List of updates / new info. on Vox solid state amps (1967-1972)
September - December 2019
Also posted on the Vox AC100 website. "Practical Wireless" magazine, September 1968 - notice of the sale of Jennings (and Burndept Electronics) assets at the West Street Works in Erith - principally guitars and organs, though amplifiers and spare parts are encompassed too.
It seems likely that at least some of the items presented were "bought in" by the new company, "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", which had come into being by this point - see the comments of Reg Clarke in the article in "Beat Instrumental", below.
Given that VSEL took over the rooms formerly occupied by JMI in the West Street Works, it is reasonable to assume that it acquired the furniture too. Again, note what Reg Clarke says: "We have even bought our old factory in Erith, Kent". It is interesting to see that a catalogue of the sale was printed.
Syd Wedeles, a former JMI employee, had already snapped up for his own business, the spare parts stocked in the Jennings shop at 100 Charing Cross. The shop was sold in January 1967 to the Macaris.
Much the same text also appeared in "Radio Constructor" magazine, August 1968.
"Beat Instrumental" magazine, August 1968.
Vox Supreme serial number 2036, early 1969. Now in South Korea, purchased in Hungary. Thanks to Thomas for the details.
In March 1967, Royston Industries, the umbrella company that controlled JMI and Burndept Electronics, took a stand at the "Ideal Home Exhibition", an annual event sponsored by the "Daily Mail" and mounted at the Olympia exhibition halls in West London. The catalogue notes that the main feature of the Vox display was a demonstration of the guitar-organ.
Curiously no solid state amps were on show - perhaps because they had not quite reached the market yet. The still from the BBC footage captures an AC100, AC50 Foundation Bass, Riviera Organ, Phantom Guitar, and the Guitar-Organ.
Royston of course had other things to show, notably the Gladlyn Ware produced by Heslop and Company, another subsiduary. But Heslop did not just produce domestic furniture - it also made numbers of speaker and amplifier cabinets for Jennings Musical Industries. See below the detail from Dynamic Bass serial number 1135.
The company was presumably acquired by Royston - perhaps as early as 1964 - primarily to aid JMI, providing a means of supplementing the supply of cabinets from Gla-Rev.
Very little is known about Heslop at present, except that it was based at Rayleigh in Essex.
Still from the BBC footage of the Exhibition
Above, the catalogue.
Heslop sticker in the amplifier cabinet of Vox Dynamic Bass no. 1135. The date is 12-5-7 - 12th May 1967.
10th December (3)
A "Vox Sound Limited" period Defiant, c. 1971 - serial number 2595 - now added.
Serial no. 2595.
10th December (2)
Serial no. 2028.
Serial no. 2383.
Serial no. 1219.
Serial no. 1277.
Serial no. 1580.
A series of updates coming soon.
Supreme serial no. 2410, "Vox Sound Limited", probably made in early 1972, originally supplied by Norsk Musikk in Oslo, currently on sale in Germany:
In reference to yesterday's entry, just to add that all speakers and horns in Supreme cabs, whatever the make (Celestion T1360 horns were used for a short time in mid '67), were 15/16 ohms.
From early 1967 to the first third of 1968, that's to say under JMI, the two types of Supreme cab - full trolley and tilt-back stand - were fitted with different speakers. Cabs with full trolleys were given Celestion T1297s; cabs with tilt-stands had Goodmans heavy-frame drivers.
Goodmans were presumably used in the rather unwieldy tilt-back stands - see the image from the brochure below - because of their weight. The drivers weigh 10 lbs (4.5kg) each.
"Vox Sound Equipment Limited" (from mid 1968 - mid 1970) used Goodmans for both types of Supreme cab.
A JMI Supreme cab with full trolley - Celestions in place.
A detail of a JMI cab made for a tilt-back stand, the pivot point high on its side.
The speaker above, a heavy-frame Goodmans - part number 20503, H10 frame.
A brochure from 1969, "Vox Sound Equipment Limited".
17th November (2)
Vox Super Foundation Bass serial number 1166 currently on sale in Germany. The presence of original RCA transistors from December 1967 (date code 7M) indicates that the amp was produced in early 1968. Note that the serial number plate has "AMPLIFIER" rather than "VOX AMPLIFIER" at its head in common with other JMI amps made in '68.
Currently on Reverb, Vox Defiant serial number 2383, one of the last sold by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", probably early in 1970.
Defiant no. 2423, on this page, has "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" on its control panel, but a "Vox Sound Limited" serial number plate.
Another band that field tested the new Vox Supremes in 1967 (in company with Manfred Mann) was "Blossom Toes" - see this page. Their report is unlikely to have been approving.
But JMI evidently won them over, as the band is seen with Supremes at the "Love-In Festival", Alexandra Palace, 7th July, 1967, and at an unknown venue (picture below) in 1968:
Picture from Getty Images.
Conqueror serial number 1063, an original set, currently on sale in Germany. Plain "VOX" on the logos of cab and amp). Note that serial number 1009 (entry for 26th October, below) is paired with a later cab, "Solid State" in its logo. Early Conquerors are on this page.
A concert programme for the Arthur Howes tour, February and March 1967: Gene Pitney and The Troggs. Vox placed adverts in programmes only sporadically after 1965. The one below was presumably placed to correspond with the advent of the new solid state line.
