Archive for ‘kitaravahvistin’

17/10/2018

Testipenkissä: Vox AC30S1

”Älä muuta mitään. AC30 on sinun lapsesi, ja sen tarina tulee jatkumaan ikuisesti!”

Näin sanoi Voxin alkuperäisen emoyhtiön, JMI:n, perustaja ja pomo Tom Jennings hänen pääsuunnittelijalle, Dick Denneylle (kuvassa), joskus 1960-luvulla.

Jo ennen kuin Marshall-vahvistimien tuotantoa edes suunniteltiin, Voxista oli jo tullut ensimmäinen brittivahvistimien legenda. Alkuperäistä Vox AC30:tä kehiteltiin vuonna 1959 The Shadows -yhtyeelle, AC15-mallin isommaksi versioksi. Hank Marvinilla ja Bruce Welchillä alkoi nimittäin tulla vaikeuksia saada kitaransoittoansa kuulumaan, koska bändin (ja Cliff Richardin) yleisöt ja keikkapaikat kasvoivat yhä nopeammin.

Vox AC30:n ensimmäinen versio oli yhdellä 12-tuumaisella kaiuttimella varustettu kombo. Kun The Beatles -yhtiön kitaristit alkoivat käyttää AC30:tä vahvistin oli jo kasvanut kahdella 12-tuumaisella varustetuksi versioksi, jota Vox kutsui ”Twiniksi”. John Lennon ja George Harrison olivat myös ensimmäisten joukossa saaneet kombon (silloin) uusimman version Top Boost -piirillä. Maailmaa järisyttävä Beatlemania oli Voxille parasta mahdollista mainontaa ikinä.

Voxin AC30 Twinistä Top Boostilla tuli Vox Amplificationin lippulaiva, joka on edelleen yksi maailman ikonisimpia kitaravahvistimia. Kiitos tästä kuuluu myös kaikille näille kitaristeille, kuten Brian May (Queen), Rory Gallagher, Lenny Kravitz ja U2:n The Edge, joille AC30 on ollut ja/tai on edelleen oman soundin kulmakivi.

Alkuperäisiä AC30-komboja (ja niiden uudelleenpainoksia) arvostellaan usein niiden koon ja painon vuoksi. Joillakin alkuperäisillä 60-luvun versioilla on myös taipumus kuumentua liikaa, vahvistimen uumenissa sijaitsevien putkien takia. Tämän lisäksi kaikki alkuperäiset AC30:t on rakennettu ilman master volume -säädintä, minkä vuoksi kombon omia särösoundeja saadaan tuotettua vain silloin, kun styrkkari pyörii (lähes) täysillä volyymillä.

Onneksi Voxin nykyisestä mallistosta löytyy monta eri nykyaikaisia ja virtaviivaistettua AC30-versioita.

Upouusi Vox AC30S1 (katuhinta noin 780 €) pakkaa AC30:n parhaita soundeja helppokäyttöiseen, master volumella -varustettuun ja helpommin kuljettavaan muotoon.

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Uusi Vox AC30S1 on firman hyvin suositun kiinalaisen Custom-malliston uusin jäsen.

AC30 Single -kombolla on edelleen klassisen Voxin ulkonäkö, mutta yhdellä 12-tuumaisella varustetun uutukaisen kotelo on hieman perinteistä kapeampi. Tämä versio painaa ”vain” 24,5 kiloa, mikä on peräti yhdeksän kiloa vähemmän kuin Custom-sarjan AC30 Twin (AC30C2).

Uudessa kombossa on yksi kanava kaksikaistaisella EQ:lla, sekä master volume -säätimellä.

Tämän Voxin sisäinen kaiku on digitaalinen mallinnus perinteisestä jousikaiusta.

Ihan niin kuin 60-luvun esi-isällä, AC30S1:llä on puoliksi avoin takaseinä.

Vox Custom -sarjan vahvistimet on suunniteltu nykypäivän sähköturvallisuusmääräyksien mukaisiksi. AC30S1:n tapauksessa tämä näkyy esimerkiksi helposti vaihdettavissa ja hyvin tuuletetuissa vahvistinputkissa, metallisessa turvaverkossa (joka estää suoran pääsyn kuumiin putkiin), sekä irrotettavalla sähköjohdolla IEC-liittimellä.

