V5 review by Crate

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (8 votes)
Crate: V5
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Price paid: $ 70

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 9
The main problem with the amp were the shrill highs that the stock speaker and tubes provided. I switched out the 10" Crate speaker with a Jensen Mod 35 and replaced the tubes with Vintage Electro Harmonix tubes. WOW, what a difference those two minor mods made at a cost of less than $60. The bottom end is at a more than acceptable range and the ringing highs are all but forgotten. The volume is much increased and the breakup is more gradual, most likely due to the speakers greater efficiency. I am basically a Bass player but mess around with baritone guitars and the occasional six string. I currently use a Gretsch Electromatic 27" scale baritone as well as a MusicMan Silhouette 26.5" scale baritone, along with a few Strats and a Tele. I have been collecting Basses and guitars since 1973 and have way too many. I play mostly blues and classic rock and this little amp seems to work well with both styles, it is not the perfect tube amp, but gets the job done at a ridiculously low cost. When plugged into a 4x12, it shines like a new penny, with deep lows and a moderate amount of growl. I do wish it had a standby switch to reduce the amount of stress on the tubes, and it would be better with a 6V6 or 6L6 power tube rather than the EL84 tube. The 12AX7 is adequate. Like I said before, I replaced the tubes with EH Vintage and a Jensen MOD 35 which gives it the great British tone that I was looking to achieve. Prior to changing the tubes, the tone pot was basically an on/off for breakup, after the change, breakup occurs around "5" on the tone and increases from there. There is only 4" of clearance inside the cabinet from the speaker to the chassis and the Jensen fit like a glove. This is a great practice amp and has plenty of volume. Again, I do think a headphone jack would have been useful.

Overall Impression — 9
All together, this amp seems like a keeper and I am pleased with the performance it provides. I have been playing since 1971 and own well over 50 basses and guitars, and a plethera of amps and effects, both modern and vintage. My flagship guitars are a 1962 Fender Jazz Bass, a 1970 Fender Stratocaster, and the MM Silhouette baritone. I prefer Peavey amps, but love the tone of my 1968 Ampeg fliptop combo. If this were lost or stolen, I would probably buy another because of the ease of use, convenience and portability.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The cabinet is a little flimsy, not heavy duty like the Peavey ValveKing Royal 8, but with care it should last just fine. I wouldn't gig with a 5 watt amp unless it was miked. I would ALWAYS bring a backup, Murphy's law and all. I have had this amp for a few months with no problems.

Features — 8
This is a 2007 model V5, and I wont bore you with the specs as they have been covered in previous reviews. It has a power on, single input, tone and volume on the front and an 8ohm output in the rear. It could use a standby switch and a headphone out, but this is an inexpensive bedroom style tube amp and works well in that respect.

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