's a VC15 on my watchlist...
  15. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    My AC15C1 seemed fairly cheaply made, flat/compressed, & noisy to me. I could dial it down to conversational volumes but it sounded best up towards the realm of requiring ear protection. The hiss was still (maybe more) annoying at low volume however. I liked the Greenback in it better than a Celestion Blue or Gold or Eminence Red Fang TBH.

    Never owned an AC10.

    The Vox I've hung onto is the AC4HW1, again I've tried the Gold & Red Fang in it but the Greenback works better for me. Perfect for home Top Boost sounds & a good bit more touch responsive & dynamic than the AC15C1 or AC30CCH I had, probably about even w/ the Morgan AC20 or Dr. Z Maz Jr. (although that's a bit of a Vox/Marshall hybrid to my ears) in that department IME. Does a great job w/ the edge of break up/light crunch jangle I look for out of a Vox in the way of "cleans" personally as well when dialed appropriately

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
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  16. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    I wasn't aware of the Laney but it's worth a look - if you want Vox AC tones it must have either an alnico speaker or a Celestion Creamback (ceramic).

    2 others much better and more versatile than any Vox AC re-issue are these 2.
    Matched with the correct speakers both sound much better than either AC15 or AC10 and sound virtually the same as an AC30 without it's faults or weight.

    First - Morgan AC20 - has power scaling, low weight and 2 channels - sounds fantastic

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    2nd - Mesa Boogie TransAtlantic TA-15 or TA30 - can switch between both the normal and top boost channels, has high cut and master volume dials, does 5, 15 or 25w and TA-15 weighs 5 kg.

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    GOOBALL JEFF Synchromatic

    Oct 1, 2019
    I have looked into this myself and watched many youtube videos, the ac10 is great on it's own and sounds more like an ac30 crunch at low volume, the ac15 you have to crack really loud and even then doesn't really do the ac30 thing in my opinion. for you who likes clean and uses pedals I would defiantly go for the ac15.
  18. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    I don’t understand why people say a 15 is too loud for an apartment. I live in an apartment and use an ac15c2. It has a channel volume and a master volume so you can go as low as you want with the volume and still get as much gain as you want. It’s a great bedroom amp and it gigs well too FD1807E8-EAB8-4192-A3FF-2F61F6F7D07A.jpeg
  19. Chmason85

    Chmason85 Synchromatic

    May 1, 2018
    Go with the 15, it’s not too loud since it’s got master volume. I had an AC15 twin at my last apartment, and currently have the AC15 Handwired; I live in a 17 unit studio apartment building and it’s my only amp, never gotten a complaint.
    epimetheus81 likes this.
  20. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Depends on your apartment situation doesn't it.
    Depends on what floor you live on, how close the other apartments are and how insulated the walls are.

    On AC15 Top Boost channel you have to crank the volume dial to get some gain going but then you can't peg back the volume level. It has an extra "Normal Volume" dial on the right side but that only works on the Normal Channel.

    You can crank the volume on the Normal Channel to get a little gain and use the Normal Volume to dial back the volume but that'll only take you to edge of breakup - not what I call overdrive.

    Plus you can't switch from the Normal Channel to the Top Boost Channel on any Vox AC. Some people put an ABY cable in the Normal and Top Boost jacks on far right but that only blends the 2 channels - it doesn't switch between them.

    The Mesa TransAtlantic amps have resolved these big limitations by using several methods Vox never thought of :)
    pmac11 likes this.
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