Purchased from: Craigs List
Sound — 10
I use an Ibanez JS1000, it has a PAF pro and PAF joe pickup. Slight less output than something that Vai uses. My guitar is really well-rounded as far as sound; I can get it to sound like a strat, or somewhat like a Gibson LP (although nothing beats the real deal). Joe Satriani is one of my favorite guitar players of all time, and I try to replicate his tone, and I do so almost perfectly. I can nail songs such as Surfing with the Alien, Super Colossal, Ten Words, Ice 9, Searching and many more! Paul Gilbert is also a favorite of mine, and I get the same tone he gets when he plays songs such as Technical Difficulties or Green Tinted 60s Mind. This amp can get mean and dirty like John Petrucci likes it, or nice and bluesy like something SRV or Billy Gibbons would enjoy. This this replicates a Marshall so well sometimes I am just amazing that the ability. Now I have dialed in channel one to give me a low-end fat grungy type of distortion that cuts through when I flip the 3-way selector Switch up. Channel two is set for something more sharp and quiet, almost like a punk-type of sound. The cleans I have set it to have a deep low-end that can be herd very well, and the higher notes do not "tin out" like other amps that I have tried. With the turn of the "Mid Cut" dial, I can have a fatter sound, or a lighter brighter sound. Worth every penny to have such versatility at your fingertips.
Overall Impression — 10
I play mostly rock, classic rock, blues rock, grunge, blues, you get the idea. This thing has it all, does it all and will be the last amp I own. I have been playing 5 years, but got very serious about guitar when I bought this. If it was lost or stolen, I wouldn't think twice about buying another one, I would buy it instantly. My favorite feature is it's ability to be so user-friendly as well be very versatile. This amp has a rediculous amount of sound capabilities it's rediculous. My least favorite would be, the grill? it's kinda cliche with the whole "V3" logo there, could use some cool black/gloss black trim, almost like the JSX but not chrome. It is a great product and I encourage you to buy this product. I Live close to Carvin, and after shopping excessively for the "perfect" amp, it was worth the wait, and I have finally found it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I would depend on this amp just like any other product that I own. It's built to stand the abuse, as well as the cab. I bought it from someone Who lived at the other side of the country at time, and although he shipped the amp with the tubes in it, they did not break. I have owned this thing for a while and after two years I can still say this has been a great investment. I have herd that others have had problems with the V3, but I have not thus far. Great product, and Carvin will do their best to ensure their name.
Features — 10
This amp has undergone a few modifications since its first debut a few years back. They have changed a few things here and there from breakage according to unhappy customers. I have the newer model that has already been redone. I have to say when it was time for me to get a "real" amp, I got worried that with so many choices down the road I was not going to be happy. I wanted an amp that was known to be great, but was easy to use and had many interesting features. A couple grand should not be spent lightly as it is a couple grand. My friend had a V3, and I asked if I could mess with it for a few hours. So he let me, and I fell in love. Although it has more knobs switches and dials than most amps, you can do so much more with this amp than you can with a Marshall or Mesa. It has two distortion channels that can either be set up the same, or completely opposite each other; for example, you can have a sharp soft pop crunch for channel 1, and a heavy metal fat sound for channel 2. Channel 3 is the clean channel and features a knob that allows you to add just the slightest bit of gain to the sound if you want. Each channel also has a mini-toggle switch that allowes you to choose from 3 different types from that catagory. So you can have an even fatter gain channel, or more of a blusey hollow feel; it changes the type of distortion completely. The top left row of knobs allows you to fine-tune the overall sound, with beefing up the low-end, cutting the mid, increasing the volume and doing much much more. All channels also feature an EQX mini-toggle that allow you to turn that upper left row on/off. The damn thing even has MIDI! On the back you have the ability to make this thing 50w if you so chose to do so. It also has a series/parallel effects loop along with a foot pedal to Switch channels and toggle the effect of that channel on/off. I think it has 5 pre-amp tubes and 4 6L6s, just like a Marshall! This amp was amazing to play, and since I can make it sound like any amp under the sun, this will be the last amp I buy.