We're compiling the best Holiday 2016 music gear deals. See them here.
I have long suspected there was a link between the Sydney '60s amplifier brands Vadis and Electravox. This amplifier confirms that suspicion!
Badged Electravox, including the 2x12" BR40 speaker box, the model designation 408R is exactly the same as that used by Vadis for their version of exactly the same amplifier! And just like the Vadis incarnation, this is one of the nicest-sounding amplifiers on the planet. Absolutely without exaggeration. 5U4GB valve rectification, 2 x EL-34 power stage, valve-driven long spring reverb, and a divine tremolo, all in a hand-built, hard-wired 1960s vintage valve head feeding a sealed-back cabinet with two genuine 1960s vintage Rola Alnico 12-inch speakers.
I suspect that the amp was made by Soundcraft Pty Ltd, in Sydney, but that the Electravox name was applied for amps destined for Melbourne for distribution by Australian Musical Industries Ltd (of Melbourne). Maybe Vadis had a set network of dealers, and this was a way to get around selling the same amps through other dealers. Pure conjecture, of course, but there has to be a reason along these lines. We previously sold what was in all respects a Goldentone amp, but which was also badged Electravox, which must be another example of this marketing exercise.
The BR40 speaker box contains one of the original early 1960s red-label P12 speakers, and a mid 1960s blue-label (introduced when Plessey took control in the mid 1960s) Rola 12PEG which must have been fitted as a replacement not long into the amp's life. The 'P' is a neutrally-voiced speaker, while the 'PEG' uses a different cone paper composition especially formulated for electric guitar (hence the 'EG' suffix). These two speakers are identical in all other respects, which gives the ideal situation of slightly differing frequency responses and tones giving rise to lovely overtones and interactions, while the speakers themselves match exactly in efficiency and electrical characteristics. Matchless and various other boutique amp manufacturers deliberately do the same thing with many of their twin-speaker amplifiers. But unlike the modified Ceramic-magnet Celestions in the Matchless, these speakers both have Alnico magnets. I have a very strong personal preference for the sound of Alnicos (mind you, Celestion do make arguably the world's best Alnico speakers, in both the Blue and Gold versions), a preference shared by many. I simply find them more responsive to playing nuances, and a lot less harsh in the way they break up. They're also, generally, extremely efficient, and give a lot of sound for each watt of input.
The head measures 75cm(W) x 23cm(D) x 29cm(H) and weighs 12kg, while the speaker box measures 72cm(W) x 28cm(D) x 47cm(H) and weighs 16kg.