BV120H Review

manufacturer: Crate date: 06/24/2013 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Crate: BV120H
When you want to rock and need some power, check out the Voodoo Series. They have remarkable tube sound and power, strong clean tones, great distortion, and cool stage cosmetics.
 Sound: 8.4
 Overall Impression: 8.1
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Features: 8.1
 Overall rating:
 8.1 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.2 
 Users rating:
 7.9 
 Votes:
 18 
reviews (7) pictures (2) 7 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 4.8
BV120H Reviewed by: Dyaxe666, on november 08, 2005
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Features: Made in 2005. It's the re-designed model. Pretty sure the guts are the same as the old Blue Voodoos just a new outside. I think it looks better then the old ones if that counts for anything. 2 channel EFX loop w/reverb. Pretty basic tube amp. 8 Ohms output. // 8

Sound: The clean channel is bright, clean and crisp but lacks the warmth of a Fender Twin or Deluxe. I rolled the presence control off and it lost that ice pick in the ear brittle sound. If this was all the amp did it would be cool. Put some pedals in front and you got all you want in a clean amp. However, the drive channel sucks bildge water! The annoying "bumble bee in a tin can" distortion. Very buzzy, I'm more inot the "smooth distortion." I used the good 'ol Krank cab with this. // 4

Reliability & Durability: The circuit board on this amp is pretty thin, the traces are too. The power tubes are on a separate board connected by rigid pins, not wires. I would worry about transporting this amp, but I would gig with it without a backup (mainly 'cause I can't afford one). // 3

Overall Impression: I play metal, and sure it has a lot of gain, but very sterile sounding. Been playing for 3 sum odd years. It's an inexpensive amp, but also cheaply built. Wasn't too happy with it. // 4

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overall: 10
BV120H Reviewed by: Subliminal_Daze, on november 09, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: I used the classic model of this amp (classic gold logo on the front grill of the head and cab and blue tolex) but the specs are still the same: comes standard with Groove Tubes, two 12AX7 power tubes and six others, two channels: clean and drive, footswitch included, available effects loop, spring reverb, 120 watts through four vintage Celestion 30's (stock in cab). I used this amp with the last group I was with. It wasn't nessicarily mine, but I was using it none the less. It is plenty powerful enough for where it is used. The volume never has to be cranked past four or five (11 or 12 o'clock positions), and sounds amazing. It can, if used correctly, generate any tone you are looking for. Just look at the artist list. CC Deville from Poison is one of the main guitarists, but then you have both guitarists in Biohazard sporting the Blue Voodoo as well. An overall amazing amp. // 10

Sound: With this amp, I am using either an Ibanez RG 170 or 350DX. I'll tell you this much: you won't get a Ry Cooder or Keith Richards type fuzz from this amp unless it has next to no gain on. However, the distortion, when used, is very versitile. But first, to the clean channel. Using the bridge humbucker on my guitar, I get a very bright, crisp sound no matter where I am with the tone knob of either the guitar or amplifier. When the single coil comes into play, the sound is much more natural, but also neutral. It is just kind of there. The humbucker in the neck position can go anywhere from warm and smooth to all out bassy and thick, working good for darker cleans. Bringing gain into the picture here, we get to the amp's true versatility. As I said before, the distortion won't give you an old sixties fuzz. This is some serious gain. If you know how to tweak your specs right, you can get any sound from the late '70s on. On the bridge humbucker here I can pull anything from heavy palm mutes in drop C to 24th fret finger tapping with my guitar raised a half step. The entire gamut is run when I play, whether it's just f--ing around in practice or blasting the crowd on stage. The single coil gives a raw, Iron Maiden sound (seeing as Maiden played through single coil pick-ups). The neck position humbucker is possibly the most versitile with the gain. Anything from a smooth, thick distortion to a heavy bassy crunch, depending on where the presence (or tone) knob is. The amp's thick gain allows for searing pinch harmonics using any pickup. Definately a great amp. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I used this amp at every show and practice, and played the hell out of it. While I used it, it never broke down. All you have to do, as for any tube amp, is rotate the power tubes every once in a while. I never had a backup, simply because I've never needed one. The Voodoo has a distinct sound that couldn't be replaced mid show. I'd make sure you could do everything possible to check on the 'health' of the amp before the show, and it'll suit you well. It is fragile in a way since it's a tube amp, but as far as tube amps go, it's a Crate, and Crates are nearly indestructable. // 10

