VOX SOUND EQUIPMENT LIMITED (VSEL) AC50s

Large box amps, solid state rectified - 1968-1970

"Vox Sound Equipment Limited" sprang from the ruin of Jennings Musical Instruments in the summer of 1968, taking over a good part of its predecessor's stock - some of it evidently produced in late 1967. It seems likely that a number of JMI-made AC50s were sold by VSEL still with JMI serial number plates on the back panel.

The new serial plates (see below) were evidently reserved for amps newly-made by VSEL, indicated also by the legend "A VOX Product" on their control panels.

A further identifying feature of VSEL AC50s is the presence in the preamp of (blobby) mustard-coloured capacitors, rather than the yellow polypropene ones of the JMI period.

Surprisingly few AC50s seem to have had VSEL plates though - which is probably to say that relatively few were made. The company certainly struggled financially in the face of stiff competition from Marshall, Laney, Orange, Hiwatt, and growing numbers of overseas manufacturers.

But it may be that the short production was simply a consequence of the need to use up parts that had been purchased by JMI but not made up into finished units.

To date (August 2017) the highest serial number encountered is 1081, at the foot of his page.

For material on Vox Sound Equipment Limited, see this page, with further links there.

Production remained in the former JMI/Burndept factory at Erith - the "West Street" works - throughout the VSEL period.

A note from "Beat Instrumental" magazine, July 1969. Reg Clark was general sales manager of Vox Sound Equipment Limited. The "AC50 Amplifier Section" was often issued with the new-style Foundation Bass cabs.

Below, a register of early amps. If anyone knows of others that have not yet been included, do let me know.

Register of surviving amps

VSEL serial number 1045 - currently in the USA

VSEL serial number 1052 - currently in Ireland

Gigged for some years in Dublin, then to the RTE Studios in the city, from which it was acquired by the present owner. It had what are likely to have been its original Brimar and Mullard valves. Used on the road again in the early 2010s. Following a recording session in 2011, a transformer had to be replaced (with a unit from a Marshall). In full working order. Thanks to Gerard for pictures and info.

VSEL serial number 105x - currently in Scandinavia

Said to be valve rectified - perhaps an old chassis being used up?

VSEL serial number 1061 - currently in Sweden

Voltage selector removed (a condition of Swedish law). A nice amp, used on the album "Jetbone" - . Thanks to Viktor for the pictures.

VSEL serial number 1068 - currently in Finland

Original Amphenol XLR sockets still in place. The voltage selector removed (as in the case of serial number 1061, above). The speaker cabinet is a replica, but inside a Goodmans Audiom 91, 50 watt unit. Thanks to Timo for the pictures.

VSEL serial number 1071 - currently in the USA

VSEL serial number 1072 - currently in Finland

"Vox Sound Equipment Limited" AC50 serial number 1072 with a slightly later "Vox Sound Limited" Foundation Bass speaker cab. Both in excellent condition. Thanks to Gilbert for the pictures.

VSEL serial number 1073 - currently in Denmark

"Vox Sound Equipment Limited" AC50 serial number 1073.

NEW

VSEL serial number 1081 - currently in Germany

Paired with a Jennings Electronic Industries B1 bass speaker cabinet - 1 x 18". Thanks to Roland for the pictures.