Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

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Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby Dave_in_Va. on Thu May 25, 2017 8:55 pm

Just bought what I think may be a '66 AC 50 sight unseen (except for pics). The serial number of the head is 0525X and the cab is later with two Vox tagged P12N's.

1. What to you guys think I bought, head wise and...

2. Since I'd probably like this gone through by a Vox expert (one of you guys?) who do you recommend? It's obviously been used and got HOT.

Now to try and post pics....

Image

Image
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby fiveightandten on Fri May 26, 2017 5:32 am

Nice score, congrats! It looks nice and clean, outside of that melted logo. Ouch! Haha.

I'd definitely recommend having someone give it a once-over. These amps were originally designed to run on 115V, and they run quite hot on modern US wall voltage. The caps in the amp are likely seeing above their rated value, so it's not a bad idea to replace them if they're original. The 16/16mfd multi section caps under the preamp board are very tough to source. You can get away with 10/10 mfd replacements. I did this and didn't have any issues with hum. Higher values can mess with the bass response, and the amp already has more than enough low end to deal with.

You may wish to see which circuit you have in there. Earlier amps were stocked with a 12AU-7 in the first position. Personally, I think the amp sounds much better (for guitar) with a 12AX-7 there. But you need to run a 220k plate resistor, like the AC-30. It makes it much more usable as a guitar amp, IMO, as it lets the amp distort, and the highs aren't as strident.

If it's tube rectified, run a good quality rectifier in there, and keep spares on hand. Modern GZ34s fail often. FYI, some of the taller EL34s don't quite fit in some AC50 heads. I've been running EHs, which are nice and small, and there are no issues there.

I hope that helps a bit. Enjoy the amp! Hopefully someone chimes in with a tech recommendation in your area. If you come up dry, hit me up. You'd have to ship the amp to CT, but I've done work for forum members in the past, and I haven't had an amp damaged in transit yet (there's always a risk).

-Nick
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby Vortexion on Fri May 26, 2017 10:31 am

A wonderful, wonderful amp, the AC50 - wish I still had mine (sigh)...

I'd guess that the very smart black diamond cloth on the amp head is a replacement piece - I mean, it kinda makes sense: any heat source powerful enough to have melted the VOX logo would have made toast of the original cloth too. Let's hope that, whenever this happened, the heat was coming from outside the amp, not inside it! :fingersx: We'll know what's what when you receive the rig and start posting us lots of big detailed gut-shots. Consider me subscribed. 8)
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby Dave_in_Va. on Fri May 26, 2017 1:32 pm

Thanks guys.
I'm pretty sure (because of the serial number) that this will have a solid state rectifier. At least this will save me $100 on a NOS 5AR4.
I'm guessing it will be three weeks before it arrives.

I'm thinking that that logo could have melted just because old Vox amps got really, really hot. While I've never owned a vintage Vox tube amp (I have a Buckingham and a Mike Holland replica AC 100 - 2X 15), I do have a Hayseed 30 which is supposed to be a faithful clone of a '63 AC 30 and it got so hot I could barely touch the on/off or stand by switch. On the Hayseed, I hardwired a 12 volt computer fan off the pilot light which cooled things off nicely (runs half speed).

Any thoughts on where that cabinet (with the old style input) may have originated?
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby Vortexion on Fri May 26, 2017 2:21 pm

Dave_in_Va. wrote:I'm thinking that that logo could have melted just because old Vox amps got really, really hot.

Crikey, if the amp was ever hot enough to melt the logo, the plywood and tolex would be smoking! Seriously, I've never seen an AC50 with a melted logo before - and my own, long-gone "Big Box" AC50 never got to extreme temperatures. AFAIK the Small Box AC50 had more of an overheat problem because it had no air inlets under the chassis. The Big Box design was supposed to address this, as the chassis sliding base-board had big holes at each end (which also weakened the base-board, but let's not be negative...).

...and while we're at it, let us not forget the legendary AC80-100. Legendary for catching fire! :mrgreen:
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby Dave_in_Va. on Fri May 26, 2017 2:36 pm

Well, I'm sure I'll find out about the heat thing when I crack it open. If the amp actually did get hot enough to melt the logo there will be obvious signs inside. Who knows...maybe at some point over the last 50 years someone left it near a space heater one night.

Any thoughts on the date going by the serial number (I'm guessing '66) or the origin of the cabinet with the Alnico Jensens? They appear to be dated 1970, 1980 or 1990. When did a Vox cabinet with the old style input come with Jensens?

Thanks again!
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby tonewoods on Fri May 26, 2017 2:59 pm

Vortexion wrote:A wonderful, wonderful amp, the AC50...



Weird that the AC50--especially considering it's 60's resume--doesn't command the financial respect that the AC30 does....
I mean, you can get a real nice one for 1.5K--try finding a vintage AC30 for that.
...or even an AC15 or AC10...
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby Gooch on Fri May 26, 2017 8:35 pm

Ah yes, the Dallas auction. Good score there. I had my eye on that but decided not to bid cuz I don't need another AC-50. I doubt the cab is a reissue like the description said, but I also highly doubt the Jensens are original. It may be a North Coast cab or may be an actual vintage Vox cab (looks too clean to be though). With the XLR and the brass slotted screws, I'd bet it's a North Coast with reissue Jensens that someone stickered with the Vox labels (which are also available from North Coast).
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby Gooch on Fri May 26, 2017 8:40 pm

My AC-50 S/N is 053XX by the way.
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby fiveightandten on Fri May 26, 2017 9:10 pm

Dave_in_Va. wrote:Thanks guys.
I'm pretty sure (because of the serial number) that this will have a solid state rectifier. At least this will save me $100 on a NOS 5AR4.
I'm guessing it will be three weeks before it arrives.

