Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

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Jestapali
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Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by Jestapali » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:22 am

Maybe this topic has been discussed but I could not find much. I usually play Jazzmasters (both with pure 65 pickpups) with an AC30CC, and even though I love the tones I get from the amp at home, during rehearsals with whole band the sound becomes tiny (often trebly) and lacking sustain or something similar.

My setting are: Normal Channel vol 30/35%, Tone cut 65%. Brilliance on. Master to taste.

I use the normal channel because it gives me quite an awesome hairy clean foundation , and it's supposed to take the pedalboard better.

The thing is that all this awesomeness gets somehow lost with the whole band. It does not seem just a question of increasing the master volume.

Anybody has a potential quick fix or an obvious explanation that I'm missing?

Thanks!

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by mbene085 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:11 am

What instruments are you playing with?

It's often a matter of finding a space in the frequency range for each instrument. If you have a bassist with a very middy tone, they'll be occupying both bass and low mids. Some cymbals and snare along with vocals are competing with you for high mids.

So if it's not a matter of volume, it's usually a matter of finding your space in the mix. Trying to boost somewhere in the mids where you find a gap between others in your mix is usually the fix. Jazzmasters are fairly "mid scooped" sobusing a pedal to boost some mids could help your tone sit better in the live mix.

As a bassist, I had the exact same problem with a guitarist who ran fuzzes and a dual amp rig including a bass amp and bass cab. He covered from 80Hz to 15Khz just with his wall of fuzz and it just killed your ability to distinguish the bass and drums.

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by Jestapali » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:23 pm

Thank you mbene085. We play with 2 guitars, keys, bass and drums. The other guitarist plays an SG, and sometimes makes me wish I had a humbucker (oh no! ) on the neck. Yeah, I think it is not a question of volume. I hear the guitar, but it lacks presence (in rehearsal recordings as well). I'll try boosting the mids with a pedal and see how that goes.

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by HH1978 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:37 pm

I had the same issue. The addition of a Boss GE-7 helped a lot. Actually I boost 400Hz and 1.6KHz, but I cut a little 800Hz. But my amp is a Magnatone 213 that’s more miss heavy than an AC30.
Having your bassist cutting the frequencies that you boost and vice versa would also help everyone finding his space in the mix.

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by HH1978 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:38 pm

Sorry, I meant mids heavy, my phone corrected

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by Jestapali » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:47 am

Thank you HH1978!

That could be an interesting option (Boss GE-7). You know, I love the Vox, but when the other guitarist plays his Fender Twin and humbuckers, I feel that he gets a more expansive sound (logical I guess) and some of the detailed dynamics of the Jazzmaster get lost.

Any Jazzmaster/AC30 users (or able to compare) ?

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by Meme Library » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:22 am

An EQ pedal and compressor should help out with those issues!

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by Jestapali » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:35 am

Thanks guys, super helpful. Obvious to some I'm sure, not tome until now. :)

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by fuzzjunkie » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:11 am

I don’t want to sound like a snob, and usually stay out of threads about Vox-CC amps, but I play vintage JMs and vintage AC-30 and I have never had any of the problems discussed by owners of CC model amps. I don’t know what Vox did or it’s just user error, or something else?

What was said above about finding the right frequencies is important, especially with other guitars and a keyboard player, but why are you using the Brillance switch on the Normal channel?

Are you trying to simulate jumping the channels like you would on a vintage amp?

You have the cut at 65% and then you’re trying to add chime back in?

I don’t know the CC amps, but that is assbackwards to how a vintage AC-30 works. I think that is your thinning out tone problem right there, but I can’t say for sure since I have never played one.

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by Jestapali » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:57 pm

It seems that Vox decided to make it confusing when the vintage Brilliant Channel, at some point became the Top Boost channel. The CC models have regular Top Boost and Normal channels, you can use both channels at the same time since the amp has a switch that allows for that combination.
Besides that, the Normal Channel has a switch called brilliance (unrelated to the vintage Brilliant channel, that I think, evolved into the Top Boost). If this switch is off, the amp sounds extremely dark. When it is on, it sounds indeed bright, that's why my tone cut is at 65%. I much prefer the tone with the brilliance on (fuller, more complex frequencies and beautiful dynamics), but it is too bright without the use of the tone cut.

I normally use the normal channel because the tops boost channel breaks earlier and is not as smooth with pedals.

Maybe you know all this, but I just thought of adding info related to the CC models, since you are using a vintage amp. In any case, yeah, it might be user error and the realization that bedroom and bandroom are different beasts.

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by fuzzjunkie » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:37 pm

It doesn’t sound so much like user error then, but that Vox modernized them so they don’t act or sound like the old ones. Not that they can’t be made to sound in the ballpark, but those changes seem to make them more difficult to work with a lot of pedals that the old ones have no trouble with.

It clears up some confusion why I have been reading for the past decade about how terrible AC-30s are with fuzz, when my old one has no problems with any fuzz that I‘ve ever thrown at it!

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by clef051 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:06 pm

Im going to 2nd the eq and compressor suggestions. Also have you tried adding in some of the 2nd channel that breaks up earlier. Mostly using the normal channel then adding in some extra grit may fill things out.

I haven't used a AC30 but just a thought.

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by popvulture » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:06 am

I play through a Matchless HC30 a lot of the time and also really like the 12ZX7 channel (assuming that's the same as an AC30's normal channel, but I could totally be wrong). The EF86 totally kicks ass but I agree that the former's nicer for pedals.

Vox are pretty cutting amps that usually sit pretty nicely in the mix (in my experience), but I'd say the biggest suggestion I could add here would be to cut bass a bit, if you've got it up anywhere noon or above. My instinct for a LONG time was always to have this up higher when I'd be listening to my amp by itself (because you want that fatness, naturally), but in a band setting you'll totally disappear if you've got too much of that going on. It feels counter-intuitive (like the high pass switch on a Jag) but should totally help. You might have already gone there though, in which case, sorry to ramble haha...

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by Jestapali » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:56 pm

Good points. Yes, I tend to prefer the normal channel for pedals, it also provides more headroom which i appreciate. Of course with these amps you don't have tone controls for the normal channel (with the exception of the tone cut) and it becomes more challenging to manipulate the bass output. Maybe I'll try to use both channels at the same time (the cc models provide that option with a switch) and cut some bass from the top boost channel.
I guess is all about experimenting and see what works best.

The tricky part is that often I'm happy with my tone when playing but later on, if we record the practice or gig, I find the tone slightly thin, weak ...

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Re: Vox AC30 and Jazzmaster

Post by popvulture » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:39 am

Ah, forgot about the EQ issue with the normal channel... or maybe I didn't even realize that at all. Really no tone control?

As mentioned before, a good EQ pedal should help. For a little cheaper option I'd recommend the Boss, but make sure to get a modded one that improves the noise floor—otherwise they get pretty hissy if you boost any band just a little too much. I can't remember how much I paid for mine, but I got it off Reverb used/already modded for cheap. Definitely less than 100 bucks.

For a pricier one, check out the Chase Bliss Condor. It's pretty fantastic for sculpting tone, plus you can save presets if you've got situations that call for different tonal approaches, which is SUPER nice. Plus it does cool auto filter-y things :freako:

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