V5 Review

manufacturer: Crate date: 04/25/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Crate: V5
There are not many features on this. You have the volume, and tone knobs, a single input jack, power indicator, and power Switch. There is no power standby Switch, and no high or low input jacks.
 Sound: 6.8
 Overall Impression: 7.5
 Reliability & Durability: 6.8
 Features: 6.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (2) 7 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 4.3
V5 Reviewed by: Ralphnaderchop, on march 17, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 100

Features: I have a recent manufacture Crate V5 tube combo amp, it's not listed in the drop down menu, but that's what I have, and am reviewing. There are not many features on this. You have the volume, and tone knobs, a single input jack, power indicator, and power Switch. There is no power standby Switch, and no high or low input jacks. It has a 10" speaker, which was another selling point to me, aside from it being a tube amp was the speaker size. There is much more of a selection of aftermarket 10" guitar speakers than 8". On the bottom you have a 1/4" jack for the speaker out at 8. Inside the chassis facing the speaker are the preamp and power tubes. I rated it a 5, due to no TMB EQ controls (but I was well aware of it), and 10 because it had tubes in the pre and power power out. No headphone out, but it's a tube amp and I expected that. No effects loops in/out. For $100US new, I really didn't expect much, except to maybe return it, if I didn't like it. For $100US, you get a 5watt tube amp, and weighs like a tube combo amp should. // 7

Sound: The sound stock, is rather unimpressive. It's too sterile, no tube feel at all. But for 5watts, it's definitely 5 tube watts-it's pretty loud. Not for dorm or barracks use. It doesn't get to a controllable low volume. If this had a better volume pot, you could be able to correct that. Fortunately, I also ordered a Tung-sol preamp tube(12ax7). Changing just that turned the amp from sterile to soulful. It wasn't great yet, but not bad at all. I loved how it sounded. But when the volume was at 12 o'clock position, the speaker would show it's limit. I had watched a video from the "Tone King" on youtube, about how much a difference there was changing just the speaker on this amp. He had used a Celestion, and it sounded great. I used an Eminence Red Coat-Ramrod 10" speaker. That's the sound I was "looking" for. Great for a clean/dirty blues tone. If you want metal, get a pedal. I've only plugged straight into this amp, no effects used. I used a DiMarzio cable, no wireless. Honestly it sucks bad, in stock form. Crate used a sterile sounding Sovtek preamp tube, and in going cheap, Hurt in the sound of it. If you do buy one of these, change the preamp tube, they are cheap, and it's a popular tube/valve. Tung-sol sounds awesome, and I'm wondering what a JJ will make it sound like, but that can wait. My Les Paul Classic's neck pickup sounds very smooth, and warm, thru it. After my mods I would put this amp at a 8 in sound, as it really does come alive after the simple mods. // 3

Reliability & Durability: Yea, I'm sure this is why my review on musicians friend gets denied. There was almost no QC on this amp. I think they just plug in the power, and plug a radio in the input, and check the pots see if it goes louder or not. Fit and finish was awful, pretty **** poor assembly-let me explain. There are at least 4-5 screw heads stripped out, that I noticed on the corner pads. The corners are protected with plastic-that says a lot there. On replacing the preamp tube, I had two screws that had been crossthreaded in the chassis at the factory. The screw holes are too small on the side of the cabinet where the screws secure the chassis to the cabinet. There is no way of feeling the screw into the hole with out putting hair on it, or making the hole bigger so as threads of the screw doesn't interfere with feeling for the threads of the chassis. The hair is optional. Also of note while changing that preamp tube, is there are two spade wire connections(push on/pull off type), and once 4 pin wire connection. This can pose a reliability issue if they loosen over time and possibly fall out(why most, 99.95%, good amps have all soldered connections). I'm no expert but I'm sure that with the chassis so close to the speaker, it's possible. Also of note is there is about 1/4" or less(about 6mm to you Metric folks) of room between the speaker magnet and the chassis in the amp. I had ordered my speaker before getting the amp, so I had not anticipated this. The Eminence I ordered, was actually slightly smaller(not as deep) as the old one, and install was easy. So keep in mind with this amp that you probably shouldn't gig with this- at all. It will work well for bedroom/garage situations- where it doesn't move much. // 2

Overall Impression: I admit I was hard on this lil $100US amp. But after costing an additional $95 for the tube, speaker, and postage, and noticing the numerous QC issues, I felt I had the right. I felt I shouldn't have to pay to be a product tester/designer for Crate. The end result after my modest upgrades, seriously sounds good, but for $200US, I think the time and money invested into it are actually worth it. Just don't buy this, and expect it to sound good with out some work and more money. // 5

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overall: 7.5
V5 Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 31, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: 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. // 4

Sound: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 7.5
V5 Reviewed by: championguitar, on december 08, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 60

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This is a very basic amp. It is one channel 5 watt tube amp. It has a volume control and a tone control that its brightest spot is at 12 o colock and it gets bassier if you turn it to 10 or 1. It has a 10" speaker. I use it only in my bedroom but after I upgrade it I will use it at small gigs. I am rating it at 8 taking into consideration other amps in its catagory such as Epiphone valve jr, and Fender Champ 600. // 8

Sound: I am using a stock Squier Jagmaster though a Boss DS-1 and SD-1. I use the SD-1 to boost it because it is pretty loud in a small bedroom so I can't crank it to get overdrive from it, even though it distorts quite early about 12 o clock on the volume control. It is very noisy for me however I think that is the tubes as I havn't replaced them yet. It has a fairly good sound for a $100 amp. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This amp seems to be very reliable. Its tubes are on the very inside which can make changing them a pain but it prevents them from being broken. It takes a few minutes to warm up so you can play just like every tube amp but that doesn't really bother me. I don't abuse it and it hardly is moved. // 7

Overall Impression: This is a good match for me because it isn't really loud, its a tube amp, and it was cheap. I have been playing for 2 1/2 years and my other gear is listed in the sound section. I bought this because the GC where I got it sold the Fender Champ 600 I was going to buy and I sold my old amp already. If it was stolen I would probably try to buy a better amp or build my own. // 8

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overall: 8.5
V5 Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 25, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 70

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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