X-100B Review

manufacturer: Carvin date: 09/19/2013 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Carvin: X-100B
This amp delivers anything from a Marshall, Mesa Boogie or Fender sound depending how you set the active Eq. I can get the Classic Rock, Classic 80's Metal, Thrash/Speed Metal and Blues sounds with ease.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Features: 8
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reviews (3) pictures (1) 3 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
X-100B Reviewed by: AJ6stringsting, on july 06, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 599

Purchased from: Carvin

Features: I bought this amp back in 1986, when my Marshall Plexi was down. I originally bought this as a back up amp, but it replaced my Marshall (which I still have) as soon as I got used to the X-100. It has a FS-36 footswitch / is wired for mono, that still works after all these years. The 5 band Eq is the feature that sidelined my Marshall because it zeroed into the sounds I needed more accurately. It has good power but I prefer to set my amp's volume on 4 and let the power amps deliver the loudness to the audience. The amp has four 6L6's and 3 12AX7 tubes to deliver the tone. I had the amp modified to have the Eq shared but when I returned the amp in 1989, for some service, the idiot at the shop, wired it where it wasn't shared anymore. // 9

Sound: I use Gibson, Epiphone, Kramers, Fenders, Squires, Jacksons and home assembled Super Strats. This amp delivers anything from a Marshall, Mesa Boogie or Fender sound depending how you set the active Eq. I can get the Classic Rock, Classic 80's Metal, Thrash/Speed Metal and Blues sounds with ease. It's a medium gain amp that is very versatile depending on what kind of Distortion or Overdrive you plug into it up front. I split the signal into the amp's front plug and the front. I used a BBE Sonic Maximizer and a Hush Super C in the effects loop to kill any noise in the amp when I'm not playing. The Clean Channel is very classic Fender sounding ans sounds great with chorus or any modulating effects. // 10

Reliability & Durability: You have to take all tube amps in for servicing every few years to replace caps and you gotta get new tubes every other year to get this monster in full glory. This amp stood up to the rigors of the road in 6 Canadian Provinces and all lower 48 states... Still sounds great with regular servicing. // 10

Overall Impression: I've been playing guitar for over 30 years, I play on many different guitars, used BBE Sonic Maximizers, DigiTech RP-1 and RP-12, Behringer 1124 pro Feedback Destroyer (for Parametric reasons), Monster Power Conditioning and two VHT Valvulators in my pedal board. If stolen, I'd go to eBay to buy more of these amps. I love this amp, but I wish they would have given guitar players the option to have the Eq shared on both channels. This amp can stand along side any amp made between 1980 to 1989 or even surpass them. In fact, I'm looking to go hunting on the web for more X-100B's, so I can go all Stereo. // 10

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overall: 8
X-100B Reviewed by: UG Team, on september 19, 2013
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Carvin

Features: I custom ordered this amp after playing a similar one in the factory. The amp could be ordered in several different colors, ranging from the subtle to the vain. I chose a Vintage tweed fabric for the outside of the amp, and it looks gorgeous. Besides that it is a 100 watt full-stack amplifier. If you've had no experience with large amplifiers, this probably isn't the place you want to start, because this thing gets freakin' loud. You can blow the entire band into a new dimension if you aren't careful. It does have a switch in the back where you can set it to 50 or even 25 if you have particularly vociferous neighbors. The effects loop is completely transparent, with the option to turn it off on the footswitch, which I like. Setting tones on this thing, while seemingly simple at first, can feel like running a steam boiler. One of the most prevalent features of the amp is the EQ on the front. This EQ bugs me a little, because it cannot be applied to both channels. One or the other. That's all you get. The settings and voicing are deceivingly difficult at times, but If you know what you're doing, though, it shouldn't be a problem. // 7

Sound: One thing I must say before I get into the details. If anyone goes into the Carvin to look at X100Bs, don't use their demo amp. I swear. That thing gave me the wrong impression of the amp. It sounded dull, almost washed out, with farty distortion and scratchy pots. I was given the rare opportunity to try out a brand new one out of the back, and this is completely sold me. The sound requires some odd tweaking on the distortion side (I had the treble at a solid 10, mids at 3, and bass at 5 to get it to work.) The sound was unlike anything I have ever heard before. It had the distortion of a Boogie Rec while retaining the clarity of a Marshall. On top of that, there is a small amount of natural compression in the amp that makes soloing a breeze. If there was any kind of complaint I was to give it would probably be the odd voicing Carvin decided to use for the amp. With all knobs at 5 the amp still sounded a little farty. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I haven't owned the amp long enough to accurately judge this. The amp I had for the month I've owned it has done well. It's a little dustier from constant use, but sounds just as good as the day it left the factory. The one caveat I have towards this amp is the other X100B I've played. It may have needed new tubes, it may have needed something else, but it didn't sound good at all. It was farty, dark, and had some problems with overheating. I'll have to just wait and see if the amp I put so much money into can hold up in the long run. // 8

Overall Impression: As a guitar teacher, I need an amp that can do anything. As a person who recognizes that nothing is perfect, I absolutely love this amplifier. I completely understand why someone along the lines of Frank Zappa and Steve Vai use something like this. It has the infinite versatility of a Boogie Mark V, the dynamics of a Marshall, the opacity of a Vox, and the balls of a Bogner. All for a price a quarter of where you would get it anywhere else. If you haven't picked up this amp yet, you are doing yourself a disservice. // 8

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