Carvin V3


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The_Mariner
06-04-2010, 10:40 PM
Hey UGers i have been doing much research on this amp lately and viewed as many demos as i can of it. It seems like this is a more then worthy to do what i'm looking for it to do (High gain metal/progressive/Classic metal). I was wondering if any of you have experience with this amp and could give me your insights and experience with it. :cheers:

AxSilentxLine
06-04-2010, 11:32 PM
I haven't had a chance to play one myself yet but the general feedback i've heard is it's a jack of all trades, master of none. Nice amp nonetheless I was considering getting one myself about a year ago. For those styles it should do well, and for it's price it's hard to beat but there is better, a used Mesa Mark IV for example.

FatalGear41
06-04-2010, 11:44 PM
The V3 is a fantastic amplifier and would be perfect for the genres you listed. It has all of the gain you could ever want, it is enormously versatile and has plenty of great tones on tap, and it is as loud as all hell.

Some knowledgeable people have said that the V3, as good as it is, benefits greatly from a hotter bias. However you set it, it is a first-rate high-gain amplifier. Make sure you get a good cabinet to go with it. If you get the combo, spend the extra bucks to get the Vintage 30 speakers. then get yourself a forklift because it is as heavy as a motherf%cker.

The_Mariner
06-05-2010, 02:44 AM
The V3 is a fantastic amplifier and would be perfect for the genres you listed. It has all of the gain you could ever want, it is enormously versatile and has plenty of great tones on tap, and it is as loud as all hell.

Some knowledgeable people have said that the V3, as good as it is, benefits greatly from a hotter bias. However you set it, it is a first-rate high-gain amplifier. Make sure you get a good cabinet to go with it. If you get the combo, spend the extra bucks to get the Vintage 30 speakers. then get yourself a forklift because it is as heavy as a motherf%cker.


What would this hotter bias be? i'm curious now i'm not too familiar with amp biasing and such.

Harvesterofsrrw
06-05-2010, 07:42 AM
v3's are amazing amps, i highly recommend them
they come from the factory with the tubes biased a little cold, its easy to bias carvin amps all you need is a digital multimeter and a screwdriver, my carvin was biased at about 110 ma when i got it, i upped the bias to 156 ma and the crossover distortion sounded amazing after and it gained alot of warmth.
heres a video on how to bias a carvin amp, I use the measure accorss the standby switch, also known as the carvin method.
http://www.eurotubes.com/euro-CarvinV.htm (how to bias a carvin)

Alvaro del Pino
06-05-2010, 11:25 AM
Hey!

I am a V3 owner myself, and I've got to tell you.... I'm a completely satisfied one!
Around a year and a half back I decided I had to get my first tube amp. I was looking for something similar to that you have mentioned: I play a lot of Dream Theater stuff, 80's metal and I tend to compose lengthy clean melancholic songs, so I needed a bit of everything.

I tried several amps back then; bear in mind that I live in Europe, so things are a tad different this side of the ocean. I tried the Mesa Express 5:25, Marshall JVM, Carvin Legacy and the Carvin V3, as well as some others I am not going to bother mentioning.

Out of the box, I would say Legacy's cleans were the best by far. Very sweet sounding, with a very characteristic feel. Still, maybe a bit lacking in fullness and body. Between the other three, I would say V3's clean was the most versatile, and it was not very difficult to dial a tone resembling that of the Mesa or the Marshall. Lots of attack and dynamic, but also some nice compression for a funky sound if that is what you are looking for.

Then I tried the gain chanel. I was unable to get rid of the mud in the Legacy, it sounded reaaaaally middy. Nice for leads (Vai leads), but no so much for rythm (I might be mistaken, I did not spend that much time with the EQ).
The JVM was nice, but I couldn't figure out how not to make it sound like Iron Maiden xD also, a bit thin on the treble side.
Mesa's voicing I loved, but it didn't have enough gain on tap. I was on the verge of buying it with some nice boost when I tried the V3.... It changed my mind!

So... let's get to the point. The V3 has a loooot of gain. I play a strat with low output pickups (8.3k in the bridge and 6.something k middle/neck if I remember correctly) and this thing makes them scream. I rarely put the gain past 7, even for DT sounds. This requires careful EQ though, as the bridge pickup can be really thin sounding (gotta get a dimarzio stacked humbucker sometime).

