2017-04-11

List of updates / new info. on Vox solid state amps (1967-1972)

Updates for June 2017

25th June (2)

The page on the Vox Midas organ amplifier updated. In the "Vox Sound Limited" catalogue of August 1970, the Midas is referred to as being "new". However, it was actually developed by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" in the first half of 1969 and shown at the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair in August.

25th June

The pics from Zurich, May 1968, have been gathered together here.

24th June

A new page begun on notes and articles on "Vox Sound Limited" (VSL) in Beat Instrumental magazine, 1970-1971.

23rd June (2)

The new (or at least better verified) dates for the spans of "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" and "Vox Sound Limited" have been adjusted across the site.

VSEL: mid 1968 - early 1970.

VSL: mid 1970 - 1973 (though few if any guitar or bass amps will have been made in '73).

23rd June

Notice in "Beat Instrumental" no. 75, July 1969, ie. just prior to the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair. A brief sales pitch by Reg Clark and notes on the prices of the equipment mentioned.

22nd June

Some more on dates. In the "Guitar Guide" published in "Beat Instrumental" no. 87, July 1970, a note on Vox guitars. Vox has become "Vox Sound Limited":

Beat Instrumental, July 1970.

In January 1970, Vox was still "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", as instanced in the advert below from "Beat Instrumental" no. 81:

"The Guvnors" advert from January 1970, repeated from October 1969. "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" is the name, lower right.

In the last third of 1969, VSEL will have been busy putting its new style amplifiers - standby circuit omitted (single indicator lamp on front), and new six-position MRB - into production. Quite when work started on these is hard to say - certainly at the British Musical Instrument Fair in late August the amps on show all had two indicator lamps = "old" circuit. But these may simply have been amps reserved for display. At any rate, VSEL appears to have made 100 or so new-circuit Supremes.

In terms of the actual work, new schematics were drawn up, adjusted chassis (both preamp and power amp) ordered and stamped out, and the wirers trained in the making of the new looms. The ordering of extra capacitors for the MRB is likely to have been a minor thing.

20th June

A new page on Vox and Birch-Stolec now set up here, encapsulating the info below.

Effectively, it turns out that George Stow, who helped save Vox in early 1970 by setting up the Birch-Stolec group to run "Vox Sound Limited", had done a good deal of business with the company - "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" as it was at the time - in 1968 and 1969. He must have known Vox well, and presumably formed a sense that the business was still viable.

19th June

Above, details from a "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" Defiant and Supreme, both with transformers made by "Twickenham Transformers".

The Electrical Times, volume 154, 1968 records that Twickenham Transformers had been taken over by Stow Electronics = Stolec. This took place in 1967.

Thereafter, TT's premises were at Hayward Heath, Sussex, first, then on the Ponswood Industrial Estate in St Leonards-on-Sea (Hastings), in close proximity to the Stolec / Stow Electronics factory.

Stolec - later "Birch-Stolec" - was the company that took Vox over when "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" folded.

In addition, there is report that Stolec / Stow Electronics supplied Vox in 1969 with switches - switches being Stolec's speciality.

The upshot is that in early 1970 Birch-Stolec bought a company that it was already involved with, doubtless seeing a profit and future in taking the ailing VSEL on.

VSEL was certainly in receivership in late 1969 - but quite how long it had been in that condition is hard to gauge - one finds all sorts of possibilities ventured - six months, nine months, and so on. Needs something more than venturing.

A note on Twickenham Transformers.

Up to 1967: based at 301 Richmond Road, Twickenham - so the name.

1967: taken over by "Stow Electronics". Based at Bridge Road, Hawyard Heath, Sussex.

From 1968/1969: move to the Ponswood Industrial Estate, St Leonards-on-Sea, near the Stolec factory.

Above, the Lemark transformer in a late Foundation Bass. Lemark presumably took over the Twickenham Transformers works at Hayward Heath, and may have been an arm of the company - which is how Birch Stolec will have come to own it.

18th June (3)

Documentation provided with Supreme no. 2231 shows that "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" (VSEL) was still in business under that name at the end of November 1969:

Hang-tags of the amp and speaker cabinet, and receipt of purchase (no. 6597). The documentation was produced and the amp and cab tested on 26th November of '69.

The VSEL page has been tidied up a little more. It may seem a little slow-witted to proceed by steps, but documentation is everything in these matters.

Too often reports along the lines of "it is said that....", or "I heard from X that....", produce questionable (let's say) results. A little bird told me.

18th June (2)

The page on solid state amp covers has been updated, and will be updated further next weekend.

For an overview of Vox covers in the period 1964-1967, see this page on the Vox AC100 website.

18th June

Extract from Billboard magazine, October 1967, recording the visit of American Vox dealers to the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair in late August (at which JMI exhibited), and France and Germany.

American dealers/distributors will probably have been only passingly interested in the Supreme, Conqueror et al., however, as they had their own range of amps - the Thomas Organ Super Beatle family.

In a sense, when JMI decided to throw in its lot with solid state, it effectively ruled itself out of the American market, which had been a mainstay of previous export drives - around 75% of its output went abroad in 1965 and 1966, and a good proportion of that to the States.

All that more or less ended in 1967. JMI had to push much harder elsewhere therefore. The loss of America alone did not bring JMI down - a series of events beyond its control saw to that. But it did ultimately cause Vox Sound Equipment to fail.

17th June (2)

Vox Supremes at Zurich Hallestadion, May 1968
Vox Supremes at Zurich Hallestadion, May 1968

Zurich, 30 May 1968. In the lower picture, the rear of the Supreme (with its back panel removed) that can be seen on a 730 cab and trolley in the upper pic. Note the number of heatsinks (Conquerors and Defiants only have two).

