List of updates / new info. on Vox solid state amps (1967-1972)

2020

26th May

Gyrotone I serial number 5148 now . Thanks to Neelson for the pictures.

20th May

For the time being, quick shots of the Hessy's catalogue from 1972 (said at any rate to be of 1972). Hessy's in Liverpool (owned and run by Frank Hessy) had been an important Vox dealer since 1962.

The Vox advert, seen below slightly incompletely, repeats elements of the ads placed by Vox in "Melody Maker" magazine, late 1970 - .

The Hessy's catalogue will be posted in full soon.

16th May

Some updates - new amplifiers and speaker cabs - coming soon. For the moment, a couple more pieces from "Music Business Weekly" relating to the reformulation of Vox as "Vox Sound Limited" in early 1970 - see the entry below for the 5th Feb.

On 28th February 1970, a note of the Birch Group's plans - to work to meet existing orders; improve the electronic organs; and to push forward with research. Reg Clark, mentioned in the last sentence, had left Vox to join Dallas Arbiter when "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" ran into insurmountable difficulties. Reg almost managed to persuade Dallas to save Vox in early January '70. But clearly things were against him. He did however manage to persuade Dallas to revive the company in late 1973, "Vox Sound Limited" having failed earlier in the year.

"Music Business Weekly", 28th February, 1970.

"Beat Instrumental" magazine, October 1973. Dallas Arbiter did not take on the solid state amps, which had largely come to an end in 1972 in any case.

By 7th of March 1970, Joseph Wright had been appointed Director - presumably Managing Director - of VSL. His tenure was fairly brief, the musical instrument business perhaps being too far distant from his natural element. In early February 1971 he was superceded by George Stow:

"Music Business Weekly", 7th March, 1970.

1st May

Vox Queen's Award wah pedal, serial number 7729, produced in Italy for JMI probably in early 1968. Thanks to Nick for the pictures.

The highest serial number known for a "grey" wah at present is 7182. It seems likely therefore that the sequence for Queen's Award pedals began at 7600, or perhaps even 7700, so as to give room for further production at Erith while the new units were being ready in Italy In view of the fact that these pedals are exceptionally scarce, it seems likely that relatively few were indeed ordered.

22nd April

Some notes on component date codes in Foundation Bass serial number 1042. the earliest definitely known to be extant.

Red CCL filter caps: "L6" (Dec. 1966) along with "B7" (Feb. 1967) in the power section.

Yellow Lemco capacitors: "XL" (Nov. '66) in the preamp; YB (Feb. '67) in the power section.

Welwyn cement resistors: "XM" (Dec. '66) and "YA" (Jan. '67).

The two power transistors are 2N3442s.

Thanks to Kris for the details.

20th April

Just come to light, the earliest known serial number for a Foundation Bass: . Thanks to Kris for the info. The amp, which has a brown control panel, was already registered, but as an "unknown", the serial number unreadable in the existing picture of the plate.

At present this is the only Foundation Bass serial number known in the range 1000-1100.

14th April

A great - no. 5063 (the sequence beginning at 5000) - bought new in Cardiff in 1967 and still owned by the original purchaser. Thanks to Phil for the pictures.

10th April

Below, the two principal styles of information plate on . The first (VSEL) is far clearer than the second (VSL). That said, it is far from perfect. The two cabs bearing the plates both have impedance matching units that allow two further cabs to be attached. It is important to bear in mind the fact that the Multi-link cabs are themselves 15ohm units:

The matcher is straightforward. The INPUT connects the output of a Vox solid state amp (all of which require a 15ohm load) via the matching transformer to the speakers in the ML cabinet. The four speakers in the ML are wired up so as to give a 15ohm impedance. The two OUTPUT sockets are for further speaker cabinets.

The "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" information plate (above) is relatively straightforward. Set the selector to 15ohms when using the ML on its own. Use the 8ohm setting if a further 15ohm cab is plugged in; set to 4ohms when two 15ohm cabs are attached. No advice is given however on how to connect up four 15ohm cabs (ie. the ML and three additional units). A four cab link up is only really possible with a Vox matching unit that had four outputs (some did, but not the one accompanying this plate).

The setting for a single 8ohm cab only makes sense if the ML itself has an 8ohm impedance (not possible with the speakers fitted by Vox). The 4ohm setting is fine for two speaker cabinets of 8ohms, but the means of achieving that is not specified.

The 4ohm setting envisages a single 4ohm cab - which only makes sense, as above, if the ML cabinet is rewired internally for that impedance (which is possible using the speakers fitted by Vox).

