VOX SUPREME: Production

Jennings Musical Industries: from March 1967

Retail and Standard Production Supremes

The publicity heralding the arrival of the new fully solid state range of amps can be followed on this page.

The first evidence we have for the existence of the standard production amps and cabs - pre-production amps were very different - comes from pictures taken on the Stones' spring tour, which ran from 25th March - 15th April '67.

Clearly the amps must have been consigned to them by Vox at some point before the band left. Indeed, the impetus may have coincided with this note in Beat Instrumental Magazine, no. 47, March 1967.

Mention of the "British tour" is probably a wrong inference on the part of the writer

Above, The Stones on stage in Orebro, Sweden, 27th March 1967 with new Vox solid state equipment - images originally posted here by a fan who attended the concert. Keith and Brian had Supremes, Bill a Super Foundation Bass with a 2 x 15" cabinet.

Above, Jagger on stage, Warsaw, 13th April, 1967. Brian Jones's amp is in front of him, its ceramic Celestion speakers clearly visible.

Further details and pics are available here.

In a sense, this is all a long way of saying that standard production amps were well in order at least a month before their first official appearance in the Vox price-list of April 1967:

April 1967 JMI Retail pricelist - the Vox Supreme retailed at the princely sum of £271 19s, organs aside, the most expensive single item in the list.

This is probably as one would expect. Last of the pre-production amps in build in January - see the inspection tag on one of the units below. Redesign and manufacture of the new production units from February.

A number of early amps have Lemco capacitors with Feb. 1967 date codes. Lemco caps, distinctive in their bright yellowness, were not used in the pre-production amps - i.e. they were ordered specially for the new run.

And Defiant no. 1102 has inspection tags dated 24th April, so one would guess that between 90-100 Defiants at least had been made by that point.

Whether further stocks were produced in advance of sales remains to be seen:

Above, said to have been taken on 27th April 1967, showing Defiant boxes marked 155, 156, 157 and 159. Pic. from Jim Elyea's great book. However, note that on every box the line that should say "Jennings Musical Industries Ltd" under "Vox Sound Equipment" has been taped over.

This picture, which was printed in "The Beacon" journal in June 1967, shows where the "Jennings Musical Industries Ltd" should be.

The picture of boxes on trolley is most likely from 1968, after JMI had folded, and the amps are probably serial numbers 2155, 2156, 2157 and 2159. Some care is needed therefore. So too in the case of the pic. below of one of the assembly rooms at the Burndept Factory, said to be from June 1967, which is patently impossible.

The transformers of the Defiants being assembled have light-coloured tops. Unpainted metal shrouds did not appear until 1968, the Vox Sound Equipment Ltd period. So the pic. is presumably from June of that year.

Examination of dated components inside surviving amps will probably help reveal more about the production process. Some of the main lines have been set out on this page, and there are comments too on the blog.

What will follow below (in early April 2017) is a list of points in production that can be securely dated. Some of the info is already available on this site, but in a fairly scattered form. It needs bringing together. There will also be a section on assembly.