Carvin MTS3200  Head
Carvin MTS3200 Head
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All user reviews for the Carvin MTS3200 Head

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Average Score:4.8( 4.8/5 based on 6 reviews )
 5 reviews83 %
 1 user review17 %
Audience: Anyone
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Christopher M. McBurney07/18/2018

Christopher M. McBurney's review"Great All-Around Tube Amp"

Carvin MTS3200 Head
All of the other reviewers are correct, the MTS3200 is a great all-around amp. Great high gain (very high gain) tones but smooth and tasteful. Around the same time I bought my MTS3200, I picked up an original block letter 5150. I had the 5150 about a week and resold it online. Very high gain yes but it was very abrasive and course to me, had to unload it. The MTS3200 has a beautiful full and warm clean channel and a very high lead channel that is very balanced and very full on the bottom end. Very smooth tones even with the gain on 10. For the typical used price today of $400-ish, its a wonderful value. Excellent tones and excellent features.

glassjaw7's review"Lots of amp for the price!"

Carvin MTS3200 Head
The Carvin MTS 3200 is a 100 watt tube amplifier.
The amp features two channels, Lead 1 and Clean 2, respectively.

Channel 1 Lead controls include Treble, Mid, Bass, Drive (gain), and channel volume.
Channel 2 Clean controls include Treble, Mid, Bass, Drive, and volume. There is also a push-button presence switch for the Clean channel.

The front panel houses two additional controls; a global Reverb control that affects both channels, and a Lead 1 Presence knob that selects the Lead channel's presence frequency.

Rear Panel:

On the back of the amp you'll find the usual suspects; a bias switch for selecting 6L6/5881 power tubes (which ship with the amp) or EL34s.
A switch to select cab impedance (4, 8, or 16 ohms) is included along with the two speaker-out jacks.

Send and Return jacks for the great sounding serial effects loop are found here as well. The loop can be switched on or off via the included footswitch.

A very handy and smart feature of this amp is that the output power can be cut down to 50 watts via a switch on the rear panel, which will keep your neighbors and FOH soundman happy! (it should be noted that the impedance does not have to be changed when running the watt in 50 watt mode, as it is not the same as pulling the outer or inner pair of power tubes as many commonly do to tame 100 watt amps)
This feature is great for getting that driven tube sound at lower volumes!


This amp is very easy to dial in, which will be appreciated by the guitarist who is buying his/her first tube amp, or the seasoned pro looking for a great value in a well built, time tested product.

Turn the knobs on the front panel and you'll notice that the overall sound of the amp doesn't drastically change. It's as though the amp was designed to deliver a general sound (albeit a very good one!) despite where the controls are set. It delivers its tones with only a slight variation from the eq controls, which is good since both the clean and lead channels sound very desirable!

The treble on the Lead channel is the one control that can drastically alter the tone, but once you find a setting that cuts through without sounding overly bright, the other knobs only slightly alter the tone for fine-tuning.

The manual is well-written and covers the basic features of the amp. No complaints here.

The global reverb control is a bit sensitive. Trying to find the perfect amount of verb can be tricky as there's a fine line between just enough and too much. Once you find your sweet spot though, the result is spacious, and beautiful tube-driven reverb that spills over when switching between channels or when turning the reverb off. One of the best verbs I've ever used!


Channel 1 Lead:

Channel 1 Lead is a very smooth playing channel with enough gain to get into hard rock or even metal territory. It is voiced somewhat like a JCM 800, but is thicker, looser and less defined. The trademark Marshall "kerrang" and wiry top end is not there, but the overall character is decidedly british, especially when using EL34 tubes in the power section.

I found that with the drive control set between 7 and 8 (around 2:00) this channel comes alive with harmonics and singing, controlled feedback that always sounds musical and is never stiff or harsh. This amp is a lead player's dream! It's gain texture is soupy and lead lines flow effortlessly from the player's fingers! Kick in a touch of the tube-driven reverb and it becomes spacious and full.

The Lead channel's presence control is very different from most other tube amps. No matter where you set it, the amp will never become muddy, harsh or overly bright. At first listen, it seems as though it has a very minimal, or no affect on the tone at all. But crank the amp up on stage or at band rehearsal, and give it a twist! You'll notice a subtle shift in the high frequencies that really lets you choose the right setting to cut through the mix. This is a very well thought out feature! The mids are also voiced very musically in this amp, as turning them higher doesn't warrant a harsh result, and only brings more focus, bite and clarity to the voicing.