The VSL plate gives the impedance required by the amplifier in the first column, and the setting of the matcher in the second.

The first row gives the setting for the ML cab itself, no other attached: - 15ohms

The second row gives the setting for the ML cab + one further 15ohm cab: - 8ohms

The third row gives the setting for the ML cab + two further 15ohm cabs: - 8ohms, which differs from the recommendation on the VSEL plate.

The last row gives the setting for the ML cab + three further 15ohm cabs: - 4ohms, though it does not explain how the third of the extra cabs is to be hooked up. The matching unit only has two output sockets.

All well and good if the user is clued up and the impedances of the additional cabinets are known. Vox was clearly sailing with a good deal of hope.

1st April

A detail of the cardboard mount of a Thomas wah flexi disk showing that the legend "New from Thomas" was a stick-on over the words "New from Vox...". The grey semicircle with an inset image of a Phantom guitar in the centre of the disk itself was a stick-on too, replacing "VOX". See the entry a little way below (21st March), and .

28th March

Defiant serial number 1198, currently in Spain, . Thanks to Juan for the pictures.

Inside the amplifier cabinet, the sticker of Heslop and Co. Ltd, which was based in Rayleigh, Essex, makers of the box. In company with Vox (JMI), Heslop was a member of the Royston Group of Companies. Its sticker also survives in the box of Dynamic Bass serial no. 1135.

Heslop also made various guitar bodies for Vox.

Defiant serial no. 1198. Heslop sticker dated 15th May 1967.

Dynamic Bass serial number 1135. Heslop sticker dated 12th May 1967.

21st March

Below, better pictures of a second generation Wah flexi disc still on its cardboard mount. Note the mention of "Thomas" (the Thomas Organ company - distributors of Vox in America), indicating intended use in the US.

At present, only first generation discs - with no mention of "Thomas" - are known to have come to the UK.

Front and back of the (second generation) disc.

Above,the front of a first generation disc sent to JMI.

19th March (2)

Four more JMI wah pedals - serial numbers 5182, 5855, 5984 and 7181 - number 5984 still with its original box and instruction slip, pictured below:

Serial number 5984. Thanks to Phil for the pictures. .

A now available on the Vox "Compact 50", a member of the Compact / Slave range introduced in late 1971. These amps are not prototypes or pre-production models, though they were made in small numbers. At least one picture survives of a Compact / Slave in covers awaiting despatch in the Vox factory (see the page linked above).

Vox Compact 50B, "B" standing for Bass. The suffix "T" was used for treble models.

An early Vox Slave Driver - . Aside from the amplifier logos, "Compact" and "Slave" are pretty much identical .

19th March

Below, yesterday's additions by type of amp and serial number, or serial number range. A second set of updates to come on Friday or Saturday:

Travellers - .

Conquerors - (wrongly registered initially as 1063); earlyish JMI; ; , and a .

Defiants - ; (for Denmark).

Supremes - ; two amps with numbers in the ; ; .

Foundation Basses - ; ; .

Super Foundation Basses - ; ; .

18th March

Some updates in progress - these will be itemised and linked on this page, probably tomorrow.

13th March

"Vox Sound Equipment Limited" Dynamic Bass, serial number 2118, mid 1969, produced before the revision of the preamp circuit (which resulted, among other things, in the presence of one lamp rather than two on the fascia). Other Dynamic Basses are .

The amp, currently in South Africa, is available for purchase - do use the "contact" address above to ask for the seller's details. Thanks to Eddy for the pictures.

18th February

"Music Week" - not "Music Weekly" as originally stated - 17th June, 1972: a note of the British companies attending the NAMM show, "Vox Sound" present. The show took place in Chicago, 17th-20th June.

"Music Week", 17th June, 1972.

17th February (2)

"Music Week", 4th March, 1972 - a paragraph on Vox in the pages on the Frankfurt Music Fair of March '72. John Wyatt features in the entry for 9th Feb., below. Rick Huxley used to be bassist for the Dave Clark Five.

"Music Week", 4th March, 1972.

17th February

A short note in "Music Week" (a publication unrelated to "Music Business Weekly") - a theft at the VSL showroom in Gees Court.

"Music Week", 19th February, 1972.

9th February

A further piece in the "Vox Sound Limited" story - the moving of production from the factory at Erith to the new Birch-Stolec premises in Hastings, and the opening of showroom and offices in the West End of London (Gees Court), all to be complete by the 1st of April, 1971.