AC30S1:n etuvahvistin käyttää kahta 12AX7-putkea, kun taas päätevahvistimessa pyörii peräti neljä EL84-putkea.

Kombon kaiutin on 12-tuumainen Celestion VX, joka on suunniteltu varta vasten tälle vahvistimelle.

Takapaneelista löytyy lähtö lisäkaiuttimelle (16 Ω), sekä efektilenkin liittimiä.

AC30S1:n EU-versioihin on lisätty myös Eco-ominaisuus, joka laittaa kombon omatoimisesti pois päältä kahden tunnin tyhjäkäynnin jälkeen.

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Upouusi Vox AC30S1 on selkeästi helpompi nostaa ja kuljettaa kuin perinteiset Twin-versiot, mikä on varmasti hyvä uutinen meille kaikille.

Nyt seuraa pieni varoitus:

Vaikka Voxin mainoskuvissa uutta AC30 Singleä esitellään monissa olohuone-tyylisissä tilanteissa, tämä kombo ei mielestäni ole oikea valinta olohuonekäyttöön. Vaikka tässä on kyseessä ”vain” yhdellä 12-tuumaisella kaiuttimella varustettu styrkkari, AC30S1:llä ei ole minkäänlaisia ongelmia tarjota henkeäsalpaavia volyymitasoja. Totta, tässä on master volume -säädin, mutta sen toiminta on – ainakin testiyksilössä – epätasainen juuri potikan alkumetreillä, jossa hypätään hiljaisuudesta lähes suoraan noin 30 prosentin teholle. Tämä vahvistin ei kuulu kerrostaloon tai olohuoneeseen, vaan se haluaa isoon studioon tai Rock-klubin lavalle.

Vaikka uutukaisen toimintasäde on hieman Twin-versiota kapeampi (koska kotelosta löytyy vain yksi kaiutin), Vox AC30S1:n soundit ovat kuitenkin täynnä ehtaa AC30-magiaa. Niin kuin AC30:ssä yleensä, puhdasta headroomia ei ole tarjolla niin runsaasti kuin esimerkiksi Blackface-tyylisissä Fendereissä. AC30:n juju on juuri sen tasaisesti kasvavassa reunasärössä, joka lähtee liikkeelle jo kohtuullisen pienellä gainella, sekä crunch-särön tiheydessä ja purevuudessa.

Tästä pätkästä saa hyvän idean AC30S1:n soundimaailmasta. Gain on säädetty täysille ja vahvistimen säröä ohjataan Fender Stratocasterin volume-säätimellä:

AC30S1:n digitaalisesti mallinnettu jousikaiku kuulostaa erinomaiselta – tämä on ehkä paras putkivahvistimen sisäinen digikaiku pitkään aikaan:

Demobiisissä soitan pätkiä neljästä Vox AC30:llä soitetuista klassikkobiiseistä – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), sekä ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (magneettisella Seymour Duncan SA-1 -mikrofonilla)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mikrofonit: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delay-efektejä on lisätty miksausvaiheessa:

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Minun mielestäni uusi Vox AC30S1 on erinomainen lisäys firman AC30-valikoimaan. Uusi Single-versio tarjoaa miltei kaikkia klassisia Vox-soundeja hieman kompaktimmassa koossa.

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Vox AC30S1

Katuhinta noin 780 €

Maahantuoja: EM Nordic

Kiitos DLX Musiikille testivahvistimen lainasta!

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Plussat:

+ paino

+ laadukas digikaiku

+ efektilenkki

+ soundi

+ kovaääninen

Miinukset:

– master volume -potikan jyrkkyys

– kovaääninenSave

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16/10/2018

Review: Vox AC30S1

”Keep it as it is. The AC30 is your baby, and it will go on forever!”

These prophetic words were spoken by Tom Jennings, the founder and head of Vox’ original parent company JMI, in the mid-1960s to his chief designer Dick Denney (pictured above).