The lead channel can also be set up to suit the hard rock riffer by shifting the presence and treble controls. With the treble past noon, the tone becomes a bit sharp. Dime the bass and scoop out the mids a bit and you're in the modern rock/metal realm. In doing so however, you sacrifice the warm liquid lead tones that are had by setting the amp up with more subtle high frequencies. I prefer keeping the channel set up for a soupy lead tone, then kicking on an MXR 10-band Eq in the effects loop to get the more aggressive and heavy rhythm tones.

Another thing I'd like to point out is how the bass control sounds. This low end control acts more like a depth control that can be found on some amps, such as Diezels. Adjusting the bass on the MTS is like fine-tuning the very low sub-frequencies, and never adds low-mid flab like many other amps' bass controls. With the bass maxed, the lead channel becomes extremely huge sounding and almost feels like you're playing through subwoofers!

Channel 2 Clean:

Switching over to channel 2 Clean, the first thing you'll notice is that this is no ordinary, dull clean tone like you find in so many channel switchers. This is a full bodied, warm, almost acoustic-sounding clean that chimes and shimmers! Playing a strat or tele through this channel delivers some unbelievable clean sounds! Arpeggios and chords ring out clearly and never sound dull or thin. The quality of the onboard reverb can really be heard and appreciated on this channel. It's thick and lush with beautiful tails that decay and trail off naturally with no artificial artifacts or cheap digital sounds. Amazing job Carvin!

Plugging in a Les Paul, I hit the presence-boost switch and the thick, round tone became bright and spanky and airy in the top end. This setup could almost pass as an acoustic sound from a Piezo bridge pickup!


Given the low price and high build quality of this two-channel tone machine, I find it difficult to nit-pick. However, if I had to make one complaint, it would be that there is no mid-shift or contour switch on the lead channel. This would allow me to dial in my liquid lead tones, and then flip the switch for playing aggressive riffs. This is hardly a problem though, as an eq can be used in the fx loop to attain these results.

I would buy this amp again in a heartbeat! I can recommend this amplifier to the player who is looking to buy their first tube amp on a budget, or to anyone who wants a great lead channel and one of the best cleans available in a channel switching amp at any price! A great value!

MGR/dourdeeds's review"Carvin MTS-3200 50th Anniversary Model"

Carvin MTS3200 Head
This amp was bought used over E-Bay for $400.00. It was worth every penny and more. I played through Marshall, Peavey 5150's, Crate Blue-VooDoo's and Fenders. I chose the Carvin because of what it had to offer.

Massive volume potential. The 3200 has 100 watts but can be switched back to 50 watts in seconds. This is a brilliant feature as it turns off half of the stack of power tubes and lets you maintain the tione without the high volume. However, at 50 watts this thing will break glass from a block away. The 3200 has all the warmth and softness you'd want in a tube but can sparkle just as nicely. This amp had equal-to or better tone that any of the others amps I messed with. Much better than the 5150. It also is just as loud and is one road-worthy gigger. I don't even own a back-up amp and have done gigs with this Carvin. I'd sleep with the thing but my wife gets jealous.

I like everything about this amp.

Very stout and durable construction. This amp will due just fine sitting all nice and pretty in a studio or you can take it out on the road doing out-door gigs in Omaha, NE and let the whole world (literally) enjoy its magic.

Get a 3200 or you'll have paid way too much and gotten way too little out of your tube amp. Simply the best!

This review was originally published on
MGR/ william robert12/25/2002

MGR/ william robert's review"Carvin MST3200 w/ 412 metal cab"

Carvin MTS3200 Head
about $900.00 brand new... affordable compared to new marshalls, mesa boogie, and peavey 5150.

the amp is incredible. i plugged it in and was ready to go play. i have had a line 6 before and when i got this amp there was one thing i went for bass. when i played through line 6 and other models it got muddy, ringy, and cringing. when i bought this amp i knew the ultimate test was volume, maybe its like every other amp it sounds good at low levels lets crank it. I blasted it and cranked a palmed riff, the basss rung my heart, popped it right out my back, but left the sound almost untouchable. i heard every note of the chord without the unwanted ring or dirt, and it didnt make me cringe. The amp has awesome feature. Two channels thats all you need with this amp, this amp can drive your sound to new heights with it behind you. Get this amp it blows other amps away.
Did I mention an amazing OUTPUT, ask if your marshall 412 can do that.

i noticed that playing through clean channel with reverb up till half level but switched off by foot switch makes a whipping sound after the chord your palying. barely noticeable.

hand made to your perfection... they took time to its appearance and yes even its long lasting new smell.

awesome amp. get one. get one now. trade in that new marshall, they dont make them like they used to any more. there are no more tubes. Can't afford a mesa, this is thrown right out at ya. pick it up and play it. buy it!

