Vox AC-30 Amplifier

“Whilst I was touring in the US with The Cult on ‘Electric 13’ Vox approached me to see if I’d consider trying out their AC-30 as my Combo. I said I’d give it a go and as they’re based in New York in the States they came along to the Roseland Ballroom when we were setting up and I tried it out. It sounded great to me and both my Guitar Tech, Tom Webber, and the out front Sound guy said that it sounded better than the Matchless I’d been using. They also said “we’d much prefer you to use it and we’d prefer you to use it now!”. Now you have to remember that it was the biggest gig of the tour so it wasn’t like trying it out in a reserve game… I put in on in the Cup Final! I’m not superstitious so anything that sounds good is better for me … and as long as it doesn’t blow up I’ll use it! The Matchless DC-30 is an American boutique version of the Vox AC-30, they’re both 2×12 combos and they both do the same job anyway. The Vox I’m using now is not a hand made one, it’s just a standard factory version, but I don’t care where it’s from as long as it sounds good, and it does!
I have used Vox amps before but only as a rental and not as part of my ‘official’ backline. Sometimes there have been gigs that we were flying into (like international festivals) where it’s not logistically feasible to take all our personal gear, so in that case we hired gear locally. When that happened Vox was my go to amp as they’re much more widely available than the Matchless. Quite often if there have been Matchless amps that are available to hire they just don’t sound as good, and often they’re usually beaten up. So the Vox was always a better choice in that situation and it’s partly behind my choice to use them going forward as these AC-30s are widely available anywhere around the world we play.
Previously I combined the Matchless with Marshall amps but for this (Electric 13) tour I’d swapped out the Marshall for a Friedman, which is a boutique ‘Marshall’ amp. Then with the Matchless to Vox swap I’m now running a Vox/Friedman set up and they sound seamless now… it’s made them sound like one Super Guitar amp. With the help of my excellent guitar tech I’ve got two amps but I’ve got it so dialed that it sounds really amazing. Before, the Matchless was cool but you could tell the difference between the Matchless and the Friedman in the mix whereas now, to me onstage and to the sound guys, it’s as though I’m playing one really, really good amazing amp with all this tonal variation!
Obviously I still use the (Roland) JC-120 for ‘Sanctuary’ and the ‘Love’ stuff but ‘Electric’ is all the two Valve amps (Vox and Freidman).”
Billy Duffy – Sept 2013