The sturdily constructed AC30C2X is powered by a quartet of EL84s and features Normal and Top Boost channels with High and Low inputs, a Master Volume section with a Tone Cut control, spring reverb, tremolo, and a switchable true bypass effects loop. The AC30C2X comes loaded with a pair of 12" Celestion Alnico Blue speakers (though the amp is also available with Celestion G12 M greenback ceramic speakers as model AC30C2). Connecting a speaker cabinet to the External Speaker jack mutes the internal speaker, while connecting it to the Extension Speaker jack does not. The optional VFS2A Footswitch turns the reverb and tremolo on and off.
Playing through this amp was quite inspiring, both because of how good it sounded, and the way it responded to the dynamic shifts in my playing. Plugging into the Normal/Low input with the Normal Volume control about a third of the way up yielded gorgeously clear and sparkly clean tones with just enough edge to cut through a mix, whereas changing to the Normal/High input on the same setting provided more of the same, but with a bit more gain and crunch. Turning up the Normal Volume control when plugged into either input gradually increased the overdrive, producing distinctly different tonal characteristics along the way, though naturally the results were more intense when using the Normal input, reaching into late- ’60s rock territory with the control fully cranked. And although the Normal channel has no equalization, the versatile high frequency Tone Cut control in the Master section (situated between the preamp and the power amp) proved to be a surprisingly effective tone tweaking tool.
The Top Boost channel does have equalization— Bass and Treble controls—and they are highly interactive. Turning the Treble control up cuts bass frequencies at the same time it boosts highs, and the Bass control does the opposite, making it possible to dial in an appreciable range of textures when combined with the High Cut control. The Normal and High inputs on the Top Boost channel respond similarly to those on the Normal channel, but with added gain, extending the distortion possibilities into the early-’70s hard rock zone. In fact, the AC30C2X can basically step you through classic tonal time—from early Beatles chime to Byrds-y jangle to classic Queen crunch and beyond.
The Belton spring reverb is deep and rich, and its Tone control is quite handy for matching the reverb’s character with a given tone. The tremolo is also deep and vibe-y, with a nice range of modulation speeds from a slow wave to rapid pulsing. And the effects loop worked perfectly and was dead quiet.
The only problem I encountered was a slight but audible high-pitched sound that happened even with the volume controls fully counterclockwise. (An AC30C2 that was also in for testing did not produce the sound, and Vox hadn’t encountered it previously, so apparently the problem is limited to this particular amp.)
The AC30C2X is an excellent amplifier brimming with personality and tonal possibilities— just the sort of amp that might inspire you to play your best and write your own classic tunes.
More from this Roundup: