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August 30, 2008

Crate V33H

Tried a Crate V 33 head with matching 2x12 cab recently at Music Centre Canada in Camrose. It looks really nice, this thing. With the matching 2 x 12 cabinet, it would look awesome on a stage. I was stoked to plug in and crank it up.

It has nice features too:

33 watts RMS
Class A, all tube circuitry
Two channels
4 x EL84 output tubes, cathode biased
Spring reverb
Footswitchable boost function

I started with the clean channel. Nice, nice. I could get some really fat and shimmery tones with both a humbucker guitar as well as a strat. The tone reminded me a bit of an AC30. It has plenty of volume too, and this channel with some pedals would go a long way.

Then for the crunch channel. I expected some nice, saturated gain tones to be found here. Truthfully, I was disappointed. The distortion was dark and muddy - not exciting at all compared to the clean channel. I set the bass on zero and drove up the treble a bit. On a humbucker guitar, I could that way get some decent tones, but then the clean channel would be way too bright. No matter how I fiddled with the controls, the gain channel had me disappointed.

The reverb is really nice for a relatively cheap amp like this. I was able to get some "surfy" tones and rich reverb guitar tone by some quick experimentation.

In summary, if you want a 33 watt head with a nice sounding tube Class A British tone and you don't need a gain channel, by all means - this ain't a bad amp. But if you want good distorted tones, I think you would need to hook up some good pedals on the clean channel and forget about that you have a 2nd gain channel. It's really that bad, in my opinion.

I don't know what Crate had in mind when they designed this gain channel. It's not gonna work for many. I have also played the Palomino amps in the past, and I must say the gain tones on those amps were much, much better than what this 33 watter has in store for you.

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on August 30, 2008

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