V5 review by Crate

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 7.5 Good
  • Users' score: 8.6 (8 votes)
Crate: V5

Sound — 8
I'm running through an Epiphone Lt. Ed. ES-135 with Gibson '57 and '57 plus pups. I play mostly soft rock, so take this with a grain of salt. There are a couple of things to know about this amp. First, the stock speaker is terrible. The stock sound of this amp has icepick-jagged highs. So the first thing I did was put in an Eminence Delta Demon which really smoothed it out. Second, this amp starts distorting early. At about half volume, you'll start to get some tube overdrive, and by 3/4 you'll be getting some pretty heavy OD. It's good about staying quiet however. No buzzing... Last, the tone knob is not a typical treble cut knob. There's no easy way to describe it, it goes from a raised mids sound at 1-3 to a cut mid sound from 4-6 and cut treble at 7-9, and some random EQs in between. As far as variety of sound goes, you're not much in luck there. All you're getting is a typical clean tube sound and some basic tube overdrive. Nothing heavy, and not much in terms of tone alteration. Hopefully you have good electronics (pups, electronics, and pedals). This is an 8, only because their is only one channel. Once again, that's what I expected, but it does feel slightly lacking. With the upgraded speaker, the classic tube sound is great for the price.

Overall Impression — 8
I traded for this on craigslist, and I've enjoyed it for what it is - a much better practice/home amp than any other cheapo SS amp I've had any experience with. If it were stolen I'd most likely be looking for this or the Epiphone equivalent. I love the concept of this amp, and it hasn't let me down yet.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This is the main reason I wanted to write this: obviously the other person had a bad experience, and this is Crate, so there's no doubt they happen. I, however, have had no such experience with my amp. Everything is sturdy and well made, and all the screws were in straight and tight. I had to remove the two panels in the back to change out the speaker, and everything went smoothly. I've also taken the head unit out and used it with a 212 cab. That being said, as is always the case, make sure you inspect the one you are going to be buying. Quality isn't quite a standard with Crate.

Features — 4
As far as features go, don't expect much. As has been stated, all you're looking at is an input, volume/gain knob, tone knob, and an 8ohm speaker out. It runs through a single 12AX7 and a single EL84B. This is all I was looking for, so if you're expecting more, you're looking at the wrong type of amp. I use this amp for home practice and for smaller gigs when I don't feel like lugging around something bigger. It has more than enough power for both situations. The 5 tube watts is plenty. I give this a 4, but don't take it the wrong way; it has exactly what you'd expect.

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