FW15R Review

manufacturer: Crate date: 08/29/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Crate: FW15R
FlexWave15R is a compact, two-channel 15-watt combo that gives you awesome clean and blistering distortion tones, thanks in no small part to our FlexWave Evolution 5 preamp with patented Sequential Cascading Gain technology.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Features: 8.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) 25 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
FW15R Reviewed by: LesPaulCowboy, on november 13, 2007
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 99.99

Features: The Crate FlexWave 15R is a great amp. A newer made amp (I don't know what year it was made, but it is new). It has a lovely little switch that lets you play clean, or distorted. The distortion is changed by two knobs, your gain, and your level. For what very little music I play that needs distortion, this works. The only problem I have with the distorion, is when it is on, you can not turn the volume up or down. On the clean side, you got your volume, you low, mid, high, and reverb knob. This is the one I use, for most of my older rock and psyhcidallics, and some country (Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Steve Miller Band, Status Quo, Joohnny Cash, etc). It gives a nice solid sound, with no scretches. It works great for me practicing, and doing so jamming with friends at partys. // 10

Sound: I use a Les Paul Custom, with '57 style humbuckers, and a Dunlop Crybaby pedal. This amp really suits my style of older/classic rock. It takes all the abuse I can dish out. It has never gave me any trouble, at any time. It plays great country (Definettly if it's tweaked a little, and switched to rythum, you can play Walk The Line or like Johnny Cash himself). On the rock side, and set to distortion, you can play Bad To The Bone like a pro. The amp is really great, and has a lot of great features. The clean setting is not distorted uless you really get close to the maximum (like a fingers with close to the end) and it gets a little vibrating, but no distortion to the sound itself. The distortion, you can sound a little wild, to like Super Heavy Metal From Hell kind of sound. It's good. // 9

Reliability & Durability: So far my amp hasn't given me any problems, none what so ever. Regular service helps keep it up, and I depend on Crates so I trust it, but so far no problems. It has stood the test of me doing some random heavy metal jamming (making fun of some boys) and to me playing a song multiple times, and quickly. It stands up to the abuse of mr thrashing my Les Paul and squelching my Crybaby. // 10

Overall Impression: This amp is a great match to my rock and roll style, and also to my Johnny Cash style. It is dependable, and has never failed me. I love this amp, for the price I gave. If it were stolen, well if I had some more money than I may go with a bigger Crate amp, but I would buy it again if I had 99.99 dollars. I have been playing guitar on and off, and finally got it together in the last couple of months. I play with a Les Paul Custom, a Dunlop Crybaby pedal. This combination really works for me. I had compare this to a Line 6 Spyder III, and I was leaning towards the spyder, till I looked into and played a spyder 3, I was not amazed. Yeah it had more distortions and had a switch pedal, but I was more impressed by the Crate, and it to me seemed to stay a lot cleaner at high volumes on the clean setting. All and all I am extremely happy with the Crate FlexWave 15R. If you are going to play older rock, or some Johnny Cash on electric, I recommend you get this amp. // 10

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overall: 9
FW15R Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 12, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 78.9921

Purchased from: Serious Music Center

Features: This amp is a definite winner in the features for the money category. It is probably the only practice amp under $100.00 with spring reverb and a 12" speaker. Those two facts alone raise it above most entry level amps. It has a superb clean channel that sounds full and analog in a good way. It also has a useful distortion channel that goes from tweed tones to high gain metal crunch unlike most practice amps that have an all or nothing crap distortion channel that a 12 year old would use. It is great to have a headphone and CD input/output and real musicians use them too. This amp packs some punch hooked up to a 2x12 cab but don't expect club level volume. I have tube amps so I know what decent sounds like. Although this amp ain't perfect in any category it's still awesome for the price. Sure it doesn't have all the whistles and bells but the ones it has it does very well. // 9

Sound: I am a drummer Who likes to play guitar when I need a change. I own or have owned a lot of Vintage Hi-Fi and Tube Amps. Yes, there is a place for solid state guitar amplifiers (although modelling amps still sound like an amp doing an imitation of tube sound.)This sounds like a real amp with good tone that is not trying to do a $99.00 imitation of a hand wired Marshall Plexi. The Spring reverb is a real plus because it takes the decent tone of the amp and creates a full realistic big amp sound. I played this amp back to back with a Line 6 spider and felt this amp did exactly what a good small amp should do while the Spider sounded dry and digital. To each his own - but I will take cheap Vox Pathfinder or this amp anyday over a digital DSP amp that is trying to sound "just like" a 4x12 Stack. I play Vintage rock, heavy metal, acid surf garage mayhem or anything that sounds non-corporate. I'll take a lousy garage band with heart over pros that play like they don't give a shit. Use two of these amps in stereo for a decent small gig rig or buy the fw65 or 120 if you really want some audio muscle. An easy fix to make this amp sound like a Vintage Fender is to run the guitar through a cheap tube buffer amp before going to the amp input. It adds that last bit of sparkle on the clean channel // 9

