VOX AC100 - UPDATES AND NEW INFO
February - April 2019
A further shot of the early AC80/100 belonging to "Sounds Incorporated" - caught from rear of stage. c. 1966 (venue at present unknown). At least one of the AC50s pictured has a three-line serial number plate and red warning plaque.
It is the front of this AC80/100 that probably features in the picture of the band with Mary Wells (entry for 15th May, below).
Salient features of the rear of the amp: twin Cannon XLR sockets; the rounded off corners to the white warning plaque (also on serial number 173); the metal Arrow ball-end mains switch; and the absence of screws on the top edge of the backboard.
Thanks to Ruth for the image.
A new page begun on Vox (Thomas Organ) adverts in "Downbeat Magazine", a jazz bi-weekly that cast its net wide. Most of the ads are well-known, but their source is seldom noted.
The front and a portion of the reverse of a Burndept flyer for an airborne transceiver. Aviation and military communications devices were the company's main lines of business in its Erith premises - the works on West Street, shared with Vox from early 1965, and the Riverside Works beside the Thames.
Both Burndept and Vox were part of the Royston group of companies, a controlling share in Vox having been taken towards the end of January 1963 (380,000 one shilling shares). What eventually brought the group down, Vox included, was Royston's insistence that Burndept develop its Midas black box flight recorder. Profits from the member companies were effectively siphoned off in Burndept's direction, and when the recorder failed to find commercial success, Royston and its holdings rapidly collapsed.
The telephone number originally printed - Erith 33080 - is that of the West Street Works. One also finds it in Vox literature from 1965. The fact that the number is crossed out in the Burndept flyer (dated 2nd Dec. 1964) probably indicates that the department concerned had moved out to make room for Vox.
Full page advert in "Flight International" magazine, 30th August, 1962, giving the Erith 38121 telephone number at foot and the line "A Member of the Royston Industries Group".
Below, the well-known picture of Mary Wells with Sounds Incorporated, last third of 1964, from Getty Images. The amp caught at right is certainly a thin-edged AC80/100 - its grille cloth 3 diamonds tall. The grilles of thin-edged AC50s are 2 2/3 diamonds tall.
The amp is seen on stage accompanied by two Foundation Bass cabs during the Arthur Howes/Epstein package tour of Great Britain, 9th October - 10th November, 1964, Mary Wells, Sounds Incorporated, The Remo Four, et al. supporting The Beatles.
Belfast, King's Hall, 2nd November, 1964. The amp and one of the Foundation Bass cabs (the other is behind the curtain) can be seen at right of stage.
Below, a detail from the picture of the Barron Knights published in "Pop Weekly", 2nd January, 1965. The amp on the ground is an AC100 (AC80/100) in a thick-edged box, not a small-box AC50, as suggested earlier (entry for 5th May).
AC100s in thick-edged boxes with BASS runners (lower right hand corner on the grille cloth) are extremely rare birds - indeed, this so far seems to be the only example. As BASS runners are, as far as AC100s go, a thin-edged box thing, the amp in view is probably an early thick-edged AC80/100 with a copper control panel.
11th May (2)
The page on the Stones, 1964-1965, has now been overhauled, long overdue. Further details will be incorporated soon.
Dayton, Ohio, 13th November, 1964. The settings of Bill's amp - everything at 1 o'clock.
Further shots of Bill Wyman's first AC80/100 - at Alexandra Palace, 26th June, 1964, road manager Ian Stewart sorting out cables; and on stage, NME Poll Winner's concert, 11th April, 1965.
The front of the amp, currently in Florida.
The original box and plate of serial number 215, currently in the USA - thanks to Mike for the pics. Although the back panel fittings have been removed, shadow outlines show how it was arranged.
The distinctive feature of no. 215 is the low position of its warning plaque - close above the paired Cannon XLR speaker sockets (which are not uncommon on amps with numbers in the 200s, but rare earlier on).
An overview of the arrangement of the back panels of various AC100s is available on this page.
"Pop Weekly" magazine, 2nd January, 1965. The Barron Knights pictured with a full set of Vox gear: two AC30s; an AC50 Mk 1 in thick-edged box with BASS flag; two Foundation Bass speaker cabinets (with no side handles) and an AC100 on top; two LS40 columns.
Given the date of publication, the AC100 (AC80/100) will have had either a copper or black panel. The picture doesn't particularly look like one taken in the depths of a British winter - more late summer / autumn - but there were certainly some warm days in the south of England, December '64 - synopsis.
2nd May (2)
A quick shot of the lower half of a full-page Vox ad in "New Musical Express", 10th December, 1966:
Below, a paper runner, one of two said to have been given to a group visiting the Dartford Road factory in early 1967. Stacks of these were probably printed during the course of 1966 - note the similar arrangement of items (not quite the same) in the ad placed in "Beat Instrumental" magazine, February 1966.
