Vox AC30 TV Fronts


Cliff Richard and The Shadows, January 1961, three TV front AC30s in view.

Remarks - to be expanded

Stylistically the TV front AC30s, produced by Jennings in mid 1960, took their cue from Fender amps of the time - wide surrounds and large valance fronts - as had earlier JMI models (the formative AC10s, AC15s and so on).

Various estimates of numbers made have been ventured. Around 250 is probably close to the mark. So far as one can tell sales of the last TV front amps overlapped with the introduction of the new split-front cabinets. Serial no. 4401 is split front; no. 4414 is still TV front. How many survive today is difficult to gauge. In the mid 2000s a seller popped up on ebay UK with one for sale, saying that he had another in the understairs cupboard where both had been stored for years. A grab of the ebay page will be given below when it comes to hand. But it is unlikely now in 2019 that too many will emerge in such a way.

Some boxes were covered in coloured cloth - see the examples lower down this page. The greatest number however will have been sent out into the world in beige.

Back panels were lightweight. Many are missing - with the effect that serial number plates are often lacking.

The pairs of speakers could be: Celestion G12 alnico BO24 drivers, 8 ohms and 15 watts apiece, wired in series to produce a total impedance of 16 ohms; Celestion G12 alnico BO25, 15 ohm, wired in parallel to produce a total impedance of 8 ohms; Celestion G12 T530 oyster finish units, 15 ohm, 15 watts, wired in parallel for 8 ohms; or Goodmans Audiom 60s, 15 ohms and 15 watts apiece, also wired in parallel to produce a total impedance of 8 ohms. AC30 output transformers had taps for both 8 and 16 ohms.

A page from a contemporary Celestion speaker brochure (divided into two for convenience). The BO24 was 8 ohms and the BO25 15 ohms.

Comments on the circuit and further historical information will be added in due course, perhaps only to note at this point that there are tone controls for both "Brilliant" and "Bass" (unlike the later AC30s that most of us know). The principal purpose of this page for the time being is really to collect together reliable photographic evidence.

Jim Elyea's book, "Vox Amplifiers. The JMI Years" (California, 2009) is a great repository of info on these amps and other AC30s.

If anyone knows of further examples that should be incorporated on this page, .

Serial number 4218 - currently in the USA

Sold in the USA in 2006. The cabinet at that point housed a later copper panel AC30. The serial number quoted in the blurb - 4218 - is that of the original TV front box, not of the later AC30 from which the chassis was taken. The cabinet now has a black handle and houses a black panel AC30/4.

Serial number 4290 - currently in the USA

Light grey covering. Circuit said to be AC2/30. Illustrated by Jim Elyea. Speakers are Rola Celestion G12 alnico. Note that another serial number 4290 exists - an AC30/4 in a split-front box recovered in red - .

Serial number 4300 - currently in the USA (?)

Existence recorded by Jim Elyea.

Serial number 4322 - currently in the USA

Reproduced in Jim Elyea's book. Speakers are Rola Celestion G12 B024, 8 ohms apiece.

Serial number unknown - currently in the USA

The box certainly looks to be genuine. The control panel of the amplifier however is not - note its shininess and the legend "3A. Fuse". All genuine TV panels have a Greek alpha for the "A" - see the one immediately below. Whether the amplifier chassis is original to the box is a matter of high doubt. The serial number plate comes from another source. There are no pictures of the transformers, though to judge by the wires passing through to the preamp, the OT at least is probably original to the chassis.

Serial number unknown - currently in the UK

Formerly owned by Mike Handley, a great amp with original transformers and preamp in excellent condition - some black WIMA Tropydur capacitors still in place. The case has been recovered - its condition in 2007 can be glimpsed in the pictures below. A number of resistors appear to have been removed on the lower tagboard, however. Note that the speakers, which are original, have different labels, as in the example below.

The amp above as it was in 2007, sold on ebay UK. Note the identifying patterns of wear on the grille cloth. One can just about make out the absence of some of the preamp resistors at this point too.

Serial number unknown - currently in the USA (?)

Two-tone covering in light blue and beige. The original amplifier chassis is present. Reproduced in Jim Elyea's book.

Serial number unknown - currently in the UK (?)

A TV front amp (cabinet recovered) with its original chassis, sold some years back in the UK. The speakers - Celestion T530 alnico "blues" - are later replacments for the originals. The logo is from a late 60s solid state amplifier or speaker cab.

Serial number 4401 - currently in the USA

Serial number 4401 is in a new-style beige split-front cabinet and equipped with Celestion T530 alnico blue speakers. There was evidently some overlap of old and new styles towards the end of the TV front period.

Serial number 4414 - currently in the UK

Sold in 2015. No pictures of the electronics, but the seller noted that components throughout the amp had 1960 date codes. Front grille cloth replaced. Note that the panel still has the Greek alpha in the legend for the fuse. The speakers are Goodmans Audiom 60s, very likely to be the originals. The original round footswitch survives. A white handle for this cabinet rather than black or brown.