George Stow is named as managing director (he remained so until VSL folded in late 1972 / early 1973); and John Wyatt is confirmed as head of the Field Sales team, though his new position had already been publicised in August 1970. Wyatt secured some fairly substantial foreign orders in late 1971 and early 1972.

For more on "Vox Sound Limited" and Birch-Stolec, .

"Music Business Weekly", 13th February, 1971.

9th February

"Music Business Weekly" magazine, 18th October, 1969. A picture of "Music and Entertainment Limited" in West Croydon. From left to right in the main window: a Supreme on top of two Multi-link II cabinets; a pair of Line Source speaker columns; a Super Foundation Bass; a Foundation Bass (?) with an AC30 in front; various Marshall things.

8th February

Some pieces on the "Vox Sound Limited" display at the "Associated Musical Instrument Industries" (AMII) Trade Fair, Russell Hotel, 16th-20th August, 1970. A number of photos also survive - to be posted soon.

A sketch layout of the first floor displays at the "Associated Musical Instrument Industries" (AMII) Trade Fair, Russell Hotel, 16th-20th August, 1970, published in "Music Business Weekly" magazine, 15th August, 1970.

Review, also from "Music Business Weekly" magazine, 15th August, 1970.

5th February

Some new material from "Music Business Weekly" magazine on the transition of "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" to "Vox Sound Limited" in early 1970. The page on , which contains further material, has been updated.

The chronology in 1970 is:

7th January: VSEL placed in receivership.

Second half of Jan.: Negotiations to save the business (and speculation).

Early Feb.: The business is saved, the deal led by Michael Birch of the Birch Group (Birch Electronics). VSEL becomes VSL .

March to June: VSL concentrates on honouring orders placed with VSEL and drumming up new business. Although it does not take a stand at the Frankfurt Fair in March, three members of the company attend. Other Fairs are not attended, however.

Early summer: George Stow, who had a controlling interest in two companies that supplied VSEL (and which continued to supply VSL), winds up three businesses that formed part of his Stolec Group in order to merge with Birch - the Birch-Stolec Group is brought into being by August 1970 at the latest.

"Music Business Weekly", 17th January, 1970, front page.

"Music Business Weekly", 24th January, 1970, front page.

"Music Business Weekly", 14th February, 1970, front page.

2nd February

The page on the change from "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" to "Vox Sound Limited" in the first half of 1970 . Further documentary material will be added soon.

1st February

A note in "Cash Box" magazine, 31st January, 1970 - the troubles of "Vox Sound Equipment Limited". While in hands of the receiver, the company continued trading, much as Jennings Musical Industries had done in the initial months of its receivership.

"Cash Box" magazine, 31st January, 1970. "Cash Box", published in America, reported regularly on English matters.

28th January (3)

An early-ish JMI Foundation Bass, serial number at present unknown. "VOX" in plain silver on the front. The runner may have been moved to the left. In common with numbers of other amps, the control panel has become brown.

Note - this is actually .

28th January (2)

Vox Super Foundation Bass serial number 2189, "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", 1969. The speaker cabinet is a 2x18" (normal for this point in production). VSEL SFBs are .

28th January

Vox Foundation Bass serial number 1252, Jennings Musical Industries, late 1967. Thanks to David for the pictures.

19th January (2)

The page on the transition from "Jennings Musical Industries" to "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" in 1968 - - has been updated. As noted below (entry for 26th Decemeber), VSEL evidently bought from JMI not only the furniture in the West Street Works, but amplifiers and so on, complete and incomplete.

Numbers of amps with JMI control panels and serial number plates show signs of having been finished off (made ready for sale) in the late 1968. Below the RCA transistors in a JMI Supreme, back panel and serial number plate lacking though:

Date code "8E" = May 1968.

Date code "8J" ? = September 1968.

19th January

On ebay.de for a little while now, Foundation Bass serial no. 1109, the lowest serial number for a Foundation Bass to have emerged so far. Given that other types of amp in the solid state catalogue survive with numbers in the range 10xx - the sequence beginning at 1000 or 1001 - it may be that Foundation Basses began at 1100 or 1101.

Serial no. 1109.

Updates Sept. to Dec. 2019.

Updates July to August 2019.

Updates April to June 2019.

Updates Jan to April 2019.

Updates August to December 2018.

Updates for June and July 2018.

Updates for January to May 2018.

Updates for November and December 2017.

Updates for September and October 2017.

Updates for July and August 2017.

Updates for June 2017.

Updates for May 2017.

Updates for April 2017.

Updates for late March 2017.

Updates for early March 2017.

Updates for January and February 2017.

Updates for 2012-2016.

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