List of updates / new info. on Vox solid state amps (1967-1972)
21st February (2)
The short blurb in Melody Maker (20 Aug. '66) on the Vox / Jennings Musical Industries showing at the BMI Trade Fair.
The text from the advert below - likely to be the first issued by Vox for the solid state range of amplifiers in the UK. The "Watchdog", a limiter designed to stop power resistors tipping into overload ("clipping"), was a feature of American solid state amps ultimately not incorporated in the British range. See the dismissive remarks of Jack Bruce, July 1967, on the volume-restricting "Super Beatle".
"Melody Maker", 20th August 1966 - the advert for the British Musical Instrument (Associated Musical Instrument Industries) Trade Fair at the Russell Hotel, London, 21st - 25th August, 1966.
The report of the Fair published in "Beat Instrumental" magazine, October 1966 is available here.
A detail from the advert below, containing very probably the first illustration of amps in the bass range.
"Melody Maker" music paper, 25th February 1967 - the ad. to promote the Vox stand at the Frankfurt Music Fair in March. "Beat Instrumental" magazine did not publish a review of the exhibition unfortunately.
On a more general note, Vox presented some pretty strange adverts - assemblages might be a better description - in the "Melody Maker" in the later sixties. The one for the "Brian Jones" dulcimer is particularly odd.
Above, a so-called "Hastings Wah", manufactured by "Vox Sound Limited", but based on a design by Colorsound. More pictures coming soon. The striking thing about these pedals is the on/off switch - accessed through the top of foot-rest.
A fair number of Colorsound "Fuzz-Wah-Straight" pedals were made with switch-through-top, but relatively few plain Wahs.
Normally one finds it said that "Hastings Wahs" were made in 1975, but they are likely to be earlier than that.
For the very first Jennings Wah-Wah pedals - made in 1967 - see this page.
A so-so image of what is probably the first Vox advert for the solid state line in the UK - "Melody Maker" magazine, 20th August 1966. A better copy will be posted soon. For full-page adverts in "Beat Instrumental" magazine in 1966, see this page.
The text of the ad above:
"SOLID STATE...it's here. Solid State Amplifiers patented and perfected by VOX...Indestructible...reliable circuitry providing built-in top boost...Bass boost...distortion boost...middle-range boost (M.R.B.)...Reverb...Vibrato and the exclusive VOX Watchdog that ensures tonal purity up to maximum output...Full built-in protection against circuit breakdown...reduced maintenance...reduction in weight...SOLID STATE...it had to happen...it has happened because VOX it's what's happening.
Many new VOX Exclusives will be on show amongst the full range of VOX equipment at this year's Trade Fair at the Hotel Russell...21st - 25th August."
The report of the Trade Fair published in the October issue of "Beat Instrumental" magazine is given a little way down this page. Context for the pre-production amps exhibited at the Russell Hotel can be found here..
"Beat Instrumental", normally an early recipient of details from Vox, only managed a general report of the new solid state amps in its August issue (below). "Melody Maker" had the detailed news.
14th February (2)
An advert placed by Vox in Melody Maker magazine, 25th February 1967. Larger image to follow. The units illustrated are, left to right: Supreme, Defiant, Gyrotone, Continental Organ, Super Foundation Bass and Dynamic Bass.
A page from the Dallas Arbiter catalogue of 1971 showing Reg Clark, formerly Sales Director of JMI and later "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", in post as Sound City Marketing Executive.
Reg broke with Vox when VSEL folded in early 1970. On "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", see this page.
10th February (2)
A Conqueror exported to Finland probably early on. "PSO" is the company "Pohjoismainen Sähkö Oy". The company remained a major Vox dealer in 1969 - see this page.
The top panel of the added adhesive cover-plate has the serial number 11xx. The middle two plates give details of the mains power cycle. The long lower panel has VOX CONQUEROR with a backwards "C". The amp is currently advertised here.
Recently surfaced on ebay.uk a pair of "Vox Sound Limited" LS60 (Linesource 60) public address speaker columns. The drivers are Celestion T1252s, date code FC26 = 26th June 1970.
In the Celestion "T" book, 1252s are noted as having been first introduced in May 1966: "Lightweight 12" speaker. 12ohms DC coil. (Jennings). 402 x 5" ceramic magnet. 9 Lbs Poly Grey and Vox label."
Note that the speaker labels have "Vox Sound Equipment Limited". The columns may well have been unsold stock taken over by "Vox Sound Limited" in mid 1970. Quite how this squares with "Serial Number 265" is unclear though.
That LS60s do not figure in the pricelist of August 1970, available on this page, may simply be due to the deliberately limited scope of that list and the accompanying illustrated brochure. But it should be said that neither they nor the LS40 feature in later advertising either.
28th January (2)
Four more Defiants added, two early, two late: serial number 1217, an early amp and cab in France, serial number 2786 (complete with covers), and serial number 2802. Further pics of 2802 may be forthcoming.
