to see a demo of the amp at
Ben Fargen’s amps have always had a very
British visual bent, so it’s no surprise that the
AC Duo Tone pops up in our Anglo-favored
roundup. Its combination of Marshall and Vox
voices makes it one of the most versatile amps
of the group.
LOCKE: There’s a channel called V15
and a channel called M18. Now, I did not
go to college, but I’m going to go out on
a limb and guess the V15 is based on a
Vox 15-watter, and I think the M18 is a
Marshall-style 18-watter. The Vox channel
in particular is nice. It had a nice shimmer
to it, a big, robust clean tone with a little
more bottom end than I would generally
find on Vox-style circuits, which is nice. Up
in the highest quadrant of the volume control, it has a ferocious, grinding Vox tone.
The Marshall channel is great, though
I wish the two channels were a little more
different—it’s just a little less bright on
the high end. But it’s pretty great for lead
work when you turn it up. This is a good,
robust platform for players who want a
good, semi-clean, on-the-verge of overdrive
tone that they can kick into overdrive with
pedals. There’s a master volume on the back
panel, too, if you’re looking for those tones
at more discreet volumes.
DERRICO: This amp is pretty awesome. It looks good, and I like how each
channel has only two knobs—nice and easy.
The Vox-style channel is really warm and
not quite as glassy as a Vox, which I kind of
dig more. The Marshall side is badass—you
hit a big, open D chord in dropped-D tuning, and it’s just rock ’n’ roll all the way.
Vibe-wise, I love the warmth, and it’s very
PREAMP TUbEs: Two 12AX7s
REc TiFiER: 6CA4/EZ81
M18 chANNEl cONTROls:
Single input with volume and tone knobs
organic and responsive. The more I dig in, I
can really hear my hands through this amp.
TROVATO: This amp is a monster …
[even though] the controls are simple. With
a small amp like this, I would typically crank
the master volume—set it just on the verge
of breaking up—and use any distortion or
overdrive effects with an external pedal. I
love both channels of this amp. The V15 side
has that jangly, British sound that sounds
great with a 12-string guitar. The M18 side
sounds very much like Bluesbreakers-era Eric
Clapton. The only drawback for me, personally, is the lack of reverb.
V15 chANNEl cONTROls: Single
input with volume and tone knobs
PRicE: $1,949 street (Also available
with a 1x12 cab for $699 street or a
2x12 cab for $899 street.)