In 2002/03, before the production of Vox amps was moved to Asia, a final limited edition handwired version of the AC30 was produced in the UK. Amp guru Tony Bruno contributed to the design, which was different from previous AC30s in some points (no built-in vib/trem circuit, no “normal channel” etc.).
At that time, I was playing a Johnson Millenium JM150 – kind of an analog modelling amp based on Digitech rack preamps such as the 2112 and 2120; with a programmable hybrid solid state/tube preamp section running into a digital effect section, into a solid state power amp. One day in 2003 I walked into a music store which had the head + cabinet version of this AC30HW on display. I tested it – it had a great, somehow lean, but still full sounding cleanish sound and a fantastic spring reverb that immediately made me wanna play George Harrison’s “Octopus’s Garden” intro – I instantly fell in love and knew my modelling amp days where over.
Since the AC30HW head + cabinet was priced at 3300 €, I couldn’t afford it at that time. So I went through three other amps with cathode bias EL84 power amps and reverbs: A Mesa Boogie Blue Angel, a Dr. Z MAZ 18 Reverb and a Heritage Briton (designed by Paul Cochrane of Tim and Timmy overdrive pedals fame). None of them had the sound I was looking for. Neither did the China made Vox AC30 CC models with their solid state driven spring reverbs that were released in 2004. In December 2007, I was lucky to find this combo version of the AC30HW 2nd hand on ebay for less than 2000 €. It was a great sounding amp, but for whatever reason, some of the magic of the other AC30HW models I had played (3 different ones at different music stores) was missing. Also, as every AC30, it was a heavy weight amp, stressing my back when I had to carry it. So, in 2016, I sold it ... which somehow I still regret. So, here’s the demo vid I made in 2015: