Crate Vintage Club 30 Amp Reviews
$250 off ebay used.
This is the loudest and most tone-friendly amp I've ever had in a small combo unit, and I've had nearly 30 amps in the last year. My goal was to get an amp that I could play in small venues and that had a versatile tone selection and overdrive so it could be played by itself without any footpedal or efx units if need be. I've never had a Crate before and never gave any thought to owning one. Previously I owned all of the Vox reissue amps (some were pretty good, especially the Vox Cambridge Reverb Twin), the Tech21 Trademark 10 and 60 amps, and a whole host of other brands, including the Laney VC30 (Vox AC30 clone). I was pretty set on the Vox when I kept seeing the Crate amps show up on Ebay. I read the user reviews on Harmony Central and was very intrigued as most of the reviewers raved about the Vintage 30 series. When one came up on Ebay I bought it. I have to state right here that this is the loudest and most versatile tone-wise of any amp I've had. And it absolutely slays any other amp that I put it against, both in volume, clean tone, and outrageous gain. In fact, I'm hard pressed to come up with any other amp that does a better job, with the exception of an old blackface Fender Super Reverb or my old (wish I never sold them ) Vox AC50 and AC100 amp heads that I used to play 30 years ago! The Crate Vintage 30 has 2 channels, clean and overdrive, and separate reverb controls for each channel (nice touch). It runs on 3 12ax7 preamp tubes and 4 EL84 tubes in Class-A mode, much like the fabled Vox AC30 combo amps. It can actually sound exactly like the AC30 by using the gain channel, setting the preamp gain to 10 and using the master on about 3. Sparkling crystals highs and a very wide overall tone. Turning up the preamp gain supercharges my 73 stock strat into the heavens (overdrive heaven that is). The clean channel sparkles with width, breadth, and shimmer. There is also a lot of mid-range and bass available on the amp. This amp really outdoes a lot of other amps with the tone variations available on the top panel. A lot of other amps I compared it to (Peavey Delta Blues, Laney VC30, Tech 21 Trademark 60, Vox Cambridge), all came out a distant 2nd in comparison and gain-wide the Crate absolutely blew them out of the room. Don't be misled, while Crate has a pretty bad reputation, the Vintage series amps are top-notch as a fraction of the cost of other amps. Just be ready to change out the stock Sovtek tubes - I use Electro Harmonix 12ax7s in the 1st 2 preamp stages, a JJ Tesla 12ax7 in the 3rd stage phase inverter, and Groove Tube EL84 for the power tubes (4). This made a huge difference in the sound of the amp, and because its Class-A, no rebiasing is required. you can just swap tubes in/out to obtain the gain and tone you want.
No preamp out, no external speaker out, super heavy to carry, no internal fan to keep things cool. Amps are prone to potential problems with the switch on the top panel that changes from clean to overdrive but mine was repaired prior to getting it and I use a footpedal to change the channels.
Built like a mac-truck, this is one heavy amp, heavy speaker, heavy contruction, unlike most amps, the chassis is bolted to the back panel, so you have to remove about 15 screws to get the chassis out to change tubes.
A blazing 30 watt monster tone unit that will have your other fellow guitarists drooling with envy and incredulous that you are playing a Crate amp!Peter
rated this unit