Vintage 16 Review

manufacturer: Carvin date: 08/08/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Carvin: Vintage 16
It is a far amp for blues and jazz. The Vintage 16 does a fair job with jazz and can be used for an acoustic.
 Sound: 5
 Overall Impression: 5
 Reliability & Durability: 7
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
review (1) pictures (2) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 6.5
Vintage 16 Reviewed by: FBXZ2, on august 08, 2011
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 399

Purchased from: Carvind direct

Features: It is a 2009 Vintage 16. It is a far amp for blues and jazz. It runs off aa pair of EL84 power tubes and 3X 12AX7 preamp tubes. It is fixed bias and has no standby switch. It has the master volume, bass, mid, and trebble, as well as a reverb. The reverb has no choke just resistors and half of a tube to Drive it. There is a soak control like all the other Vintage series amps which also run off EL84 power tubes. The tweed is not tweed but vinyl covering. It is moderate in volume when using the soak control, and the amp is not as loud as other 15 watt amps. I have used this amp at Jam sessions and at home. Ran it to the max and at moderate volumes. It is a economy tube amp and the parts are decent. The reverb is not the greatest, and the soak control dampens the sound. It has a 5 watt triode mode also, but IMO the 5watt mode sounds muddy and you lose the clarity of the sound. Being that the 15 watts are not too loud the 5 watts is not much different in volume on this amp. // 9

Sound: I have used it mostly with single coil pickups and it has a decent clean sound, nothing spectacular. The overdirve is not that great, and using fx pedals would sound better for overdrive on this amp IMO. Being that the cabinet is very small for a 12", the amps sounds all midrange and boxy. It has some degree of hum when in the 5 watt triode mode, the 15 watt pentode mode is quieter. It has a solid state rectifier and has no sustain or sag. It does not do the Marshall 18 watt EL84 gain, not even close. It uses a 100watt rated speaker and you can opt for a 35 watt greenback for more gain from the factory. This amp was a disapointment for me YMMV. If you like to use fxpedals, this amp would be good. But if you are seeking a tweed sound, forget it. You will need a different amp. // 5

Reliability & Durability: It is a dependable amp. IMO there are other amps that would be better for giging. The amp has broken down about a month ago. After checking the bias which was beyond max, I replaced the power tubes and reset the bias to moderate values. The amp sounded the same not much change in gain or clarity. I barely use it any more. IMO it is just enemic. However, there are some very good mods that people have done that will make this little amp sound like a 18 watt Marshall clone. But with the small cabinet and 100watt speaker, I would opt for a whole new amp. // 7

Overall Impression: I play blues, Jazz, old rock, and Acoustic fingerpicking stuff. I have been playing for over 35 years and have owned and sold off tones of gear. The Vintage 16 does a fair job with jazz and can be used for an acoustic. But IMO there are a lot better amps on the market for $400. I would not buy another. I liked that it was a Carvin, but that is about it, all the features were dissapointing to me. Some would compair it to a Blues Jr, I would say it does sound like a Jr. I was not impressed with the sound of the Jr also. The only reason I chose this was the company's rep and the price. Neverhteless, I have sinced remodeled the cabinet (turned it upside down and backwards, replaced the speaker with a weber sig 12 alnico, closed the back, and located the handle on the side), and use it as a 12" practice amp cabinet with my Pignose Piggy-In-The-Box amp. Now the amp sounds better. // 5

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