Vox AC30 website updates

2021

19th June (2)

Recently sold in the UK (by Houlgate and Gardiner, auctioneers), an early 1962 chassis assembled by Westrex in a later cabinet. The chassis has Albion transformers, a rectangular trimmer for the Vib/Trem, and the phantom hole for the rectifier valve.

19th June

Strong links were first forged between the Thomas Organ Company and Jennings in the late summer of 1963 when Jennings took on the distribution of Thomas organs in the UK. The arrangement was announced at the Russell Hotel Trade Fair in August, and separately in the music industry press in September.

Initial discussion between Tom Jennings and Joe Benaron, president of Thomas, is likely to have taken place at the NAMM Show in Chicago in July (see below, entry for 13th June). Jennings was the sole representative there of the British musical equipment manufacturing industry.

Two things flowed from the arrangement: - Jennings further scaled down its own production of console organs; and in the late summer of 1964, Thomas agreed to distribute Jennings equipment (Vox) in the USA - the "Million Dollar Deal". To anyone who knew that Jennings distributed Thomas equipment, this cannot have been too much of a surprise.

Jennings went great guns on Thomas, offering 13 of the company's organs by November 1964, along with various accessories and teaching aids. The organs offered in the earlier part of 1964 (which is still building).

17th June

Copied over from the , a short account of the Jennings display at the "British Musical Instrument Industries" Fair at the Russell Hotel, late August, 1962.

The items picked out for mention are principally transistor-based, the amplifiers presumably being the T60 and its derivative, the T30 (a sort of transistor AC30). The T60 was still in development in early November, however.

It is interesting to see that three models of transistor organ were shown - doubtless the Continental and two others - variant types of Continental or different designs? Perhaps most striking though is the electronic guitar tuner, perhaps the earliest of its kind anywhere.

These is no mention of the AC30, a tried and tested "product" and therefore not really newsworthy in 1962.

14th June

A new page has been begun on (1952-1957), five models, all likely to have been designed and developed by Derek Underdown. From 1950 to early 1952 Jennings distributed units made by "Westbourne Sound Equipment" (WSE).

Only one Jennings-made amplifier is known to survive from the years 1952-1957.

13th June (2)

"Record Retailer and Music Industry News", 25th July, 1963, records that Jennings was the only British musical instrument manufacturer to attend the NAMM show in Chicago. JMI exhibited a "full range of electronic equipment". It is not known at present whether any orders for AC30s, or for that matter guitars and organs, were taken during the show.

"Record Retailer and Music Industry News", 25th July, 1963.

13th June

At least one batch of AC30 TBs with serial numbers in the 19000s had logos positioned high, fitted at factory in that way as close inspection of serial no. 19820 shows - no holes or evidence of adhesion elsewhere.

Whether this positioning was a sort of emulation of the position of the logos on the AC30s issued to The Shadows in March 1961 is not known. Thanks to Gigi for the pictures and info.

Detail of two of The Shadows' AC30s on stage, Hackney Wick Boy's Club, 14th March, 1962. Picture: Getty Images.

Serial number 19810.

Serial number 19820.

Serial number unknown.

11th June

An AC30, serial number probably in the 11000s, exported to Sweden early on - voltage selector blanked off and further internal fuses added to bring the amp into line with local electrical legislation.

Note the (unusual) textured aluminium of the preamp upright. Chassis assembled by Burndept, a Bass model to judge by the blue splash of paint at right. One of the pots has the date code "KK" = October 1963. The main TCC preamp filter cap has "IDI" = 38th week of '63; one of the blue Hunts cathode bypass caps has "TNI" = 47th week of '63.

10th June

Further updates to the AC30 pages coming shortly. For the time being, a few more pics of , with three different type of transformer: Albion mains, Woden choke, and unknown output.

Notes of the valves used in the Jennings Organ 50 Watt power section have been added on this page. One of the questions that surrounds the early circuit diagrams is the date at which production of the EL34 began in Blackburn. The sheets as we have them give EL34s rather than EL33s or EL37s. Pasquale Russo ("Guide to the EL34/6CA7) thought Blackburn started in 1957, though he may have revised this in the most recent edition of his guide.

At any rate, early organ power sections will have had large-bottle "hipped" EL33 or EL37 power valves; units made after 1957, the EL34. Below, the power section of an early "Model A" organ with large-bottle valves.

Picture from Derek Underdown's album, thanks to Toni Standing.

7th June

The Mullard sheets - characteristic curves and so on - relating to the EF86 have been set up provisionally . The EF86 was the first valve in the preamp of the AC30/4, 1960-1961. The sheets relating to the ECC82, ECC83 and EL84 will follow.

It seems that Mullard "Audio Valve" booklets are fairly scarce these days, so it may take some time to track one down containing a section on the GZ34. A set of Philips sheets (compiled from three sources 1954-1956) is currently , however.

5th June (3)

Quick shots of a Mullard "Audio Valves" booklet from April 1954, the valves encompassed being the EF86, ECC82, ECC83, EL84, EL37, EZ80, GZ30 and GZ32 [list of rectifiers corrected]. Specificatons are provided along with characteristic curves. Mullard's booklets were updated periodically to include new valves. JMI will have had multiples. In 1954, the large bottle EL37 was the principal valve for higher power audio applications (25W plate dissipation). GZ34s were not put into production at Blackburn until later 1954; EL34s not until 1958.

Pages from the booklet will be included on a forthcoming page (perhaps pages) on AC30 valves.

5th June (2)

Just added to the page on , one of the ads for the hire side of the business.

NME, October 1958.  The Jennings Organ Company electronic organs

"New Musical Express", 30th October 1958. "Models have recently been supplied to BBC / ITV, The New Eric Delaney Band, Queen's Ice Rink [Bayswater], and featured by Jackie Brown, William Davies, Don Mackay, Jerry Allen, etc".

Eric Delaney's white Jennings D2 can be seen briefly in a clip from the Morecambe and Wise show, early 1960s - available on the .

5th June

In terms of producing its own Echo and Reverb units, Vox was evidently quite a long way behind the field in the early 1960s. A quick trawl through "New Musical Express", 1960-1962, shows that Selmer had launched its "Truvoice Echo Chamber" (the Echo 400) by March 1961; Bird Amplifiers had a portable "Echo and Reverb" unit by May; and in October there was the Hohner Ampleco, said to be with echo and reverb, but actually only reverb. Production of the Watkins Joker, an all-in-one amplifier that actually did have echo along with reverb, is reckoned not to have been set in train until 1963. None of these units was produced in great numbers.

For JMI, still a relatively small business in the early 1960s (certainly compared to the mighty Selmer), selling Meazzis was probably a good option. What prompted JMI to take the plunge with the "Cliff Richard" Reverb (first advertised May 1962)? The advent of the Fender portable reverb unit in 1961 - JMI had begun to sell and advertise Fender equipment in late 1960. Selmer did not strike a deal with Fender until early winter '62 though.

3rd June

A short note published in "Musical Opinion" magazine, January 1955 - the rationale behind the three Jennings console organs, developed in late 1953 and promoted for the first time at the British Industries Fair, May 1954. The models were the J50, J51 and J52. Further info can be found .

"Musical Opinion" magazine, January 1955.

2nd June (2)

Pictures of "Vox Sound Limited" AC30 Top Boost Reverb, serial number 25933, printed circuit board, produced c. 1972 in the Birch Stolec factory in Hastings/St Leonards-on-Sea. Note the two rows of plastic vents; the top hat knobs; lack of external voltage selector (re-positioned on the preamp chassis); and the Celestion T2056 alnico speakers - superb units.

2nd June

Gene Vincent with Sounds Incorporated (a Dartford band), "Rock Across the Channel", 14th June, 1961. John St John, the lead guitarist, has a beige AC30 - presumably a black panel AC30/6 - and a Watkins Copicat. The Shadows were also on the bill.