Whether anyone really put these in a van window....
Printed paper runner, c. 1966.
"Beat Instrumental" magazine, February 1966.
"Melody Maker" magazine, 9th May, 1970 - three AC100s on sale. The Orange shop on New Compton Street regularly had secondhand Vox amps, and not uncommonly AC100s. Occasionally the line was "Vox AC100....choice".
9th May 1970
A couple of Vox 200 watt (custom) valve amps listed for sale in "Melody Maker" ads, late 1970. These are unlikely really to have been produced by "Vox Sound Limited", which had only just come into being, or for that matter by its predecessor, "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" (mid 1968-early 1970). VSEL mainly supplied solid state equipment, its only valve amps being the AC30 and AC50. If the 200 watt amps were indeed made by Vox, they are more likely to have been produced by JMI. Could they have been akin to the massive PA amps given to The Who in late August 1965? See this page for more.
19th September 1970
5th December 1970
Below, pictures taken by Michael Ochs on the "Shindig" national package tour of the U.S.A., 29th April - 26th May, 1965 - three AC100 SDLs on stage. It seems unlikely that these amps belonged to Gerry and the Pacemakers and had been shipped from England for (or by) the band to use in the States. In all probability they were supplied for this leg of the tour by Thomas Organ.
Pictures from Getty Images.
Advert for the Philadelphia show, 21st May 1965.
With a little delving, it may be possible to identify the venue in the Ochs pictures above. For further details of the various legs of the Shindig package tours, see this page.
17th April (2)
"Melody Maker" magazine, 22nd February, 1969 - Jennings Electronic Industries promotion for its showing at the forthcoming Frankfurt Musikmesse.
A quick group shot of three of the old ones. Left to right: serial numbers 178, 173, and 254 (the JMI promotional amp never given a logo).
A little more on JEI. Below, a short note on the Jennings showing at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in April/May 1975 from the general coverage given in "International Musician" magazine.
"International Musician and Recording World", April 1975.
"Melody Maker", 16th August, 1969 - entry on Jennings Electronic Industries (JEI) in reference to the Associated Musical Instrument Industries Trade Fair at the Russell Hotel:
Interesting to find mention of the planned expansion of the premises at Dartford Road, and production at Byfleet and Ascot in collaboration with A.P.T. Electronics Ltd.
A.P.T. Electronics, originally All Power Transformers Ltd, manufactured test equipment, among other things, under the trade name "Lektrokit". Its headquarters were at Chertsey Road, Byfleet - see this page. The company entered receivership in 1974.
Two further AC100s - SDL sets from late 1966, serial numbers in the 1800s - have come to light:
Serial number plate missing. Currently in Australia. Thanks to Adrian for info and pics. An entry will posted soon.
Serial number 1886. Currently in Germany and on offer at Oldenburger Vintage. The amp was owned for some years by a well known collector in N. Germany.
Two further amps now known to exist - serial number 252 (hand-stamped 0252 like 0254), black panel, late 1964 / early 1965, currently in the process of being restored; and serial number 691, a "100W Amplifier", late summer 1965.
30th March (2)
The photos of the Vox catalogue of early 1964 are in the process of being replaced with better ones.
Just a note in passing. The second edition of Shirley Douglas's "Easy Guide to Rhythm and Blues for Bass-Guitar", issued in 1964, contains a great promotional picture of Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers with a Transonic. The band had two in total, one after another, both of which ended up in pieces. See also the entry below for 2nd March.
The third edition of Douglas's guide, published in 1970, was revised with pictures of late 1960s bands - Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After, and so on. Douglas and McDevitt were long-time Vox users, appearing for instance in a flyer of 1961 - both sides available here.
Flyer from 1961.
Vox Teen Beat magazine issue 1, complete, is now available here. Below, a great pic. from page 4:
Los Angeles County Fair at Pomona, Disc Jockey Carnival, 25th-31st December, 1964. An AC100 with Foundation Bass cab at left.
Some pages from Vox Teen Beat magazine no. 1, late March or early April, 1965. The others will be posted soon. For details of the "Battle of the Bands" competition, which the magazine was produced to publicise, see this page.
This copy came from a seller in San Mateo, where the Bay Area contest was held. It had belonged to a drummer who attended the events.
Dick Denney's accident on the way to Heathrow, October 1964 - struck during the crash by the guitar-organ:
"Belfast Telegraph", 15th October, 1964.
A new page begun on the National Beat Contest, April to August 1965, equipment provided by Vox.
"Melody Maker", 14th August, 1965.
14th March (2)
A packet of Vox Phantom guitar strings (complete) from September 1964 - pretty much co-eval with the move to thick edged boxes for the AC80/100.
The date 9-64 in the printer's runner.