I have read a lots of reviews saying it can get fizzy or harsh easily. I agree, completely. But we are not supposed to judge an amp based on the tones we get when we do not take our time to EQ. It is easy to make it sound like crap, but when you find the sweet spot I can state that it is a hell of an amazing amp!

The V3 has lots of everything: each channel has its usual 3 band EQ (low, mid, treble), presence, volume, gain and a couple of switches that change the voicing of the channel or engage the expanded EQ. On top of that, you have the master EQ. Not only it has a lot of toggles and pots, they are extremely sensitive and responsive to each other. Taking some time with it you would eventually love it. I do =)

I would say this amp is not suited by any means for low volumes. When played low, the gain channel gets a bit muddy and compressed, but the cleans do just fine. I found that it sounds best with the master volume above 3, so the power amp "breathes" and gives a more open sound (as any tube amp). In addition, I like leaving the boost engaged around noon always. It softens the EQ and boosts middle frecuencies in a nice way. When I play it this way it is completely deafening and roars like a beast xD Still, rolling back the channel's volume (I have them reeeally low) you can play at reasonable levels retaining the tube feel, but you might still have some issues with your neighbours. xD

At the moment I have it setup this way: a sparkling clean channel with lots of attack, that can get really sweet rolling the guitar volume back a little. Nice for everything ranging from DT cleans to a "Sweet home Alabama" kind of sound. Some people have been able to get a bluesy mid-gain sound out of it. Not me, I seem unable to make it break up, but it just might be my pickups. Again.... great great cleans, they blow out the the water the cleans of most high gain amps. I would say they might sound similar to ENGL's, but then again I have only played a couple of ENGLs and for a short time. And they definitely sound better than my friend's fender hot rod deluxe.

Now the first gain channel. They both are identical, so I have this first one setup for an Al di Meola thingy. Mid gainy and great for that palm muted sort of sound. Without the boost engaged it sounds a bit thin in the high notes, but with it engaged it sounds awesome and completely usable in a blues context. I have yet to mess a bit more with this, but it does a great job.

Lastly, we have the second gain channel. This one I use for both metal leads and metal rythm. Believe it or not... it works xD You have got to be careful when adjusting the presence, treble and master bright pots, so you get rid of unwanted high frecuency hiss. I would say this is something very in between an american and british sound. At the moment, I am using the default tubes EL34s and they seem to make the V3 sound more marshally, it indeed is reminiscent of a 80's hotrodded marshall feel: not really tight, but massive and deafening xD. I would like to change it to 6l6s for more of an american voicing sometime though.

Lastly, I would say it works nicely in a band situation, it cuts easily into the mix and it might get out of control even, if you get too excited with your own sound. It has lots of mids, so you might even have to roll off a big deal of it.

I would like to give you some insight about the effects loop (it has two of them, serial and parallel midi-swichable both, just as the amp channels and boost), but I have not used them that much. I am more of a guitar-amp guy with nothing in the middle. I wouldn't be if I could afford some nice delay chorus and reverb, tho xD I tried it once with a POD xt live in the serial and it did not seem to suck any tone, even when the POD is not suited for this kind of use (I think). Almost forgot to mention: It is pretty silent, my PU's are noiseless, but even with my most metal sound they are relatively quiet when I am not playing. I have not needed a noise supressor yet.

So... that is much it. I completely recommend you this amp, but you should get your hands on one first and see what you can get out of it. Be warned: you should spend as many hours as you can before you buy it, it is complicated as hell to EQ it to get THAT sound in your head. But totally worth it =)

If you have any questions about, say, settings or anything, contact me without hesitation.
Best regards!

The_Mariner
06-05-2010, 04:17 PM
v3's are amazing amps, i highly recommend them
they come from the factory with the tubes biased a little cold, its easy to bias carvin amps all you need is a digital multimeter and a screwdriver, my carvin was biased at about 110 ma when i got it, i upped the bias to 156 ma and the crossover distortion sounded amazing after and it gained alot of warmth.
heres a video on how to bias a carvin amp, I use the measure accorss the standby switch, also known as the carvin method.
http://www.eurotubes.com/euro-CarvinV.htm (how to bias a carvin)

Thanks! i bookmarked the video just incase i choose to buy it. What about the problem the page mentions about the hissing though? did you experience that? also what would a higher bias mean? from what i gathered it means the tubes will open up more correct?