1st June (2)

Some random notes on JMI circuit diagrams for Vox Echos, principally early ones (Meazzis, c. 1960). Sheets were assigned OOS numbers - not "OS" - in a fairly unsystematic way.

OOS-032 Meazzi Model J (Echomatic), sheet undated, Italian handwriting.

OOS-035 Meazzi Factotum Stereo Echomatic 3, dated 9th August 1960. Selmer also sold the Factotum and had its own service sheet, dated 4th October 1961 (Drawing No. 2165).

OOS-034 JMI OOS-035 (Factotum) redrawn, 27th July 1967.

OOS-035 Meazzi Echomatic, drawn 20th May 1960. Said to be for the Echomatic 2. Note that the Echomatic 2 was first advertised in "Melody Maker" magazine in March 1961

1st June

An early ad for the new "Short Tom" tape echo, "Melody Maker", 29th June, 1963. Tape echos were nothing new of course. Charlie Watkins had developed his portable "Copicat" in late 1959 / early 1960. Selmer quickly followed suit with units of its own. Vox was a relatively slow mover in this field.

31st May (2)

The "standard" advert for the "Cliff Richard" Echo (Reverb) first appeared in "Melody Maker", 19th May, 1962. It was also printed and circulated as a promotional flyer.

Two JMI circuit diagrams survive for this unit: A62-005, dated 30th January 1962; and OS/011. The reverb circuit integrated in the AC30 SRT from Spring 1962 should probably be regarded as being a spin-off - there are as one might expect some points of contact, but the requirements of the standalone unit were naturally very different.

31st May

An early Treble chassis made by Burndept, chassis number 3098, tremolo and vibrato circuitry later removed. The two blue Hunts 25uf capacitors have date codes "TWI" = 41st week of 1963; the main preamp filter has "TDI" = 48th week of '63.

30th May

A quick shot of the first of a series of ads for the new Vox Echo - really simply a reverb unit - "Melody Maker" magazine, 14th April, 1962, i.e. less than a year after the ad for the Italian made Meazzi Echomatic version 2, a true echo machine, based on a drum system. Whether Alan Larkins of the JMI Research and Development Dept. had anything to do with the electronic design of the new Vox "Echo" is not known. 1962 may be a little early. He certainly played a large part later on with the "Tom" echo units.

Further material relating to echo and reverb units coming shortly.

29th May

Below, a picture of the Goodmans Axiom Works in Wembley, published in the High Fidelity Loudspeaker Manual of 1960; and one side of a flyer advertising the Audiom range, c. 1959. The suggested uses are fewer in number than those proposed in 1953 probably due to the constraints of space - see the advert for instance .

28th May

Thanks to Pat, pictures of the tag accompanying AC30 serial number 9834B (pictures of the amp to come). These tags are likely to have been designed in 1961, perhaps at much the same time as the promotional booklet with the green cover for the AC30/6. Illustrated: a Celestion blue, and an AC30/6 control panel with white knobs. presumably simply for clarity.

26th May

From around chassis number 3000, Burndept indicated the "voicing" of the chassis it produced for JMI not only with a stamp in red, but a colour code. "TREBLE" had a red splash; "T/B BOOST" (integrated treble and bass controls on panel) had green; and "BASS" - produced in smaller numbers - had blue. "Normal" AC30s had neither stamp nor colour.

The splash of colour was presumably supplied - while the chassis was on the assembly benches - to indicate how the voicing should be stamped above it.

Detail of serial number 11613T, chassis number 3083.

Serial number in the 12000s, chassis number 4530.

Serial number in the 18000s, chassis number 8407.

23rd May

Jennings, it turns out, will have known about Geloso connectors well before 1961. Below, an advert in "Melody Maker", 19th September, 1959, for the first version of the Meazzi Echomatic carried by JMI - known as the "Echomatic 1" or "Model J". Also, a picture of a surviving unit, with bronze "Jennings" label on top at front, .

