VOX AC30C2 vs Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV: Which Should You Buy?

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The VOX AC30C2 is one of the most iconic guitar amps out there. But how does it compare to compare to Fender’s Hot Rod Deluxe. That’s exactly why I wrote this blog post.

In this article, we’re going to make a head-to-head comparison between the VOX AC30C2 and the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV, and then we’ll help you decide which one to go for. Let’s get right into it.


AttributeVOX AC30C2Hot Rod Deluxe IV
PriceCheck Current Price on AmazonCheck Current Price on Amazon
Number of Channels23 (Normal, Drive, More Drive)
Speaker Size2 x 12”1 x 12”
Total Power30 W40 W
Preamp Tubes3 x 12AX73 x 12AX7
Power-Amp Tubes4 x EL842 X 6L6
EffectsYes (Reverb, Tremolo)Yes (Reverb)
EQ2-band3 – band EQ
Inputs4 x ¼” (high/low normal, high/low top boost)2 x ¼” (standard, -6dB)
Outputs2 x ¼” (8/16 ohms)2 x ¼” (parallel, one internal speaker)
Effects LoopYesYes
Footswitch I/O1 x ¼” (channel, reverb)1 x 1/4”(channel, drive)
Footswitch IncludedNo (sold separately)Yes (2-button footswitch)
Dimension (H x W x D)”(21.89 x 27.64 x 10.43)”(18.75 x 23.5 x 10.44)”
Weight70.99lbs41 lbs

Similarities Between the VOX AC30C2 and Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

One major thing these two guitar amps have in common is that they come with the same preamp tubes.

The preamp tube they come with is the popular 12AX7 preamp tube, which can be found in quite a number of guitar amplifiers. This preamp circuitry enables them to deliver sound with greater clarity and tonal definition.

Apart from having the same type of preamp tubes, they also have the same number of preamp tubes. There are three 12AX7 preamps in both guitar amps.

The size of the speakers found in both guitar amplifiers is another similarity that both guitar amps share. These two guitar amplifiers come with 12-inch speakers driven by different power ratings.

Though their power ratings are different, these individual power ratings are enough to drive the amps at volumes loud enough to be heard on a noisy stage.

Finally, these two guitar amps come with an all-black amplifier covering. The VOX AC30C2 (on Amazon) is designed out of a Black Tolex material, while the Hot Rod Deluxe (also on Amazon) has a black-colored cabinet made of a lightweight pine material.

In summary,

  • Both VOX AC30 and Fender Hot Rod Deluxe have 12AX7 preamp tube
  • They both have a 12” speaker
  • Both guitar amps are black in color

Differences between the VOX AC30C2 and Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Let’s look at the differences between these two guitar amplifiers by Fender.

Type and Number of Speakers

As I mentioned earlier, both guitar amps have 12-inch sized speakers. Though this is true, the number of speakers found and the type of speakers are not the same.

The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe has only one speaker built into it. This speaker is a Celestion 12” A-Type Speaker with a 40W power rating.

If you are familiar with guitar amp speakers, then you’ve definitely heard of Celestion speakers. It is one of the very best speakers found in guitar amps and is able to produce a sound that perfectly highlights the distinct rock n roll flavor present in the tone that is played on the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

On the other hand, the AC30C2 has two speakers built into it. This VOX AC30C2 comes with a pair of 12” 8-ohm Celestion G12M Greenbacks that produce clean sound even when they are overdriven.

In addition, the sound produced by this speaker produces glimpses and vibes associated with rock sounds of the 60s. However, unlike the Fender Rod Deluxe speakers, which are driven by a power rating of 40W, the VOX AC30C2’s speakers are driven by a power rating of 30W. They produce warmer and rounded sounds.

Number of Channels

The number of channels you can find on the VOX AC30C2 and the Hot Rod Deluxe is not the same.

The VOX AC30C2 comes with two channels, i.e., a normal channel and a top boost channel. These two channels are independent and have independent volume controls for both the normal and the top boost channel.

On the other hand, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe comes with one more channel than the VOX AC30C2. What this means is that the Hot Rod Deluxe comes with three channels. These three channels are Normal, Drive, and More Drive.