Reliability & Durability: This amp would be gig worthy as long as you don't throw it around. It's a light amp that probably would take well to having a hundred pounds stacked on it regularly. I give this an 8 because I have a primal fear of Crate products dating back to the eighties. I fully expected this amp to sound like some of those old POS Crate amps I used to laugh at ( not out loud) - but it pleasantly surprised me. When I started gigging in 1970's there were only two types of amps, horribly bad solid state and wickedly expensive tubes amps we could only drool at. This amp is ten times better than the practice amps of that era unless you got a good deal on a Fender Champ that hadn't been trashed. I won't abuse or dime this amp wide open because that's not what it was designed for. Because I'm not expecting this amp to be a Live at Leeds rig - it should last several years. // 8

Overall Impression: I own an old 100 watt Fanon Precision head from the 60's (4x6L6), Tube hifi gear coming out the ying yang, Vox pathfinder 15, Laney LC 15r into 2x12 celestion Vintage and/or 2x12 celestion greenback homemade cabs. I just puchased the Blackheart b5h mini stack also - good luck trying to get one of these gems. While this amp won't compete with the best of my other narrowly focused amps it does 95% of everything well which makes it the go to amp for most of my casual playing. If this amp was stolen or lost I would Drive to the music store like a maniac to get another one before everyone over twelve finds out about these. Don't let anyone tell you this a beginner amp only because it can remain as a great liile amp for any level of guitarist. Buy this amp and save yourself from the budget practice amp blues and also buy an Epi Valve Junior when you need the tube amp experience for low bucks. Don't waste money buying boutique amps that sound 10% better than this amp at ten times the cost. This amp is a solid 10 in the bang for the buck category. As a matter of fact I think I might go get another one of these before they get replaced by some cheesy Digital DSP 500 crappy effects version! // 10

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overall: 8.3
FW15R Reviewed by: alexdoabismo, on july 25, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Features: I have a 2007 Crate Flexwave FW15R. It has 2 channels (clean and overdrive), volume control for the clean channel, a 3-band EQ, Spring Reverb for both channels and gain and level controls for the overdrive channel. It has a single input switch, a CD/Mp3 input, a Headphone input and an external speaker switch, all of this complemented by a 12 inch spekeaker. Oh, it has 15 watts. Only wish it had a footswitch jack. // 9

Sound: I use a Fender Standard Stratocaster with the single coils and no pedals. I play classic rock (GN'R, Aerosmith, AC/DC), blues (SRV, Jimi Hendrix), some metal (pretty much only Metallica). Clean channel's a charm, the 3-Band Eq has a lot of depth (1 on bass shakes the windows). The spring reverb is also terrific, probably one of the ebst in solid-state amps. There is a very faint hum. The overdrive is also very good, but not as good as the clean. There is an annoying hum, no matter what level you use it. It is very plain and you need to tweak it a lot to get a good sound. But when you do, you can really get a fine overdrive (think Sweet Child 'O Mine). // 7

Reliability & Durability: Amp seems real reliable and rough for such a lightweight (15lbs). I don't think it would be suitable for gigs though, it's not loud or tough enough. If I were to gig with it, I would surely have a backup. The amp remains strong for the 8 months I've had it and nothing has broken down yet. // 9

Overall Impression: For the style of music I play, this amp does just fine. I've been playing for a Year and this was my second amp, so I wasn't real critical. For the price and the quality as a solid-state amp, you probably can't do much better at this price range, but you will soon realise the lack of features and quality of sound and will move on to something better fast. If it were stolen, I would probably just buy a better amp. // 8

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overall: 7
FW15R Reviewed by: Boer Goat, on august 29, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 79.2

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Features: Unfortunately the only way to switch from overdrive to clean is to press a button on the amp. You can change Highs, Mids, Lows, Reverb, and the Gain. Other than that nothing. Has a speaker outlet, headphone outlet, and a outlet to hook up a "CD" or iPod or whatever you feel like. This amp is very soild and durable, it can take quite a beating and still sturdy as a rock. // 7

Sound: I have had everything from an Ibanez RG420 to a Border Creek acoustic play through it. Mostly humbuckers, but it has had single coils in it too. It handles most of what I put through it, it has a problem handling effect pedals. (peaks out and makes a loud buzz) The clean is... Okay, nothing speacial but it gets the job done. Overdrive is very LOUD! Not in a good way, it has a constant buzz that is present, always. The gain can sound muddy and it can get hard to hear individual notes. Reverb just makes you peak more often and makes again; a high pitch ringing. // 7

Reliability & Durability: First this amp is NOT made to play live, I would call it a practice amp (that's being generous). In my opinion it is made to be play on low levles in a quiet enviroment. It is probably the best beginner amp ever. She is very low maintance, which is a big plus. // 7

Overall Impression: Straight to the point if you have any intention of going somewhere with your music, or are already a musician, don't get it. If you are in need of a FIRST amp, I would highly recomend this one. Its great for beginners. Now that I think of it, it could be a very good amp to give lessons on due to its low volume and general clear sound. (when on clean) It served its purpose for me for many months and got me to where I am today. But it can be limiting to people who are ready to move on to the next level. For the price and what you get, I'm not sure you can get a better deal! I know I have talk a lot of trash about this amp, but this is a beginner amp and nothing more. Great quality (for the price) and great for beginners... Rock on! // 7

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