Are Crate V series any good?


As I have been on a search for a cheap all tube amp, I've been looking far and wide for something that I can both afford, and actually like.

I'm in my local music shop today and I see a few Crates of the V Series. They had a V18 (1x12), V33 (2x12), and a V33 head. And they were dirt cheap. The V18 was $100, V33, $150, and V33H $180. I dive onto them and, not knowing anything about them, or ever even hearing of this series, was amazed to see they were all tube! But that's not all. These things sound pretty good.

I played the V18 and the V33, but didn't get around to the V33 head (it wasn't attached to a cab) and they sounded decent. I had the 18 cranked up to around 6 and the other customers were glaring at me. I have to say though, I was impressed with their power.

I got home and did the usual checks and read some reviews about them. A lot of people like them and claim they can get some Mesa Boogie-esque tones out of them. But tone gripes and all the debatable issues aside, that price seems frighteningly low.

I have no problem investing a few dollars, in the event I buy one of these, to upgrade the tubes or speaker, but some of the reviews I read explained some problems. People claimed that the circuit boards are flawed and that's why they're sold for so cheap and were also discontinued.

I can't say enough about that price, but I'm not willing to pay for anything that is going to let me down.


Platinum Supporting Member
Thats the latest and not the greatest of the V series. The speaker is an obvious weak point. The design was changed too from earlier models. That said there a big thread all about mods to these that really supposedly bring them to life. Bob


For a cheap knock around amp the Crate Vs are OK but you have to wonder about the low price. Just think about the profit that has to be made on selling them. How can they possibly be made with quality components and sell for less than dirt?
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I own a V32, and got rid of a Mesa after I got it. That being said, I have heard not-so-good things about the V33 and it's series. I think there is a mod thread here for the V33, or just look for a V30 or V32.


I bought the V33 212 combo (Same as the v33head) from Musicians friend for 249, replaced the tubes (GT's from Crate- Had a few bad ones new), and still didn't like it. I even tried a couple of Celestion GT-75s in it. Nope.
Shared eq did not work for me on this one. Dial in the Clean channel, and the dirty channel was horrible, muddy. You can dial in some good tones, ala Billy Gibbons on the dirt channel, but channel switchin wont work since once you bring up the treble on the gain, the clean is Ice Pick and too present. Maybe a good platform if you use distortion pedals thou and
Maybe with an eq pedal and more patience it could be resolved. I sold it 2 weeks after being frustrated with it... (and was stigmatized by the Crate name) Although, the beast is loud as hell, and no bueno for low volume applications. I'd say save your money, get something better, or start browsing Craig's List. You really get what you pay for on the v33. I've heard the 18s are much nicer. On the other hand, I own a blackheart 5 watt mini stack by Crate, and I love it (for lower volume home use only)


1966 Battle of the Bands
Silver Supporting Member
I own a V32, and got rid of a Mesa after I got it. That being said, I have heard not-so-good things about the V33 and it's series. I think there is a mod thread here for the V33, or just look for a V30 or V32.

Yep - get a V30 or V32 Head (same insides) on eBay - see them all the time.


I picked up an unloaded V50 in a trade and peformed some of the mods in the threads here as well as installing a Lil'Texas speaker. I have about $200 in a very respectable sounding amp. If you're looking for a candidate for some tweaking, I think they can be a good deal. Out of the box, I was not impressed.

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