I'm thinking that that logo could have melted just because old Vox amps got really, really hot. While I've never owned a vintage Vox tube amp (I have a Buckingham and a Mike Holland replica AC 100 - 2X 15), I do have a Hayseed 30 which is supposed to be a faithful clone of a '63 AC 30 and it got so hot I could barely touch the on/off or stand by switch. On the Hayseed, I hardwired a 12 volt computer fan off the pilot light which cooled things off nicely (runs half speed).

Any thoughts on where that cabinet (with the old style input) may have originated?

Dave_in_Va. wrote:Well, I'm sure I'll find out about the heat thing when I crack it open. If the amp actually did get hot enough to melt the logo there will be obvious signs inside. Who knows...maybe at some point over the last 50 years someone left it near a space heater one night.

Any thoughts on the date going by the serial number (I'm guessing '66) or the origin of the cabinet with the Alnico Jensens? They appear to be dated 1970, 1980 or 1990. When did a Vox cabinet with the old style input come with Jensens?

Thanks again!

The AC-50 doesn't get that hot. It may have gotten left near a stage light, but I'm actually willing to bet that the logo got melted while off the amp, and was installed like that. Anything hot enough to melt the logo on the amp also would have melted the corners, the piping, and maybe even the handle or knobs, depending on the heat source. Everything else looks fine and appears original. It's curious for sure, but if there was extensive damage to the amp, I would think that it would've been disclosed. You'll likely just be out $20 for a new logo.

I have 0200X, which is tube rectified and was sold to me as a '64. I think it may be older, I'll have to check inside.
I have 0678X, which is solid state rectified and is a '65, if I recall correctly (I just had it open the other day!)

Your 0525X is likely circa '65. There should be date codes on the pots that will help you date it quite easily when you pop it open. Do you have any pics of the chassis or the internals?

-Nick
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby fiveightandten on Fri May 26, 2017 9:15 pm

tonewoods wrote:
Vortexion wrote:A wonderful, wonderful amp, the AC50...



Weird that the AC50--especially considering it's 60's resume--doesn't command the financial respect that the AC30 does....
I mean, you can get a real nice one for 1.5K--try finding a vintage AC30 for that.
...or even an AC15 or AC10...

Agreed...but I'm fine with it!

I gig my AC-50 without worry. I'm not sure I'd want to lug a 60's AC-30 around to shows. They're pretty valuable at this point. I've had both of my AC-50's for many years and I paid paltry sums for both of them.

-Nick
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby Dave_in_Va. on Fri May 26, 2017 9:25 pm

Gut shots coming as soon as I receive the amp. I'm not even going to plug it in until it's gone through. For all I know it's been sitting for years. No way to tell as it was bought at auction with little info. The curiosity level is peaking.

(EDIT: PM sent to fiveightandten)
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby pdf64 on Sat May 27, 2017 9:30 am

fiveightandten wrote:... The 16/16mfd multi section caps under the preamp board are very tough to source...

F&T make these, available under part # KONAZ15 from Jan in Germany http://www.die-wuestens.de/eindex.htm
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby fiveightandten on Sat May 27, 2017 2:12 pm

pdf64 wrote:
fiveightandten wrote:... The 16/16mfd multi section caps under the preamp board are very tough to source...

F&T make these, available under part # KONAZ15 from Jan in Germany http://www.die-wuestens.de/eindex.htm
The F&T 16/16 multi section caps that I've had do not fit in the AC-50 mounting clamps. There is not enough room to add larger mounting clamps. I actually installed these in my amp for a while and secured them with zip ties holding the ends of the clamps together, but it was temporary and I wouldn't trust it long term.

It pushes the metal clamp quite close to the preamp tag board, and I worried about it shorting connections to ground if the amp got bumped or dropped. Also, without being properly secured, they have the potential to move laterally. I worried about them shifting and snapping the leads.

In the end, I'm happier with the 10/10 mfd "fire cracker" caps in have, which fit securely in the clamps. Thanks for bringing those up though. There's the potential to mount them elsewhere in the amp, like on the top of the poweramp chassis. But space is limited in my tube rectified version.

-Nick
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Re: Over excited about a new vintage AC 50 purchase.

Postby pdf64 on Sat May 27, 2017 6:56 pm

fiveightandten wrote:
pdf64 wrote:
fiveightandten wrote:... The 16/16mfd multi section caps under the preamp board are very tough to source...

F&T make these, available under part # KONAZ15 from Jan in Germany http://www.die-wuestens.de/eindex.htm
The F&T 16/16 multi section caps that I've had do not fit in the AC-50 mounting clamps. There is not enough room to add larger mounting clamps. I actually installed these in my amp for a while and secured them with zip ties holding the ends of the clamps together, but it was temporary and I wouldn't trust it long term...

I suspect that you may have used the KONLF type, ~35mm diameter, with terminal tags rather than lead wires?
The KONAZ type diameters are smaller.
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