AC4C1 tube option in V1

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somanytoys
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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by somanytoys » Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:29 am

Yeah, I had read some of that before, which is why I tried the AT out first. I still want to try some of the others, in different amps, and see what combination works best with each amp. I'm really excited about trying that EC832 tube out, especially in the AC4TV heads through the 12" speakers, but also in the 10" combo.

I have a Celestion Greenback in the AC4TV combo, and a Celestion 50th Anniversary Vintage 30 in the AC4C1 combo. I did that to get more dynamics out of the 2-stage C1, and since 10" Greenbacks are kind of famous for being great with distortion, I put that in the TV, since it has an AX in the single stage.

I bought 2 of the AC4TV 10" combos, and those were the upgraded speakers that they came with. The C1 came with the stock Celestion VX10 and China tubes, which are almost brand new. I put those into the AC4TV that I'm selling, and the pulled Vintage speaker and the JJ tubes from that and put them into the C1 (except for the AT tube), so that TV is basically stock again with fresh, barely used parts.
-David

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by Larsongs » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:50 pm

Would you consider doing any kind of upgrade to Transformer? Mercury Magnetics or?

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by sookwinder » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:22 am

I am a little late to this party …
I can highly recommend the 5751... in particular the GE & RCA versions from the 60-70s
Not to put any one off because of the blues connection but I recall reading that SRV used 5751 in his amps to get him that slightly less OD sound at a higher volume.

And just for clarification the 12DW7 is a Half 12AX7 / Half 12AU7 valve, with the 12AX7 being the first stage.
This 12DW7 is also the same as the ECC832
The ECC823 is the opposite, with the 12AU7 being the first stage.

I have no knowledge of VOX amps (actually do not like the sound of VOX amps) but a quick look at the schematic has three stages before the tone controls. I cannot see the logic in reducing the amplification of the very first stage, so out of the two options:
12DW7 (ecc832) first stage 12AX7 / second stage 12AU7
ECC823 first stage 12AT7 / second stage 12AX7
I would go for the 12DW7 (ECC832)

A quick check of ebay shows that a new 12DW7 (ECC832) is under $20.
If you are in the mood for experimenting the 12DW7 might be worth a try.
relaxing alternative to doing actual work ...

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by somanytoys » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:13 am

Larsongs wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:50 pm
Would you consider doing any kind of upgrade to Transformer? Mercury Magnetics or?
I've read a good bit about upgrading, some people have done that, but most say that the transformers that come in these are more than enough for the wattage. There's supposed to be a small diode or something that you can clip to get more bass (on the regular TV). I may try that one day, I just worry that with only a single tone knob, if it only attenuates treble (which I think it does, not bass), it could be more than I want for the 10" model. I kind of like how it's got more of a midrange that screams a little more and complements the other amps.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by somanytoys » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:49 am

sookwinder wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:22 am
I am a little late to this party …
I can highly recommend the 5751... in particular the GE & RCA versions from the 60-70s
Not to put any one off because of the blues connection but I recall reading that SRV used 5751 in his amps to get him that slightly less OD sound at a higher volume.

And just for clarification the 12DW7 is a Half 12AX7 / Half 12AU7 valve, with the 12AX7 being the first stage.
This 12DW7 is also the same as the ECC832
The ECC823 is the opposite, with the 12AU7 being the first stage.

I have no knowledge of VOX amps (actually do not like the sound of VOX amps) but a quick look at the schematic has three stages before the tone controls. I cannot see the logic in reducing the amplification of the very first stage, so out of the two options:
12DW7 (ecc832) first stage 12AX7 / second stage 12AU7
ECC823 first stage 12AT7 / second stage 12AX7
I would go for the 12DW7 (ECC832)

A quick check of ebay shows that a new 12DW7 (ECC832) is under $20.
If you are in the mood for experimenting the 12DW7 might be worth a try.
I appreciate the information.

The 12AU7 may be a little bit too clean for my intentions. I would probably be going for the ECC823 with the AT first and the AX second. I'd like to see how that sounds in my 12" AC4TV, vs both sides of the preamp tube being 12AX7.

