VC6112 review by Crate

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.5 (12 votes)
Crate: VC6112

Purchased from: Manor Music Mansion

Sound — 8
Sound is of course subjective, so I will try to describe it's characteristics the best I can. As mentioned there are two channels to this. Channel 1 is very much like a classic Fender Super Reverb. It's aim to be clean, but when you start pushing the gain knob it breaks up fantastically into a smooth SRV-esque bluesy crunch. The control knobs give you tons of range. I have run into two issues though: it sounds a bit flat and bland without the bass boost. While I find this pretty good for '80s pop and Prince-like funk tones, it is almost a must to avoid a rather bass-devoid tone. Number two is while it has reverb in spades, it sounds a bit bland and generic. In terms of level though it does come close to Fender Super Reverbs, but doesn't have the character for sure. That said it should be fine unless you're after that Fender tone, but if you are you most likely would be buying a Fender anyway. Channel 2 is very much like having a Marshall at your control. The range of tones I can get from this is amazing. It breaks up very easy, and gives plenty of crunch, and in fact has a little more gain then a JCM900. Distortion is smooth and with a nice amount of range. Oddly, the reverb seems more subtle on this channel for some reason. Otherwise, there are no major flaws per se, though the voicing is darker and a bit more throaty/growly then a Marshall, which may turn some people off. There was only one issue that seemed to dog both Channels. The speaker seems to be a bit too Vintage voiced for the amps dark and bassy tendencies, and because of this can be a bit flubby. All and all the sound of it is extremely versatile, and with an Ibanez TS9, you can do almost anything. I think a speaker change would greatly benefit this amp though, as the one in it is just average.

Overall Impression — 8
I play literally all sorts of styles. It is a very good match. I have been playing 2 years, but have experience with dozens of amps, though this is the first major tube amp I've owned. I compared this amp to a Fender Hot Rod Deville 410 and Peavey Valveking 212. In terms of value it beats them both. It is more versatile, and unlike the other two, was made in the USA. It also does a lot of things for the price. If it were stolen I would try to recover it or find another, but most likely would just go ahead and upgrade. This amp is a very good unit. I love the versatility of it and the overall tone. Likewise, for the average going rate ($300-$400) these are a great deal, and with a few minors tweaks can be made almost perfect. Keyword is almost. Like many Crates, it seems a bit unpolished which is ashame, as it makes a probably 9.5 amp an 8. I certainly like it, and love the tones I get, but it is not hard to see why these did not go over well; they had too many quirks and minor (if tweakable) issues for the average consumer.

Reliability & Durability — 7
I would depend on this amp and gig it without a backup, but only because I don't have anything to back it up. Its construction seems very solid and it seems well built. However there are a few issues. First the original footswitch is a cheap, plastic, piece of garbage which would probably damage if the the wrong way (for the record is is the CFS2). The lack of an amp cover stock is also inviting stuff to end up int he back of it to smack your tubes or speaker due to the fact it is an open backed amp. The preamp tubes in this also have a habit of coming loose it seems. On a side note, the knobs also don't fit to well for some reason, but the pots themselves are sturdy. All and all while it's a pretty well built, it has some minor flaws that, while they could be easily fixed (new Switch, after market cover, checking your tubes before you play, new knobs), they are none the less things Crate should not of let happen.

Features — 9
The Crate Vintage Club 60 (officially referred to as the VC6112) is packed with features. Lets start with the basics. The amp is Made in the USA, not China and Vietnam like current Crate stuff. The amp looks like your typical Marshall or Mesa combo. Two rows of knobs and switches dot the silver face plate and silver knobs. A quality black Basket-weave style grill dot the front, with a nice old style Crate logo in the model. The chassis is covered in flat black Tolex (actual Tolex, not vinyl or a knock off). It is simple visually, but gets the job done. One nice touch is the clear jewel lamp, which thanks to the lights behind it is dual color, with yellow for channel 1 and red for channel 2. On to the features on the frotn panel. Both channels have gain, treble, mid, bass, reverb, master volume and presence controls. Channel 1 has mid boost and bass boost toggle switches, while Channel 2 has bright and mid boost toggle switches. There are high gain and low gain inputs. The only shared controls on the front of this amp besides the inputs are of course the stand by and Power switches. On the back of this amp things stay simple. all controls here are shared. there is a footswitch jack to control the effects loop and channel selection. Next is of course the effects loop send/return jacks, and effects loop level knob, which is quite handy. Following that are the speaker out and extension cab outputs, along with an 8/16 ohm impedance switch. Other then that their are the standard, mundane fuse, and the biasing pot. Now for the tube compliment. 4 12AX7 make up the preamp, with an additional 12AU7 functioning as a phase inverter. The heart of it is 2 EL34 power tubes. Another interesting feature according to Crate are the paper bobbins on the output transformer to recreate the feel of Vintage amps, though I am not sure if this truly more then marketing hype. another nice feature is the send/return on the reverb. All and all this amp has an amazing amount of features and it's all made in the USA. The only thing I really wish it had was a better footswitch. I say this because while mine didn't include one, I was not missing much; it was some cheap plastic piece of crap, and no doubt got broken at some point in the amps life. Had it been higher (Marshall) quality, I would probably have it. A cover would of been nice too if I was buying new, as while I got one it was for the VC50; apparently the VC6112/62112/6210 never included covers.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Monster Zero
    I just picked up the VC6212 which is the same amp except with 2x12's instead of one. I'm an old fart that's been playing and owning gear since the early 1980's and I can tell you this amp is the most versatile tube amp I've ever owned. I paid 200 for mine at a Pawn Shop!!!! The clean channel sounds like the love child of a Fender Twin and Vox AC30. The dirt channel is definitely very Marshally that covers (depending on the pre knob setting) Plexi tones to JCM 900 high gain. With the right settings you can get this thing into Thrash Metal territory easily. It takes pedals well in both the front and FX loop. Mine is USA made and I havent run into any soldering or jack issues but I got it used so it could have had those issues and already been addressed. Hopefully I am going to put together a proper video review of it in a week or so. There doesn't seem to be a lot of information on these as far as user reviews go. If I had any qualms about this combo I'd say to change the speakers out. The included ones are ok but I bet it would be killer with a Greenback and a V30. It can get a bit shrill with the bright switch engaged on the dirt channel. Those are really my only gripes. I am going to be gigging this thing soon and I hope to get some recorded clips up on youtube. Overall this amp blows away the JCM800 2204 I had in the tone dept. Smooth glassy cleans and incredible gain tones. How can you go wrong? If you find one buy it!
    I have one. Stuck a g12 65 in it and it is fabulous. Fender cleans, marshall crunch and chanel switching. What more could one want? And I have had a few marshalls. This has a jcm 800 flair with fender sparkle on clean. Price is low. What a deal! Go get one if you can find it. Made in USA too.
    just picked one of these up in trade, it was set at16 ohms, wondering if that is the setting to use just the amps speakers? seems to sound better at 8ohms,but bad either way. thinking it might need tubes, smells electrical when running. got it for a song, so don't mind investing. any advice appreciated.