The presence of the More Drive channel in the Hot Rod Deluxe IV expands the capability of the amplifier to be switched to different levels of distortion.

Tonal Output Differences

Even though the VOX AC30C2 and the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe come with the same number and type of preamp, there is a clear difference in their tone.

Just like all VOX guitar amps, this amp provides users with the characteristic powerful, jangly, and bright sound that has become associated with VOX amps.

Furthermore, it brings out British invasion tones that are bright and clear. These bright and clear sounds can be attributed to the quartet of EL84 power tubes the VOX AC30C2 comes with.

On the other hand, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is built to have two 6L6 power amp tubes that drive its speaker to produce loud, sonic tones that have smooth highs and a well-rounded response.

Comparatively, the EL84 of the VOX AC30C2 is a smaller bottle tube with a smaller vacuum than the 6L6. Due to this, it achieves its peak range faster than the 6L6 does.

Inputs and Outputs

The VOX AC30C2 is designed to have four inputs. Two of these inputs are high inputs for the normal and top boost channels, respectively. The two remaining inputs serve as low inputs for the normal and top boost channels, respectively as well.

Apart from these inputs, the VOX AC30C2 comes with one FX return jack and a footswitch jack. The outputs found on the AC30 are an external speaker jack, an extension loudspeaker jack, and an FX SEND jack.

On the other hand, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe has only two inputs, two speaker jacks, and an effects loop. What this means is you can connect more audio sources to the VOX AC30C2 than the Hot Rod Deluxe.

Which One Should You Buy? My Opinion

If you have read other guitar amp reviews I have written about, then you know this is the point where I share my sincere opinion about the two guitar amps I am writing about. The VOX AC30C2 and the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe are two great guitar amps that provide value for your money.

However, personally, I would choose the VOX AC30C2 (Amazon) over the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

The truth is the Hot Rod Deluxe is more robust and durable than the VOX AC30C2. Thus, it can withstand the rigors and strains of tours and gigs on the road.

However, the sound it produces cannot be compared with that of the VOX AC30C2. The VOX AC30C2 produces a punchier, cleaner sound that is able to stand out from other instruments in the band.

This is because the EL84 tubes found in the VOX AC30C2 are naturally vibrant and produce a powerful and compressed sound that is clear as well. Due to how powerful these EL84 tubes are, the VOX AC30C2 gives more character and personality to the sound produced.

Thus, when used for gigs, it leaves you with a full-bodied sound and more presence than the Hot Rod Deluxe offers.

Furthermore, the fact that the VOX AC30C2 still sounds amazing and clean when cranked, no matter the channel you are plugged into, is highly impressive. What this means is that, with this amp, you can achieve different kinds of graduations of tone when you vary the volume on the pickup or volume pedal.

Notwithstanding, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is an excellent guitar amp if you know the sound you’re looking for. If you’re a guitar player that prefers heavily overdriven or distorted guitar tones without using a guitar pedal, then the Hot Rod Deluxe is a better option for you.

The More Drive channel on the Hot Rod Deluxe will provide you with a lot more distortion than the VOX AC30C2 ever will. However, as a fan of classic tones, the VOX AC30C2 appeals to me more than the Hot Rod Deluxe does.

The only negative about the VOX AC30C2 guitar amp is that it has no mid-EQ on the top boost channel and none at all on its normal channel. It is quite heavy as well because of the two speakers built into it.

However, for a truly gorgeous amp that sounds organic, its weight shouldn’t be much of a problem. The tone it produces is so great that the lack of EQ is not a bother as well.

To end it all, the VOX AC30C2 is the most versatile among all VOX guitar amplifiers. It also doubles as the preferred choice of many accomplished artists. That is why the VOX AC30C2 has been used by musicians such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and many others.


The VOX AC30C2 and the Hot Rod Deluxe are two great tube amps that do a great job of producing great sound. Furthermore, you can craft your sound with these amps according to your playing signature.

They are moderately priced as well. Thus, you can acquire any of the two for either stage performance or practice purposes.