Well before Marshall Amps arrived on the scene, Vox became the UK’s first legendary guitar amplifier brand. The original Vox AC30 was developed in 1959 as a larger version of the AC15 for the group The Shadows. Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch started having problems getting themselves heard over the ever-growing crowds they were drawing at ever-larger venues.

The first version of the Vox AC30 was a combo equipped with a single 12-inch speaker, but by the time the Beatles arrived on the scene the amp had evolved into what Vox called a ”Twin amplifier”, meaning a combo with a pair of 12-inch speakers. The Beatles were also the first band to receive AC30s with the company’s (then) new Top Boost -circuit. Vox couldn’t have dreamt up a more potent way of promoting their products than Beatlemania.

The AC30 Twin with Top Boost became Vox Amplification’s flagship product, which still stands today as one of the most iconic guitar amplifiers of all time. This is thanks in no small part to the great guitarists, such as Brian May (Queen), Rory Gallagher, Lenny Kravitz and U2’s The Edge, who made the combo a vital ingredient of their respective signature sounds.

Vintage AC30s (and faithful reissues) are often criticised for being quite large and heavy. Some 1960s examples also seem to have a tendency for overheating, due to the valve layout inside the chassis. Original AC30s also are non-master volume designs, which means that break-up and crunch sounds can only be had close to full volume levels.

Luckily, Vox’ line-up also includes more modern and streamlined AC30-versions.

The brand-new Vox AC30S1 (current Finnish street price around 780 €) takes everything that is great about the AC30, and puts it into a streamlined, master volume-equipped, and much more portable single speaker combo.

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The new Vox AC30S1 is part of the company’s very successful Chinese-made Custom range.

The AC30 Single keeps the classic Vox look, but comes in a narrower cabinet. At 24.5 kg the newcomer weighs a good nine kilos less that the Custom Series AC30 Twin (AC30C2).

The new combo offers a single amp channel with a two-band EQ-section and a master volume knob.

The built-in reverb is digital, and modelled after a classic spring reverb.

Just like the classic Sixties design the AC30S1 also sports a half-open back.

Vox’ Custom Series amps have been redesigned and updated to comply with all necessary safety regulations for modern tube amplifiers. In the AC30S1’s case this means well-ventilated valves that are easy to access, a safety grill to prevent anybody from touching piping hot tubes, and a detachable IEC mains cord.

The AC30S1 uses a pair of 12AX7 valves for the preamp section, as well as four EL84s in the power amp.

The speaker is a 12-inch Celestion VX model, designed specifically for use in this combo.

The back panel offers an additional speaker output (16 ohms) and an effects loop.

EU-versions of the AC30S1 also come with a switchable Eco-function, which will turn the amp off automatically when left running unplayed for two hours.

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The brand-new AC30S1 is noticeably easier to lift and carry than any of the regular Twin versions, which is great news for virtually any of us.

A word of warning first:

Despite Vox’ promo pictures showing the new AC30 Single in different living room set-ups, this isn’t really a combo for noodling on the couch. Despite being a single 12-inch speaker combo, the AC30S1 has no problem whatsoever in dishing out ear-shattering sound pressure levels. Yes, there is a master volume knob, but – at least on our review sample – the pot’s taper isn’t especially even, instead jumping rather abruptly from ”off” to something like 30 percent power. This combo doesn’t belong in a block of flats or in a sitting room, this amp belongs in a full-blown studio or on a club stage.

Despite the inevitably narrower throw of a single speaker (compared to a twin speaker set-up) the sounds gleaned from the Vox AC30S1 are pure AC30 magic. Typically, clean headroom isn’t available in Fender Blackface-style amounts. An AC30’s sound is defined by the smooth and steady break-up at comparatively moderate gain levels, and by the bite and density of its crunchy distortion.

Here’s an example of the range of textures you can get from the AC30S1 with its gain at full, while using a Stratocaster’s volume control:

The AC30S1’s digitally modelled spring reverb sounds terrific; probably the best onboard digital spring reverb I’ve heard in a long time:

The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Microphones used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Any delays were added during mixing:

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In my view the new Vox AC30S1 is an excellent addition to the company’s AC30 range. This combo gives you virtually all of the classic Vox tones, but with far less bulk.

