Two EL84s and a Celestion Alnico Blue speaker. For most of the guitar-speaking universe, that adds up to something a lot like a Vox AC15. But it doesn’t take much time with the Xits 10 to hear just how far it departs from the old Vox recipe.
To be certain, some things about the Xits 10 do recall the AC15. It’s chimy and bright, and it can be explosively potent when pushed. Yet the Xits also inhabits a unique sonic universe. It’s a bold, bass-rich, and sweetly sparkling, and at extreme settings it’s a thunderous little monster. For rock players who love straight-line Brit crunch—and less dogmatically constrained players who like their bass massive and treble sizzling—the Xits 10 is an intriguing partner in chime.
If you savor ever facet of the amp-construction craft, the Xits 10 is a feast for the senses. Its exterior is a delightful deviation from tweed and black-vinyl norms. The grey linen-patterned vinyl seems to be a nod to the original fawn AC15s (and a few 1950s blazers I’ve coveted). The woolen dot-pattern grille cloth looks and feels a little like a throw rug or sweater cloth—an inspired bit of design irreverence that works unexpectedly well.
Even the speaker baffle and alloy preamp tube enclosures appear color-coordinated, adding cool highlights that complement the deep blue of the Celestion Alnico Blue and the sky-blue highlights in the Xits logo. (We realize these touches have no bearing on how the Xits sounds, but they’re emblematic of the craft and care put into this thing—plus they look bitchin’!)
With so many playful design details, it’s easy to imagine Xits mastermind Michael Koski as a groovy design professor turned bespoke furniture builder. Look closer, though, and it becomes just as easy to imagine him as a stern Teutonic lab technician. The ½” Baltic birch plywood cabinet is flawlessly assembled and reinforced by finished hardwood trim. The chassis hood, made from the same finished aluminum as the control plate, reveals a similar fixation with detail. The tubes protrude from precisely machined ports. Nearby are two 1/4″ speaker jacks. (The onboard speaker uses one.) There’s also a sturdy 8-/16-ohm switch.
Bright as the Blue Sky Above
One thing the Xits 10 is not, however, is a blank slate. That’s not to say it doesn’t sound great clean or work well with pedals—it does. But its cleanest tones still tend to be hot in the highs and fat in the bass. Using the AC15 as a baseline comparison, you’ll find the Xits capable of a far hotter high end and much more bass. In fact, the considerable—if not downright corpulent—low-end is probably be the first thing that will strike you. It’s huge for an amp of this size, and it can sometimes overpower the midrange tones that many folks seek from EL84 amps, even with the bass control near minimum.