Price paid: $ 85
Sound — 9
The cabinet is loaded with two GT12-16 12 inch speakers. The best way I can describe these speakers is a V30 knock off. In fact, Carvin describes them this way, "The GT12 guitar speaker is one of the finest for lead guitar. Compares closely to the VIN30. Power: 100W Freq Resp: 75 - 5.5k, 16 ohms, Net weight 9.9lbs." I personally think they emit a surprising amount of bass; and the mids and highs are well dispersed over a wide field. I'm not a speaker expert, but I couldn't tell a difference between these and an Avatar cabinet loaded with V30's. I've been playing a lot of clean, dirty and metal through them (with a low wattage tube amp) and they duplicate what I'm trying to create, with ease. Obviously, using a low watt tube amp, I'm not at risk of pushing too much signal through them. So I can't really comment on how it sounds when pushed (I've heard the speakers really break up nicely when pushed, but I can't confirm this). This review would be better suited for those looking to add a cabinet to a smaller tube amp -- as that's what's giving me the good tone. Aside from a Mesa 2x12, this is the best sounding 2x12 cabinet I've heard. That only means the Mesa, an Avatar, a Marshall, a Dr. Z and a couple others I can't remember at this time.
Overall Impression — 10
I'm honestly surprised that a cabinet this well built, in the USA, with "premium" components is this inexpensive. It's really a find for me. I know it doesn't have name-brand speakers (well, aside from Carvin) and that will probably be a turn-off for those looking for something specific. But even if you found one of these and just emptied the thing, I think you'd be money ahead. Again, I play a wide variety of music; from blues to heavy metal. So I was looking for an all-around cabinet and this one fits the bill nicely. The only real problem I see with this cabinet is it's so inexpensive people might not take it seriously and be willing to give it a shot -- and that's sad. It's one of the best finds I've made. They list for $595 but can be gotten new (on sale) for $199. I got mine from a buddy for less than half that. But if it were lost or stolen I would seek out another one immediately. It's that good...
Reliability & Durability — 10
You know, I haven't gigged with it, but I have moved it from place to place (in cars, that sort of thing) for practice. I have no concern about the wood frame not holding up -- it feels very strong. And with the light weight, it gives an even stronger feel (as the weight of the components themselves aren't trying to tweak the chassis). Having worked in the electronics manufacturing industry I feel confident in being able to spot poor workmanship in that area. The wire routing looked good as did all of the solder joints. Not a whole lot to mess up on a cabinet though... The grill isn't cloth or plastic -- it's steel. The thing really feels tough as nails. I've seen other reviews where people say, "It's build like a tank!" and while I don't know if I'd go that far, I would say you'd have to really abuse this thing to cause anything more than just superficial damage.
Features — 9
Specifications: - 140W, 8 ohms - Two GT12-16 speakers - 26 inches wide X 10.25 inches deep X 17.5 inches high - Weight: 33 lbs. - Poplar plywood enclosure (not particleboard) - Covered in black tolex - Hand made in San Diego, California This is a very simple, straightforward 2x12 cabinet. As far as I know, it's a current model in Carvin's catalog (2010). I believe mine was built 2-3 years ago. As for features, the above list pretty much says it all. At 33 pounds it's one of (if not THE lightest) 2x12 cabinet I've ever lifted. I think another "feature" would be the construction. Although it's inexpensive, it's definitely not "cheap". Considering what you get for the price (lightweight, USA-made, real wood construction, etc.) I'm rating it high.