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EL84 Guitar Amp Magic: Vox AC15 & AC30, Matchless HC-30 & Victory VC35 Compared

Published on 8 Nov 2019

In this episode Dan and I fire up four amps that we like very much to see what we can learn. Dan’s beloved 1961 AC30 is his most treasured amplifier… but not the one he chooses to play as his main amp. That would be his Matchless HC-30 which – as amp fans will know– is chiefly inspired by those classic Vox amps of old. So how do they compare?
But fear ye not those of thinner wallet. Clearly not everyone has multiple thousand pounds/dollars/euros to drop on these rarefied lungs of rock’n’roll, so we also include the much more attainable Vox AC15 C1 and Victory VC35 to see how they stand up. (And if you want to hear a digital simulation side by side with the AC30, watch next week’s show on the Strymon Iridium.)
It’s a long video with plenty of tangents, even more variables and about as much scientific analysis as a three-year-old eating trifle, so anyone looking for stringent A/B comparisons and hard conclusions will be disappointed. It's just how it is here people.

Enjoy the episode!

Pedals & stuff in this episode…

• TheGigRig Three2One

• Keeley D&M Drive
UK & Europe:

• Thorpy Camoflange
UK & Europe:

• Tri-Fi Colordriver

• Analogman Mini Beano Boost

• JHS Pulp ’n’ Peel V4
UK & Europe:

• Boss DD-200
UK & Europe:

• Meris Mercury 7
UK & Europe:

• TheGigRig G2

* Why do we have preferred retailer and US affiliate links? Find out here:

Interesting bits and go-to sections…
- Intro playing: 0:00
- What are we doing today?: 02:36
- It’s dangerous: 04:15
- Why no Morgan or DrZ?: 05:10
- AC15 and AC30 compared: 06:24 (07:10)
- AC15 and 30 overdriven: 09:18 (10:05)
- AC15 flat out: 11:40
- AC30 flat out: 13:08
- Beano Boost (treble booster) into AC15: 15:01
- AC30 with Beano: 17:20
- …and with humbuckers: 18:25
- Both amps and Beano Boost: 20:20
- What happens after the fifties? (Mick’s dodgy history lesson): 22:01
- And then the Matchless arrives: 25:30
- Tangent about Vox Amps: 28:03
- A tangent on cathode resistors: 28:30
- Yet another tangent on handedness and more tangents..: 30:38
- Victory VC35: 31:05
- Vox AC30 and Victory VC35 Compared: 33:24
- … and with Colour Driver: 34:33
- What are we calling the black Strat?: 37:00
- Victory VC35 and Strat: 38:10
- Victory max gain and treble booster: 41:30
- Matchless DC-30 and Vox AC30: 42:50
- Overdriving the Matchless: 44:14
- Mick’s DC-30 tangent: 48:37
- Strat & DC-30: 50:00
- Humbuckers with DC-30: 53:10
- … and Beano Boost: 54:10
- The problem of AB listening: 57:17
- The VOX EF86 Channel: 57:46
- How can an amp be that expensive?: 01:01:40

Guitars in this episode:
• Gretsch G6228 Player’s Edition Jet BT w/V Stoptail –
UK & Europe:
• Fender American Vintage ’59 Stratocaster – no video yet
• Gibson Memphis 1958 ES-335 - Mick’s video at
• Fender Custom Shop 1963 Telecaster - Dan’s video at

Amps in this episode
• 1961 Vox AC30 with Celestion Alnico Blue speakers

• Vox AC15C1 with Celestion G12M Greenback
UK & Europe:
USA That Pedal Shop:

• Victory VC35 The Copper and V212-VB cab/Celestion G12M Greenback and Celestion G12H
UK & Europe:
USA That Pedal Shop:

• Matchless HC-30 with Hughes & Kettner Vintage 212 / Celestion G12M Greenback

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