I had 12AT7s I had replaced AXs in a couple of Bugera amps as the only preamp tube, because the amp was a little hotter than I wanted, the gain reacted way too soon as I was trying to get more volume. I liked the sound better overall, it still could get very distorted with the gain knob more full, or with the "phat" switch on, which apparently tanks the gain even higher somehow and cuts out the tone stack. But I found that I had more volume without as much distortion to be able to use effects with, or get a cleaner jazzy or blues tone if I want. That seems more important in a small wattage amp, so that all of the dynamics aren't lost too much/quickly as you try for a little more volume (with only 4 or 5 watts).

So when I got the AC4C1 TV, since it has 2 preamp tubes instead of just 1, I decided to pull the AT from the Bugera and try it in the first position, feeding into the AX. The reasoning was sort of like using a TS-9 or BD-2 pedal or any kind of a low-gan boost before the preamp, as an edgy boost instead of an actual distortion pedal. That then feeds that cleaner, boosted signal into the distortion created by the AX tube, sort of like gain staging with pedals.

In a sense, I guess like SRV, I want to be able to achieve those clean but fat types of tones without it distorting, but I'm not going for completely/only dialed down tones, I still want some AX crunch available. With the AT first and an AX behind it in the 2nd stage, I find the C1 amp has a throatier growl to it now when I push the gain up, and the distortion/od pedals that I use have more range and character than they used to. They have to push a little bit more than they did before, but that's okay, they're still not dimed out or anything.

And I know that I could be totally conning myself in my head that it actually sounds better, especially since I only have 1 of that amp and can't do a direct side by side comparison, but I do like it. I've found that it sounds good taking the "wider" effects that need more clarity, with the AC4TV taking the more direct guitar sounds and screaming through the middle of it all with the midrange a little more. It makes for some cool sounds for a couple of 4 watt combo amps with 10" speakers.

I think that for at least one of the 12" models, that same sort of setup in a single tube might be really good, maybe similarly only one, and let the other one stay a little hotter with a regular AX (?). Except for all of the screws, it's an easy swap. And there are less screws in the heads than the combos to get to the tubes, so that's a plus. Another reason that they're probably what I'm going to experiment with.

I'm not all that experienced in this, but it seems like the AT or AU after the AX side would just be sort of like a power tube, but maybe that's what you mean (?), to push the distorted sound of the AX side louder into the power tubes, or give a smoother edge to the distortion? that could be cool, too, it's definitely worth considering. I may have to buy 2 of each, the ECC823 and the ECC832/12DW7, and experiment to see which sounds better. Or hell, maybe a different one in each amp, for different results, that could be great.

Good times...
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by Larsongs » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:10 am

Larsongs wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:50 pm
Would you consider doing any kind of upgrade to Transformer? Mercury Magnetics or?
I asked because I've done various Tube & Speaker mods to my AC10. Currently has Tung Sol's & a Special Design Weber designed to sound like a a Celestion Alnico Blue. It sounds good but different than my AC15 with Blue. I've been thinking about the transformer. Saw a Mercury Ad & got me curious.

Some say Tubes & Speakers can only take it so far but the Transformer can take to a whole new level...

Any thoughts?

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by somanytoys » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:06 pm

Yes, on a 10, 15 or 30 watt, it may make a lot of sense to upgrade the transformer. I just read up on the 4 watt versions, which I have a few of, and people said it wouldn't make a great/noticeable difference because the one Vox used is sufficient for what that amp needs.

One of my amps has a WGS speaker in it (somewhat similar to Webers), not the blue type model, but it sounds very nice. I want to get one of their versions of the blue, either the Black & Blue or the Blackhawk.

It's very possible that a 10 watt version could see a big improvement with an upgraded transformer, worth looking into. It seems to mostly matter if Vox used a powerful enough and good enough one to begin with, or cut corners with it to keep the price point lower. I think each version is done differently, but I don't know all about Voxes.

I'm thinking very hard about getting a 15 watt Vox, and I'll probably swap out those tubes and speaker as well. I'll have to look to see if I can read anything about the transformer upgrades making a big difference. If it does, I may have that swapped, too.

Edit: Mercury Magnetics was the one I found most referenced and used. Not sure if I read about any others, actually.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by Larsongs » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:32 pm

Mercury is the one I see the most info on too.

I bought a Vox AC15CC1X with Celestion Alnico Blue.. The Amp sounds great out of the Box.. I think the only better AC15 might be a mint Vintage one with an Alnico Blue... I play with Guys who have vintage versions & my Amp sounds so close that I can't see spending more on upgrades for it.

