MetalFriend, on december 13, 2012 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 700
Purchased from: carvinguitars.com
Features: The Carvin V3M head is basically a 50 watt version of the original Carvin V3. Made in the U.S. It comes stock with four EL84's and four 12AX7's. My amp was made in 2011. I've had it for almost a year now. I play a lot of metal, rock, blues and all their various sub-genres. This amp is extremely versatile and handles all off these styles with relative ease. It has three independent channels, an fx loop, built-in reverb and a built in boost. The boost can only be used if you buy the footswitch with it though. Each channel has an EQX switch which when turned off gives you a more modern sound and when turned on gives you a more smooth distortion/bluesy clean. The first channel has a 3-way switch that goes from Bright to Soak. The second two have 3-way switches that go from Intense to Thick. It also has an Impedance switch that let's you use it with any cabinet, which I thought was really useful. It only weighs nineteen pounds which makes it very portable and easy to gig with. And finally, it has a variable wattage switch that let's you have it at 7/22/50 watts. It has just about every feature I can think of that you'd need from an amp built in apart from built-in effects. // 9
Sound: I normally play my Sterling or my Ibanez through this. Both have DiMarzios in them. I play it through a Laney 4x12 Cabinet. This amp is a tweaker's amp. You can get almost any sound you can think of out of it as long as you're willing to spend the time playing with the knobs. The EQ is very touch sensitive and as such will respond to very small adjustments. The 1st channel can get a very nice sparkly clean or it can have a slight bluesy crunch to it depending on how you play with the setting. The second two channels are exactly the same. But, they will of course differ enourmously in sound based on how you EQ them. I currently have my second channel set up with the EQX switch on to get a Paul Gilbert tone while my third channel is set to have a more modern gain; more like Dream Theater. The clean channel will stay clean at fairly high volumes on the 50 watt channel. It should be fine for a gig as long as you mic the amp. It also will start to hiss as you turn it up on the distorted channels so a noise suppressor would be a good investment. // 8
Reliability & Durability: Over the past year that I've owned this amplifier I have not had a single problem with it. I would and have gigged this amp without a back-up. I have only gigged with it a couple times and both times it did amazingly well. I got a lot of compliments on my overall sound on stage. The outside is all made of metal and looks fairly durable. If I dropped it I would probably be most worried about the tubes inside. Besides that I think it would be fine. As long as you aren't throwing it around and you let the amp warm up before playing through it, it should last you a long time. // 9
Overall Impression: Due to this amps versatility, quality and affordability I would recommend this amp to just about any guitarist of any style looking for a new amp to add to their repertoire. Before I bought this amp I had only owned solid state and modeling amps. This amp blows them away in the quality of sound it puts forth! My favorite feature on it is probably the EQX switch on each channel as it changes the tonal characteristics of the channel and almost makes it sound like another amp entirely. If it got stolen I would definitely buy it again. For the price I might have to buy two.