LATE VOX SUPREMES
Vox Sound Ltd. - early 1970 to 1972
Vignettes of the Vox factory at St-Leonard's-on-Sea from the catalogue of 1971. Left to right: PA amps, piles of Defiant side stands, and solid state combo amps in covers.
An advert for the Supreme from a full-page Vox spread in the "Melody Maker", 5th December 1970.
In late 1969, Royston Industries, the controlling hand in "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", went into liquidation. VSEL was saved in January 1970 by a consortium led by John Birch and George Stow, who had electronics concerns of their own. With the help of the Schroder Bank, the Birch-Stolec company took Vox under its wing in early 1970. Production of the solid state line continued at the West Street factory in Erith until early 1971, when it was moved to the Birch-Stolec factory on the Ponswood Industrial Estate at St Leonard's-on-Sea (a mile or so from Hastings) in early 1971. For further details, see this page.
Above, pages from the final Vox catalogue. See below the recollections of Peter Gladwish.
For recollections of Vox at St Leonard's, see this wonderful thread.
EXTRACT: "Peter Gladwish… In 1970, Birch-Stolec Industries purchased the VOX name and company, moving their manufacturing facilities from Erith, Kent, to Ponswood Industrial Estate, St Leonards. At the same time, Rick Huxley, former bass guitarist with the Dave Clark Five, joined the company as the Southern Area Sales Executive. This sales brochure was produced for VOX by Berfolt-Holt Design Ltd., St Leonards, where a friend and fellow band member, Cliff Brooker was employed. Now don’t laugh too much but I was asked to ‘pose’ with various musical instruments and equipment, in case viewers were unsure how to use them, I suppose! The photo-shoot took place in the basement of the Hi-Fi Club, High Street, Hastings Old Town and the photographer was Dave Trodd . The club owner is in the photo above(no. 3) but I can’t remember his name.... The Hi-Fi Club burned down in allegedly ‘suspicious’ circumstances around 1978. "
TRANSFORMERS: in mid 1970, "Twickenham Transformers", which had under George Stow's direction supplied VSEL ("Twickenham" was from 1967 part of the "Stolec" Group owned by Stow), became "Lemark Electronics". Production continued at the Haywards Heath factory. Occasionally the correspondence address is given as the Ponswood Industrial Estate (Windmill Road, St Leonard's-on-Sea, Sussex, TN38 9BY), the address of the "Birch-Stolec" group, which had taken over the production of Vox equipment in mid 1971.
Lemark transformers were marked with the part code numbers assigned originally by "Twickenham Transformers". The easiest to see is usually the driver transformer, marked TT3944.
Some general comments on Vox Sound Ltd. Supremes:
- Serial numbers begin at around 2300.
- Logos state simply VOX in plain silver.
- A fair amount of stock was evidently taken over from Vox Sound Equipment Ltd. Amps sometimes have VSEL on the control panel but Vox Sound Ltd. serial number plates. Cabs have VSEL stickers on their drivers.
- The string round the amp and speaker boxes is silver (having changed from the gold previously used).
- As time went on, trolleys were phased out, along with Goodmans horns.
- The cab normally issued with the Supreme in the final months of the company was the "Companion", its format largely the same as a Supreme, but with the horn cut-outs blanked off, and a substantial solid back fitted (3/4" ply). See the cabs on this page.
- The schematic for the power amp OS/135. By 1970 the sheet for the preamp is OS/184.
- The MRB is a six-position effect.
Supremes remained in production until 1972. Below, a growing register of surviving amps. If anyone knows of any VSL Supremes that have not yet been included, do let me know.
SUPREMES MADE BY VOX SOUND LTD
Serial number 2312 - currently in the USA
An early Vox Sound Ltd Supreme with fixings for a tilt-back stand. Part of the Reisz Promotions collection, shipped to the USA (Music Center) in 2010.
Serial number 2316 - whereabouts unknown
A great complete Supreme with tilt-back stand, covers and footswitch. The ceramic Goodmans speakers, as with so many early "Vox Sound Limited" speaker cabs, have "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" labels.
Serial number 2356 - whereabouts unknown
Serial number 2369 - whereabouts unknown
Note that the box is an old one - metal vents on top, and chamfered corners on the back board - but there are no signs that grille cloth was ever fitted on the back.
Serial number 2371 - currently in the UK
Accompanied by the top half of a Supreme cabinet (with "Solid State" in the logo). Thanks to Matt for the pictures.
Serial number 2376 - currently in France
Complete with tilt-back stand. Note that the speakers have the Vox Sound Equipment Ltd. labels.
Serial number 2379 - currently in Germany
Changed knobs but otherwise all in order.
Serial number 2410 - currently in Germany
Supplied by Norskmusikk in Oslo.
Serial number 2424 - currently in the USA
Serial number 244x (?) - currently in the USA
Paired with a refurbished AC100 cab (?) - new grille cloth and new single pin corner protectors, no shot of the speakers, and a trolley probably from a Super Beatle amp. Gold string round the cab, however, and English rather than US tolex.
Serial number 2464 - currently in Europe
Shown on top of its speaker cab - note the silver string.
Serial number 2465 - currently in Germany?
Serial number 2487 - currently in Poland
Serial number 2497 - currently in the UK
A nice Vox Sound Ltd Supreme with its cab. The speakers however are from another source (ie. not original to the cab) - note the JMI labels.
Serial number 2508 - currently in the USA
Picture with a Thomas Organ Super Beatle speaker cabinet. Thanks to Paul for the pictures.
Serial number 2510 - currently in the USA
Thanks to Mark for the pictures.
Serial number 2516 - currently in Germany
Serial number 2525 - currently in the USA
A nice late Vox Sound Ltd Supreme, complete with footpedal and cover.
Serial number 2528 - currently in Chittenango (NY)
Back in full working order. Thanks to Chris for the pictures. The reverb, which was troublesome, has been removed - thanks to Jim for the info.
Serial number 2530 - currently in Chicago
Thanks to Ron for info on the amp's whereabouts.
Serial number 2531 - whereabouts unknown
Note that the speaker cabinet, "Vox Sound Limited" serial number in the 400s, has at least one speaker with a "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" label.
Serial number 2540 - currently in the UK
Serial number 2543 - currently in the UK
Serial number 2573 - currently in the UK
With a Defiant cab.
Serial number 2574 - currently in the UK
Supreme no. 2574 with the remains of Companion cab 103. The cab was too far gone to save. The metal label and logo survive, as does the single Sound City driver - sold to a Sound City collector.
Serial number 2578 - currently in the UK
A good late-run amp.
Serial number 2629 - currently in the UK
Serial number 2630 - currently in the UK
Serial number 2640 - currently in the USA
Probably one of the last Supremes made in Hastings.