FW120HS review by Crate

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 9.4 (18 votes)
Crate: FW120HS
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Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Music 123

Sound — 7
This amp has a lot of gain on channel three, depending on how you set the ch2 eq and scoop, you could get from an eighties Metallica to a modern metalcore tone. That being said there isnt a whole lot of clarity, players into technical metal will quickly notice their notes blur together. At higher volumes (4-6) this clears up just a little but begins to feed back. Channel 2 is the most useless, it tries to imitate a medium overdrive sound, but is very thin. Luckily though, there is clarity and no feed back. This channel would provide an acceptable zeppelin, sabbath, or pop/punk sound. The clean channel is one of the best you will find on a solid state amp, if you leave the eq settings fairly low. Turn them up and it can get shrill or boomy. It sounds good at any volume and never overdrives no matter what pickups you have in your guitar. This amp is plenty loud, and you should never need it turn it past 7, 5 if you are miking it like most venues do these days.

Overall Impression — 8
If you are in the market for a big solid state amp, this is my suggestion. It can cover all styles of music quite adequately, and will provide much more gain than any other popular solid state model. But take it as it is, this is a 300dollar amp, anyone expecting a mesa or a Bogner will be severely disappointed. I would not try to reacquire this amp if lost, Bugera would probably be my next step, possibly a tube Peavey.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The head itself is a workhorse. Since I bought it, it has seen several shows, hundreds of practices, tons of time in the back of a pick-up, and several drops; always coming out beautifully. That cannot be said about the foot switch. That's junk. The plastic nuts holding the inputs in stripped within six months, less than four months later, the wires connected to the inputs jacks came apart. This would be a simple soldering job, except that you can't reach it with a gun or a wand, so I still play with no foot switch( I left my band for college, otherwise it would be a bigger deal). So my only complaint with the durability is the cheap plastic knobs and nuts.

Features — 6
This review is for the 2007 model flexwave head. I have a cabinet with celestion seventy80s instead of the stock cab, a massive improvement. This amp is "three channel" amp. As for channel one, it consists of a vol, low, mid, hi knobs, channel two is basically the same, but "channel three" add only gain and scoop knobs using the eq from channel two. This is unfortunate, as it is unlikely that that you would want the eq set the same for both overdrive channels. Effects and reverb knobs are present also but sound very similar to the effects put in other solid state amps. Effects are remembered as you change channels, which is nice but it can be a pain when you want to change effects quickly. An effects loop is also available, but you must purchase a cable from Crate to take advantage of it.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Armywardog1
    I bought the whole stack and the head sucks, I will be playing and the the sound slowly drops off, sounds like someone is turnig the volume down, so I bought a Blue Voodoo 120, and that sucker is L.O.U.D.....and very dependable.
    nvdven
    i just bought it from a store nearby, but now i am having a problem... when i put the amp on it is giving some kind of kick sound. like BOEM...BOEM...BOEM these are going in one rythm.. i don't really know what the problem could be... nothing magnetic is near my amp and my guitar is also just oke. please some one help me (a) thx!
    DC_Waste
    I have one of these... There ok... Cant grumble for the price, it does the job well.
    Markusweller
    In personal experiance this amp is great for the price, it has volume which is the reason i bought it, the cab is great but i am looking to down grade, if anyone from the UK is looking to buy one im looking to down size my amp as im moving out soon to a smaller apartment and theres just no room, http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/300ono... -half-stack/79760113
    pto654
    These are good amps for the price and I definitely learned a lot about stacks while using this amp, but I can't recommend it. It has had 2 major issues, the first being the effects loop would randomly turn on and off, and now the second channel doesn't work at all. It's a great amp until it breaks down