Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
Now we get to the BEST feature of this amp and I do believe the sound is the most important part of an amp. First I'll tell you the gear I'm using thru the amp. My main player is a '96 MIM Strat (all stock).It's just a better play than my other AM. Deluxe Ash strat (texas specials)Basically it's the neck profile that keeps the american deluxe from being a kick ass guitar. I use a Crybaby wah and occasionally use a DOD fuzz pedal or a Danelectro black coffee but I definately prefer the amp's natural gain over the pedals. The clean channel is absolutely wonderful.It's very thick and glassy.I a/b tested it against 2 Fender cleans and I preferred the Crate clean a lot more. It can do a clean country on the bridge pickup and then go to The Wind Cries Mary with a simple flip to your neck pickup.The overdrive channel is also really good.The gain ranges from a smooth breakup to as heavy as a Zep, Sabbath, GN'R which is all the heavier I play. It could do a light metal sound but if you're a metalhead I'd stay away from this amp. I love the versatility of the sound though. It's very Fenderish and Marshallish but it has it's own signature sound.It's very distinct. For sound comparisons think: Hendrix, Joe Walsh, AC DC on your bridge pickup, Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Skynyrd, Bad Company. It'll do but nu metal and stuff like that. This ability to nail so many signature sounds of bands I like and the versatility is what convinced me to buy the amp. Plenty of classic sounds here with lots of headroom and clarity thanks to the Celestion and the innovative design so this section gets a 10. I forgot to mention that this is a very hot amp as far as the sound goes. It picks up even the slighest of pick changes and it will attentuate your playing style.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall I love the amp. I couldn't have made a better investment in anything that would have helped my tone so drastically. I can get any sound I want out of it right down to the smallest detail. I love good rock music and this amp fits my style perfectly. I think it'd be a good investment for anyone in a blues/rock/jazz/country/hard rock genre and you'd be really pleased with what you heard. If this amp were stolen I'd be really upset because it was my first purchase where I knew that it was the right buy. I'd work extra hours and save up to buy this amp as soon as possible. I couldn't be happier with it. I'll leave you with this, just try it out. The amp speaks volumes about itself, more than I could ever talk up. Try one out and you'll be a believer. It's only $550 too. Best $550 I could have ever spent. To me this amp's a 10 but I'll give it a 9 for all you perfectionists' and skeptics out there. Keep on rockin'!
Reliability & Durability — 8
This is one area that Crate has a bad rep in and I'm not going to go there except to say that I've had 1 Crate amp before this one and I beat the hell out of the thing. It still looks and sounds the same as the day I took it out of the box to play it. It also has one of the best warranties in the business. It's for 5 years on anything that they actually make for the amp. For the V32 this means everything but the speaker(Celestion) and the tubes(groove tube). I bought the extended 1 year warranty from Guitar Center for $50 extra bux. The amp looks and feels very sturdily built. I've traveled a lot with this amp to practice's and it's held up, but I've only had the amp for 4 months so I won't say this thing's built like a rock or anything. It's held up fine for now, but there is one part that bugs the crap out of me on this amp. If the tubes ever went bad it'd be a beeyotch to change just because of the design. I guess I'd just take it to a shop so I wouldn't have to deal with it. One thing I did do whenever I got the amp was take off this little plate on the back of the amp. I kept hearing a rattling sound so I examined the amp and found that it was this little aluminum thing rattling against the back. I took the 4 tiny screws out and was good to go. I wouldn't gig with it without a backup unless I had some spare tubes, but I wouldn't worry about something big crapping out. I forgot to mention that the amp is actually built by Ampeg, Crate's sister company, and they have a good rep overall for there amps so I'm not worried about the quality too much. I'll give the durability a score of 8 just because I've heard so many other stories about amp problems but I just don't see that happening to this one.
Features — 8
I'm about to give you the low down on the Crate Palomino series V32. Basically, it's the same as the V series amps except for different cosmetics, tubes, speaker, and it doesn't have the built-in effects. I got mine about 4 months ago from the Guitar Center in Pittsburgh. I was in the market for a new tube amp somewhere in the range of $300-$1000 and was very versatile. I checked into the Crate because I had read some positive reviews about it and it was definately in my budget. The amp is a class A, 30watt all tube, 12 inch combo(speaker is a celestion) with 3x12AX7 and 4xEL84's(groove tube brand). It is truly a single channel amp but it plays as if it has 2 channels. 2 of the 3xAX7s are lit during clean play and then when the overdrive is engaged it light's the 3rd tube (this is the same as the popular Peavey Classic 30). The amp has a few nice touches like a presence Switch and a boost Switch, but the presence Switch isn't on the footswitch so that kind of sucks(it's a very subtle change so it's something that could be left either on or off). It also has a very nice spring reverb. It has 1 EQ for both channels.For some that can be a good thing or a bad thing. I like it because you don't have to mess with dialing in 2 sounds. All of the knobs(eq, volume, etc) are set up really well(when you put your volume on 3 you're actually getting around 30%+- of your volume). The amp is a 30 watter but it has plenty of volume to play over drums in an average sized bar. I practice in a garage over drums and it can be heard for a few blocks away. All of the switches(includes a standby switch too), knobs, and lights are very nice too. I believe the on/off light is the same as the one used on the Fender amps. All in all the amp had everything that I wanted on it but it's not a very frilly amp. Not as basic as a pro junior, but it's not a Line 6 amp with all of the sound effects and what not. I view it as a trade off for the tube sound and all the character you're getting from the tubes. I'm gonna give it an 8 just because it might not have everything some people may expect but you've gotta remember it's a tube amp.