It seems unlikely that Jennings was ordering batches of connectors at this point (1959) though. The Meazzis will have come from Italy fully assembled.

A set of new pages on Vox Echos and their users - hardly just "Cliff Richard" and "The Shadows" - will available in due course.

Vox Meazzi Echomatic, version 1, September 1959

Vox Meazzi Echo, version 1, March 1961

A wonderful Meazzi Echomatic Model J with "Jennings" label - picture .

22nd May

The page on , fitted to certain AC30 Super Twins, is currently building. An early securely dateable instance of their use is the Vox Meazzi Echo, advertised on 11th March, 1961, in "Melody Maker" magazine.

Vox Meazzi Echomatic, version 2, March 1961

Vox Meazzi Echomatic, version 2, March 1961

"Melody Maker" magazine, 11th March, 1961.

21st May

Thanks to Laura, a substantial amount of information is now available on the Jennings "Model G" organ installed in the Civic Auditorium in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, in early 1958.

In brief: - an opening recital for the Wellington Association of Organists took place in June 1960. Various evenings of organ music followed. In 1965 a local firm - the Howell Piano Company - was contracted to service the organ. Unfortunately by the time a number of significant faults had developed a couple of years later - principally relating to tuning and the failure of certain key contacts - Howell had gone out of business The town clerk sent to England for technical information on behalf of a new repairman, and Jennings forwarded a large set of service sheets (which still survive) to help with the fixing of the faults. Having been extensively rebuilt in the 1970s, the organ remained in regular use until 1983, when it was superceded by a modern replacement. It was sold in 1985.

20th May

Below, one of two adverts placed by Jennings in "Musical Times" magazine in 1958 presenting the Model C as an "asset to musical education". Both have been added to .

In another advert "HMS Victory" is given as the "Chapel of HMS Victory" - either the Dockyard Chapel (rather than a chapel on board the ship), or possibly the chapel of the old Naval Training College, which would in some ways make better sense in relation to the nature of the advert below.

"Musical Times", May 1958. A short list of installations in educational establishments.

18th May

Some details coming soon on in 1960 - i.e. moving further into the "guitar and amplifier era". By December the Model G was over £2000 (1950 guineas), which would buy around twenty TV Front AC30 twins.

Below, details from the catalogue of the "British Industries Fair", London shows, 1956. Jennings not only exhibited the "old" line - the "B-series" - the J50, J51 and J52, but at least one example of the new "V-series". Slightly incongruously, the main theme of the 1956 London exhibitions was childrens' toys. Jennings came under the heading of "General" business, along with Barclays Bank, Keith Prowse and Co. Ltd, and the Linguaphone Institute.

This may have been the last "British Industries Fair" that Jennings attended.

15th May

Thanks to Andy, pictures of , chassis assembled by Burndept, inspection tag still in place in the preamp.

14th May (2)

Thanks to Shaun, pictures of , superb condition, Celestion blues with date codes 18th and 20th February 1964.

14th May

Thanks to Andy, pictures of , early-ish 1963. The Woden choke and mains transformer have the date code "HT" = August 1962 - in terms of serial numbers, a relatively late instance, as Wodens with November 1962 codes had certainly been supplied by the 6200s. The first definitively known instance of Wodens with "AU" codes (January 1963) occurs in the 6900s.

The control panel is of the newer type (1963) with "JMI" in relatively fat letters. Speakers are now Celestion silvers (T1088s).

12th May

A short note on the Hunts capacitors used in AC30s with reference to the company's pricelist of 1963. Notes on the date codes .

PREAMP

25uf/25v - Hunts code MEW29T - price 2s/6d.

8uf + 8uf/450v - Hunts code KDQ558 (also KNQ558 and KB558) - price 7s/6d.

POWER SECTION

250uf/25v - Hunts code MEF35T - price 4s/6d.