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Vox AC30S1

Street price in Finland approx. 780 €

Distributor: EM Nordic

Thanks to DLX Music Helsinki for the loan of the review amp!

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Pros:

+ lesser weight

+ high-quality spring-style digital reverb

+ effects loop

+ sound

+ high volume levels

Cons:

– master volume taper

– high volume levelsSave

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11/10/2018

Vox AC30S1 – the Kitarablogi-video

VOX AC30S1

• Single-channel design inspired by the AC30’s trademark Top Boost

• All tube design featuring two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and four EL84 power-amp tubes

• Equipped with a single Celestion-made 12-inch speaker, specially voiced for the AC30S1

• Effects send/return and external speaker output are provided for pairing with pedals or external cabinets

• Equipped with digital reverb that simulates a classic spring reverb

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The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mics used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delays added during mixing.

01/10/2018

First Look: Vox AC30S1

VOX AC30S1

• Single-channel design inspired by the AC30’s trademark Top Boost

• All tube design featuring two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and four EL84 power-amp tubes

• Equipped with a single Celestion-made 12-inch speaker, specially voiced for the AC30S1

• Effects send/return and external speaker output are provided for pairing with pedals or external cabinets

• Equipped with digital reverb that simulates a classic spring reverb

****

The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mics used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delays added during mixing.

27/09/2018

Testi tulossa – Review coming soon – Vox AC30S1

13/08/2018

The new Bluetone Ghost presented by Kai Järvinen

Finnish guitarist Kai Järvinen takes the new Bluetone Ghost for a spin.

• Guitars used: Fender Custom Shop 1960 Stratocaster NOS & Gibson Custom Shop 1958 Les Paul Standard VOS

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Bluetone Ghost

• Handcrafted in Finland

• Based on a vintage Gibson GA-8 combo

• Approx. 8-10 W output

• High and Low inputs

• Volume and Tone controls

• Three-way switch for Negative Feedback/Off/Boost

• Three-position Bluetone OPC switch

• Single-ended power amp (6V6GT)

• Single 12-inch Celestion Alnico Blue speaker

More info at: http://www.bluetone.fi/ghost/

09/05/2018

Review: Bluetone Load Box

Finnish boutique amp company Bluetone has released a Swiss Army Knife-style lifesaver for valve amp users on stage and in the studio.

The Bluetone Load Box (370 €; incl. 1.5 metre speaker cable) is a professional quality dummy load (100 W/8 Ω) in a very compact format (only slightly larger than a big paperback) that doubles as a DI-box for guitar amps.

As any valve amp user should know, using an amplifier with a valve-driven power amp without a speaker (cabinet) connected – unless expressly allowed by the manufacturer – is a surefire path to disaster. The results of driving an amp without a speaker load can range from the output transformer catching fire to larger-scale component meltdown inside the amp, depending on the volume levels the amplifier is played at, and how quickly the fuses react.

This is where load boxes – also called dummy loads – come in. A load box allows you to run a valve amp safely without any speaker connected, while usually also offering signal attenuation and/or line level outputs. As a result, you are able to direct inject any amp into a PA system or recording equipment, as well as running the amp at full tilt without blasting everybody off the stage.

Doing away with the speaker (cabinet) isn’t as straightforward as you might think, because the impedance stated on a speaker is only nominal. The speaker, being an electromechanical transducer, behaves in a frequency- and signal level-dependent way, which results in dynamically shifting impedance values.

This means that a dummy load is a much more involved design than just a few resistors thrown together. Dummy coils, and a heap of capacitors and resistors are needed to simulate realistically the behaviour of a speaker, to attenuate the speaker signal (by dissipating part of it as heat), and to produce a quality DI-signal.

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Bluetone’s Load Box has a very clear and logical layout:

The left side carries all speaker-related connectors, offering an input, as well as both an attenuated output (Speaker Out) and a straight speaker output (Speaker Through). Why would anyone need two speaker outputs? The answer is simple: If you want to run an isolated cabinet backstage at full speaker output for the FOH engineer, and an attenuated speaker signal for the backline to keep onstage volume levels manageable.

