Going for the Most Accurate Repro of Paul McCartney's 1960s VOX Stack

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by DynoShaggy3000, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. DynoShaggy3000


    Jan 3, 2013
    So I'm looking into setting up a rig that is aesthetically and functionally just like Paul's in the mid 60's, that is, VOX AC100 Bass cabinet (aka T100) with the AC100 amp head. I mocked myself up a price list of everything I think I'd need to make it complete, but I honestly have only ever owned combo amps so this is sort of a grey area for me.

    Definite purchases that would have to happen are these:
    North Coast Music Vox T100 bass cabinet $440
    NCM Vox AC100 head cabinet $279
    NCM Vox bass flag (really not important, tiny detail though) $22
    2 15" bass speakers of some sort
    appropriate cable(s)
    Amp head that would perform similarly to the VOX ac100, and fit into the ac100 repro cabinet

    Here's the NCM reproduction cabinets I'm speaking of http://www.voxshowroom.com/northcoast/vox/cabinets/repro_T60_T100.html

    The part I'm confused with is matching the speakers and the amp head. I remember reading that paul used 2 15" Celestion 15w speakers but that sounds wonky considering he had a 100w amp on it.

    The speakers I looked into were eminence 15" CB158 bass speakers, but that's just for exemplary purposes, it could be any 15" speakers that'll sound good. How would I know if the speakers would work with the amp head?
    And what speakers does the community recommend for a 60s tone?

    just for reference, I'm aiming for the whole thing to be cheaper than my last resort, the $3800 JMI setup, which is JMI 100 Head ~$2300 and the JMI T100 Cabinet ~$1500. These are probably functionally the closest anyone could get to Paul's rig without buying very rare vintage equipment or mickey-mousing together a rig with reproduction cabinets, but $3800 seems pretty steep to me (I don't know, is it a fair price for a good bass stack?). And the new JMI doesn't quite look like the JMI VOX from the 60s.

    Thanks! :cool:
  2. grenadilla


    Aug 22, 2011
    A Marshall DSL 100 head might get you that sound on the clean channel- $900.The 215 cabinet is sealed and the NCM 15s might be a safe bet. Those 100 watt Vox heads were not ventilated well and would overheat. Bill Wyman used one with an 18 on each side of the stage (when he stood next to Brian). Check out Paul's current Mesa cabinets.
  3. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    He definitely did not use 15 watt 15" speakers, whoever said that is mixing up details of the famous alnico Celestion 12" speakers which Vox used in many amps, and the ceramic 15" that they used in a few cabinets.

    Have you ever heard a rig like this ? The AC100 head is cool, but the cabinet is not that good by modern standards. They sound farty and relatively quiet unless they are modified by adding ports and by improving the seal of the back panel.
  4. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    JohnK10 did this one a few years ago. He wasn't trying to faithfully duplicate Sir Paul's rig - he wanted it to look and sound good. John's words: "custom built 160 watt tube head w/2-15 K140 JBL's ported":

  5. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The problem with the T100 is that it doesn't perform very well. The cab is small for two fifteens.

    An option would be to order the North Coast Music cab with only one 15" speaker cut out and port it.
  6. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    What's your goal with this project? It might look and sound like PM's live act, but there was a world of change that happened to the recorded/produced tone inside Abbey Road Studios.
  7. What does John K do that doesn't turn out bad@$$?! That guy is so talented.

  8. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    trying to reproduce the bass tone from 'the beatles at the hollywood bowl'?
  9. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    According to George Martin, at that particular event you couldn't hear the band because the crowd noise was like the roar of a Boeing 747.
  10. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    That is one thing that you really can't say about the AC100. The lack of sufficient venting for the four EL34s caused them to catch fire occasionally!

    Edit: The VOX AC30TB was arguably one of the best guitar amps ever built. Sadly the same can not be said about their bass products.
  11. BTW, Johnk_10 also has a G-K 1001RB II neatly stuffed in a VOX headcase.
  12. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    I swear that guy can do anything involving a bass guitar.
  13. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    There were several versions of the AC100, some of which were more prone to problems than others, but I thought it was more about the bias circuit. The venting looks OK to me.


    I've used a mid 60s AC50 for many gigs as a bass amp with no problems. And the Foundation cabinet has comparable performance to a B15. I just think the T60 and T100 cabinets and the short lived T60 solid state head are not so good. (I do still have a T60 cabinet but I use it for guitar.)
  14. Venting was not even close to the needs. EL34 are very hot running bulbs. EL84's would have been good in that chassis/ventilation or at most 6V6's.
  15. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    Well, this is getting nitpicky, but based on the fact that the venting is pretty much the same as the AC50 which used a pair of EL34s and is known both in general and to me as a reliable amp which sold well at the time I think you're overstating your case.
  16. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    6AQ5A is 6V6's miniature version. It's a shame nobody makes those anymore.
  17. DynoShaggy3000


    Jan 3, 2013
    If the T100 doesn't perform well, what is the next most similar cab that actually performs well? would it be the Super Beatle?
  18. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    AC100 mkII :


    Marshall 100 watt Super Lead from 1968, surely one of the definitive and most famous 100 watt tube amp heads:


    If I'm not mistaken these are both solid state rectified amps, so the only real difference here is that the preamp tubes in the Marshall are also under the vent opening.

    There are many split chassis amps that have little or no venting of the preamp chassis, or no venting at all of a single chassis, so this doesn't appear to be a venting issue to me unless the AC100 is running an unusually hot plate current or dissapation, or it's being run in an overvoltage situation using the 115v tap with 125v-ish AC (an issue that can likewise occur with the Marshall or any other amp not built for 120-125VAC).
  19. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    The Super Beatle cabinet with the original speakers is cool for guitar, but not for bass at gig volumes. They had 4 guitar 12" speakers and two old school horn drivers.

    The closest thing to a viable but retro looking Vox cabinet IMHO would be either a T 60 with the 12" replaced by a front ported plywood baffle bolted on to the speaker mounts and with the back panel seal tightened and caulked, or better yet, two single 15 or single 18 Foundation cabinets with good drivers.

    Two Foundations, stacked vertically and with the "pie" logo on the upper one only, wouldn't be hugely different looking to most people than a T60/T100. Might be easier to deal with too.
  20. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I've only really listen to studio recordings of Sir Paul with the Beatles
    I'm guessing that most know this sound by the recordings, and I bet his amp has nothing to do with his recorded sound.
    You can also find some isolated bass tracks as they were done in the studio.
    Abby Road has worked to produce some VSTs for DAW that recreate their old studio gear. You could use that as a starting point as a reference for the sounds.