New for 2016, Vox have announced the reintroduction of their legendary AC-15 and AC-30 heads, coupled with a charming 2x12 cabinet housed in the same chassis as their ever-present AC-30 combo amp.
The announcement isn't especially unexpected, and it certainly doesn't blow the doors off in terms of unique or innovative NAMM releases for this year, but it is nonetheless an extremely important addition to Vox's catalog.
That might seem like an odd statement considering it is nothing more than the separation of two existing combo amplifiers into head and cab's, and that, in both cases, the separation adds at least an extra few pounds to the overall weight of what is already one of the heaviest, most cumbersome amplifiers in its class.
It has certainly been met with mixed reactions by the guitar community. Weight is a hot topic at the moment, and despite being utterly, utterly irrelevant, people have started banging on about it a lot recently. Amplifier manufacturers, ignore this at your peril! Of course, Vox have been reissuing the same amp for nearly 60 years with very little progression in the rest of their catalog, so it's unlikely that they'll pay any attention to this trend.
The reason that this reintroduction is so very important, is that it makes Vox a viable option for touring musicians again. Touring musicians are a key demographic for amplifier manufacturers to appeal to; they buy frequently, they're touring, so the manufacturers equipment is being showcased all over the place, and touring musicians tend to be very loyal, reliability is important, and it, generally speaking, guarantees repeat custom.
Now I'm not suggesting that combos aren't a reasonable option for touring musicians, but 9 times out of 10 it is preferable to use separates for ease of change overs, supporting slots etc. Not to mention, if you're touring, you might want to bring a spare, and who wants to bring a spare combo... let alone an AC-30! The head offers you flexibility, it also gives players the option to partner it with other cabinets should they choose.
The Vox AC-15 and 30 are a massively important part of musical heritage, and until now they have been difficult to integrate into a modern set up for a lot of musicians. Separating them into head units at such affordable prices puts them well within the reach of most musicians and provides interesting competition to Orange and Fender's dominance of the budget amplifier head market.