Three years hence, the CCs have been updated and redubbed ‘Custom‘, while the Hand Wired versions have also gone through a redesign in order to ensure that the fabled Vox tone is kept intact, yet make it that bit easier to use in modern playing environments.“There are uncontrollable oohs and ahhs from the amp buffs as you remove the rear panel.“Outwardly, these new Hand Wireds differ from 2007‘s model with a modern take on the fawn Rexine vinyl that was first introduced in 1960, complete with diamond lattice grille cloth.Cabinets are birch ply and the whole thing is finished to a very high standard, with an unmistakable nostalgic vibe - even ‘er indoors likes the look of these!On the inside things have moved on (or should we say back?) from the 2007 hybrid hand-wired/PCB amps. These made-in-Vietnam ACs have a more traditional approach derived from Dick Denney and Derek Underwood‘s ‘Contempo‘ L-shaped chassis design of 1960. So, we have a meticulous turret board for the electronics, then chassis-mounted pots, transformers and valve bases.Like kids watching fireworks, there are uncontrollable oohs and ahhs from the amp buffs as you remove the rear panel. There‘s no EF86-powered channel; Vox has chosen two ECC83 (12AX7) channels, Normal and Top Boost, leaving out the vibrato and reverb options of other AC-series amps.And here‘s where the fun starts: the Normal channel has a switchable bright function, while the Top Boost channel offers foot-switchable ‘hot‘ and ‘cool‘ modes for more and less overdrive respectively.Vox says the hot mode bypasses the tone circuitry for ‘richer gain‘. The master section employs Vox‘s familiar tone cut control - things get darker as you turn it clockwise - and a master volume.Neatly, you can bypass the master if you want maximum headroom from either channel, or alternatively switch it in if you want more driving sounds at lower volumes. Traditionalists will baulk at its very inclusion but, like Matchless‘s switchable master volume, it‘s extremely well designed and makes these amps usable in the real world of small gigs.
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