17th June

A televised performance by "The Animals" in Berlin, January 1968. On stage, two Supremes, and an AC50 driving two Foundation Bass cabs.

A prelim. set of pics of a Vox Midas with reverb on this page. These were far less common than the Midas without reverb.

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16th June (2)

Great shot from the Monster Konzert blogspot of the backs of the Supremes with the protected fronts together with the Super Foundation Bass amp belonging to the Animals - stencilled "Animal". Note that one of the cabs has Celestion ceramic drivers (one can tell from the profile of the frames that they are not Goodmans).

The Supremes on the other side of the stage were evidently part of The Animals' backline along with the SF Bass - "Animal" can be seen stencilled on the side too. These amps were used by the band at the "International Love In" at the Crystal Palace, June 1968.

The "Monster Konzert", Zurich, Hallestadion, 30th and 31st May, 1968. Four Vox Supremes on stage, two to left, two more visible behind the Marshalls at right. The latter belonged to The Animals. The former, with protective sheets at front, may have been provided by Musikhaus Embag.

Musikhaus Embag is named as a major dealer / distributor in the Vox advert produced for the Frankfurt Music Fair, February 1969. See this page.

15th June

A page begun on dealers of Vox solid state equipment in the 60s. Further material will be added this weekend.

14th June (2)

Note on Vox Sound Equipment Limited guitars, along with prices, in Beat Instrumental, November 1969

14th June

An early VSEL Super Foundation Bass set - amp serial no. 2029, cab no. 098 - added here. Thanks to Fabrice for the pics.

13th June

"Vox Sound Equipment Limited" advertisement in "Beat Instrumental" magazine, February 1969, in advance of the Frankfurt Music Fair.

The general page on Beat Instrumental adverts, late 1968-mid 1969, has been updated.

12th June

A new page on the Vox Sound Equipment Limited (VSEL) LS40 linesource speakers posted here.

11th June

  • Beat Instrumental magazine, January 1970, note on Vox PA equipment
  • Beat Instrumental magazine, January 1970, note on Vox PA equipment

Above, a note on Vox PA equipment from "Beat Instrumental" magazine, January 1971, part of its "Focus on P.A.". At this point, Vox was "Vox Sound Limited" and still based in Erith.

Also to signal, the page on "Vox Sound Limited" has been updated.

10th June (3)

Pics of three Conquerors added - 1132, 2004, and 2050 (already signalled below).

10th June (2)

A detail from a shot of the VSEL display at the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair, Russell Hotel, London, 17th-21st August 1969. Note in the background the old style LS40 speaker but with a new tilt back frame - the uprights go through the handwheel and protrude above it.

The PA amps - the SS50, SS100 and what looks like a Midas (claimed as new by Vox Sound Limited in 1970) - are on the metal shelves left of centre. The folding Focus linesource speakers, which had been prepared for release at the show, are to the right of the Super Foundation Bass rig.

The Supreme, Super Foundation Bass, and Foundation Bass all still have double indicator lamps on the front panel - but it could be that these amps, reserved for display, were slightly older ones.

A new hub page for VSEL things has been set up here. It will continue to grow.

10th June

A Vox "T100" cab issued by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" pictured on this page. Others will be added in due course (when the batch of pics comes to light).

Above, an early Super Foundation Bass amp (serial no. 1033) with a 2x15" cabinet. Bill Wyman used a similar set up on the Stones tour of Europe in March/April 1967. Note the solid state logo. For the pairing to work properly the cab would need to have a total impedance of 15ohms and a jack socket on the back panel.

The Vox pricelist of April 1967 only itemises an "AC100 Bass Cabinet (2x15" speakers)", but one could presumably ask for specials.

8th June (2)

Vox Focus folding speakers described in Beat Instrumental, October 1969. The line was evidently prepared for launch at the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair in August. For surviving examples, see this page.

Prior to August '69, VSEL sold the LS40 columns designed by JMI in 1963.

  • Vox Sound Equipment Limited, LS40 Line Source column speakers
  • Vox Sound Equipment Limited, LS40 Line Source column speakers
  • Vox Sound Equipment Limited, LS40 Line Source column speakers

LS40 columns with VSEL ident plates.

8th June

Conqueror no. 2050, early "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", with its cab, number 017. Probably made in late 1968, perhaps very early 1969. Currently for sale in Germany.

The preamp of Defiant no. 2032 has a red CCL capacitor dated December 1968. These early VSEL amps are later than one might otherwise guess, given that VSEL formally came into being in August '68.

7th June

Vox advert from "Beat Instrumental", October 1969 - still "Vox Sound Equipment Limited". The issue contains a report of the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair in August of that year. More on that in due course.

Also from October 1969, pictures taken in Macari's (the old Jennings shop at 100 Charing Cross Road) of the awarding of a Foundation Bass to the winner of a Beat Instrumental contest held in July. Interesting to note that the amp still has a standby circuit - two lamps on the front.

In the background, various other Vox amps - a Supreme, Super Foundation Bass, and UL730, perhaps "stock", but possibly brought in for the photo.

5th June (2)

An ancillary page on early Vox Gyrotones begun here. The main page is still here - with pics of surviving units.

5th June

Above, the section on Vox from Beat Instrumental magazine's focus on organs. The shot of the organs at the head of the page was taken in Royston Industries' head office in Hill Street, Mayfair. The flock wallpaper is instantly recognisable. For other shots taken in the same room, see the foot of this page.

1st June

Above, the "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" advert in "Beat Instrumental" magazine, March 1969 - The Coming of the Giants. This ad won an award from the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers Association later in the year.

Updates for May 2017 are now here.

Updates for April 2017.

Updates for late March 2017.

Updates for early March 2017.

Updates for January and February 2017.

Updates for 2012-2016.

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