32uf/450v - Hunts code JFQ407T - price 6s/0d.

16uf + 16uf/500v - Hunts code KBQ562 - price 9s/6d.

It is likely that preferential rates (some measure of discount) were obtainable for bulk orders.

10th May

Further pics of an early Burndept chassis - chassis number 01028. Two of the black-print WIMA Tropyfols have codes "P1" and "P3". The cabinets are likely to be reproductions. Westrex rather than Burndept chassis are normal in Super Twin amps.

The amp's serial number is likely to have been in the mid or high 5000s. In terms of amps that have so far come to light, AC30 serial number 5619 is the first to have been fitted with a Burndept chassis.

8th May

The sections on continues to grow. Below, one of the items recently added - from "Musical Opinion" magazine, December, 1959 - the "Model G" organ with an output totalling 150 watts - three of Derek Underdown's 50 watt power sections as "separate channels". JMI's most powerful guitar amplifier at this point was the AC/30, capable of running 20-25 watts into its single Goodmans speaker. The single speaker was the limiting factor.

Musical Opinion magazine, December 1959.  The Jennings Organ Company electronic organs

"Musical Opinion" magazine, December, 1959. Model G.

5th May

"Musical Opinion" magazine, November 1956 - the Electro-Bass and a hitherto unknown amplifier: the Jennings E.B.1.

There were therefore at least five Jennings amplifiers prior to the AC2/30 of 1957:

1952: - the single speaker Univox amplifier (not to be confused with the portable organ), 15 watts, 16" x 11" x 12.5".

1954: - single speaker, bow front, rectangular speaker opening, 5 inputs, 15-25 watts.

1955: - single speaker, initially released to accompany the J48 organ.

1955-1956: - single speaker G1/10, probably developed from the J48 organ amp.

1956: - the E.B.1, single speaker, 12 watts, 3 inputs, 24" x 20" x 11", presumably designed to accompany the Electro-Bass - E.B.

"Musical Opinion" magazine, November 1956.

4th May

Recently on Reverb in the States, some of serial number 5955N. The cabinet is later. The chassis, which has Haddon transformers, is probably from 5955, along with the upper section of fawn/beige backboard (corners roughly rounded) and its serial number plate.

3rd May

Currently on , AC30TB serial number 2749, assembled in Italy in 1968 - some good pictures of the perforated tag board and components. Perhaps the most interesting thing is the sticker inside the cabinet apparently dated in Italian handwriting: 16-3-68. JMI was still in business in March. The "3" certainly does not look like a malformed "8". The page on has provisionally been revised. Further updates will be necessary.

1st May (3)

Thanks to David, a pic of Super Twin with an earlier speaker cabinet, the two long paired. The Celestion blues have February 1964 date codes. The amp is one of the last of the early 1965 amps to have a rectangular cabinet. Soon after, the new slope-side cabs came in.

Serial number 3660 - currently in the UK

1st May (2)

A synopsis of the models of organ produced by the Jennings Organ Company, 1954-1959, with known dates, is . Some of these dates and details may need to be revised as new information comes to hand, so do check back from time to time.

1st May

The page on is now up. A companion page will probably join it next week - information relating to one of the installations mentioned is likely to come in. Pages for the other years currently online have been updated. In progress, an overview of the models and date of introduction.

It is interesting to find a parallel for the "futuristic" design of the "J51", introduced in 1954 and later redesignated the "Model D2" - see the image below, entry for the 28th April - in the Compton Melotone. Image .

30th April

OK, there is now a dedicated index page for . Forthcoming: - pages on 1958-1959, circuit diagrams, and power section chassis. These should build fairly rapidly. Updates will continue to be posted on this page along with updates relating to AC30s.

29th April (3)

The page on is now up. There will be additions to this which will be signalled here shortly.

29th April (2)

A page has now been begun on Jennings Organs in 1956. Existing pages will be expanded (and corrected) as new material comes in, so do check back from time to time. It is to be hoped that numbers of early circuit diagrams (known to survive) can eventually be included, along with a synopsis of the notebooks that Derek Underdown kept from 1953.

