RFX120 Review

manufacturer: Crate date: 06/29/2006 category: Guitar Amplifiers
The Crate RFX120 is a very new amp on the Crate line. It has 3 channels: 1 clean, 1 rhythm, and 1 solo (the solo acts mainly as a boost). The effects include phaser, flanger, many, many types of delay and echo, chorus, octave, and 2 types of auto-wah.
 Sound: 7.7
 Overall Impression: 7.7
 Reliability & Durability: 7.3
 Features: 7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (3) 9 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
RFX120 Reviewed by: VaiSatchLaiho, on september 10, 2005
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: The Crate RFX120 is a very new amp on the Crate line. So new, that Crate does not yet have details for this model on its official site yet. Anyways, down to business. I play progressive, neo-classical rock, and some hair metal on my amp, and the amp has no problem handling all of these styles. This amp would also be good as a solid-state alternative to most tube amps. It has 3 channels: 1 clean, 1 rhythm, and 1 solo (the solo acts mainly as a boost). The effects include phaser, flanger, many, many types of delay and echo, chorus, octave, and 2 types of auto-wah. It seems to me that the effects did not sound nearly as good while distortion was also on. But don't get me wrong, because this amp has the best solid-state distortion I have ever heard. // 8

Sound: I play through this amp with a Squier Strat-copy. As I said earlier, it has an amazing tone, and it would be even thicker on a Les Paul. Great for classic rock, and '80s through now styles of metal. It is 120 watts (2x12in Crate Retrofex speakers). Its effects, especially the reverb and auto-wah, shine on the clean settings (I even managed to create a "cello" sound with the octave setting). The clean channel is surprisingly good at high volumes, and the distortion is more towards a milky, smooth sound. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This amp has handled everything I've thrown at it so far. My friend even plugged in his bass, and from my opinion it could work perfectly as a bass amp. The only thing that does concern me is that this amp's clean setting cut out twice to a much bassier, softer clean without notice. Nothing has broken, and Crate gives it a 5 year warranty on the electronic parts, and a 2 year warranty on the speakers. // 8

Overall Impression: This amp has improved my style in a great way. Considering the only amp I owned before this was a Fender Frontman 15G, this amp was heaven to me. I got a discount because this amp had a small scratch in the leather, so the price will usually range around $450 dollars I think. Also, the amp looks great: a definate retro look. I would buy it again, because it has the best solid-state distortion I have ever heard. If I could improve one thing, it would be the sound of the effects combined with the distortion, but other than that, it has met all my guitar playing needs. // 10

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overall: 9
RFX120 Reviewed by: RadioMuse, on february 13, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: I've owned this amplifier for about 8 months now and I can barely remember what it was like without it. The effects are crystal-clear on the clean channel and the modulation effects suffer with distortion (delay and reverb are still very good). I play anything from soft rock (say Coldplay) to hevey metal with some occasional blues and early ('50s style) rock 'n'roll thrown in. This amplifier delivers wonderfully on all of these and with the right guitar can go head to head with most tube amps in the process. It includes a footswitch unit for both channels and effect presets (which you can easily change), line out and a CD in. I believe it also has an effects loop (via line on and a seperate line in on the back) though I've never used it. I've used this at a few practices with drummers and I will say that it can easily overpower any conditions I've encountered. With "level" at around 1/2 to 2/3 on the rhythm channal I effectively kept the guitar over top of the drums. // 9

Sound: What originally attracted me to this amplifier was it's wonderful sound and the quality of it's internal effects so obviously this is something that I will be praising. The guitars I use with it are a Fat Strat (bridge humbucker) copy from a company called Indiana and a customized Fender Nashville Tele with humbuckers in the mid (yes mid) and bridge positions. I believe they're DiMarzio's with a standard Fender single coil in the bridge. With the Tele in particular this amplifer punches out spot-on tonal recrations of everything from Led Zeppelin (rhythm channal, bridge humbucker) to U2 (clean with dely and perhapse a little chorus). The clean channel does give a punchy overdrive when strumming hard at high volumes, a wonderful almost spot on recration of 50s rockibily sound, but otherwise remains clean as far as I've taken it (volume at the 1/2 mark or so) and the distortion in the rhythm is powerful without being intrusive to the character of the guitar, where the solo challen smothers the tone in a roaring wave of sound while retaining the core tone of the guitar plugged into it. The only real annoying issue on the sound is that this amplifier has a near constant "whine" that goes up with gain (but not level). // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've used this amplifier exclusively for the last 6 months, though my only other option is a 15 watt XTR so clearly I'd use this. I've played it for hours on end at high volume without overheating or negitively affecting the sound quality (if anything it improves). I've never had any problems with the amp itselve though the plasic nuts used on the outlets on the foot unit are subject to coming off, so keep an eye on them. I've had this thing tip over on me a couple times while trasporting (meaning in the car) and it didn't seem to affect it in the slightest. // 9

Overall Impression: Everything I've played through it, including a couple different basses, has sounded excellent. I've been playing guitar for about 18 months and have a very choosy ear, this amplifier always delivers. If it were lost or stolen I would replace it with either another one of the same or an A-class Palomino 30 watt as soon as I had the money. The tone of the Palomino's does edge even this out but in terms of versitility (thanks to the 3 channals and effects, both of which the Palomino lacks) I'd come right back to this. It's got everything going for it, definently the best solid state amplifier on the market today for under $1000. I've tried Fenderd, Marshalls, Vox's, Line 6, Behringer and Kustoms, none of them come close without going into four-figure prices. Untouchible for the money. // 9

