Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: craigslist
Sound — 10
I mainly use an Ibanez RG350M with EMG 81 in the bridge and 85 in the neck. I play death metal, deathcore in drop a tuning. Also I use an Avatar Vintage 4x12 with V30s. I don't play any clean riffs really, but the clean channel is 1 of the best I've heard on a hi gain amp. For me, the distortion channel is were its at. I get really great lows with this and still cut threw the mix with good sustain. Before this amp I was using an Engl Powerball, witch sounds great, but it didn't cut threw at all! The other guitar player in my band uses a Bugera 333XL and on 3 it killed the Engl. The Carvin cuts threw and sounds amazing. The eq on the V3 is real touchy. Barly turn the knob and it changes the whole sound of the amp. I actually hated that at first, but now I love the fact that happens. If I get board with the sound I can get a totally different sound with just a touch of a knob or flip of a switch.
Overall Impression — 10
In the last year I've own a Mesa Dual Rectifier, H&K Triamp MK1 Peavey 5150 and a 6505, Engl Powerball, Laney VH100R, a Genz Benz El Diablo and a few other cheaper tube amps and this amp killed all of them hands down! Best amp I've owned and for the price of a USA made amp, it can't be beat!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've never had any problem with it yet. Only had if for about a month but I did buy it used and its the older 1 without the led lights or reverb. My amp guy looked it over and put new tubes in it when I got it and he said it really easy to work on if something would ever need to be done.
Features — 10
Master Controls - Master volume: Controls output of all 3 channels. Boost or cut your entire rig with one control. - Boost: Add up to 9 dB of volume boost, switch it on/off via the FS44 footswitch and MIDI. - Bright: Boost highs starting at 5kHz for added clarity. - Mid Cut: A unique mid cut helps dial in a master scooped tone from mild to extreme. - Deep: Adds low frequencies at the sub-harmonic level - Reverb: Assignable to any channel. - Smart Loops: Total control of your effects, remembers your effects loop settings for each channel. Just assign a loop(s) to the current channel, Smart Loops permanently saves it until you change it. Channel 1 & 2 Overdrive 3 Drive Modes: a) "Center" - a classic rich, open overdrive with lots of headroom. Turning up the Drive knob adds sustain and warmth. b) "Thick" - brings on the chunk with a massive low-end, textured mids and blistering highs. Turning up the Drive knob adds sustain to the highs, grit to the mids with low-end bark. c) "Intense"- the most gain and sustain with notes that leap out with startling articulation. The low-end is deep and percussive. Mids and highs smoothly blend and still cut through. Turning up the Drive stretches the envelope of sustain to the edge. EQX: Toggle between standard EQ and Expanded EQ. This switch opens a wider frequency range for the TREBLE and BASS. Presence: Boosting 8kHz to help cut through. Channel 3 Clean 3 Drive Modes: a) "Center" - a classic rich, open clean sound with lots of headroom. Turning up the Drive adds tube warmth and sag. b) "Bright" - adds high end to the preamp, inviting high frequencies to chime and sustain as the Drive is turned up. EQX: Toggle between standard EQ and Expanded EQ. This switch opens a wider frequency range for the TREBLE, MID and BASS. Presence: Boost 11kHz for glassy, shimmering highs.