Further Conquerors, Foundation Bass and Supremes to come.
Above, a Vox "Slave Driver" (solid state) - marketed from August 1971 by "Vox Sound Limited", which was active as a company from mid 1970 - 1973, superceding "Vox Sound Equipment Limited". The circular wells in the Slave Driver's top are for the feet of other units - other Slave Drivers, speaker cabs, amplifiers, etc.
For related units - the Vox "Slave Master", Vox "Compact 100" - see this page. The market for these things was not great even though the units were well constructed and the rationale good. Vox "old-style" solid state was on the wane. The new solid state whizz-kids were H&H - see Michael Ameson's page on the history (link top left on the landing page). Articles on "Vox Sound Limited" in 1972 are being assembled here.
A largish batch of updates to come soon. For the time being, Defiant serial no. 1108 here.
The page on early JMI wah-wah pedals has been extensively updated. Further info and examples to follow.
A new page is taking shape on the Wah-Wah pedals produced by Vox / Jennings Musical Industries in 1967. These were made at the Vox / Burndept Works in Erith alongside the solid state amplifiers.
Above, a Jennings Musical Industries Wah Wah pedal from early 1967. The yellow Lemco capacitor has the date code "YB" = February 1967. See this page for more on date codes. These Lemcos were also used in the early standard production solid state amps.
The page on 12" Goodmans ceramic speakers has been tidied up. These were regularly used in preference to Celestions from the autumn of 1967, though Celestions were still adopted in small batches through to end of days in 1973. Celestions are most common later on in Multi-Link speaker cabs, and the Companion and Supreme speaker cabinets that were not provided with Goodmans horns.
A page from a Vox pricelist for Trade of June 1972. Here and there, the retail prices are annotated. The Supreme cabinet, still offered with two horns, is the most expensive item on the page.
The front cover of the brochure printed for the German market in September 1967 (IX/67 at foot) but bearing the date 1968 - the standard image of the pre-production Supreme:
One more pic of Denney at the Trade Fair, along with a New Escort Special and effects box (click for the larger image):
A further pic of Dick Denney at the BMI Trade Fair, late August 1967, shown with his Vox Escort Special:
New built-in electronics were the thing - see Gary Hurst's review of the show - entry for 13th December, lower down this page.
What to make of the flyer below? - sold on ebay in March 2013 - presumably genuine - if not, a very peculiar thing to invent.
Described as being a "handbill", 7 7/8" X 4 7/8". It seems likely that such shows were arranged in early 1967 primarily to advertise the new solid state range - at this date, the pre-production amps. In other words these formed part of the testing process that culminated in the redesign of the control panels among other things.
A shot taken at the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair, 21-24 August 1967. See the entry below for 13th December.
Just to highlight again the amps specially designated for export to Denmark in late 1969 by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited". Above, Dynamic Bass serial no. 2221.
The Dynamic Bass was "C2", Conqueror "C1", Foundation Bass "B2", Defiant "B1", Super Foundation Bass "A2", and Supreme "A1".
Below, pictures from the Daily Express Record Star show, Empire Pool, Wembley, 29th March 1968, the backline provided by Vox, as it had been for the All Stars show at Wembley, 16th April 1967 - see this page. The amps were used by all but a very few bands on the bill.
The day's events are outlined here. The show was televised by a BBC outside broadcast unit.
On stage, there are three Supremes, a Foundation Bass, a Super Foundation Bass, an AC100 and AC30.
The two pictures above: The Easybeats
Simon Dupree and the Big Sound
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich; The Spencer Davis Group (using Marshalls); and The Move. Pictures taken by Ronny Thorpe. There were others too, but since the disappearance of his website some years, none have resurfaced.
13th December (3)
The four amps above currently on sale in Italy. The Virtuoso is JMI. The Conqueror amp is mid/late JMI with an early VSEL cab. The Defiant and cab is early VSEL. The Supreme, with original tilt-back stand, is late VSEL / early VSL.
13th December (2)
Pictures of a single-speaker "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" single-speaker Super Foundation Bass cab have been set up here.
Beat Instrumental magazine, October 1967 - from Gary Hurst's report of the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair, Russell Hotel. The amplifier is a Defiant.
Note that the article gives *peak* power output for the amplifiers.
The page on pre-production ("prototypes" is really to stretch the meaning) Vox solid state amps now tidied up. No sign so far of a surviving pre-production Supreme - is the one issued to Manfred Mann along with a 4120/7120 cab out there somewhere? - but try-out versions of all the other models in the range exist.
Above, the power socket on a pre-production Defiant currently in the UK. Modern (and 1970s) US connectors look as though they should fit, but don't, being among other things, 1/4" too large. It has been a real pain trying to find an old one that does.
