Vox AC100/2 Amplifier - 1965-1967

There was no mistaking the crash of Drake's guitar hitting the ground through a wide open AC-100 amp.

I was fourteen years old when Paul Revere and the Raiders rolled into Milwaukee in the fall of 1965. The Raiders were part of a Dick Clark "Cavalcade of Stars" tour. After school, I took the #11 bus downtown with a few friends to see the show.

For an encore, the Raiders played "Ooh Ooh Pa Do." Near the end of the song, Drake Levin and Phil "Fang" Volk climbed up on top of their AC-100 amps. Considering that these amps are nearly five feet tall, this could certainly be a hazardous activity. This evening, Drake lost his balance and disappeared behind the amp. There was no mistaking the crash of Drake's guitar hitting the ground through a wide open AC-100 amp. A few moments later, Drake walked around from the amp, obviously hurting, but ever the showman, completed the show.

Many years later, Phil "Fang" Volk and I became good friends. He told me that on another night, he fell from his AC-100 as well. After that night, he told me that spotters stood behind the amps to catch a Raider should he slip and fall.

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In 1964, Vox scurried the first fifty watt AC-50 amps to the Beatles. The output of their former AC-30 amps proved to be no match for the screaming girls in their audiences. One year and a string of #1 hits worldwide later, the AC-50s fared little better. Vox responded with even bigger and louder amps. They doubled both the wattage of the AC-50 head and the number of speakers in the AC-50 cabinet to make the AC-100 "80-100 Watt" amplifier.

The AC-100/2 was the second version of the AC-100. This amp was designed to correct design issues in the earlier AC-100 "80-100 Watt" amps. The new amp no longer had a "cathode biased" output circuit. This original output circuit was found to develop too much heat, often causing the insulating wax to melt out of the transformers and run out of the amp head cabinet. JMI Vox lead engineer Dick Denney told me that due to this problem, fewer than four hundred AC-100 "80-100 Watt" amp heads were produced. A new "Class AB" output circuit made the AC-100/2 a more dependable amp.

The cabinet for the AC-100/2 head is often called "thick edged." Unlike the earliest AC-100 heads, the AC100/2 head cabinet was constructed of 3/4" 13 ply baltic birch plywood.

The AC-100/2 used the same speaker cabinet as the "80-100." The 8 ohm cabinet had four Celestion/Vox 12" Alnico speakers and two Goodmans Midax horns with 2 uf oil filled crossover capacitors. A tubular chrome plated trolley allowed the cabinet to be swiveled for best dispersion.


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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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