Vox is a British musical equipment company that is known for its excellent amps and speakers. Speaking about their amps I can say that they have defined the British rock bands since their launch and they have been nothing but iconic. Their amps have been used by the most famous British bands that have shaped music as we know today, starting from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Queen, U2, and one of my favorites The Yardbirds.
Today I am going to review the VOX AC4HW1 an excellent hand-wired electric guitar amplifier with a great cabinet, refined speakers, updated circuitry for improved sound and all-tube layout for achieving natural tonality and expressionism. It is very stylish, but it is a little pricey, but if you can afford its premium price point it is worth every single penny.
This all-tube electric guitar amplifier has a gorgeous design carrying those vintage vibe looks to accompany the vintage sounds. It is very retro looking with its tan-yellow vinyl and the trademark Vox cloth grille on the front, this amp will turn heads.
Apart from that this amp has plenty of detail touches that look both vintage and premium, for example, the creme carrying handle and gold-colored touches scattered around. The device is a little large measuring 17.7×15.9×10.2-inches and weighs around 30 pounds, but I found no difficulty carrying this case around the house or stage.
The size of the VOX AC4HW1 is mostly due to its amazing 12-inch Celestion G12M Greenback speaker, the same speaker found on bigger Vox amps. But the birch ply cabinet earns better resonance and more open sound that is full from the size. This is a premium amp mind you, as it opts for a hand-wired turret board instead of a printed circuit board. This results in a simplified signal path and delivers vintage tones that are accurate and very pure, just heavenly. The circuitry combined with the all-tube design, that I am a big fan off provides the famous Vox top boost tone in this ‘smaller’ package. It utilizes 12AX7 preamp tubes and EL84 power tubes, everything is top-notch.
You would expect a lot of controls on a premium amp, but not in this instance. The VOX AC4HW1 has just four knobs, that are responsible for master volume, treble, bass, and preamp volume that works as a gain knob. I found two inputs, for high and low voicing, and you can also connect this amp to a larger cabinet without losing the tones. I found the hot/cool switch very handy and it was a nice touch.
The cool mode delivers the trademark and vintage Vox top boost tones, and the Hot mode avoided the circuitry entirely for a rich tube saturation with plenty of overdrive. They may not be any extra effects but the tonal exploration is astounding.
This amp produces just 4 watts of power, but I found it to be plenty for the studio and I was simply impressed with its tones, volume, and delicious sound. The British know how to build an amp for sure.
Despite being very pricey and low on power, I have no real complaints with the performance and tones of this masterpiece.