Although Vox typically conjures up images of ‘60s pop and retro jangle, plenty of raunchy blues tones on Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones records came courtesy of an AC15, while an AC30 in combination with a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster was the mainstay of Rory Gallagher’s fiery signature sound.
If you are looking for a white knuckle EL84 blues tone with real attitude that you can tame when required with the guitar’s volume control, a cranked AC30 Top Boost is the (very loud) answer. The latest, master volume-equipped production model is the AC30C2 2 x 12 combo, but there are more old-school configurations available too courtesy of the Heritage Collection.
If you are on a budget, or if an AC30 is just too damn loud, check out the Valvetronix series for a host of modelled sounds including decent AC30 and AC15 impressions. If you want to get that cranked Vox rasp without making your ears bleed, check out the seriously cute AC4TV combo.
"Vox AC30 with top boost and Alnico Blues (and yes that includes the new Chinese models). It's warm, jangly cleans, very touch responsive - wind-up the volume and stick a treble boost in front of it and it's incredibly versatile." (Thanks, AlexHunter)
"Small amps sound the best to me - got two AC15s and that’s my blues tone right there." (Thanks, chrisn1)
Vox AC30C2 currently available from Andertons Music Co., Thomann, Soundslive and PMT Online
Vox VT30 currently available from Andertons Music Co., Thomann, Soundslive and PMT Online
Vox AC4TV currently available from Andertons Music Co., Thomann, Soundslive and PMT Online