Price paid: $ 125
Purchased from: local friend
Sound — 10
I am playing mainly, with my epi '56 goldtop w/ p-90's and this amp just bites and snarls it's way right on thru! My set-up runs like this '56 GT-> 10' Planet Waves cable -> Ibanez WD-7 wah -> ModTone DynaDrive -> DigiTech X-series Digidelay -> Danelectro Fab Chorus -> 6' cable -> Carvin Amp(this amp) And I can get some pretty cool tones out of this puppy with this set-up. I play alot of blues rock and this amp can take it and have room for cake. I can belt out some Ozzy (Crazy Train/Bark At The Moon/Mr. Tinkertrain/No More Tears) just by turning on the Mod tone Dynadrive, or I can ease back on the Drive settings and flick on the neck pup and just make the amp cry and sing(a la Gary Moore) in no time flat! The clean channel will begin breaking up around(with el34's) 2 and around 3(with 6L6's) even with the 6L6's, this amp has a pronounced "mid-rangey" tone to it, but if you scoop the mid(if you like that sort of thing) this amp will perform nicely, there, as well.
Overall Impression — 9
I play in various bands, with various different styles(mainly "jam Bands") And I can take this amp to any one of my sessions, and I can quickly dial in and rock out nicely in any genre in the era this amp was designed around. Now, extreme metal players should really look elsewhere as this amp is totally not for you. sorry guys, just being honest. =T I have been playing guitar since I was 14. I will be 31 in November. I have a Crate BV-120 thru a Marshall TV (Tommy Bolin Owned) Cab. as well as a Marshall 1987X 50 watt thru a Carvin 4x12c loaded with 50 watt celestions. I wish I could've gotten it cheaper, but oh well. If it were stolen I would be really pissed. If it were lost, I would sooo have to quit drinking. I compared this combo to the JCM800 2x12combo's and the Mesa MkIII's (not sure which "stripes" or if those apply here. You true mesa guru's know what I am talking about, here.) After all the work I put into it, this amp sounds better, (IMHO) than all those amps that I just mentioned. I wish it had the extension cab, so I can play around with some of my stereo effects.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I do gig with it and no, I don't normally use a back-up, but I would recommend to others to have a back-up handy. I got mine for cheap because the tubes and the original speaker was blown but new tubes, a bias, and a new celestion 100 watt speaker(it originally came wqith a celestion 70 watter) This thing has a clean bill of health and rocks just like it was meant to, minus the change in the speaker wattage, of course.
Features — 9
Not sure the year model, still waiting on carvins verification of the serial number. The amp is VERY versatile! I play alot of varying styles of music from Pantera to G-n-R to Tom Petty and this amp really keeps up! This amp has 2 inputs, hi and lo, it has 2 channels with 3 controls; Rhythm1(cleans/slightcrunch) and the knob pulls out for "bright" and the "Lead drive2" pulls out for channel switching properties. This channel has the 3rd control, labeled "master volume" it pulls out for "Super Lead" properties. There is also knobs for Bass, Middle, Treble(These knobs DO NOT pull out) presence and reverb. All knobs attenuate from 0-10. Since this combo is ALL-VALVE, I had the original tubes replaced with GT6L6's and GT's in the preamp section as well, as the old tubes were completely blown out. There are also standby and off/on switches located on the front panel. On the rear panel, from right to left, there is an impedence selector switch(selectable from 16, 8 and 4 ohms) 2 speaker outputs(wired in parallel) a headphone jack and dual outputs for a footswitch( 1 midi & 1/4") I mainly use this amp for practice since this amp is becoming more and more of a collectors item. Although, on occasion, I do gig with it when I do not feel like lugging my Marshall 1/2stack around. And no, I do not take a back-up amp when I do gig with it.