Overall Impression: This amp is put to use the most in a metal band. I play all types, but the amp is a metal amp for me. You could get it to sing for you with that brittle classic distortion, but I have yet to really test it that way. I've been playing for nearly four years now, and this amp is the best thing that's happened to my rig. I've also used a vintage 60 watt Carvin head with a tube boost pedal to get it loud enough, but this, honestly, held a better tone. Of course, the Carvin had a blown speaker and hadn't been serviced in God knows how many years, but still. If it were stolen or lost, I'd obviously buy it again once I got the money. This has been the best piece of gear in my rig, but one bit of advice. Don't ruin the tone of the amp by putting cheap EFX pedals on it! Either make sure you have the BV EFX loop, or you have some very high end pedals (ElectroHarmonix, Visual Sound, Analogue Man, and for wah, only a Crybaby, trust me). Other than that, the options are yours. // 10

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overall: 9.3
BV120H Reviewed by: atticus_08, on march 29, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: Not quite sure when it was made, never really cared when it was. This amp in my opinion is very versatile. You can get wonderful clean sounds and heavy tight distortion. It has two channels, EFX loop, and nice sounding reverb. I never really needed a featured loaded amp head because I have effect pedals. This suits me perfectly. This amp is amazingly loud, but then again it's an all tube head. You get a simple, nice sounding head! // 9

Sound: I use a Tom DeLonge Strat and a Gibson Les Paul. Both sound awesome to me. I play anything and everthing that sounds good. Punk, emo, hardcore, metal, rock, blues, and jazz; all of it sounds great throught this amp. If you really want an array of sounds buy a EQ pedal. I never use mine and still get the tones I want. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I will use it for a gig soon! I just bought it, but I'm sure it's reliable, my other Crate head did the trick night in and night out. // 8

Overall Impression: So many people rip on the amp saying it has lifeless tone. In my opnion you have to spend no more than 10 minutes fiddling around with the knobs and you'll be satified. I have no complaints whatsoever and I have been in the guitar game for almost 6 years and had my fair share of equiptment. Everything from bad quality to good quality. Can't complain when I spend 500 and get something that sounds like a million bucks! We all have our needs and this amp fits mine perfectly, I hope some of you feel the same way. // 10

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overall: 8.5
BV120H Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 08, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 429.99

Purchased from: guitar Center

Features: This is a 100 Watt Tube head, 2 channels, with reverb, I think it was made in the '90s. It's blue tolex with the gold Crate logo and hardware. It came with a footswitch for channel select and effects loop on and off. It doesn't have effects onboard but I have a rack unit for that. I use it at home with a Peavey rm412 cabinet. It has plenty of power for my needs. There are lights inside that light up the tubes when you turn it on, It's a nice looking amp. // 7

Sound: I use this amp with an old Ibanez RG570 with stock pickups. I Play heavy metal and hard rock stuff like Ac/dc, Metallica, Pantera, Van Halen and Ozzy and this amp sounds good for everything with some knob adjustments. There is very little buzzing and hiss noises on this amp. The clean channel stays clean to at least 5, after that I don't know. I've never had it past that, It's very loud. There is plenty of distortion for anything I play, With the gain past 8 it gets muddy sounding though. I don't need a distortion pedal with this amp. I bought it used and some of the tubes are mismatched so I wonder if that's why the distortion is so thick. The new BV120H I tried at the store with the black tolex and silver logo sounded pretty good but the distortion wasn't as heavy. I'm glad I'm cheap and tried the used one. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I don't ever gig with it and it just sits in my living room so It should last a while. It seems durable the back is enclosed and it has a metal grill in the front so the tubes should stay safe. It has been reliable for me, I've only had it for a month though. // 9

Overall Impression: I bought this head because it sounded good and was affordable, It's good for heavy metal and rock music, and it even looks nice on my peavy cabinet. If it were stolen/lost I would look for another one. I feel that this was a good deal. I like the reverb also. and the footswitch. // 9

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overall: 8
BV120H Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 15, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: some dude

