Vox AC4C1-12 Review: Features, Opinions, and Price
By Freddie Valle
Experience with the Vox AC4C1-12: all the features and specifications, its tone and comparison with AC15-2, and opinion on this little amp.
AC4C1-12: More Than a Practice Tube Amp
With advances in amplification the need for large amplifiers has been diminishing and little by little amps of 100 watts or more are beginning to become obsolete. Especially since to reach the “sweet spot” of a tube amplifier it is necessary to put it quite loud.
In this context, more and more smaller amplifiers are appearing, which are not only for practice only, and in that group of low-watt amps that can also be used for rehearsals or recitals with amplification or the use of large external cabinets, the Vox AC4C1-12 is one of them.
History of the Vox AC4
The Vox AC4 is an amplifier that was launched in 1961, designed to achieve powerful and saturated audio at low volume. In this way it was a great option to use for practice and even recording. In those times, the microphones had a much lower threshold than the current ones, and therefore, to record saturated audio, low-watt equipment such as the Vox AC4 or the Fender Champion 600 were great options.
Vox AC4C1-12 Specifications
The Vox AC4-C1-12 from the Custom line is a 4-watt tube amp with a 12-inch speaker, based on the famous Top Boost circuit.
Controls are Gain, Volume, Bass and Treble. The amplifier has a single input for the guitar and an output, super practical to connect to an external cabinet.
Preamp has two 12AX7 tubes while the power amp a single EL84 tube.
Vox AC4C1-12 is equipped with is a 12 “Celestion VX-12 Custom loudspeaker. It is known that this is a Celestion Seventy-80 that are labeled VX in reference to Vox.
Vox AC4C1-12 measurements
Finally, the dimensions of this amplifier are width 40.6 cm, depth 21.1 cm, height 45.1 cm. The weight is 10.6 kg / 23.37 pounds.
Vox AC4C1-12 Price
The Vox AC4 with 12-inch speaker has a value in large online stores of $ 399.
How to use the Vox AC4-C1-12?
To know how to use any Vox, you first have to understand how they work. The equalization of the brand’s equipment behaves differently from those of Fender and Marshall. The controls do not work independently, but they have an interaction with each other. If you turn up the treble too much, the audio loses bass, so normally they must be handled in parallel. At the same time, with low gain, the audio loses bass and must be compensated with the eq, and as it goes up, the audio gets fatter. Thus, the equalization at each level of gain and volume requires adjustments.
Settings tested in the test
When the gain is set to 3 or 4 for clean audios, the bass is set high, 8 to 10, thus giving you a good fat tone. While with the treble in the middle a balanced Vox audio is achieved. As we explained previously, as the gain is increased, in order to maintain that balanced equalization, the bass is lowered until it reaches half when the gain is set to maximum. The treble is regulated between 4 and 6 according to your personal preference and the instrument tone that is plugged into the amplifier.
I have also seen that people use both equalizers, bass and treble at low levels, in this way opaque tones are achieved. The reason explained is that the vintage audio of the brand is sought prior to the implementation of the Top Boost channel.
Vox AC4C1-12 review and opinion
It is an amplifier that has a good amplitude of EQ and saturation. The amp is based on the Top Boost channel, which means it comes with the classic Vox “Chime”. So if you’re looking for Normal Channel audio or Queen’s Brian May audio, you should go to the Vox AC15 or the AC30.
It has a vintage tone, but can give good levels of drive. If you add an Overdrive you can achieve higain and modern audios, but always on a vintage platform. As a good Vox, the amp responds expressively to the attack of the string or pick and is very dynamic depending on how it is set.
The 12″ speaker is an improvement over its smaller brother, the AC4C1 which has a 10″ speaker. However, the cabinet is still small and that keeps it sounding boxy. To verify this, the original speaker was replaced by a Greenback and on the other hand, it was connected to an external 1×12 cab with a Creamback. Thus we verified that the improvement was much more noticeable when it was connected to the external cabinet, which has larger dimensions, than due to the change of the speaker itself. In this sense, the output is essential to connect to an external cabinet and achieve versatility of use, thus allowing it to be used for rehearsals and small recitals.
Comparison with Vox AC15C2
When connected to a 1×12 cab the equipment really sounds much bigger. I compared the audio against a Vox AC4C2. With the external cabinet, the AC4 surprisingly comes close to the AC15’s Top Boost channel quite well. Something that does not happen when it is used through the own cabinet and speaker.
Despite its low wattage, it needs volume to get its best audio, which can make it difficult to use in an apartment with irritable neighbors.
Vox AC4C1-12 opinion
It’s a nice amp, giving you Vox’s classic Top Boost tone with his classic “Chime”. It has versatility of use, and reads pedals like Overdrives and Boosters well. While its speaker is 12″, its cabinet is still small to get a “big” audio, and it sounds “boxy”. For fans of Queen’s Brian May tone, you won’t find the Normal Channel audio that the guitarhero uses in his amp.
Vox AC4C1 Audio Demos
The following demos of the 10″ speaker version can be found on the Vox page for your reference.
AC4C1 Warm Clean – Warm Clean
AC4C1 Warm Crunch – Warm Crunch
AC4C1 Classic Crunch with Singlecoils
AC4-C1 Classic Crunch with Humbuckers
AC4-C1 Fully Saturated – Cranked
AC4C1 Demo song
For more information on the guitar, visit Vox web site.
Related Post: Vox AC30 vs AC15 amps: review, differences and opinions.
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