carvin vintage16 or other all tube amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by try as i might, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. try as i might

    try as i might Member

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    I am looking to buy a new or used all tube amp in the next 6 months. I was intrigued by Carvin's vintage16 due to the price and the ability to switch from 16 to 5 watts. However, I have seen some concerns regarding the tone of that amp.

    I am looking for a good all tube amp that I can play in my house and get the following tones: 1) a good clean tone, 2) a good stressed tube tone at lower volumes, and 3) (but least important) a second lead or distortion channel. I'd like to have reverb and an effects loop, but they are less important.

    I looked at the epiphone valve, but my concern is getting a good loud clean tone with that amp without losing its fairly nice stressed tube tone. What else should I look at? What are your concerns or thoughts with Carvin? What else should I think about? BTW I mainly play Texas blues with some rock on my electric. Thanks!!! :dude
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  2. halorealm7

    halorealm7 Member

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    Blackheart= great for around the house. No loop, no verb, 1 channel but takes pedals very well. I may be in the minority but I think for what it is--its ok by me. Cheap, cheap, cheap too!:AOK
     
  3. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Supporting Member

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    Super Champ XD. Don't get hung up on the 'all tube' thing, this is the modern age :) You would have no idea that the preamp is solid state until you look at the lack of preamp tubes.

    So would you rather have a sub-par all-tube amp, or a better sounding hybrid?
     
  4. popsongsmith

    popsongsmith Senior Member

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    Sorry to be blunt, but the Fender Blues Jr. blows the doors off that Carvin POS. Better yet, get a used Blues Deluxe.
     
  5. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Supporting Member

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    And how could I forget...the Carvin amps are NOT all tube. They use clipping diodes, so the overdrive is still solid state.
     
  6. xStonr

    xStonr Member

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    The Carvin V16 can be modded very successfully to become a little tone beast. Here's a link.
     
  7. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    I like the basis of the v16.


    Carvin definitely cut a few corners, but its a good amp. Lots of low-volume chime and gritty OD.

    IMO, that amp doesn't cut it for lead though. Way too harsh.
     
  8. shizzaq

    shizzaq Supporting Member

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    When I first started playing guitar back in the mid 90's I wanted an all tube amp and I couldnt spend more than $500. I bought a Mesa Subway Rocket and I have played a lot of <= $500 amps since then and I still think the Mesa Subway Rocket is one of the best "cheap" tube amps I have ever played. I see them on ebay sometimes going for around 350 or $400. Ebay just sent out another one of those 10% off coupons so check it out. I still have my subway rocket. I put a tone tubby ceramic 10 in it and its still just an absolutly killer little tube amp. I used to have some carvin gear. Do yourself a favor and get something else.
     
  9. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    I'm very familiar with both amps, having spent time inside of them and playing them extensively. I suppose it's subjective, but I don't know how you can say the BJr "blows the doors off" the Carvin, I personally prefer the Carvin very much over the Fender. Both have a bit to be desired in stock trim, IMO. And both respond well to some very simple mods. Actually, my mods for the Fender are much simpler than for thew Carvin, and help turn it into a scorching little beast. But in modded form it's still not better than a modded Vintage 16, just different. A modded Vintage 16 is very "British" sounding, a modded BJr is very hot rod American.

    And FWIW I much prefer the reverb on the Carvin. On the BJr, even with it moddified the reverb is overwhelming and noisy with a solid state sterile quality to it. The Carvin reverb is much more subtle, but warmer and quieter.

    That is not true, there are no clipping diodes in the Vintage 16. The overdrive in the amp is purely tube derived, period. NO CLIPPING DIODES.
     
  10. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Supporting Member

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    Ahh, so it's the only Carvin that's all tube then?
     
  11. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    Well, as far as the reverb goes, yes. The Carvin reverb is tube driven, the Fender is solid state.

    Some other differences, the Fender has a deeper cab than the Carvin, and that gives it better resonance IMO. The Carvin build quality IMO is better, for instance the pot's on both amps are pcb mounted, but on the Carvin the pot's are also secured to the chassis, on the Fender they are not. So every time you rotate the pot on the Fender the stress is directed right to the pcb, or to the solder joints connecting the pot to the pcb. On the Carvin the stress is handled by the chassis, just as it would be on any hand wired amp or pcb amp with flying leads. Also the Carvin pcb is double sided, each component soldered to both sides of the pcb; the Fender is single sided with the components soldered only to one side. There are little differences in quality like that throughout.
     
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  12. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    I think only the legacy and MTS have clipping diodes.
     
  13. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Supporting Member

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    I'm pretty sure all the vintage amps (other than the V16 as mentioned above) also use clipping diodes. Nomad, Belair....
     
  14. try as i might

    try as i might Member

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    Thanks for all the posts everyone!! I wlll definitely try out the mesa and fenders. is the blues junior just like the epiphone valve?

    Although the Carvin is priced very attractively, it does seem to cause a lot of argument. I like the option of going from 16 to 5, but it must have a very distinct tone. thoughts?
     
  15. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    Never tried a Carvin, but I can highly recommend a Gries 5. They cost more, but are built better and sound fantastic for both clean and overdriven tones.

    Frenzel amps are also excellent and a great bargain in the boutique amp arena.
     
  16. yankeebulldog

    yankeebulldog Member

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    I have a Hassrl modded Vintage 16 and it's a must do for this amp if you plan to use the distortion. Stock, the clean sounds are okay, but his mod add the Raw control to bypass the tone stack make this thing into a tone monster with plenty of usable gain for classic rock and with hotter pickups it gets into a good hard rock sound. I primarily use it in the 5 watt setting at bedroom levels. With the raw control turned off, and the soak at about 11 o clock you can get pretty good chimey clean tones at low volumes. The 16 watt setting obviously increases the volume, but for the most part it doesn't change the tone as must as the stock amp. I think this probably has to do with the relocation of the volume in the circuit as part of the mods. The amount of distortion available isn't too much different vs. stock amp when switching between 5 and 16 watts.

    Check out this thread:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=187377
     
  17. franksguitar

    franksguitar Member

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    Try a Traynor YCV-20WR Custom Valve 20. 15 watts Class A, channel switching, effects loop, headphone jack/bypass, XLR direct out w speaker sim. Celestion 12" Greenback speaker. great cleans and great OD
     
  18. musicman1

    musicman1 Member

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    Buy the Carvin and send it back if its not working for you.
     
  19. robelinda2

    robelinda2 Member

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    I own the Carvin V16, its killer, IMO it easily sounds better than the Blues Junior, which i just didnt like at all. The Carvin is a tone beast, especially now they are making them with Celestion Vintage 30's. Clean tone is great, breakup tone is awesome, all at low volumes. Plus its really quite loud if you crank it, if given the opportunity.
     
  20. try as i might

    try as i might Member

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    The gries and the frenzel look really nice, but I don't think I can spend the 1K asking price. maybe I'll get a bonus! :dude
     

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