MID PERIOD VOX SUPREMES
Vox Sound Equipment Ltd. - late 1968 to early 1970
A Vox Sound Equipment flyer from 1969 illustrating the Supreme. The annotator marked its price on the facing page as £292.0.0 (pre-decimal format). The tilt-back stand, rather than the full trolley, is now the thing. For a great example, see serial number 2231, on this page.
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.
In late 1967 Jennings Musical Industries, as it had been, came to end. Tom Jennings and Dick Denney were fired, 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.
At first the Conqueror, Defiant and Supreme et al., were pretty much as they had been the year before. The control panels and serial number plates now had "Vox Sound Equipment Ltd.", but everything else was very familiar.
A little way into production, however, things were changed. Vents became plastic instead of metal, the standby circuit was done away with, and the tone circuit of the MRB modified to give six varieties of sound instead of three.
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, a satelitte 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" Group.
General characteristics of the VSEL Supremes:
- Serial numbers begin at 2000.
- Control panels and serial number plates have "Vox Sound Equipment Ltd.
- After the first 190 or so amps, the new circuit is introduced - no standby, so only a single indicator lamp on the front of the amp. A new style of serial number plate comes in at this point too.
- 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. The four metal vents later give way to three plastic. The opening along the back panel remains metal however.
- New chassis and preamp sections were not stamped with serial numbers as JMI units had been.
- The drivers in the speaker cabs are Goodmans heavy duty ceramics (241H) with black dust-covers, as in late JMI amps. The large blue labels are gorgeous.
- The horns are by and large Goodmans Midax, as they are for the most part in JMI cabs - some of these last had Celestions however - see this page.
- 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
- The schematic for the preamp remains OS/136, and the power amp OS/135
Below, a growing register of surviving amps. If anyone knows of any VSEL Supremes that have not yet been included, do let me know.
1) STANDBY CIRCUIT AS IN JMI AMPS
Two lamps on the front panel - no grille cloth on the back panel (only tolex).
Serial number 2009 - currently in the USA?
Serial number 2020 - currently in the UK
Hand-stamped serial number plate. Metal slots on the underside for attaching to a tilt-back stand. Thanks to Derek for the info.
Serial number 2027 - currently in the UK
Good general condition. Original Belling Lee socket still in place.
Serial number 2036 - currently in South Korea
Vox Supreme serial number 2036, early 1969. Now in South Korea, purchased in Hungary. Thanks to Thomas for the details.
Serial number 2046 - currently in the USA?
A nice amp. Sold in April 2014. VSEL plate, but still pretty much as a late JMI Supreme.
Serial number 2055 - currently in Europe
Serial number 2089 - currently in Europe
Excellent condition. One of the mustard capacitors has the date code "D8N" = last quarter of 1968.
Serial number 2106 - currently in Europe
Serial number 2135 - currently in the UK
Still the twin lamps on the front and standby switch on the back.
Serial number 2136 - currently in the UK
For the time being, only this pic.
Serial number 2164 - currently in Australia
The upper of the two amps in pictures 1 and 3 (the lower one is serial number 2226), the nearest one, with the metal vents, in 2. Thanks to Paul for the pictures.
Serial number unknown - currently in the Netherlands
A replaced mains transformer, but otherwise in great condition. The mustard capacitors in the preamp have codes for the third and last quarters of 1968 (C8 and D8). One of the red CCL filter caps in the power section has the date code "K7" = November 1967. The yellow CCL bias caps are dated "August 1968". The RCA transistors have the date code "7M" = December 1967. Note the JMI stamps on the preamp chassis. Thanks to Aart for the pictures.
Serial number unknown - currently in the USA?
Serial number in the 2000s - formerly in Denmark, now in the UK
Mustard capacitors with date codes "C8" and "D8" = third and last quarter of 1968. The original RCA 2N3054 transistors have the date code "9B" = February 1969. The preamp bears the JMI inspection stamp. MRB is still three position. The power amp was adjusted on arrival in Denmark - the Supreme was imported by Alfred Christensen - in order to conform with legislation relating to electrical goods). It was recapped in the 1980s. The box, photographs of which to follow, has metal vents.
Serial number unknown - currently in the USA?
Serial number unknown - currently in Denmark
Note on the cab the legend "Solid State" underneath the larger "VOX". One can just see on the cab's serial number plate "VOX SOUND LTD".
Serial number 2192 - currently in the USA
Note the new style box with three plastic vents instead of four metal. This is the latest amp so far still to have the standby circuit - i.e. the two lamps on the front.