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VOX: The Sound of British Invasion


Being used by The Beatles, The Who and the Yardbirds, among others, you can’t class yourself as a true fan of music unless you desire a piece of setup from the company that gave birth to the sound of Britain, VOX. Here we present the key events of VOX’s historic journey from the birth of Rock-n-Roll to the latest modern day inovations.

VOX are most famous for their VOX AC30 and AC15 guitar amplifiers, the VOX Continental electric organ and a series of innovtive electric and bass guitars. Founded shortly after World War II by Thomas Jennings and an old workmate from a wartime munitions factory, VOX have helped to shape the British sound with artists such as Brian May, Paul Weller, Thom Yorke and The Beatles using their classic amps.

The Amps that fueled the “British Invasion”

The AC30

Known for its “jangly” high-end sound, the VOX AC30 was introduced in 1958 as the “big brother” for the original flagship amp from VOX, the AC15. The first generation of AC30s were housed in “TV-front” cabinets, much like their greatest competitiors, Fender. In 1960 VOX made their amplifiers truly significant, changing the conservative TV-front look for the now legendary cabinet design that has remained largely unchanged and can be seen in their newer AC151 and Handwired Series.

Vox’s special “Top Boost” circuitry, helped to produce the sound of the British Invasion, being used by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and the Yardbirds, among others. AC30s were later used by Brian May of Queen (who is known for having a wall of AC30s on stage), Paul Weller of The Jam (who also assembled a wall of AC30s), Rory Gallagher, The Edge of U2 and Radiohead guitarists Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien.

The Vox AC30 has been used by many other artists including Hank Marvin, Pete Townshend, Ritchie Blackmore, John Scofield, Snowy White, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Peter Buck, Justin Hayward, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, Noel Gallagher, Matthew Bellamy and many others.

The adaptations of the AC30 (download all circuit diagrams)

  • AC30 standard non top boost model - 1960
  • AC30 top boost modification circuit for above - 1961
  • AC30 bass model - 1964
  • AC30 top boost Dallas model - 1970’s
  • AC30 top boost - 1978
  • AC30 SS solid state model - 1970’s
  • AC30 top boost - 1986
  • AC30 top boost - 1989
  • AC30 top boost standard model - 1990
  • AC30 top boost Limited Edition model - 1990
  • AC30 top boost Vintage model with reverb - 1992
  • AC30 power-amp section of the top boost re-issue - 1993 onward
  • AC30 pre-amp section of the top boost re-issue - 1993 onward

You can see the VOX AC30C2X, the new version of the classic VOX AC30 here at Dolphin Music

The VOX AC15


Decades ago the AC15 stamped its tonal trademark on the rock n roll revolution. Many top performers of the era were first in line to sample its unique warm tone. People started to notice this new evocative guitar sound and soon many other new artists were using the Vox AC15.

Today, the AC15 Custom Classic is set to become the new leader in its class. Built in Vox’s vertically integrated manufacturing facility means total control of the design, the quality and the sound of your amplifier. Many processes not found in most guitar amplifier factories are employed in the factory and Vox design and manufacture their own transformers, speakers (except for the venerable VOX “Blue” & “Neodog” which are manufactured by Celestion), cabinets and electronics. All components have been designed, manufactured or selected so that the performance and sound of the AC15 Custom Classic is second to none.

Equipped with a number of modern features and conveniences the new AC15 Custom Classic offers more control and versatility with features like master volume, global reverb and tremolo. Also on the top panel are bass and trebles controls along with a single guitar input.

At look at the rear panel will reveal a pair of output jacks for use with external speaker cabinets if desired. When connecting speakers, an impedance selector switch offers 8 or 16 ohm output options. A dedicated jack for use with the supplied VF002 VOX footswitch is also provided. With this so you can turn the Reverb and Tremolo on and off.

You can see the VOX AC15C1, the new version of the classic VOX AC15 here at Dolphin Music


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