29th April

Again thanks to Richard, pictures of : black textured vinyl, fine-woven brown grille cloth.

28th April (3)

Thanks to Richard, pictures of : black dimpled vinyl, fine-woven brown grille cloth.

28th April (2)

A picture taken by Derek Underdown probably of the Jennings stand at the "British Industries Trade Fair", London, Olympia, May 1954 - printed in Jim Elyea's superb book on Vox Amplifiers, p. 111 (the date assigned there a little early though). The page on has been updated

.

Jennings Organ Company, presence at the British Industries Fair

The items in picture, left to right, are: J52 Church Organ; a Univox J10 and stand; a Univox J6 keyboard (?) and stand; a J50 Home Organ; and the J51 "Streamline" Organ with matching tone cabinet.

28th April

The page on has been tidied up a little and will be expanded in the coming days. The ad below, featuring Eric Easton, is the only early one at present to show a J51 with two built-in speakers. One was the norm. It is not entirely clear what the "TONE-ARAMA" circuit consisted of. So far this is the sole mention.

Jennings Organ Company, presence at the British Industries Fair

27th April

The page on , is now up. Commentary on technical aspects of the design and form of these organs will be provided when the sets of "overview" pages are finished.

26th April (2)

A page on has now been set in motion. 1954, and 1956-1961 are in preparation and will appear shortly. It will probably be necesary to create a separate section on the site devoted to organs as the number of pages grows. There is a good amount of material to come.

26th April

Some updates to the page on AC30s with : 5169 (thanks to Kevin); and 5784 (thanks to Richard). A further pic has been added to the entry for 5156.

AC30/6 .

AC30/6 .

24th April (3)

Serial number 21855N from 1967 currently on offer on Craigslist, Orlando. Thanks to Ihor for the info. More coming soon on late JMI AC30s.

24th April (2)

Entries for the three early amps (early 1961 to late autumn 1961) mentioned in the previous post have now been created:

AC30/4 .

AC30/6 .

AC30/6 .

24th April

Updates coming this weekend - serial numbers 4402N, 4701N, 5784N, 7106N and 9507N (thanks to Richard); serial number 5169N (thanks to Kevin); and 14607N (thanks to Mike). Also further info on the amp with serial number plate 4813N (thanks to Rich).

20th April

A pic from the late 1990s, AC30s assembled in England by CN. Most went to the States. It will probably be possible to trace some in the back pages of "Vintage Guitar" magazine - outlets such as the Hollywood Guitar Center (presided over by the "Burst Brothers") regularly listed new arrivals.

The ratio of beige-covered amps to black is 5:66. This was only part of the total: there were other models of Vox amp, and a lawn full of Marshalls and Parks.

18th April (4)

A detail of an advert placed in Melody Maker, 7th June, 1968, by "Andertons" of Guildford. Note the AC30 Expanded Frequency cabinets for sale at £20 each. These were presumably picked up from the Vox Works when JMI ceased trading in late spring of the year. "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", the company created (in the summer) to carry the Vox name forward, did not produce any new Expanded AC30s.

"Melody Maker" magazine, 7th June, 1968.

Below, an AC30 Expander with Celestion G15 greenbacks with VSEL labels - perhaps an assemblage made off premises.

18th April (3)

Three more Super Twins registered - serial numbers 3625, 3985, and 4834 - along with Super Reverb Twin number 3225.

18th April (2)

A promotional brochure - "Vox People" - from 1963, Freddie and the Dreamers with their blue AC30 Twins on one of the inner pages.

Freddie and the band also featured in an advert in Melody Maker, autumn 1963 - .

18th April

The first AC30 in Ireland is thought to have been purchased in Dublin in September 1961. The amp - an AC30/6 Bass model - is likely to have had a black panel. It was used by "The Caravelles". Thanks to Ted Carroll for the info.

17th April

Recent updates on the main pages: serial numbers 6840B, 6283B, 7776B, 7906N, 9958N, 10081B (Super Twin amplifier section), 13639N, 13763TB, 14308T, 14340T, 14405T and 14832TB. Quite a few more to come.

15th April

Some notes on early "Dallas Music Industries" AC30s (1974 and 1975) and later Dallas/CBS Arbiter (1975-1978):

- At first Dallas probably sold stock taken over from the failed "Vox Sound Limited". Early DMI adverts show an amp similar to the ones produced at the Birch-Stolec factory in Hastings, 1971-1973.

- By mid 1974 a new chassis had been introduced and a circuit diagram drawn up. The diagram, which can be found , is dated 24th June 1974.

- A price for the Dallas AC30 first appears in magazine listings in May 74.

- Amplifiers were produced in the old Hayman drum factory on the Vanguard Estate, Shoeburyness, Essex. Serial numbers of those made in 1974 begin "74", those made in 1975 "75".

- In early 1975 DMI failed, and was taken over by CBS Arbiter, for whom Reg Clarke, former general sales manager of JMI and VSEL, had worked since 1970. Reg was instrumental in overseeing the saving of Vox. Indeed, CBS Arbiter had come close, at Reg's suggestion, to taking over Vox in early 1970 following the failure of VSEL, but the deal fell through. Vox was saved at that point by George Stowe and John Birch, who formed the "Birch-Stolec" group.

- Under CBS, production remained at Shoeburyness. A new style of tagboard was brought in, and a new type of serial number plate.

- "Vox Sound Limited" was set up with offices in central London (57/87 Hampstead Road, NW1), and in 1976 publicity campaigns were launched - full page advertisements in magazines and papers, stands at Trade Shows, and so on.

- By early 1976 a network of European distributors had been established, two from JMI days (P.S.O in Finland, and Musikhaus Embag in Switzerland):

"International Musician and Recording World", February 1976, a detail from the "Vox Ancestry" advert, later used by CBS in its brochures. The advert in "International Musician" was placed to promote the presence of Vox at the Frankfurt Trade Fair.

13th April

Some more material coming on Vox AC30s and "Vox Sound Limited" in the 1970s: from 1973-1975 under "Dallas Music Industries" (part of the John E. Dallas group); from 1975 to 1978 under Dallas/CBS Arbiter.

The catalogue with Brian May on its cover (see below, entry for 5th April) is from late 1977.

The earliest mid-1970s promotional pictures show AC30s with US-style rectangular logos, i.e. of the type issued by the first incarnation of VSL (1970-1972). Note that mention is made in the catalogue below of a "single printed circuit board".

A detail from a Dallas catalogue, probably late 1974.

The same type of AC30 is illustrated in the catalogue issued by "Bell Musical Instruments" in 1974/1975. Bell was in Surbiton, Surrey.

Image from the wonderful Bell catalogue collection on the .

10th April (2)

Thanks to Neil, pictures of AC30 Super Twin serial number 2939N, produced early in the last third of 1964, .

10th April

A correction to the note on Don Greer, below, 5th April. Don was simply a collector and never formally affiliated with Vox, in spite of the flyer bearing the address "Don Greer, Vox Ltd". The flyer dates from a time when Vox equipment had to be ordered (by collectors, proprietors of shops, and so on) directly from England. Rose Morris was only able to set up a designated distribution system in the US in 1981. Two companies became agents - "Allstate" in North Carolina, and another in Los Angeles. Information thanks to Dave Petersen.

9th April

Following the collapse of the original incarnation of "Vox Sound Limited" in late 1972, a considerable amount of Vox equipment, finished and part-finished, found its way into new hands. George Stow, the company's managing director, sold quantities off in 1973 through his new business "Roxburgh Sound", later "Roxburgh Electronics". Others did the same.

