V3 Review

manufacturer: Carvin date: 03/30/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Carvin: V3
The V3's 100% tube signal path delivers pure tone from warm to shimmering to infinite sustain and crunch. Three channels offer expanded tone circuits and overdrives for everything from blues to metal.
 Sound: 9.8
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.4
 Features: 9.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) pictures (2) 10 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
V3 Reviewed by: 12.Gauge, on january 05, 2008
5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 640.5

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: This amp is completely versatile. Does everything from death metal to jazz. The cleans are like Fender, the crunch like Orange and the heavy gain like Mesa. 3 channels, with numerous options on each like a thick/intense option. The 3 channels can all have gain assigned as well if you so wish. It has parallel and series FX loops with volume adjustment to avoid level dropping by some pedals. The amp has a 50/100w adjustment but eitherway sounds the same and can be used indoors with great tone at low levels. The pedal is great and can do midi switching easily. I've assigned reverb and delay to the high gain channel so just need to hit one pedal to go. No tapdancing. Really features I couldnt find under 1000. Only thing I dislike is the front panel but I may change this to a steel grid if I can be bothered. // 10

Sound: I use Les Pauls, Strats, Ibanezes series through this and it sounds great with all. I play a lot of Tool style stuff which is suits well for it's moderately dark tone. The amp is noisy at high gain like most so get your ISP Decimator. My amp has some random clicks and noises which may be due to the change to the higher 240v in the UK. For all you brutal fans it has less distortion than the powerball/5150, but if you put those amps to 10 you get too much gain and it becomes saturated. Basically everytime I play the V3 I'm satisfied unlike the other amps I had. Cleans are Fender like very shimmering and crystal as long as you keep the postgain down. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Time will tell and fingers crossed here. I think it will last a long time. I carry my Zoom G9\.2tt FX to gigs as well incase (check the review of that it's another great buy). I am going to put some replacement tubes in the amp as well as with all stock tubes they are not as good as svetlanas ehxs etc. I would advise not to use V30s with the amp as it can get a bit fizzy I've heard a lot. I use eminance black powders which are really tight through a Marshall cab. // 9

Overall Impression: This is probably the best value hi end amp out there, really does everything you want and more. Carvin apparantly don't advertise much which must reduce their prices. If it had reverb, noise reduction it would be out of this world. I've played a lot of Carvin gear and it's always been exemplory. It was driving me nuts choosing between fizzy saturated engls and wooly gain lacking marshalls and I couldnt afford a triple recto or uberschall-which I think this amp sits just underneath. So if you are like me and want the best value hi end amp, this is it. // 10

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overall: 10
V3 Reviewed by: dogismycopilot, on january 08, 2008
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Craigs List

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9.3
V3 Reviewed by: Pg.inc_music, on july 23, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 899

Purchased from: Carvin.com

Features: This is a 2008 Brand New amp. It has 3 channels (2 distortions and 1 clean), 2 effects loops, midi capable, with boost. It is a very loud all tube amp. I have never reached volumes with any other amp that I have reached with this amp. I use this amp for practice as of now, but hope to use it in a band situation soon. One of my favorite features is the ability to Switch between 50 watts or 100 watts it makes using any cab (112, 212, or even a half stack) a breeze! Each channel has tons of options for different sounds, so you could get a different sound for every day. // 10

Sound: I am a using an ESP F series With DiMarzio's through this amp and it sounds like a monster. I play lots of Rock, metal, classical, and prog, and it can handle them all very well. The clean channel can be beautiful and clear at high volumes. The clean channel can also be used as an overdrive channel too. The amp is amazingly quiet, at high volumes it still only has a tiny hum. I get almost no feedback even with the gain set past 8 and the volume at 5. The distortion handles most everything perfectly. The amp sounds much better in person then any sound sample I ever heard of it, especially the clean channel. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I would depend on it and use it without a backup, but just incase I would most likely bring a backup. I honestly don't see it breaking down anytime soon, and if it did from what I heard, and my personal experience, the guys at Carvin would take care of it quickly. // 8

Overall Impression: I play lots of music, and honestly I haven't found a style that this amp can't handle. I have been playing for about 6 years and have owned, and used lots of amps, and I really love this amp. I would get this amp again in a heart beat if something happened to it. I compared this to just about every amp around, My other main choices were a Peavey JSX, Peavey XXX, and a Mesa Mark IV. And for features, tone, and price this amp beat them all out. I will tell you something about this amp, give it a chance, don't just plug into it and say you hate it, give it some time and mess with the features, and I promise you will find a tone you like. // 10

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overall: 9.8
V3 Reviewed by: lightningjoe88, on april 22, 2011
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1300

Purchased from: Carvinguitars.com

Features: This amp plays anything I throw at it. Very versatile tube amp. Specs: - RMS Power: 50 or 100 watts - Output Impedance: 4, 8 or 16 ohm Switch - Input Impedance: 220,000 ohms - Channel Tone Controls: BASS, MID, TREBLE, PRESENCE, EQX - Ch 1 Sensitivity: 1mV for clipping - Ch 2 Sensitivity: 1mV for clipping - Ch 3 Sensitivity: 16mV for full output - Channels: 3 switching - MIDI functions: channel, effect loops and Boost switching, 100 available patch locations, 5-pin jack - Preamp Tubes: Five 12AX7 tubes - Power Amp Tubes: 4-EL34 tubes - Master controls: Master volume, Boost (footswitch operated), Bright, Mid Cut, and Deep // 9

Sound: I play a Gibson Firebird Studio straight into this without any effects. I play classic rock, hard rock, blues, and some metal. This amp can take all of those styles and create them perfectly. I'm sure this amp can model many more sounds but it takes lots of tweaking. The distortion channels are exactly the same which allows you to have any 2 dirty sounds you want (I have one set for classic rock and the other for 80s metal). Has sparkling cleans (comes with a few suggested settings). Amazing amp for the price. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This amp hasn't had anything wrong with it so far for the months I've owned it. Looks solid and will last quite a while. // 10

Overall Impression: This amp blew my mind. For the price, you won't find anything better. Very cool LED lighting with each channel. Footswith it came with works like a charm and there is no delay in the switching. Cabinet came with GT12 speakers and they sound amazing. This amp is loud for those of you who only play in a small crowded house, apartment, etc. If it were stolen I would buy it again without a question. Only gripe is that it doesn't have reverb. Other than that it is crazy and awesome in every way possible. // 10

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overall: 10
V3 Reviewed by: Iron Beard, on march 30, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: craigslist

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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! // 10

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