Browse Helix Models and Effects

Helix currently supports 72 amplifier models, 194 effects, 37 speaker cab models, and 16 microphones. On top of all that you also have the ability to load Impulse Responses (IRs) that you can grab from free or paid sources. Go have fun.

Essex A15 (Vox® AC-15)

Essex A15, the Helix model of a Vox® AC-15

Recorded using a Gretsch Silver Falcon. Default amp and cab settings, spring reverb added. Used same performance to capture the tone of all Vox amps in the Helix.

The Vox AC15 was designed by Dick Denney in 1958 for Jennings Musical Instruments (JMI). It is often described as being the first guitar amplifier created specifically with the guitar’s frequency range in mind, rather than merely being adapted from existing tube-amplification circuits.

Regardless, this is an amplifier that segues beautifully from shimmering cleans to toothsome overdrive, and original examples are among the most prized vintage amps on the collector’s market today.

Among the distinguishing factors of the AC15 design are its cathode-biased output stage with no negative feedback, generating around 15-watts from a pair of EL84 output tubes. As discussed above, the original AC15 and the first handwired reissue (the AC15H1 TV) had an EF86 tube in the preamp; if you’re considering one of those, substitute a little more thickness, creaminess and fatness into the sound picture painted here versus the added sparkle of the 12AX7-loaded version with a Top Boost EQ stage – also found in the equally legendary AC30.

Sonic Calling Cards of the AC15

  • A beautifully textured, rich voice overall, with lots of sparkle and shimmer from its plentiful harmonic overtones.

  • Chiming and blooming cleans at lower volume settings.

  • Surprisingly delicious Brit-toned twang at lower-mid volume settings, making it an unexpected favorite with a Tele for alt-country and indie-roots.

  • Deliciously chewy, thick, lively tube-amp overdrive when pushed hard, with a delectably sweet midrange.

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