Detail from the Vox "Precision in Sound" newspaper format catalogue. Note that the packet of strings depicted has "VOX" in old style square letter form.
Two AC100s recently come to light: serial number 683 from late summer 1965; and number 954 from the end of 1965:
Serial number 954. Thanks to Michael for the picture.
Serial number 683.
Serial number 1064.
Serial numbers 683 and 1064 were both owned at one time by a collector in Germany. His numbered stickers can be seen on the plates. Both amps are paired with Supreme cabs from early 1968 - to emulate SDLs.
A new page has been started on the "Ready Steady Win" competition, summer and autumn, 1964. A photo taken on or before 9th September shows an array of Vox equipment (for potential purchase with the prize money): an AC100 SDL and large box AC50s with early trolleys.
On its way to the UK, a mid 60s Vox guitar lead with 3 yard cable - not too many around these days. This type of lead (with moulded plugs) was no. 2017 in Vox catalogues and pricelists. See the details below from the pricelist of November 1965. The "Precision in Sound" catalogue of late 1964 illustrates a coiled lead with same jack plugs (see the second entry below for 8th March).
The straight and angled plugs are illustrated in the "Precision in Sound" catalogue, below (second entry for 8 March).
8th March (3)
One side of "The British Sound" catalogue opened up to show its general arrangement:
8th March (2)
Some details - small fry really - of a Vox angled jack plug from the mid 60s with its original 3 yard lead. The cable is of the same type that Vox used for AC30 footswitches. The other end is not terminated. Perhaps used for a footswitch for an echo unit, less likely for a speaker cabinet or for guitar.l
Detail from the JMI "Precision in Sound" newspaper format catalogue of late 1964.
Just to signal the fact that Thomas Organ issued two similar fold-out catalogues in the second half of 1965: one titled "King of the Beat", which came first; the other "The British Sound":
In the latter, the amps are presented in a different order (the AC100 is at the right hand end of the lowest row), and the amplifier section of the "Berkeley II" has sloping sides. In the "King of the Beat" catalogue, the Berkeley is depicted as an AC50 Super Twin.
The English "Precision in Sound" newspaper catalogue, late 1964.
The American "Million Dollar Sound" catalogue from late 1964 / early 1965, text much as in the English listing (some small changes). The height given for the AC100 amplifier cabinet - 9" - is wrong, however.
The revised entry in the American "The British Sound" catalogue from late summer 1965. The size given for the thick-edged AC100 amplifier box is now more or less correct (width including corner protectors).
Covers were available for the amplifier but not the speaker cabinet. "Waterproof cover for amplifier unit included at extra cost". (!)
The four early adverts for the Vox AC100 SDL have been set up here.
Pages, dated June 1966, on the Vox plug-in boosters from the Thomas Organ Accessories Manual - the first US-made units simply replicated the English ones.
See the entries for 20th and 23rd February lower down this page for an English-made Treble Booster.
The JMI hire purchase pricelist printed for Musicland, Bexleyheath, has now been put up on the early documents index page.
Below, the page listing amplifiers. Note the AC30 Super Transonic:
Jamie and the Raiders, c. 1962, with a Transonic. There are pictures of the band using the amp on stage too. Other notable Transonic users (live) were The Fontanas and Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers.
A detail of the entry for the AC100 SDL in the JMI "Precision in Sound" newspaper format catalogue from late 1964. This is the first appearance of the SDL in a formal catalogue. The AC100 SDL had been already been advertised - the amplifier in a thick-edged box - in September 1964 in "Melody Maker", however - see this page.
Note the deliberate error - "four inputs". AC100s always have two.
Below, the Jennings Treble Booster unit plugged into an amp (as recommended in the instruction leaflet). It works, of course, but did anyone actually use them like this?
Below, a Jennings Treble Booster unit with most of its original cardboard box (only the lid is missing) and instruction sheet. The battery supplied was a Vidor. In company with JMI, Vidor was owned by Royston Industries.
These plug-in booster units are surprising large, protruding from the amplifier in a slightly ungainly way - but they do work well.
Further pics to follow.
Plug-in treble boosters are first mentioned (though not illustrated) in the Vox "Precision in Sound" newspaper-format catalogue of late 1964.
A great picture from the Daily Mirror of Jet Harris (in the white jacket) on stage with Sounds Incorporated at the NME Poll Winners Concert, 26th April, 1964. Note the stacked pairs of Foundation Bass cabs at the extremities of the stage.
The performance caught in the photograph.
For more on the venue, the Empire Pool, Wembley, see this page.
10th February (2)
AC100 serial number 813; chassis number 1469. An AC100 Mark 2 from the last quarter of 1965. The brimistor has been removed. Further pictures to follow.
A new page gathering together adverts and promotions for the AC100 in magazines and periodicals has been started here.
Further JMI promotional material from 1961-1962 added on the main documents index page (click on the image above).