The right side sports two output jacks – one is carrying a headphone signal, while the other one is the balanced output for connection to a mixing console or a soundcard.

The controls and switches are self-explanatory:

Top left is a four-way rotary switch for speaker attenuation, with ”Off” muting the Speaker Out signal completely. I should also mention that you can use the Bluetone Load Box without any speakers connected, regardless of the selector setting.

The middle knob is the headphone level control. Because the Load Box is a completely passive design – meaning there’s no need for any sort of power supply – the output level of the headphone output is directly dependent on the signal level (and wattage) of the connected amplifier. On the early production model used for this review the headphone signal can be a tiny bit on the quiet side, when using a low-wattage amp and power hungry headphones. This is a known issue, and Bluetone will increase the signal level in future.

The line level output offers a healthy output levels. If you need an XLR connector for the Load Box’ balanced output, Bluetone offers a handy adapter for 20 €.

A three-way mini toggle gives you two different types of cabinet simulation – 1 x 12″ and 4 x 12″ – while its two-way counterpart makes it possible to bypass speaker simulation for the Line Out signal.

The Bluetone Load Box’ dummy load and attenuator work really well in dropping volume levels while keeping virtually all of your amp’s tone intact. Now you can run your non-master volume valve amp at pub-friendly levels, without sacrificing your sound.

Bluetone’s DI-output captures your amp’s tone without the need for a speaker cabinet and microphones, which is great news for home recordists and small project studios. The Load Box’ analogue speaker modelling offers a fine solution for capturing your sound with the least amount of fuss.

Here’s what my Fender Strat sounds like played through a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo on clean settings, and recorded with a Shure SM57:

Here’s the same clean example direct recorded with the Load Box set to 1 x 12″:

Here’s a distorted clip with the sound of the Shadows Jr. recorded with the SM57:

And the same clip recorded through the Load Box:

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In my opinion the Bluetone Load Box offers great value for money. Bluetone’s compact Load Box is a product every owner of a valve amp that doesn’t come with output attenuation built in should at least consider adding to his/her equipment.

The clever bit is how Bluetone has managed to fit the different functions into a lightweight, easy-to-carry, handcrafted piece of equipment. The Load Box is a sturdy device that will get the job done with the minimum amount of fuss, and it comes at a fair price.

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Bluetone Load Box

370 € (including a 1.5 metre speaker cable)

Contact: Bluetone Amps

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Pros:

+ handcrafted in Finland

+ lightweight and compact

+ features

+ sound

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07/05/2018

Now on SoundCloud: Bluetone Load Box

Bluetone Load Box

• 100 W/8 Ohm passive, reactive load box
• Four-stage speaker attenuation
• Line level out with analogue speaker emulation
• Headphone output

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Audio clips recorded with a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo (1 x 10″ WGS Green Beret speaker), and the Bluetone Load Box set to 1 x 12″ speaker emulation.

02/05/2018

Bluetone’s ”Gothenburg Special” Fried Eye Played By Tuomas Wäinölä

Finnish top guitarist Tuomas Wäinölä demonstrates a few of the Bluetone Fried Eye Special’s tones using a Bluetone 4 x 10″ cabinet.

Guitars used:

• 1968 Fender Stratocaster

• 1967 Gibson ES-335

• 2013 Gibson Custom Shop ’59 Les Paul Standard

Cable used: UTA Vari-Cap

The audio was recorded with a Shure SM57 and an AKG C414 plugged into a UTA MPDI-4 running into Pro Tools HD.

For additional audio clips go to: http://www.bluetone.fi/fried-eye/

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Audio recorded and produced by Tuomas Wäinölä at Sunbeam Imperial Studio.

Video filmed and edited by Martin Berka for Bluetone Custom Amplifiers.

27/02/2018

Bluetone Goes Gothenburg

Watch Bluetone’s Harry and Matti build a special tube amp head for this year’s Fuzz Guitar Show in Gothenburg (Sweden).