I did try Tung Sol's & JJ's.. To my ear the JJ's sound better in this Amp.

My AC10, while quite good sounding, I'm not sure it's as good as it can be. Maybe a Mercury Transformer would be a big improvement? I would like a smaller, lighter & more compact version of my AC15CC1X. But, is it justified to spend so much on a cheapie MIC Amp?

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by somanytoys » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:30 am

That’s pretty nice that your 15 sounds very close to the originals, especially out of the box. I may have to look at one of those one day.

I haven’t done a lot of experimenting, but what I’ve found are that the JJ tubes are louder and seem to have more edge, while the Tung Sol tubes are a little quieter and rounder tone. I guess it depends on what sound you’re looking for from an amp, and definitely if you’re going for a similar sound to another one. All that really matters is what sound works best for you, since your playing will be reacting to it.

To me, what really matters most is what your plans are for that 10w amp. If you have invested in upgrades already, and you plan on using it a lot in place of the 15, or even just to bring around to other places instead of moving the 15, I would think it would be a great idea. I would definitely do some research on that specific amp, and if people say that it’s a big improvement, it could really bring that amp up to the other’s level, or at least close. It seems like that would be very worth it, if it works.

Another thing to consider is if it would be better to upgrade the 15 with a Mercury, and move the transformer from the 15 in the 10, since you know you’re keeping the 15 and that shouldn’t be a bad swap either way.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by Larsongs » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:12 pm

somanytoys wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:30 am
That’s pretty nice that your 15 sounds very close to the originals, especially out of the box. I may have to look at one of those one day.

I haven’t done a lot of experimenting, but what I’ve found are that the JJ tubes are louder and seem to have more edge, while the Tung Sol tubes are a little quieter and rounder tone. I guess it depends on what sound you’re looking for from an amp, and definitely if you’re going for a similar sound to another one. All that really matters is what sound works best for you, since your playing will be reacting to it.

To me, what really matters most is what your plans are for that 10w amp. If you have invested in upgrades already, and you plan on using it a lot in place of the 15, or even just to bring around to other places instead of moving the 15, I would think it would be a great idea. I would definitely do some research on that specific amp, and if people say that it’s a big improvement, it could really bring that amp up to the other’s level, or at least close. It seems like that would be very worth it, if it works.

Another thing to consider is if it would be better to upgrade the 15 with a Mercury, and move the transformer from the 15 in the 10, since you know you’re keeping the 15 and that shouldn’t be a bad swap either way.
I didn't like the Wharfdales or the Greenbacks in the AC15.. The Celestion Alnico Blues sound the best to my ears... More like the Records by all the Groups who used Vox Amps..

I hadn't even thought of putting the AC15 Transformer in the 10 & trying the Mercury in the 15. That's interesting. I have to research the Mercurys more now.....

I like the AC10 because it's so light, compact, portable & easy to travel with. While still being loud enough for most applications.. It's as loud or louder than my Princeton but Cleaner at higher volumes.. But, I can dial up the Gain if I want dirt... I like having separate Volume & Gain... Plus it's got great sounding Reverb, almost has a Reverb/Echo Sound when dialed in a certain way, surprisingly good... It's an interesting little Amp...

Good luck with your 4's....

Thanks,

L

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by somanytoys » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:40 am

Thanks.

The greenback in the 10" combo didn't sound too bad, definitely better than the stock VX10. The Vintage 30 sounds better that that one, though, thicker.

I have a 12" greenback and a creamback that I want to try out with one of the Vox heads, just to see how they sound. I'm pretty sure that the AC15 that I'd like to get comes with a greenback. If I get it, I will definitely swap that speaker out for a blue-type, and probably load the greenback from it into one of the AC4 cabinets. I have a Seventy/80 in one and a WGS in the other, and I'm kinda "meh" on the seventy/80. Not bad, not great, just there.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: AC4C1 tube option in V1

Post by Larsongs » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:39 pm

They do make new AC15's with Celestion Alnico Blues in different levels of models.

If you just want the Speaker the British made 12" Celestion Alnico Blues are the ones to get... North Coast Music carries them or at least they did last time looked at their website.. They also have upgraded Vox Amps in different configurations too. Worth checking out.....

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