BV120H review by Crate

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (18 votes)
Crate: BV120H

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: some dude

Sound — 9
Like I said Gibson and Epi Les Pauls, stock Gibson Humbuckers in the studio and the Epi has some hotter humbuckers. I play in a 90s alt rock band, I play a lot of blues and rock and a but of metal. this head handles it all well. I need to have it retubed and checked over, so far so good but I bought it used and I want to make sure it has a clean bill of health before I start gigging it hard. it needs a tube replaced, one is burnt out right now(and still sounds good) little bit of a buzz in the gain channel not terrible though, retubing might help? This can go from warm clean tones to make your ears bleed high gain, it doesn't do super distrorted well in my opinion, might need a pedal for that stuff but it's really versitle. it takes some tweaking, but it will sound like what you want.

Overall Impression — 7
I play a lot of styles, this works well for a lot of different genres. I've been playing 13 years, owned one before liked it. I've played Mesas fenders marshalls... ect. I think this, for the money is a great buy, I like it better than my Fender amps I've had, I think it holds a candle to some mesas not all. it's a good amp. you have to keep in mind, new the head is less than a grand, most of these sell on ebay for 500 to 700 bucks. you get what you pay for, a two channel footswitchable tube amp. I wish the presence knob had a little more control of the tone, it's almost and on off Switch. maybe my amp tech can fix that? I wish it was half as much power or had a wattage swtich like some mesas, this thing is loud!

Reliability & Durability — 8
Bought it used from the original owner, he never had it worked on, and I drug it from boise to slc, about 350 miles with no issues. I played one in college and beat the crap out of it, had it worked on and didn't like what the tech did to it. I think it's pretty reliable. where one of the tubes is out right now and I'm still digging the tone I'm getting I think it's worth the money. I got a steal on mine so I'm happy.

Features — 8
I recently found a used Crate BV 120h head with a GX412S Cab, Vintage 30 12" speakers. I played a BV120 in college and had mixed results. But recently I found my new treasure. This thing rocks, I think this is a 2001 BV. Clean is great, it takes some tweaking, both with my guitars and the amp, but I get a really clean warm sound. I play a 1980 Gibson Studio LP and an Epiphone Limited Edition LP. Gain channel can do it all in my opinion, I've been plugging straight into the head, no pedals, and I can get whatever I want out of this head. The presence knob doesn't really change the tone a hole lot, but it does help a bit. Effects loop seems vesitle with the pad Switch to use rack mount effects as opposed to stomp boxes, gonna have to play with this, I forsee good things. So far my Line 6 POD works well in the effects loop. This thing responds like a great tube amp should, any change in playing is picked up well with this head.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have to agree. I have the bv120 and it is balls out! I play mine thru a Tommy Bolin owned TALL vintage 4x12 cabinet with 75 watt celestions , and this set-up is the holy grail, for me! Tight low-end easy mid's and fantastic, eardrum-busting high's! If you are looking at this head, GET IT NOW! I am interested to hear this head with the 1st generation BV cab, with the V30's... if it can even come close to what i got now, I can give this cabinet back to the Bolin foundation..... maybe not, but who know's! LOL
    i must say this amp is brutal....BUT throwing a bbe sonic stomp in the fx loop brings out its inner demon. it goes from brutal to nukkn futs!!!