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overall: 4.3
RFX120 Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 29, 2006
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 449.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This amp was bought as a Christmas gift for me from my dad this past Christmas, so that makes it a 2005. I play alot of music, the main stuff I play are Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, New York Dolls, and good ole' Zeppelin. This is a 3 channel solid state amp, those channels being Clean, Rhythm, and Solo. Has alot of nice effects, but the reverb was the only one that impressed me, and a very unneccessary automatic tuner. So, the channels: Clean - nice, but soft, and lacks that nice tone. It's nice until you realize it just sounds like your guitar strings would if they were just alot louder (by this I mean a very plain, and cold sound). I try blues on this, and its clean, but I hate the tone on it. Very one dimensional. It's clean, but it's nothing worth what you pay for this amp. Rhythm - a fun one to fool around with. Never very clean, doesn't sound too greats with the gain down, but can a pretty gritty sound with the gain up. Basically, by dubbing it the name "rhythm" I think they had the AC/DC sound in mind other than say that of The Rolling Stones or The Smiths. It can get, like I said, quite dirty, and gritty with the gain all the way up, and you can get a tolerable tone of this channel. Nothing too impressive, just one of those "can do most things 'okay'" kinda channels. Solo - quite an unneccessary channel. Dirty, no matter how high the gain, and tends to ring and hurt the hears at what most would consider a normal volume (about 30%-40% on the knob, 6 and up on guitar knob). Very, very dirty, constantly hearing buzzing/fuzzy noises that sound horrible, and really take away from the joy of playing. The channel sounds so bad, it is constantly making you adjust the knobs every other session or so. I also have suffered slight ear damage (ringing for about a week to two weeks) from trying out the effects on this channel. Very disappointed. Never have been happy with this channel, probably never will. Effects - chorus, flange, phase shift, vibrato, octave down, touch-wah, and Reverse Wah, 15 delays, reverb. Reverb being the only one that I prefer to play with on a normal basis. The wahs aren't very noticable with gain on, and tend to drown-out your tone on the Clean channel. The Chorus, Flange, and Phase Shift were sounding great to begin with, but you immediately find out that they sound the same. The delays barely vary. You have single wave, double, etc. They all sound a little weird to me with the reverb and chorus on aswell. Like an over-exxagerated echo. Automatic Tuner - crap! "Beep beep beep!" is all you hear when you play becuase of this thing. // 4

Sound: I'm currently using a Standard (Mex) Stratocaster with this amp. This amp doesn't really suit my style at all, I guess you could say. I like alot of classic rock, classic punk rock (not Green Day), blues (SRV, Chuck, B.B.), hard rock, local rock bands in Baltimore (Fishnets, Shambles, Blondsai) and some current rock (probably only RCHP, and maybe some other). Anyways, this amp can't do any of those genres too well. Except for Hard Rock, the Rhythm is decent for AC/DC, Velvet Revolver, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Clean is decent, not good, Rhythm is decent, not good, and solo is just no. Each channel has one sound, and none of them are grear. It's made to be a loud amp at 120W, but that's how they get you to buy it. Most people, like my dad, see 120W watts and go "That's an awesome deal!" Yet, they look past the crappy tone, and technical problems this amp endures. But, the thing is, no kid Who's just starting to play guitar needs 120 watts. Get him a nice 15W Fender Blues Jr., and save yourself the extra $50. Not only is this amp's wattage a little overkill for a beginner, the distortion is brutal, a dn overkill on the Solo channel. Kids will play on the solo and think they're rock gods, until they play on the clean settings and realize how many mistakes they are making. // 4

Reliability & Durability: I haven't had any problems as far as the amp breaking down so far, but it cannot be played too loud on the Solo Channel without giving out a high-pitched ring. This amp is also kinda heavy. Not back-breaking, but some skinnier dudes (such as myself) might struggle with stairs or long transports from the parking lot. But, luckily it has wheels, though not the nicest, they work fine. Therefore, the amp is durable, but it's sound isn't too "reliable". // 5

Overall Impression: Well, a mis-match on my dad's part. He got me an amp designed for Greenday, and Panic At The Disco punk wannabes around the USA (hopefully not world) who think any power chord with a little bit of gain sounds good. When instead he could have gotten a better deal on a better amp. But, that's what happens when you get "expert advice" from a Guitar Center employee. I've been playing since October of last year, so I got this amp after about 3 full months of playing. I also own (as stated before) a Mexican Strat (which was also a present). I wish that I had at least been given the chance to check out this amp before my dad purchased it (it was a suprise gift). I would have at least tried out some other amps there, and made my decision. If this was stolen or lost I would most definitly not buy it again, and if given it again, would sell it before I'd open the box. What I love about this amp nothing. I do not "love" absolutely anything about this amp. However, I did like the reverb, and the Rhythm channel was okay in my books. What I hate about this amp are all the terrible delays, the other effects are dull (the wah is horrible), the channels not being good at any one thing, but isntead being okay or crappy at most things, and most of all the dang Solo channel. If my dad hadn't bought this amp, I was planning to use the other money I had to buy a Vox, why, dad, why? Though, I do thank him very much for spending so much on an amp for me, though not worth it, and buying me the Mex Strat = worth it. // 4

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