Whether Pitney's backing band had the new solid state amps is not known at present. The first sighting for British audiences will otherwise have been at the "Record Star Show", Empire Pool Wembley, 16th April, '67 - see this page.
"R.O.P." is "return of post". The text is unfinished, lacking the name of the band in the first line.
Reg Clarke, General Sales Manager of Vox, describes the psychedelic lights developed by Vox (Jennings Musical Industries), reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, 3rd December, 1967.
The lights had been exhibited at the "British Musical Instrument Industries" fair in late August, 1967 - see the photo below. They were sold off by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", the company that succeeded JMI, in July 1968.>
The Vox stand at the BMII fair, late August, 1967, the lights at back.
"Melody Maker" magazine, 20th July, 1968, small ads.
2nd November (2)
In late summer 1971, "Vox Sound Limited" moved production from the works at Erith (the West Street Works) to the Birch-Stolec Factory on the Ponswood Road Estate in St Leonard's on Sea, near Hastings. George Stow was at that time, managing director of "Vox Sound Limited", owner of Birch-Stolec, and a member of the steering group that ran Lemark Electronics, formerly Twickenham Transformers. Twickenham had supplied Vox with transformers since at least 1967/1968, and probably before. For a brief note on George Stow, see the entry below, 14th July.
From a financial standpoint the move made a good deal of sense. Vox was struggling. In late summer 1972 the showroom followed, moving from central London to Beaconsfield Road, Hastings.
The firm that printed the Vox catalogue and pricelist folder of 1972 - Berfort Reproductions - is still going today (under the name of Berforts), and still one of the largest independent printers in the UK. For the pricelist folder, see the entry below (19th Oct.). In 1972, Berfolt was based at 8 London Road, Hastings (down at the sea-front end of the road).
Below a couple of maps to indicate where the Birch-Stolec premises were; and further below, pictures of the site as it is now, and some vignettes of the interior of the factory printed in the Vox catalogue of 1972.
Above, testing a SSPA100; centre, Defiant side stands; right, an assortment of finished amplifiers in covers waiting to go out. In the foreground, with a sloping top section, is a VSL Slave Driver (less likely a Compact 100T).
A Birch-Stolec inspection stamp on the chassis of a late Vox Supreme.
Thanks to Erik, pictures of Dynamic Bass (amplifier section), serial number 2012, currently on sale in Cologne. An early "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" Dynamic, hand-stamped serial number plate.
Vox Conqueror serial number 1009, currently on sale in Germany. Note that the cab has "Solid State" in the logo, a later feature (late 1967).
Below, a folder for a Vox pricelist (issued to Chingford Organ Studios in Essex) - 1972. The picture of the pricelist lower down this page, which comes from a different source, was generally the one contained in these folders.
Chingford Studios occasionally held demonstrations of Vox Organs, publicised in "Melody Maker" magazine, in the early 1970s - see further below.
"Melody Maker", 9th February, 1972.
5th October (2)
Supreme no. 2231. A mod by Pete Kappa to reduce the thump of the distortion being kicked in via the footpedal. One wire (orange) is lifted from the DIN socket and replaced by a 10k resistor to the preamp voltage supply.
Thanks to Per, pictures of Defiant serial no. 1180 (upper two) and Supreme no. 2460 (lower two), currently in Norway.
A set of schematics based on Foundation Bass serial number 1443 compiled and annotated by Pete Kappa now available on this page.
Thanks to John, a great Foundation Bass set - amplifier serial number 2590, cab serial no. 693: "Vox Sound Limited", probably from mid 1972.
Some pages on Foundation Bass serial number 1443, late summer 1967, in the pipeline, thanks to Pete Kappa. The first is here - power and preamp chassis.
Pictures of Foundation Bass serial number 2590, probably mid 1972, to be set up too. Thanks to John.
Currently in Norway, V100 serial number 1063, recently brought back to working order. Now registered here:
Some notes on the preamp of the V100, thanks to Asle. Where the the AC100 has a "paraphase" phase inverter, the V100 has a "long-tailed pair" (V2). The 47k plate load resistor on V1a is unusual - most 12AX7/ECC83 stages use 100k or 220k. "Another peculiarity is the coupling cap between V1a and the volume control, at 3300pF. The value is right between the Normal (0.022uF) and Brilliant (500pF) channel coupling caps in the AC50. 3300 pF into 500k volume pot makes a high-pass filter at around 100 Hz. Very useful for guitar, not sure how it will sound with bass guitar".
Melody Maker, 10th April, 1970. The advert is unspecific about prospective use. No speaker cab is suggested.
Thanks to Asle, a circuit diagram (schematic) of the "Vox Sound Limited" Vox V100, based on serial number 1063, and adjusted from OS/167, the sheet for the final version of the AC100. The power sections of the two amps are more or less identical. The preamp of the V100 is simpler, however - principally: no V3; the cathode bypass cap of the first half of V1 omitted; and the grids of V2 done differently.
1st September (2)
A new picture page on the power section of a Supreme exported by "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" to Denmark in the Spring of 1969.
A nice late (very late) "Vox Sound Limited" Super Foundation Bass set currently in Denmark. Note the horizontal logo on the cab - a standard amplifier logo. These were also used on certain late Defiant cabs.