the Best Tubes for Your Vox Amplifier

Since the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, Vox amps have carved out a legendary space in the tapestry of music history, becoming synonymous with the revolutionary sounds of the British Invasion. These iconic amplifiers, known for their distinctive chime and warmth, owe much of their character to the vacuum tubes housed within their circuitry. Vacuum tubes, also known as valves, are the lifeblood of vintage guitar amplifiers, driving the rich harmonics and dynamic response that define the Vox sound. Musicians aiming to achieve an authentic vintage sound for their Vox amplifiers must navigate various tube options, including NOS (New Old Stock) tubes and popular types like the 12AX7. In this sonic quest, understanding and selecting the right tubes becomes a critical step towards achieving the optimal performance and signature sound that have made Vox amps a staple in the history of music. These are our picks for the best tubes for your Vox amp!

The Heart of Vox Amps… the Vacuum Tube!

Vacuum tubes, the heart of Vox amps, function by amplifying the guitar’s signal, impacting the amp’s tonal output with their unique characteristics. Historically speaking, Mullard and Amperex tubes have been integral to Vox’s signature sound as they were most commonly found in Vox amps. Mullard’s 12AX7 tubes, for instance, offer a strong midrange and a luscious warm robust sound, enhancing the amp’s inherent brightness without compromising clarity. Amperex tubes, favored for their balanced tonal spectrum, contribute to a sound that is warm, bright and detailed. Contrast these qualities with vintage American tubes, which typically emphasize a richer bass response and a more restrained-smoother mid to high range, Vox amps at least owe some of their tonal identity to vintage European tubes. If Vox amps were equipped with these American tubes, their signature British chime would be infused with a different tonal flavor. Therefore, for those seeking the quintessential Vox sound, European-made NOS tubes remain unmatched, providing an authentic link to the original, vintage tones that have cemented the brand’s legendary status in the music world.

Best Preamp Tube Choices for Vox Amps

Mullard 12AX7: A Classic Choice



For the quintessential Vox sound, the preamp tube of choice is the Mullard 12AX7. This tube is celebrated for its rich history, hailing from an era when British rock was defining itself. The Mullard 12AX7, known for its robust midrange and clear, articulate highs, became a staple in models like the Vox AC30, providing the shimmering top-end and warm harmonics that many guitarists sought. This is the most common tube found in 60s Vox amps.




Detailed and Defined: Amperex 12AX7



Similarly, Amperex 12AX7 tubes are prized for their balanced tonal profile, offering a blend of warmth and precision that enhances the sonic footprint of Vox amps, including the beloved AC15 and the AC30, making them a favorite among players looking for that classic ’60s British sound. This is the second most common tube found in vintage Vox amps. 




Budget-Friendly NOS Tubes: Matsushita 12AX7



On the more affordable end, NOS tubes such as the Matsushita 12AX7 emerge as an excellent alternative. These tubes, often referred to as “Japanese Mullards,” provide a reliable and cost-effective option for vintage tone enthusiasts, delivering a quality reminiscent of their European-made counterparts but at a more accessible price point. They are particularly fitting for the Vox AC4 and AC10 models, allowing for a vintage tone without the vintage price tag.

Selecting the Right Power Tubes for Vox Amps

For Vintage Vox Warmth: Mullard EL84


Mullard EL84 power tubes are renowned for their warm, rich tones, making them an ideal choice for vintage Vox amplifiers. Their durability and longevity are a bonus for regular users.


Runner Up: Amperex EL84


The Amperex EL84 does not sacrifice warmth for clarity. It’s known for providing clean and articulate sound, especially in the midrange frequencies. This makes it suitable for intricate musical passages where clarity of each note is essential but nevertheless comes with an amazing warmth that is a quality of only the finest tubes. 

Mullard EL84 Vintage Vacuum Tube | Fuzz Audio

Why are tubes important for my vox amp?

Installing high-quality tubes in your Vox amp ensure optimal sound fidelity, offering warmth, rich harmonics, and dynamic responsiveness. They are crucial for achieving the amp’s signature overdrive and midrange focus, enhancing overall performance and maintaining the classic, revered tone Vox amplifiers are known for.

Choosing the right NOS tubes for your Vox amp is a blend of personal preference and understanding the amp’s inherent qualities. This guide aims to provide a starting point for those looking to optimize their Vox amps, ensuring a sound that’s as timeless as the instruments themselves. If you have any questions about NOS valves please email and we are happy to help pick out some amazing valves that will fit your sound.

Check out our Tube Buyers Guide for more tips on how to find the perfect valves for you!