Matchless Amps, anyone here use them

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Stefan87, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Synchromatic

    844
    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    So I have been loving the 'Class A' amp on my THR10C which is based off a DC30, now I know Matchless is up there price wise but a few of the guitarist I listen to use them so I thought I'd ask if anyone here either uses them or has used them and see what the opinions of them are?

    The next amp I was wanting to get would be a Vox voiced amp but when I've looked up Matchless there are a few threads on the tele forumn saying people like them better then the vox, so I thought if there were any decent clones out there that are a bit more price friendly then I'd look into them, doesn't have to be 100% but ball park sound would be fine.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Fantastic amps imo.
    Never owned but have played a few - all great.
    Voxy in tone and many say better than vintage AC30.

    Hoodoo Gurus front man Dave Faulkner used for many years on their most famous recordings.
    Saw them live many times and always loved his Matchless.
    They are very exy though.

    Another Vox AC alternative is this Morgan AC20.

    https://www.deluxeguitars.com.au/products/morgan-amplification-ac20-combo-twilight

    I'd much prefer to a real Vox - lighter and way more versatile
     
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  3. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Synchromatic

    844
    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    That's what I keep reading, will definitely do some more research on them as what I hear sounds great, a small what clone amp would be enticing if there is one around.

    You have now sparked my interest again with TA-15s though so will look into them too.
     
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  4. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    also see

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
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  5. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    I saw Mark Knopfler a number of years ago (he sounded great) and I recall he was using Matchless amps.
     
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  6. s360guitarist

    s360guitarist Electromatic

    61
    Feb 17, 2010
    St. Louis
    Have not owned/played a Matchless. I did own an early Bad Cat Cub ii 15r head that was really great. The early Cub ii's had a Focused/Spectrum switch that I always felt was kind of a Spitfire/Lightning switch in its voicing. LOVED the Spitfire side. It was Voxy, but a more modern sounding take on that circuit.

    I have a Winfield Cyclone that I love, but it is different than the more modern sounding Matchless/Bad Cat stuff. @Winnie Thomas sets out to nail vintage early 60's Voxy amps, and he does with the Cyclone. The filtering is different than the more modern takes on these circuits. The Bad Cat was very tight in the bass and had a more steely Matchless type tone. It did not sound vintage at all, but that is not what it is going for either.

    One issue to note is the weight. If you think an ac30 is heavy, you haven't lifted a Matchless DC30. My Cyclone with a Hellatone a25 alnico 1x12 weighs in at 32lbs. The Cub ii head I had weighed 34lbs. The transformers are huge.
     
  7. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    I had a Matchless Clubman for a short time many years ago. Fantastic build quality, but a very harsh sounding amp to my ears. There were two big Matchless at Clapton's first Crossroads fest in 2004 that got used off and on. They sounded the same most of the time too.

    Mine was a bit of a one trick pony, at one setting, (very loud!) it was very cool, but un usable for club work at that setting due to volume. It just came alive there with the volume high up, the tone controls in one specific setting, otherwise sterile.
     
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  8. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Germany
    I had the opportunity to play a Matchless for a complete gig. It really wiped the floor with my vintage AC 30. Great amps.
     
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  9. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    I'm sold on that Morgan. I also like Rick Beato - I've really gained a lot of respect for him.
     
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  10. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    yeah I fully agree on both :D
     
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  11. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Synchromatic

    844
    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    The morgan's look interesting.
    Fair point on the weight of the matchless, can go a head but would rather a combo on this one, have only heard good things about Winnies amps as well so will check them out on his website.
     
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  12. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Age:
    64
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Hey Stefan, I've owned a Matchless Lightning Reverb fo a couple of years now. It is a 15w with 2x10" Celestion Golds. It is truly gorgeous.

    Like a Vox, it is heavy for its size, weighing a manageable 45 lbs. It oozes quality from every pore and the sound is simply exquisite. It is one of the amps I reach for when I'm doing a session because it always sounds good - with every guitar.

    Like Tone King or Victoria, the price is high but worth every penny. I own a few Voxes and have owned a few more and while the Matchless may have similar architecture, it is definitely a significant cut above.

    I hope this helps.
     
