MTS 3200 review by Carvin

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (11 votes)
Carvin: MTS 3200

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: ebay

Sound — 10
The sound of this amp is killer. Best clean channel in a tube amp out there. Better than a Peavey JSX, Peavey 5150, Peavey Valveking, Marshall AVT150, Marshall TSL 100, Marshall DSL 100. Like any tube amp, with a little volume and saturated tubes, it sounds pretty damn good. I put EL34 power tubes in it for an additional snap in the sound (hard to explain). It did sound pretty nice with 5881 power tubes, but those were used and I haven't put new ones in it. Putting a Tung Sol 12ax7 in V1, high gain JJ 12ax7 in V2 and a Sovtek LPS in V5 (phase inverter) will turn this amp into a metal machine in a half. I use an EQ in the effects loop as my volume boost for my leads. Good ol' Randy Rhoads trick. Master volume would have been nice, but once again, I make due.

Overall Impression — 9
This is a very versatile amp. Only 2 channels, but killer tone for the price. Yes, a volume boost channel would be great, as well as a footswitchable effects loop, but for $350 used, you can't beat it. Getting the right tube combo and an EQ or some other effects in the effect loop will make up for everything else. Having the ablility to switch between 100watts and 50 watts as well as tube bias (5881/6L6 and EL34) is also killer. All that, minus the features I wanted, but add in the killer clean channel and lethal distortion channel when giving it some volume, all for less than $400 leaves me with a 9 for a grade.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This is my second one of these. I regret having to sell my first one, but we all know about starving musicians having to sell precious gear for rent money. I had to play around with tubes to figure out what I liked, but it was my favorite tube amp that I have ever owned. My first one was $500 used. Since the Carvin V3 has come out, this amp has dropped in price and a great bang for the buck. Getting this second one at $350 and knowing what tube configuration I want is great. Sound wise, it turns some heads as well, in a good way.

Features — 9
2 channel amp, has effects loop (non-footswithable to turn on and off), master reverb which is footswitchable. With this amp, I play thrash/speed/death metal. Impedance switching to match the ohms of the amp cabinet that you have. 5 preamp tubes, 4 power tubes with bias switch (5881/6L6 to EL34) and a 100watt to 50watt switch. I do wish there was a footswitchable effects loop or even a volume boost channel, but Oh well, improvise :-) BTW - this is one of the few amps that sounds great while leaving the mids at 12 o'clock.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    Purchased one from Craig's List. It's a great sounding amplifier, but the fact that the effects loop cannot be dedicated to one channel is very limiting. You can't go from an effects driven acoustic sound to even straight over-drive. Even a foot pedal wouldn't solve it, as you'd still have to stomp twice to change channels and turn off the loop. Tube sound is great though. Clean sound is pretty tough to use with effects in any case, as you really need to crank the effects to hear them. Overall a great rock amp, so long as you just want one setting. I ended up running effects to the PA through an A/B switch for acoustic sounds and the direct out to a separate channel for line-out with the cabinet-emulating sound. I also get a bit of punch from a Boss Super Overdrive pedal going into the unit, which avoids the clipping described in the other review where the user is looking for more distortion without solid state fuzz. No need to crank the gain on the unit. I will say the effects loop is a disappointment overall, but may not be an issue for your unit, as I bought mine used and it may just be malfunctioning for me. Finally, I have an EQ boost pedal that I've typically used to increase volume for solos (one click adding decibles or gain as you set it). Worked brilliantly when I was using a solid state Crate head, but hardly makes a dent in this thing even when I crank the thing to the max. Not sure why this is the case, but still getting to know the amp and maybe I'll figure it out.