The Vox VBM1 has been constructed to quite excellent standards considering its price.
The pre-amplifier is a simple 1960s Mullard-derived solid-state circuit, where transistors directly replace what would have previously been two pre-amplifier valves, one transistor acting to multiply the input signal (pre-amplifier), and the second then providing further amplification to drive the power-amplifier (driver).
The amplifier, which is powered by a large battery (as shown in the picture above) has no controls whatsoever, gain, volume or tone.
In order to produce the overdriven guitar tones, Brian uses a Treble-Booster to drive the input of the Deacy.
The large input signal into the amplifier coming from the booster causes it to quickly and totally distort and produce gain-levels which in modern terms due to their smooth creamy nature are frequently described as liquid, and it is this tone that is heard on the examples above.
), Millionare Waltz (solo section, and guitar orchestration accompaniment), Dreamers Ball (song opening using guitar orchestration), Flash Gordon (guitar orchestration following vocal-line Saviour of the Universe!
), Hard Life (large multi-tracked guitar chords at solo opening), Delilah (guitar solo), Bijou (guitar solo, although a little lost amongst heavy use of reverb and delay), A Winters Tale (guitar solo), Business (large multi-tracked guitar chords at songs beginning), and finally and perhaps most famously God Save the Queen (Entire piece, multi-tracked guitar), and the Wagner Wedding March from Flash Gordon (also the Entire piece, multi-tracked guitar) Most of the above examples, in addition to being amongst the clearest examples of Brians alternative tone, have another factor in common they have all appear to have large amounts of multi-tracked, layered guitar orchestration parts.Deacon, a recent graduate of electronics from Imperial College London quickly noticed Mays enthusiasm for producing multi-tracked guitar harmony parts after hearing a very early rendition of Procession that May had recorded at home on a small homemade amplifier that Brian himself had built.Hence, a few months after joining the group, Deacon arrived for a Queen practice with a gift for Brian, a small 0.45 Watt RMS amplifier assembled from an old bookshelf speaker with electronics from a car-radio, all salvaged from a refuse-skip.The layout is typical Vox, with the single 6½-inch speaker positioned at the front-bottom of the unit behind the usual Vox trademark three-colour diamond-weave speaker covering whilst the control panel as shown above is placed on the top of the unit.Although the control panel does not face the rear of the unit, as is normal with the AC30s (dating back to the early AC30 years where the amplifier sat in front of the guitarist facing the audience, and hence a rear-facing control panel was sensible), the chicken-head knobs further reinforce a traditional Vox appearance.The only control of tone for the Deacy is a piece of cloth that can be draped over the front, smoothing if necessary any high-treble response in the amplifier.