#1
I’ll start with the prerequisites:

Influences/style: Blues(Blues/Rock) – anything from Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, SRV, Paul Kossof, Jimi Hendrix, ZZTop. Rock – anything from light rock (Bon Jovi) to heavy rock (up to Metallica) and all the classic stuff in between (Led Zep., Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Santana etc.) Some jazzy stuff too like Doobey Bros which would require good cleans. Also quite a bit of Thai music which I won’t list as I don’t think anyone will know.

Budget: Whilst relevant to me probably won’t help as the pricing over here (Thailand) doesn’t really relate to the US or Europe as it depends wildly on where it’s imported from (no import tax if shipped from another Asian country), availability, number of dealers, etc. So base prices around the 2 models I’ve looked at.

Uses: Practise amp at home initially but hope to use it for some jamming with like minded people and (hopefully one day) some gigging. Please don’t say these amps are too much for use at home and I should only buy a cheap amp and upgrade later, as I have the budget now I want to buy an amp that will have the quality I want and I will be able to use for a very long time to come.

OK, I’m after my 1st tube amp and after long hard research on the ‘net had pretty much decided that the Carvin V3M had all the features I wanted so took a trip to Bangkok on Saturday to try it but the dealer didn’t have one (and wanted the equivalent of approx $2830 head and cab or combo or $1830 for head only to order one for me). So if I go for one of these (direct from Carvin or on-line shop, not this dealer) I will have to order it without hearing it “live” so to speak.

I did come across a Mesa/Boogie TA15 in another shop where I was trying out a guitar which I loved the sound of but was lacking a couple of features I think may be important so I need some advice from anyone with experience of either one or preferably both (or suggestions of alternatives with the same sort of spec).

The things I’m worried about with the TA15 are the lack of Reverb, lack of FX loop – having not had a tube amp before I really don’t know how important this is, lack of line out – I’m not sure how important this will be but it seems like a good thing to have for the future should I want to be able to do some recording without buying a whole new rig of mic + whatever else I would need.

The one real thing that worries me about buying without trying the V3M is the sound, it sounds great on you tube but that isn’t like hearing it “live”.
Oh (2 things, sorry), and the lower watt settings – are they as effective as the TA15? The TA15 at 5 watts really is quiet enough to play while the kids are asleep and whilst the tone changes from the 25 watt setting it is still excellent and can get all the sounds you could want, can the V3M boast the same?

Thanks for reading this rather long post and for any advice you can offer.

Cheers, Henry.

TL;DR Which one is better?
#2
i like the ta15 a lot.

the v3m's reverb is digital..you could always use a pedal for the same effect.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#3
I own the Carvin V3m and the watt setting doesn't affect the volume. If its on the 7watt setting, it just breaks up faster. It doesn't sound too bad, but really shines when cranked.

I vote for the V3m. It can go from great cleans up to as much distortion as you'll need. It has a unique voicing to it though, which I call the Carvin touch, that can make it or break it for people. Carvin owners would know what I'm talking about. Overall its a good amp

But always look for different choices, consider what you want from the amp, and do you want to have to use pedals. If I didn't play in a prog metal band I would've probably bought a Fender Deluxe Reverb. But I love crazy over the top distortion. The V3m combined all the great features into one micro head.

And the reverb make the clean shine btw

*Disclaimer* I've never played the TA.
I'll pretend I can mod your amp but break it instead.
#4
Quote by guitarlord28
I own the Carvin V3m and the watt setting doesn't affect the volume. If its on the 7watt setting, it just breaks up faster. It doesn't sound too bad, but really shines when cranked.


This was one of the things I was worried about, the TA is noticeably quieter at 5 watts. Can the V3M be played quietly while still getting good tone and natural break up (I'm not after heavy distortion)?
#5
Quote by AcousticMirror
i like the ta15 a lot.

the v3m's reverb is digital..you could always use a pedal for the same effect.


This is one of the reasons I asked about the importance of an FX loop, does the TA take pedals well?
#6
I like the TA-15 but since they came out with the TA-30 that has a fx loop and reverb its like..whats the point?
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#7
i really liked the t/a 30 combo i played. damn nice amp.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#8
Dude, how much is the TA 30 selling in Thailand?

If you want the TA series... get the 30 above the 15... it incorporate a FX loop.

If you're concerned about the volume... try the Carvin's master... see if it has that nasty habit of going from zero to sixty in with a minute bump of the volume knob. Mesa's are good in the sense that you don't get that just jump in volume, and can still sound great at low volumes.

Twiddling with the master volume will have more impact on your overall volume than a drop in wattage.

I've tried the Mesa... and to me the tone is one of a kind. The previous Carvin's I've tried are versatile... but I found them to be rather generic... there's no one signature characteristic to the amp IMO. However, YMMV.
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Last edited by ragingkitty at Jun 13, 2011,
#9
Quote by ragingkitty
Dude, how much is the TA 30 selling in Thailand?

If you want the TA series... get the 30 above the 15... it incorporate a FX loop.

If you're concerned about the volume... try the Carvin's master... see if it has that nasty habit of going from zero to sixty in with a minute bump of the volume knob. Mesa's are good in the sense that you don't get that just jump in volume, and can still sound great at low volumes.

Twiddling with the master volume will have more impact on your overall volume than a drop in wattage.


I don't know how much the TA 30 would be but the TA 15 is already equivalent of $1600 so as the 30 is $600 more on the web sites I've seen I don't think I can push the budget that far.

Regarding the Carvin, I can''t try the master as I can't try the amp at all due to there only being one dealer in all of Thailand, maybe a Carvin owner could advise on that point.
#10
I played a TA15 with a reverb pedal once. Took it just fine, even with gain coming from the amp.

Really, you can't go wrong with either of them. As for the line out thing, lots of tube amps don't have line outs, and it's rare for them to have them at all.
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#11
OK guys, sorry for the bump but I am going to Bangkok tomorrow and it will be my last chance for a while so I have got to make the decision whether to buy the TA15 + cab(don't know model but it has a Vintage 30 in it) (which I have heard and sounds superb) for approx $2100 (before bargaining) or to order the V3M + 112V cab (which I have not heard but the reviews are great) which Carvin have kindly agreed to sell me direct due to problems with the local dealer for approx $1500.

One big worry is the V3M at low volumes, I know the TA15 can still make some great sounds at whisper volume.


All advice/opinions/whatever welcome.


PS. As it is now 1:41 in the morning and we are setting off at 08:00 tomorrow I will not be too active here for the next 4 or 5 hours, I've got to sleep sometime!! Also, I hope this made sense as I've had a couple(?) of beers on the way home from work.

Thanks Guys, Henry.