VOX SUPER FOUNDATION BASS AMPLIFIERS
Vox Sound Equipment Limited: mid 1968 to early 1970
Note the designation on the control panel - "Vox Sound Equipment Ltd". Older Supremes, that is to say those produced in 1967, have "Jennings Musical Industries" - see this page for instance.
From late 1967 to mid 1968, Jennings Musical Industries, as it hand been, gradually came to end. Tom Jennings and Dick Denney were fired in '67, along with a number of their close circle. The company continued, however, under Cyril Windiate, Reg Clark and others through the unsettled days of late 1967 and early 1968. The decision was then taken to repurpose the company as "Vox Sound Equipment Ltd".
VSEL would continue to manufacture and sell the solid state amps, along with the AC30 and AC50, effects pedals, PA equipment and guitars. Jennings and Denney went on to found Jennings Electronic Industries (JEI).
For more on "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", see this page.
TRANSFORMERS: Transformers were supplied by "Twickenham Transformers" of Haywards Heath, from 1967 a satellite company of the "Stow Electronics" or "Stolec" Group owned by George Stow. In mid 1970 "Twickenham" became "Lemark Electronics", still under George Stow's wing, and a member now of the new "Birch-Stolec" Group. The factory remained at Haywards Heath, though after mid 1971 the correspondence address was sometimes given as the Ponswood Industrial Estate (Windmill Road, St Leonard's-on-Sea, Sussex, TN38 9BY), the address of the "Birch-Stolec" factory.
A good number of solid state preamp and power sections made during the JMI period passed to the new company for sale. Those were rebadged as VSEL externally, but one often sees JMI inspection stamps internally.
The general characteristics of VSEL Super Foundation Basses are much as the same as VSEL Supremes:
- Serial numbers begin at 2000.
- The plates were handstamped at first, numbers given in the form xxxx.
- Control panels and serial number plates have "Vox Sound Equipment Ltd"
- New chassis and preamp sections were not stamped with serial numbers as JMI units had been.
- Boxes at first are the standard late JMI format, four metal vents on top. The back panels are plain tolex however, rather than Vox cloth.
- Handsome new labels were adopted for the speakers in speaker cabs.
- At around serial number 2100 a new style of serial number plate comes in.
- At around serial number 2100 also the four metal vents on the boxes give way to three plastic. The opening along the back panel remains metal however.
- Certain models destined for Denmark were designated simply with a letter and number:
A1 = Supreme
A2 = Super Foundation Bass
B1 = Defiant
B2 = Foundation Bass
C1 = Conqueror
C2 = Dynamic Bass
- Logos flip-flop between "VOX. Solid State" in gold-coloured letters, and "VOX" in silver, before stabilising with the latter.
- At around serial number 2200 (also for the Supreme) a new circuit comes in, dispensing with the standby. There is only one lamp on the front of the amp.
Below, a growing register of surviving amps. If anyone knows of any VSEL Super Foundation Basses that have not yet been included, do let me know.
VOX SOUND EQUIPMENT LTD (late 1968 - early 1970)
Serial number 2000 - currently in Europe
Serial number 2006 - currently in Europe
In good working order. The Mullard mustard caps in the preamp (its metal case stamped "Inspected J.M.I.") have date codes "C8N" and "D8N" = third and last quarters of 1968, one of the red CCL electrolytics "G7" = August 1967. The interstage transformer still has its "Twickenham Transformers" label. Twickenham became Lemark Transformers later in the year. Thanks to Chris for the pictures.
Serial number 2009 - currently in Europe
Serial number 2013- currently in Europe
Serial number 2029 - currently in France
Early Vox Sound Equipment Limited amp and cab. Hand-stamped serial number plates on both. Cab no. "098". Thanks to Fabrice for the pictures.
Serial number 2058 - currently in Germany
Serial number 2079 - currently in Germany
A Super Foundation Bass with a JMI 1 x 18" bass cab.
Serial number 2081 - currently in the USA
Serial number unknown
A full rig. No shot of the serial number plate. Logo apparently in silver with "Solid State". Two indicator lamps at front.
Serial number 2124 - currently in Germany
Serial number 2124, "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", probably made towards the end of the first third of 1969. The standby circuit is still present. The speaker cabinet is of the earliest type - single 18" and port at bottom. Both amp and cab have their original covers (a rare thing) and the amp its footswitch.
Serial number 2144 - currently in the Middle East
As in the amp below, the box is a JMI box - four cut-outs on top, and metal vents - VSEL were presumably using up older stock at this point in production.
Serial number 2163 - whereabouts unknown
Paired with a JMI Foundation Bass cab - note the disparity of width. The driver is a Goodmans Audiom, black label. As below, the amplifier's box has metal vents.
Serial number 2174 - whereabouts unknown
An older box with metal vents.
Serial number 2189 - whereabouts unknown
The vents in the amplifier cabinet are of the new plastic type. The speaker cabinet contains 2x18" drivers, normal for this point in production.
Serial number 2192 - currently in Germany
Amplifier, speaker cabinet, and chrome stand. The amplifier still has a standby circuit, and its case old-style metal mesh vents (rather than plastic). The inspection tag is dated 21st August, 1969.
Serial number 2202 - currently in Scandinavia
Made for the Danish market and designated "A2" on the serial number plate rather than "S.F.BASS". The Supreme was "A1". The business plate of the main distributor in Denmark, Alfred Christensen, is found on other Vox solid state amps. These will be collected together on a separate page.
Serial number 2219 - whereabouts unknown
Control panel, but otherwise in good condition. The cab has been regrilled with modern Vox cloth.
Serial number 2231 - currently in Germany
Serial number unknown
Excellent condition. A new-style box with plastic vents, but still gold string - as serial no. 2231, above.
Serial number unknown
From summer 1969 - no standby circuit
The obvious external indication is the single lamp on the front for the mains supply. The standby circuit and its lamp have gone. Mid-range boost now has six positions.
Around serial number 2300 a BASS flag was used for a short time instead of the standard one - so too in Foundation Bass amps.
Serial number 2237 - whereabouts unknown
Old pictures (probably from ebay uk).
Serial number 2242 - currently in Eltham, UK
Paired with a Selmer Goliath speaker cabinet. Thanks to Terry for the pictures.
Serial number 2245 - currently in the UK
The box (with its Super Foundation Bass serial number plate) now contains a Defiant preamp and power section.
Serial number 2267 - whereabouts unknown
Paired with a JMI Foundation Bass speaker cabinet. The chrome stand from the original Super Foundation Bass set survives, however.
Serial number 2281 - whereabouts unknown
Only the serial number plate for the time being.
Serial number 2304 - currently in Europe
Still Vox Sound Equipment Limited.
Serial number 2307 - currently in Serbia
A good Vox Sound Equipment Ltd amp. Thanks to Goran for the pictures.
Serial number 2310 - currently in Finland
In company with no. 2304, and presumably 2307, this has a BASS flag. The amp is the latest SFB currently known to have a VSEL plate. Thanks to Ville for the pictures.
Serial number 2319 - currently in Belgium
A "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" amplifier with a "Vox Sound Limited" speaker cabinet - a single 18".
Serial number unknown
As above, plastic vents and gold string. The cab is the old style large 1 x 18". The amp still has its hang-tag and a BASS flag, which regularly figure on solid state amps of this period.