This review was originally published on
MGR/Tyler Christesen06/30/2002

MGR/Tyler Christesen's review"Carvin MTS3200"

Carvin MTS3200 Head
Bought it used for $700 with matching 4X12 cab. I had read many reviews and i knew that this is the amp i wanted.

This head is built so solid, so tough, that i do play it at gigs without a backup, even though i have about 9 tubes to worry about. I've just always been confident that it won't crap out at the last second like other amps. The low end on the gain channel is a's incredible! and the distortion is perfect, you can get that Andy Timmons-like bluesy growl with the gain on about 5, and the John Petrucci-like major distortion while still retaining impeccable clarity...yes it's that good. And the clean channel features a specially wired treble tone knob that only controls the highest frequencies, allowing you to shape your tone like a piezo bridge! Another perk is the 50/100 watt switch in the back...if i want better tube clipping (better sounding distorion) at low volume levels, i can hit a switch in the back and shut off two of the 4 power tubes! That's a great feature because this amp can really crank, but when i'm playing late at night i don't want to wake up the whole house, but i still want to get good tone. I had considered a Mesa Boogie, or a 5150, but the Carvin just gave me more options and better sound in the end.

made in the USA! Even the housing is made with quality pine wood...not plywood! everything is very neat and looks great. You can tell this wasn't thrown together in some cheap Korean factory.

Bottom line: if you're looking for a professional amp that can step up when it needs to, and back off when it's told, buy this amp. You won't be dissapointed because it doesn't give you a reason. If this thing is ever stolen or lost, it will be replaced in a heartbeat. i've had this amp for a long time now, so i've had time to test it's features and really push it to the limit. I can tell you that through all my various musical phases (alternative, death/melodic metal, progressive rock, and most recently blues) this amp has always stuck by me and has been able to pull off all those sounds with ease. If you have any questions about this amp, or any other Carvin products (i play a DC400TA), e-mail me at

This review was originally published on

paddleboy's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Carvin MTS3200 Head
100W all-tube amp
Between an input (for scratching), 2 effect loop, 2 outputs cabinets (cabinet)
2 channels clean / rglages saturated with traditional (high meduim bass), 2 volume knobs (one for each channel), a rverbe a prsence a gain.
Basically, it's banal, but attention ...


Config simple but attention c'estr The Claque IN YOUR FACE!
The knobs are hyper prcis, the sound is right prcis same net with a lot of gain, all without 4h rgler the head!
The sound is warm (thank you lamps) and the sound is really the one I was looking for: large disto masi ca ca not start drooling not in feedback, even with a large volume: it's all good!
Some criticized him an FM sound can be too personal but I had a prfre its too runny.
I utiise level versatility to play the Mtal Hardcore aassure serious ... and knowing that it was used to record the pop ... everything is said, also provides a level Polyval.
no manual but hey so easy to use that it is not ncessaire.


As said before the sound is nickel dessu
I use it live with my LTD Viper 301 but I intend to take a wah, a tuner, the Carvin footswitch (a bit expensive when same) and a tremolo rate I'll never n'achterais a distortion rate: It would be a waste standard: Imagine a guitarist use a mtal area with a stone the Mesa Dual Rectifier! LOL
Brief report quality price is not better for me (compared to engl fireball that drools and has only 60W to 100 in the belly of diffrence ...)
No wonder that mister Steve Vai used it before signing abortion, which is a copy of this head lgrement less "couillu" in distortion.


It's been six months that I owns and if I had the choice again, I would do without hsiter.
I try a lot of head before: either taient expensive or not gnial gnial for the price.
Report quality is trs trs trs prices honnte face the Engl Powerball or Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and its level, providing a really good: the head has nothing to be ashamed ct of environmental ultra Miss!
Too bad the head is too rare in France, I busted in OCCAZ to 800 in very good state and I have no regrets.
For my conclusion I would not say one word: HUGE!