Features: I recently found a used Crate BV 120h head with a GX412S Cab, Vintage 30 12" speakers. I played a BV120 in college and had mixed results. But recently I found my new treasure. This thing rocks, I think this is a 2001 BV. Clean is great, it takes some tweaking, both with my guitars and the amp, but I get a really clean warm sound. I play a 1980 Gibson Studio LP and an Epiphone Limited Edition LP. Gain channel can do it all in my opinion, I've been plugging straight into the head, no pedals, and I can get whatever I want out of this head. The presence knob doesn't really change the tone a hole lot, but it does help a bit. Effects loop seems vesitle with the pad Switch to use rack mount effects as opposed to stomp boxes, gonna have to play with this, I forsee good things. So far my Line 6 POD works well in the effects loop. This thing responds like a great tube amp should, any change in playing is picked up well with this head. // 8

Sound: Like I said Gibson and Epi Les Pauls, stock Gibson Humbuckers in the studio and the Epi has some hotter humbuckers. I play in a 90s alt rock band, I play a lot of blues and rock and a but of metal. this head handles it all well. I need to have it retubed and checked over, so far so good but I bought it used and I want to make sure it has a clean bill of health before I start gigging it hard. it needs a tube replaced, one is burnt out right now(and still sounds good) little bit of a buzz in the gain channel not terrible though, retubing might help? This can go from warm clean tones to make your ears bleed high gain, it doesn't do super distrorted well in my opinion, might need a pedal for that stuff but it's really versitle. it takes some tweaking, but it will sound like what you want. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Bought it used from the original owner, he never had it worked on, and I drug it from boise to slc, about 350 miles with no issues. I played one in college and beat the crap out of it, had it worked on and didn't like what the tech did to it. I think it's pretty reliable. where one of the tubes is out right now and I'm still digging the tone I'm getting I think it's worth the money. I got a steal on mine so I'm happy. // 8

Overall Impression: I play a lot of styles, this works well for a lot of different genres. I've been playing 13 years, owned one before liked it. I've played Mesas fenders marshalls... ect. I think this, for the money is a great buy, I like it better than my Fender amps I've had, I think it holds a candle to some mesas not all. it's a good amp. you have to keep in mind, new the head is less than a grand, most of these sell on ebay for 500 to 700 bucks. you get what you pay for, a two channel footswitchable tube amp. I wish the presence knob had a little more control of the tone, it's almost and on off Switch. maybe my amp tech can fix that? I wish it was half as much power or had a wattage swtich like some mesas, this thing is loud! // 7

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overall: 7.8
BV120H Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 11, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: eBay

Features: Crate BV120H, made in the USA, not sure what year but it's one of the 1st gen. Ones (Blue Tolex, gold logo, and the street style text.) 120 watts all tube power obviously, 2 channels, 3 band EQ Treble, Mid, Bass, Presence, Gain, Reverb for each channel, and Vol. For each channel, FX loop that can be turned on or off and a switch that prevent volume drop off. Switch for 4, 8, or 16 ohms, 4 6L6 tubes, and 3 12A7X pre amp tubes.A fairly versatile amp and good features for the price they can be found for. // 7

Sound: I don't give a shit about what people say about this amp, it sounds great for just about any style. I play anything from Blues to 80's Thrash Metal and this thing can pull them off very well. It doesn't need a boost to play metal except for Death Metal but I use MXR 78 Distortion to give it that extra grit and bite. It does get a bit noisy with the gain turned up but a Noise Gate fixes that problem. At loud volumes it sounds much better than at low volumes and doesn't get all fizzy or harsh at all like most people bitch about. The clean channel on this thing is great too, nice and clear very Fenderish but still has it's own tone. I use a Jackson RR24M, a Ibanez XPT700FX, B.C. Rich Special X Mockingbird, and cheap Frankenstrat clone I made, and a Dean Dime-O-Flame, with all of them I get a great tone. With the Jackson I get a Awesome 80's Thrash tone, with the Ibanez I get a Brutal Modern Metal tone, with the Dean it's a Dimebagish tone, the Frankenstrat clone gets a late 70's rock tone, and the B.C. Rich it's a Black Sabbath type tone. I play this baby through a early 90's Peavey 412MS (the one with the pointed Peavey logo and the steel metal grill, also loaded with Sheffeild 1290 speakers) and it sounds amazing. It may not be the greatest sounding amp out there but for the price it's pretty hard to beat So despite all the shit it gets I love it to bits. Also I use EH tubes in this baby. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Shit that's made in the US is known to last so I trust that it's reliable. I know it can survive gigs as I've never had trouble and whem my band practice it runs for about 4 hours every time so I know it's built like a tank. The construction is solid as a rock, really the wood is hard as shit and the tolex is tough as nails too the only way to tear it is to cut it with a knife. When I got it though one of the preamp tubes was burned out so I decided to go ahead and replace all the tubes to be safe and that really brought the tone out. Overall a real tough amp and a great price nowadays too. // 8