Many part-finished items had to be finished off to make them saleable. These surface every so often to cries of "prototype". But they are usually nothing of the sort: simply perfectly common-or-garden amplifier chassis that have been slipped into new boxes - sometimes ones belonging to a completely different range of amplifiers.

The chassis below is a standard VSL Birch-Stolec made AC30 Top Boost, c. 1971. The box is a reworked "Vox Slave Driver" or "Compact 50" box. See the example .

Sold on ebay in 2007.

8th April

The page on AC30s, 1971-1973, with serial numbers in the 25000s, 26000s, and 1000s. Most, if not all, were made at the Birch-Stolec factory on the Ponswood Road Estate in Hastings. It is possible, however, that a few were made at the Vox Works in Erith before the move to Hastings, which took place in Spring 1971.

Early Hastings-produced AC30s have chassis similar to the ones that Burndept made for JMI in 1967 and 1968. Later Hastings AC30s have an entirely different type of chassis to accommodate printed circuit boards, which must be one of the worst ideas ever where AC30s are concerned.

As mentioned a few days ago, it may be necessary to split this page - and the one on Italian-made AC30s - up in due course.

7th April

Some "Vox Sound Limited" documentation from the early 1970s: catalogue and pricelist of Autumn 1970, drawn up for the "Associated Musical Instrument Industries" Trade Fair at the Russell Hotel, London. The AMII was formerly known as the "BMII" - "British Musical Instrument Industries" association. Also a detail from a pricelist drawn up for the German market, April 1971, showing for the first time, the new Vox AC30 Top Boost Reverb.

These pieces come from the Vox Supreme website, where documentary histories of both and can be found.

Detail from the catalogue of Autumn 1970.

A detail from the pricelist that accompanied the catalogue above. Only the AC30 Top Boost ("Treble and Bass Boost") is on offer.

A detail from the pricelist drawn up for the German market, April 1971. Now the AC30 Top Boost, and AC30 Top Boost Reverb ("mit Hall") are available.

6th April

The page on AC30s with chassis manufactured in Italy, 1969-1972, has now been started - - serial numbers in the 2000s, 5000s, 6000s, and 30000s, "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", and "Vox Sound Limited".

The page on AC30s manufactured in Erith and Hastings (the Birch-Stolec factory), late 1970-1973, is in progress. Serial numbers in the 1000s, 25000s and 26000s. It will probably be necessary to add a number of cross references and notes to the page just posted.

5th April (2)

Below, pages from the blue version of the Dallas/CBS Arbiter Vox catalogue, late 1977 (not 1974 as previously stated). There are also red and green versions. Production at this point was based in the old Dallas/Hayman drum factory on the Vanguard Estate in Shoeburyness, Essex. Most AC30s made there have "VSL" speaker labels with the Shoeburyness address.

The Hayman drum factory. Photo by Mark Goodwin.

5th April

A set of pages on post-1968 AC30s are currently in preparation and will be posted soon. These carry the picture through to 1972/1973. A further set will cover c. 1973 to the early 1980s.

In the meantime, some material from the USA, summer 1981, a time when Don Greer was ordering equipment directly from Vox (Rose Morris) in England. Don was never formally affiliated with Vox (as stated in this note previously). The pricelist is from "Allstate Music Supply Corp.", which also issued an accompanying catalogue.

Picture from "The Vox Story", ed. Denney and Petersen, 1993, p. 150.

Xerox pricelist from "Allstate Music Supply Corporation". The AC30 Top Boost and Top Boost Reverb are respectively $1200 and 1320.

4th April

Just to add a correction. The amp signalled in the entry for 27th March, below, is serial number 4981N, not 4951.

2nd April

Further pictures of serial number 10348, a copper panel AC30/6 with integral top boost, to augment the ones

The cathode bypass capacitor has the date code "UF" = June 1963; the resistor "UG" = July 1963.

The checker's initials "DP", the mark for the expanded chassis "X", and the year "64".

Original fuses for the 280v supply to the rectifier.

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