V3M Review

manufacturer: Carvin date: 08/10/2015 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Carvin: V3M
The Carvin V3M head is basically a 50 watt version of the original Carvin V3.
 Sound: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 6
 Reliability & Durability: 5
 Features: 9.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) pictures (3) 6 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
V3M Reviewed by: MetalFriend, on december 13, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: carvinguitars.com

Features: The Carvin V3M head is basically a 50 watt version of the original Carvin V3. Made in the U.S. It comes stock with four EL84's and four 12AX7's. My amp was made in 2011. I've had it for almost a year now. I play a lot of metal, rock, blues and all their various sub-genres. This amp is extremely versatile and handles all off these styles with relative ease. It has three independent channels, an fx loop, built-in reverb and a built in boost. The boost can only be used if you buy the footswitch with it though. Each channel has an EQX switch which when turned off gives you a more modern sound and when turned on gives you a more smooth distortion/bluesy clean. The first channel has a 3-way switch that goes from Bright to Soak. The second two have 3-way switches that go from Intense to Thick. It also has an Impedance switch that let's you use it with any cabinet, which I thought was really useful. It only weighs nineteen pounds which makes it very portable and easy to gig with. And finally, it has a variable wattage switch that let's you have it at 7/22/50 watts. It has just about every feature I can think of that you'd need from an amp built in apart from built-in effects. // 9

Sound: I normally play my Sterling or my Ibanez through this. Both have DiMarzios in them. I play it through a Laney 4x12 Cabinet. This amp is a tweaker's amp. You can get almost any sound you can think of out of it as long as you're willing to spend the time playing with the knobs. The EQ is very touch sensitive and as such will respond to very small adjustments. The 1st channel can get a very nice sparkly clean or it can have a slight bluesy crunch to it depending on how you play with the setting. The second two channels are exactly the same. But, they will of course differ enourmously in sound based on how you EQ them. I currently have my second channel set up with the EQX switch on to get a Paul Gilbert tone while my third channel is set to have a more modern gain; more like Dream Theater. The clean channel will stay clean at fairly high volumes on the 50 watt channel. It should be fine for a gig as long as you mic the amp. It also will start to hiss as you turn it up on the distorted channels so a noise suppressor would be a good investment. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Over the past year that I've owned this amplifier I have not had a single problem with it. I would and have gigged this amp without a back-up. I have only gigged with it a couple times and both times it did amazingly well. I got a lot of compliments on my overall sound on stage. The outside is all made of metal and looks fairly durable. If I dropped it I would probably be most worried about the tubes inside. Besides that I think it would be fine. As long as you aren't throwing it around and you let the amp warm up before playing through it, it should last you a long time. // 9

Overall Impression: Due to this amps versatility, quality and affordability I would recommend this amp to just about any guitarist of any style looking for a new amp to add to their repertoire. Before I bought this amp I had only owned solid state and modeling amps. This amp blows them away in the quality of sound it puts forth! My favorite feature on it is probably the EQX switch on each channel as it changes the tonal characteristics of the channel and almost makes it sound like another amp entirely. If it got stolen I would definitely buy it again. For the price I might have to buy two.

// 9

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overall: 5.8
V3M Reviewed by: pgsulli1701, on august 10, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 650

Purchased from: Carvin.com

Features: Purchased in 2013. It is a compact 50W all tube head with 3 independent channels. It has excellent tone shaping controls and reverb. I also got the carrying case and 5 button foot switch for channel switching, volume boost, and reverb on/off. It has outputs for 4, 8, or 16 ohm cabinets. A switch on the back allows 7, 22, or 50W output, but I've never noticed any change between these settings. It has more than enough volume, comparable with any 50W tube amp. It has LED lights that can switch from off, red, or blue. When red is on, it looks like a toaster oven, and the unit gets hot enough that it could probably used as one. // 10

Sound: With all the different tone shaping controls and 3 channels, you should be able to dial in something to suit your needs for most any situation. I love having 3 independently controlled channels to switch from clean to rhythm to lead. Plus with the variable volume boost, this amp has all the flexibility I need. It has tons of gain if desired. Noise is acceptable and about what you would expect with a tube amp. Clean channel is very versatile. I play mostly rock, and it is perfect for going from clean, to crunchy rhythm, to soloing above the mix. // 9

Reliability & Durability: My amp has been a lemon. The volume cuts out intermittently making it unusable for live performance. It started happening soon after I got it. I sent it back for a warranty repair. It worked for a few months and started doing the same thing. I sent it back again. This time they kept it for 2 months! It might have been longer, but I started bugging them after about 5 weeks. When I got it back, the repair receipt said they found nothing wrong. I played it for about 10 minutes and it did the same thing. Apparently, someone turned it on, and when it initially worked fine, they did not investigate further, despite my describing in detail that the problem was intermittent. So, I made a video demonstrating exactly what the symptoms were and sent it back. This time they kept for 3 or 4 weeks and sent it back with a new power amp, but now the reverb no longer worked, though it was fine before I sent it in. I was so disgusted, I decided to just live with it. A few months later, the original problem returned. // 1

Overall Impression: If this amp worked right, it would be an outstanding value. Besides getting a lemon, I'm appalled at the poor service. You would think a company that depends on mail order for business would give prompt and competent repair service. I have used Carvin for other products but will likely not use them again.

I have had a Carvin amp in the past, and currently have 2 Carvin guitars which I was and am quite happy with. Sounds like most people have had no issue with their V3 products, so perhaps my experience is an exception.

I sent this review to Carvin prior to submitting it here to give them a fair chance to respond. I did not hear from them after a week. // 3

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