CV-30 review by Chord

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (1 vote)
Chord: CV-30

Price paid: £ 190

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 9
I'm currently using a Gretsch 5126 with Twin single-coil Dearmonds, and play mostly swing and rockabilly, and this amp really suits my playing, giving that old-school amp sound with virtually no humm or hiss at room levels, and a little if cranked. The clean stays clean almost all the way up. And the gain is great if you like that kind of thing. This amp gives a great clean sound, with the gain channel having plenty of, er, gain. The reverb is a little thin and if you dial it to 10 "sings" a little, but backed off a little is useful if not excessive. I'm planning to use a delay/reverb pedel eventually, so it's not an issue, but there'e plenty of room in the open back to fit a bigger tank.

Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing off and on for 20 years, and just love the sound of this amp. For anyone needing simple controls, and a retro sound, with crystal cleans this is a great amp. I'd certainly recommend this to anyone that doesn't want to pay 650 for a Peavey or Fender equivalent. The only thing I'd change would be the polished chrome control plate for a brushed alloy one, as the relections can make the dials a little hard to read. And tweed! With a tweed cover, the Classic 30 would have run for it's money!

Reliability & Durability — 9
The handle on the top feels a little flimsy, but should be adequate for the job. The tolex is the same as any other, and the grille cloth has a nice retro look. Coming after a Vox VT40 Plus, this is a great, simple, old school amp. Would I gig with it? Yes, but it might need miking for bigger venues. I've not owned this amp long enough for it to break down, but it seems pretty rugged.

Features — 8
Made in China in 2011, and normally selling for over 400 ($600) this is a great little all valve 30 watt amp featuring 1 x 12AT7, 2 x 12AX7, and 2 x 6L6 valves, with a 12" Celestion 70/80. It has a spring reverb, but no other on board effects, making it about as old school as they come. With a single input, separate clean and gain channels (the gain also has a useful "bright" switch), there are metal jack sockets (listning Vox?) with an effects loop and footswitch sockets. You cab also run extra speakers, with outputs compatable with 1x8, 1x16 or 2x16 ohms. From left to right the controls are; clean volume; gain and separate level; treble, mid and bass, with the bright switch; reverb and main volume; jewel light; standby and on/off switches.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    uncle daddy
    So, I just got this same amp back from a service, with new JJ 6L6's in the powertrain. The amp technician was impressed with the general build quality; double sided PCB, individial bias controls, and a measured 40w RMS before clipping (28 before the setup).
    hi -does this amp need to be re-biased if you change the tubes and what foot swich will fit it as it does not come with one-how does it sound compared to a vox ac3o or peavey classic 30 thanks
    uncle daddy
    The power tubes are not auto bias, so will need resetting when swapping tubes. Pre-amp tubes don't need biasing. Chord also supply a latching footswitch for channel swapping and reverb on/off. It's certainly a match for the AC30 for shimmer, but is only a 1x12. The Peavey looks slightly more solidly constructed, but is 150-200 more in the UK.
    I bought one of these on eBay for 100 because it was sold as not working. Turns out all it needed was a new HT fuse. I am an amp tech and have opened up many tube amps and this little combo is very nicely put together. The power and output transformers are beefy looking and well bolted on. As mentioned in the review, the two 6L6 otput valves can be bias adjusted independently which is great if your valves don't match. This amp has gain and level controls for the overdrive channel in addition to a master volume control. This is a nice feature because you can set your gain for desired distortion then set the right level relative to the clean channel. They seem to be distributed in the UK at least by the AVSL group: Here you can download a very sparse and badly formatted user manual. I am going to contact them now to see if they will send me a schematic circuit diagram. Wish me luck. Dan.
    I emailed AVSL group technical dept and they sent me a schematic within the hour.
    I've also recently purchased a 2nd hand cv30 amp but although it worked for a short while, there now appears yo be no voule coming out the pre-amp stage. Plugging directly into the fx return provides the expected volume so I suspect the problem is with the pre-amp. Does anyone have any ideas?
    The Chord CV-30 is actually made by Hangzhou Yiwei Electronic Audio Equipment Manufacture, they usually trade under the name E-Wave.
    Uncle Daddy, do you know which reverb tank is ued in this amp? I have ordered one of these and was hoping to use the onboard reverb but if as you say it ain't up to much maybe a change of tank may make a difference. Cheers.
    uncle daddy
    As an update, my CV30 failed after about 300 hours due to poor solder. Apparently the eco-friendly lead-free solder used in all modern amps is susceptible to cracking due to heat expansion. Mine failed in the pre-heater stage. You can tell if it's about to let go if the on/off light flickers, as its supplied from the same source. My tec-dude went through the lot and resoldered all the reachable joints, and is now confident that this baby will go on for years. He explained that amps 3 times the price have the same problem; its the way they're made nowadays.
    uncle daddy
    I changed the onboard reverb tank for a MOD one, which improved thing a little, but it's still no Deluxe Reverb. Problem is the cab is an inch too narrow to take a long tank. It's just gone wrong AGAIN, and is now back at the amp tech's. I'm gonna cut my losses on this, much as I love the sound and looks. UD
    uncle daddy
    Turned out to be a blown output valve, easily remedied. I'm really happy to have it up and running again as I can't find anything in it's class that sounds as good. Even bought a Blues Jr to replace it which turned out to be much noisier.
    uncle daddy
    So the thing is back at the amp technicians again and I'm waiting on a report to find out what's the matter this time. I'm saddened by the reliability of this product, which is a shame as it's a fantastic sounding amp, with good features. There's not much else in its class; channel switching, master volume, pedal loop,reverb, bright boost,etc. Maybe the Bugera V22 if you don't mind an EL84 power section. I'll update with news as and when I find out more; hopefully it's something simple, but at 50 quid just to take the back off this amps cost more in repairs than it did in the first place! Still, they're not that much new, so I might just replace it with another one the same, only with a warranty!
    uncle daddy
    Turned out to be nothing more than a blown pre-amp valve. We're good to go, with everything hunky dory. You can pick these up for £350 now, still pretty good value in my book.
    uncle daddy
    With regards to my previous comments on fitting a larger reverb tank, well the long ones don't fit so I put in a MOD 3 spring unit, which has improved things. Still not into DRRI territory though!