Overall Impression: As I said I play pretty much and style except country and faggy pop bullshit and it handles them awesomely. I've been playing for about 5 years now and I think I have a understanding of tone. I have played many amps like Mesa Dual Recs. And Marshall JCM800's and while this isn't the greatest amp ever made, it's one the best priced tube amps out there much better than the cheap tube amps being made now and while there are better sounding amps out there, their not $2000 better than the Blue Voodoo so to me this thing is great. If I were to lose this thing I would replace it, but if it broke down I get something else and take back the praise I've given it in this review, I would most likely purchase a Peavey VTM60 or 120. Overall great tone, great price, and a great amp. // 8

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overall: 9
BV120H Reviewed by: Rojam, on june 24, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 220

Purchased from: Some guy

Features: I don't know what year my amp was made, but it's one of the model with the gold Crate logo and blue tolex. The head comes with stock Groove Tubes, 4 qs and 4 12AX7s. It has 2 channel, clean and gain. The clean channel has basic eq with volume, and the gain channel has the same line-up, but with a gain knob (go figure). There are separate reverb knobs for each channel, which I really like, and a presence knob. There is an effects loop in the back with a -12db knob to make switching from the loop volume the same. Switchable from 8 to 16 ohms. I'm giving it an 8/10, because I would like a second presence knob and an resonance knob, but it still has all the features I would need. Also, the back lights in the amp just look awesome. I'll be honest, cosmetics are what originally drew me to this amp. // 8

Sound: My main guitar is my Jackson RR3 with 2 humbucker Seymour Duncans in it. I play in an older-style metal band (mainly influenced by "Rust in Piece" (Megadeth), "...And Justice For All" (Metallica), and "Blizzard of Oz" (Ozzy)). She gets loud man. I run it at 8 ohms and 5 over powers my drummer easily. The clean channel may be the best feature of this amp. Upgraded to some JJs in the power/preamp and it gives the cleans some nice bright sounds. Before I ungraded, it was just a hair brittle, but not as bad as people make it out to be. The gain channel has more than enough gain. It has FAT low end, and the mids give it some punch. Be careful with the high end though, it can still get a little too much high. Balance out the presence with the high end before you tweak anything else. 9/10, because of the possibly brittle range of this beast. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've had this amp for a few weeks now, and I've had no issues with it. That's that "made in America" amp for you. It weighs around 50 pounds, and the outside casing feels very sturdy and well built. I think I would gig without a backup for this one, not only because I'm lazy about bringing gear to gigs, but because I am very confident that this monster can take some road damage and still perform at 100%. The previous owner said that in the 5 or 6 years he owned the amp, he never had any issues with it. Now, of course someone will say that if they're trying to sell a head (he upgraded to a Marshall TSL something. It sounded great though!), but I believe him. I'll call this one 10/10, but like I said, it's only been a few weeks. // 10

Overall Impression: Like I said, I play some older metal, so this amp is right up my alley. If Marty Friedman is willing to put his name on it, then it's more than good enough for me. My other guitar is a cheaper Jackson RR model, but with a few mods. I put a Duncan Invader in the bridge, and it has too much low end, but that's just how I like it. If it was stolen, I'd wouldn't hesitate to go out and buy another, mainly because you can find this head for $200 to $300. I considered going with a Peavey Valveking, but the amount of gain on this one, plus the clean channel, won me over. My favorite feature is definitely the dual reverb channels. I like to use a lot on the clean and a little on the gain. All in all, I would give it a 9/10. // 9

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