Direct from Carvin. Read some good reviews. The amp had a very nice look. The Carvin catalogue is well done. I paid 559 plus about 25 for shipping. There is a ten day money back trial period so I thought it was worth a shot
First and formost is the look of the amp. Carvin has really got the look down right. If you take the name plate you would swear this was a 40 year old amp.The sound of the amp is very nice. There are two distinct channels. Channel one is the clean channel. It has treble,mid and bass controls that are very responsive to little tweaks. I have found more than one sweet spot on this amp just in the frst channel. There is also another treble control on the back of the amp that lets you brighten up the sound with out harshness. The amp has plenty of volume and the sustain on the clean channel is sweet. The overdrive channel also has a treble, mid and bass eq. There is a soak pot that lets you go from a little dirt to total staturation. You can definitely get woman tone out of this baby. I play a 98 Strat with Kinman pickups and let me tell you this is the sweetest sounding amp I have ever owned. I have owned Marshalls , Ampegs , Peavy and more than a few Fender amps. These amplifiers all served me well and certainly sounded great but none of them was ever exacly what I was looking for. There was always something missing. Fender came the closest for sound but I have never been happy with the lack of quality Fender seems to display in some key areas. The amps are usually noisy and they don't use the best pots. Carvin has adressed these problems and done it for a lot less. If Fender were producing this amp the would be charging around 800 at the store, their list would probably be 1100.THe sound ot the Carvin really nails what Fender is known for but with out the noise and with out sounding exacly like a Fender. If you love the Fender sound and you know what I mean about the noise and their pricing, try one of the Carvins. The bang for the buck ratio will put you way ahead of the game.
I only have two small comlpaints about the amplifier.The rectifier is not tube and the handle is rubber, not leather. I don't think that the sound the sound suffers too much by the lack of a tube rectifier and in fact thats probably a trade off for the extra volume. As far as the handle the catalogue shows a nice fat leather handle but what you get is brown rubber. I have written and e-mailed Carvin to complain about these two points but thwy have not replied.
I think this amplifier is extremely well made.The have used high quality electronics and very nice pots. The speakers are very responsive and even thought they don' use the best tubes, the tone of this ting is unbeleivable. This is by far and away the most well made and sweet sounding amplifier I have ever owned.
If you play bluse or classic rock, love the Fender sound but hate the prices and the noise try one of these amps. The range of tones and breadth of expression from theis amp rivals amps that cost three times as much.
All that can provide a tube amp. Its strength is absolutely a good clean channel with low fat and very compact round, especially for a firm open.
The lead channel can be improved by making a small modification of the circuit (suppression diodes), but most metal fans abstain or use effects pedals or multi-input effects (that's what I do with a Digitech LE2101).
Both are a little tight HP which means rather low volume.
In all a great all-round amp with a nice sound.
I do covers of "twisted" with a group of old sores like myself and I had this amp for a backup in rack 40kg / / 2x12 25kg box that I did not want to hang around in the trunk everywhere.
It is not worth the rack config with a Peavey Studio + MB 50/50 but it still plays in a different court ... For the price I think it would be hard to beat (new 780 Euro, d opportunity they are found from 450 Euro).
Using a multi-effects pedal Digitech LE2101 + C1, two strata and a G & L Thinline, a Wah from time to time.
For distortion I use the type Grunge Digitech's crunch for the R & R + Blues Classic directly by both channels with a set of Carvin volume / effects across the LE2101.
This amp do all without special problems. Inappropriate for use at home because 50W is a lot of noise!
To get the more you must change the lead-channel, possibly setting up a return on the coupling of the output stage.
Warning for those who think that the power tubes can be easily changed for JJ. The bias adjustment is not fixed and it is therefore essential to repeat this setting to avoid the smoke. I've realized in time and especially before the "unpacking at full power" with my friends .. If you are not familiar settings of tube amps, please do it for 30-40 Euros a dealer or someone special because it still operates on tracks running between 300-400Vcc is so dangerous.
I use this amp for 6 months.
Pros: sound, glued and lacquered tweed PVC (still very clean and does not tear), birch plywood crate, easily modifiable, availability information on the web.
Cons: no master volume, so it is with each change of local regain some balance Clean / Lead channel and Volume / Soak the Lead Channel. Weight of a 50W tube amp with 2 hp ..
Other models tested (in store) several amps like Vox, Fender, Peavey -> given the price difference that justifies this choice, then it's lights EL84 that leave a little room for the mids compared to amps Fender need to push harder to get out the best (albeit for the blues it must hardly be better than a silver deluxe reverb with a Gibson Gold Top ..)
Value for money: OK, good for Texas & Delta Blues, R & Roll
If I try it again Arguably a 1x12 amp, because the beast and still a bit heavy.