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  13. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    Everyone I ever mic'd up on stage sounded great.
    They do sound like a classic Vox AC 30 to me - Perhaps with a bit more gain.
    I own a 1965 AC 30 that sounds great so I wouldn't say that the Matchless amps sound better.
     
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  14. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Synchromatic

    844
    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    Thanks @Tony65x55 would love to try some but I am yet to find anyone here in Brisbane that has them, the only authorized dealer is in Sydney so might go check them out next time I'm there for something to do.

    @Gretschtim1 The players that use AC30's that I like all have 60's era ones and the sound out of them is fantastic and the sound I want to get, nothing against the modern ones but there is just something about them that I just don't seem to love so to speak, they sound great but they just don't grab me like I want them too, admittedly I haven't tried every iteration. Maybe I need to be chasing something that more classic vox voicing.
     
  15. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    56
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    I had one of the first ones from 1991/1992, just like this SC30.

    [​IMG]

    It is really well made and uses high-grade components and is hand-wired.

    This vintage model is about $8,000.00 USD. Is it worth it? Well, that's subjective but to me, I would say, not really.

    To me, it's a modern take on the VOX Top Boost and EF86 channels. If you are seeking a vintage VOX tone, look elsewhere. The late great Ken Fischer told me that the plate voltage is too high on the output transformer. It also has specially voiced Celestion ceramic magnet speakers, similar to Celestion Vintage 30s. I eventually sold mine.

    In early 1994, I acquired a 1993 reissue VOX AC30TBX with reissue Celestion Blue alnicos; I was happier with that amp as I was seeking the vintage VOX sound. Ken Fischer was also involved with the reissue Celestion Blue alnico.
     
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  16. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Synchromatic

    844
    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    Thanks for that Zackydog, will look more into these.
     
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  17. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I believe that Hank Marvin uses them, and he is Mr. Vox. I will drop in a word for the Winfield Cyclone. It’s more on the order of an early AC-15, although IIRC, it’s available in a 30 watt version. I love the Cyclone and use it a fair proportion of the time. It’s one of those amps that doesn’t need any help. I use a plate reverb pedal, but the rest is pure Cyclone.
     
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  18. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    I had a British made Vox AC 30 Anniversary Limited from 1991 (only 1000 made) and I thought it sounded really good until in 1993 I found my 1965 AC 30 Top Boost head. It's just a great amp and even though I thought the reissue sounded good there is just something special about the 1965. It's pretty much all original and I gigged and recorded with it quite a lot for about 15 years. In 1998 I bought a Vox AC 15 British made reissue. I've done a pretty good bit of gigging and recording with this amp as well but it just doesn't have that punch that the 65 AC 30 has.
    I don't use the AC 30 as much these days as Fender and Ampeg amps seem to fit the music I'm writing and recording better. I love all my amps - I guess we all go through stages. I've seemed to have come full circle and I'm back to using an Ampeg Gemini I and various Fender amps just like I did back in the 70s...:).
     
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  19. BennytheJet

    BennytheJet Electromatic

    46
    Dec 6, 2019
    Arlington, WA
    I've been looking at Bad Cat amps lately. As I understand, they share DNA with Matchless amps. Anyone here have any experience with them?

    I'm always chasing that Setzer-ish tone on a smaller scale (don't have the space to run a stack at full blast with a 50 ft cable!), and there's a little squish in the tone of Bad Cats that feels like it might get that tone pretty well.

    I'm currently running a 6118t-120 through a 65 DRRI and can get close, but it's never close enough (ha!).

    Thoughts?
     
  20. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    One aspect of this that affects all of us, is that sound itself changes at higher volumes. We hear higher volumes differently than we would hear the same signal amplified to a lower volume. No matter what we do, we can't sound like Setzer does in a large venue, unless we are in a similarly large venue. I've noticed that when I play outdoor gigs, the sound is usually very good, but that's because my little 5 watt amp is working at living room volume and the PA is punching it up to Dual Showman volume levels.

    I've owned a DRRI and it is a great sounding amp, but probably not down the centerline of Setzer's sound. You might get a lot closer with a '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb, which has a different tone stack on the Custom channel which they call a Bassman tone stack. That is one of the amps I'm known to use, although between my various Winfield amps, I can get just about any sound
     
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