However, through Ebay in the States, it has been possible to find an original - made by Amphenol. The socket section was always supplied separately - ie. without the shrouding body - in two forms: loose (part no. 160-10N), or on a steel mounting plate (part no. 160-2N). The steel mounting plate is easily removed. The body, which also fits a loose (male) plug section (part no. 160-11N), came separately too: part no. unknown at present. The socket on the amp by the way is part no. 160-5N.
Amphenol had a factory at Whitstable, down the Kent coast from Erith, and it was presumably from there - or at least via the factory there - that the assemblies came. Whether they were stocked at all widely in British electrical shops in the 1960s seems highly doubtful - perhaps the larger shops in big cities had one or two for US-made radios - but no more than that. Lose the cable and the amp was pretty much dead in the water.
Manfred Mann managed to hang on to his though. Below a pic of his pre-production Supreme plugged in, Berlin 1967:
Observe where the mains cable plugs in - far right at back. On standard production amps the socket is close to the middle.
2nd December (4)
Two early JMI Conquerors currently on sale in France - one with fixing mounts on the cab, the other with side stands. The first is serial no. 114x, the second serial no. 1118:
2nd December (3)
The plate of Vox Defiant serial number 2802, Vox Sound Limited, close to the end of the run. The amp, along with its cab (which retained one original Goodmans Power range speaker and the Midax horn), had spent some time in Sweden.
2nd December (2)
Below, a "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" Conqueror rig with a full set of covers:
Conqueror covers, a little surprisingly perhaps, are quite scarce (scarcer than those for Defiants). Early on, solid state amps came from the factory with covers supplied as a matter of course. Later they had to be bought separately.
The serial number plate of Defiant no. 1487 recently registered, with legend "AMPLIFIER" rather than "VOX AMPLIFIER".
Below, pictures of a Defiant from a litte while ago:
Nice to see original covers. Five sets are currently known - this, 1102, 1332, and two now in the States (though of course there could be more). Note the blue inspection tag on the side stand. The speakers have Vox Sound Equipment Limited labels indicating a date probably in late 1968/early 1969. Further pics will be posted on the main pages in the next few days.
Also to signal another Defiant, sold on Facebook (from Scandanavia) earlier this year.
Probably not too far removed in date from the one above. Note the metal hoods over the castors - similar ones occur on Conqueror serial number 2050 and Conqueror no. 2082. They were evidently used for a short time in the early VSEL period, perhaps late JMI too.
Metal hooded castors are also shown in the early brochures issued by JMI for the solid state range - but these are very "space age" in appearance. No real-world examples have so far come to light.
Just to add that there were two types of assembly for fixing Conqueror and Defiant side stands. The first (earliest): a metal "drum" with a central screw that fixed to the outside of the cab. Second (later): a flat plate, sometimes a disk, fitted inside the cab - holes were drilled for the pivot screws to protrude through.
Also Defiant no. 1487 - only the serial number plate for the moment though.
18th November (2)
The first advert issued by Vox Sound Equipment Limited - "Beat Instrumental" magazine Aug. 1968. As ever, click for a larger pic.
Below an article from "Beat Instrumental" magazine August 1968. Click for a larger pic.
"Vox Sound Equipment Limited" in Reg Clark's words was "born at the beginning of June ". The merchant bank that underwrote VSEL may have been the Corinthian Bank, named a year or so later in connection with the company's collapse. Corinthian's reputation was not good. The Beatles are pictured, inset, on stage at the Savoy Theatre, London - the promo for "Hello Goodbye". The amps are a UL430 and two Conquerors.
The page on Vox Sound Equipment Limited has been brought up to date.
Super Foundation Bass no. 2614 now registered here. Thanks to Christophe for the pictures.
From the Birmingham Post, 8th and 9th December 1967. The descent of Royston Industries, the holding company of Jennings Musical Industries, into receivership.
That it was the black box "Midas" flight recorder that did for Royston, has long been known from the "Vox Story", ed. Dick Denney and Dave Petersen. But interesting to have more on the dates from these newspaper sources.
A snippet below from The Aberdeen Daily Express, 12 June 1968. The same report was also given in the Birmingham Daily Post, 10th June 1968.
It is not clear who or what "Surminster Ltd" was - very probably some misunderstanding on the part of a syndicating agency. But the reports at least indicate that Royston had off-loaded Jennings Musical Industries by early June 1968. The new company was of course "Vox Sound Equipment Limited". For more background, see this page.
A new page in building on Vox speaker labels in speaker cabs issued with solid state amps.
The page on Vox Super Foundation Bass speaker cabinets has now been updated - some new examples and details. An outline of dated components in two JMI SFB amps has been added to the updated Supreme lists on this page.
Preliminary spreadsheets of date codes in early Supremes have been set up on this page. Details of further amps to follow. Similar sheets will be drawn up for Conquerors, Defiants, et al.