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The Prowess
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The Taxi
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Gibson GA15RVT
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Vox AC30
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Custom AC-30
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Custom Vox AC-30TBX:

I recently got done upgrading my 2001 Vox AC-30 TBX. It turned out great and it sounds as beautiful as it looks. This took a long time to realize- it spent much time "on the drawing board". I had to think of all the things that I wanted, all the things I would improve from the factory issued TBX amplifiers.



My main motivation for the cabinet was vibration- it seemed as though the original Vox cabinet was designed/built poorly and suffered from a lot of vibrations that were bothersome. It would also shake the tubes loud enough that it could ruin a recording. When I found Jeff Swanson, I told him my concerns- that I wanted a better built Vox cabinet that still looked stock. It was difficult because most people upgrade the original 1960's chassis into new cabs. I shipped Jeff a 1:1 scale replica wooden chassis that mounted just like the factory chassis to be certain that it would fit in the new cab. This saved me the cost/risk of sending him the real thing. Jeff was able to make a perfectly built cabinet that my chassis mounted into precisely. It was a thrill to work with Jeff on this- his woodworking skills and cosmetic treatments are second to none.



I knew that I couldn't just work on the outside of the Vox without working on the inside. I had read about Don Butler and his work to restore reissue amps back to the historical roots. I have to admit, I was skeptical of the transformers/components making a big difference in sound. Nevertheless, the result of Don's work changed the way the amp "feels". It may sound generic to say that it feels more responsive or alive, but it does. Plus, the better transformers could lengthen the life of the amplifier- I have heard horror stories of output transformers frying the whole amp or speakers. Don was a pleasure to work with and everything went smooth as silk with this area of the upgrade.



Lastly, I wanted to make sure that this great signal and cabinet would be complemented by some great cable. I chose Lavaman (Mark) because of his reputation at using high quality raw materials to make his custom speaker and instrument cables. Along with the speaker cables, Mark also made me great instrument and patch cables so the tone is preserved even before it gets to the amp. The new speaker wire looks great and prevents noise and signal loss. Mark was very helpful with picking out the cable and working around my needs and specifications.


Upgrade Overview:

Custom built Jeff Swanson Cabinet

  • Original 1970's tolex
  • Transitional Logo
  • Natural Wood interior
  • Brass Vents
  • Leather Handles
  • Laser engraved serial tag

Don Butler Modified circuit board
  • Reissue Amp Upgrade
  • Mercury Magnetic Output Transformer & Choke

Lavaman Custom Speaker Cable
  • Kimber 4VS multi-strand wire
  • Built to specification of length / layout






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