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The AC15 (actually called AC1/15) was introduced in January 1958, and it was the first commercially successful amplifier that JMI put into production under the Vox name.

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The timing of the AC15’s launch coincided with the surging popularity of rock and roll in England, and JMI benefited greatly when the Shadows started using AC15s.Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers also played through a two-tone grey AC15—a color scheme that was introduced in 1960.The T.60s’ early solid-state circuitry proved problematic for Mc Cartney, however, and sometime in the summer of 1963, he gave the amp back to JMI in trade for an AC30 head that had the Top Boost mod.John Lennon and George Harrison also received new AC30s about the same time, and this was the backline the band would use for the remainder of the year.The Vox name actually originated in 1951, with the advent of a primitive keyboard instrument called the Univox (Latin for “single voice”).

It was the brainchild of Tom Jennings, who started in the music business in 1946 as a dealer in used instruments, and an importer of accordions and guitars from France and Germany.By that time, however, a new Vox amplifier had already become the number-one choice for many of Britain’s top groups.Originally conceptualized as a “twin” AC15, the AC30 retained several important circuit elements of its little brother: an EF86 in the front end, EL84 power tubes running in cathode bias (this time, four of them), and no negative feedback in the output stage.With the sudden popularity of skiffle groups around 1955, Jennings realized he needed a guitar amplifier to grow his business.The conditions were especially ripe due to Britian’s restrictions on imports from America, and though he had talented people working for him, Jennings felt he needed to look outside JMI for a suitable design.Before the swinging sounds of the British Invasion captured the world’s imagination, Vox was a fairly low-key operation—just one of many trying to survive the economic hardships of post-war Britain.