While I was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, I tried out some good guitar amps at Guitar Center. One of the amps I really liked was the Crate V Series amps. I also loved the Crate Palomino, but I don't think they make that one anymore.
Crate to me has in the past mean "cheap solid state crap". Well, obviously that ain't the case any more. These new amps are still fairly cheap, but boy they have TONE!
I grabbed a Strat and plugged into one of these Crate amps. I was stunned by the big, fat tone. It was astonishing to hear such a good tone from an amp for under $400. It sounded somewhere between a Vox AC-30 and an old Marshall. Amazing.
I ended up sitting there playing for a good while, and customers came up and asked what I was playing through, the tone was really good. If I didn't have enough amps already, I'd be all over one of these.
For me, the amp sounded the best when the gain setting was fairly low, but the amp was turned up quite a bit. I got that big tube tone that I usually associate with much more expensive amps. I am the kind of player who looks for a good clean tone, and then adjust the gain to taste by using pedals. This would work really well with this amp, but you can also get some crunch from the amp itself, should you want to.
In summary, if you are looking for a good sounding tube combo at a really good price, check out the Crate V Series amps. There several models to choose from. I think there are 5, 18, 33, and 50 watt versions available, so you are sure to find something that suits your level of noise-making... :)
Crate V18 1x12 tube amp
The Crate V18-112 combo features a single-channel 18W Class A design with gain and master volume controls, 3-band EQ, and spring reverb for awesome tone and versatility. Its dual cathode-biased EL84 output tubes pump their searing mojo into a single 12" speaker.The V18's Class A design delivers the hot guitar tones of early British valve amplifiers with smooth clean sounds and thick, meaty overdrive. Take a simple cathode-biased Class A tube circuit, add a tone stack and 12" speaker, and you've got a small recording/practice amp with some lead in its pencil.
Tubes! Just the smell of those glass bottles blazing with fire gets amp aficionados to perk up and lose their cool. Giving our all for the evolution of all-tube tone, Crate's V Series combos and stacks produce the sweet cleans and earthy distortion that can only come from tubes. Roadworthy construction, modern features and genuine value are causing legendary players and novices alike to develop a thermionic love-Jones for the Crate V-Series tube amplifiers.
The Crate V50 112 two-channel combo loudly announces Crate's all-tube V Series amplifiers. With dual 6L6 fixed biased output tubes, this amplifier produces the sort of sparkling cleans and warm, thick overdrive that can only come from tubes pushed to their limit. It pumps 50 watts through a single 12" speaker, creating a muscular low end perfect for club gigs and recording sessions. Presence control, spring reverb and foot-switchable boost make sure you can dial in your custom tone from anywhere.
The Crate V50-112 combo is based on a classic American all-tube circuit, delivering brilliant cleans and crunchy overdrive sounds.Tubes! Just the smell of those glass bottles blazing with fire gets amp aficionados to perk up and lose their cool. Giving our all for the evolution of all-tube tone, this Crate V-Series combo produces the sweet cleans and earthy distortion that can only come from tubes. Roadworthy construction, modern features and genuine value are causing legendary players and novices alike to develop a thermionic love-Jones for the Crate V Series amps.
Class AB tube circuit design
3 - 12AX7A preamp tubes
2 fixed-bias 6L6GC power tubes
Lightweight switching power supply
Single special-design vintage British-voiced 12" speaker
I bought the V50 a few months ago and, while it sounds great when it's working, it's been nothing but trouble. The "Lightweight switching power supply", has been the problem all along with a half dozen trips to the shop and back. Just got it back yesterday and the power light is starting to blink, I guess to keep me worried.
I wouldn't recommend this amp unless your amp shop is near an amp shop so you can go in and play with the Fender or VOX that you should have bought.
Comment added on March 15, 2009
george pierni said...
i bought the crate v50,,,,amazing sound!!!,,,ive had fender tubes amps old and newer ,,,for the $199.00 us dollars,,beats paying 700-1200 for a fender !!!!
Comment added on December 18, 2008
If you recall, I mentioned these awhile back. Glad you had a chance to check them out. I have the Palomino 30w from about 3 years ago and it's a great sounding amp.
Comment added on December 23, 2007
I tried the Palomino V32 too, and I just loved it. Very nice amp, and if you take into account the low price, it's a complete steal.
Comment added on December 19, 2007
Scott Auld said...
Here's my review of the 30 watt head version (the palomino, but still the same amp)