"Crate" V3112

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jamesr, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. jamesr

    jamesr TDPRI Member

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    I recently bought this amp, and had looked thru some old threads here on it before and since. I put "Crate" in quotation marks because oddly enough the name Crate is nowhere to be found, neither on the amp anywhere, nor in the manual. Back panel says St. Louis Music, Inc, made in USA. Model V3112, 4 EL84's, 3 12AX7's, 30 watts I guess. Seems very well made, has some good tones in it. Foot switch for overdrive and boost. I'm guessing made in early 2000's. The clean side is good, well defined, with plenty of bottom end. Overdrive decent - still experimenting. Has the Celestion 70/80. Loud. So far, it's been a good bargain. Previous posts about this amp are a few years old. Anything new out there to report on this (so far) cool little amp? IMG_20180724_194045.jpg
     
  2. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    This was a full line with IIRC a 5, 15, 30, and 50 watt representative, the 50 may have also been available as a head..

    I had a 15 here for a bit before a friend picked it up, seemed nice, a good alternative to a Blues Junior. I belive for a year or two Tone Tubby hemp cone speakers were a option, and I think that one was so equipped . The 30 holds up well in comparison to a Peavey Classic 30, not better not worse but different, and we know what the French say about that.. ;-)

    It was SLM's attempt to come out w/ a affordable US made tube line and put some distance between them and the idea that "Crate" was something you bought if that was your only option. I have had many Crate's and have always found them perfectly good amps, they also made a few sleeper Fender style guitars and basses labeld Crate /Electra. So its a debatable point if this was necessary, but I believe it was done at the instigation of some of the big chains.

    They got some good press, and still have a modest following but SLM sold to Loud, and the line was totally redesigned as a budget product, and shifted to offshore manufacture, those amps are very different that what you have and seem to engender strong love/ hate emotions.

    If it works for you, use it in good health.
     
  3. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    I had one, and it sounded great! But I had to resweat the power tube sockets a couple times, and the super thick particle board cab weighed a ton. A good topology, but too much emphasis on hitting a price point.
     
  4. ecoast

    ecoast Tele-Holic

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    great amp; wish it had a mv for both channels


    fawking LOUD!!!
     
  5. jamesr

    jamesr TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the comments. I'll report any issues if I run into any. It had a little tube rattle at first, swapped a couple preamp tubes to no avail. Put a 12AY7 in V1, and 4 new JJ EL84's, and all is quiet. I think the 12AY7 makes the volume controls more useable. Ecoast is right on - it's loud. But a tad more restrained now.
     
  6. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I had the 2x12. Bought it cheap on blowout. Great sounding amp, IMO.
    Traded to a guy who said he modded them to clone a plexi or a bluesbreaker or something.
    It was an Asian one.
    It would get so hot I could barely touch one of the knobs.
    I found a mod to replace a resistor with 2 in series that had a finned heat sink and that fixed it.
    Aside from that, great amp for short coin.l
     
  7. AncientMatingCall

    AncientMatingCall NEW MEMBER!

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    I had the VFX5212 (50 watt 212 version) about 11 years ago. It was my first tube amp. After going through a few amps with my current band, I came across a Palomino V50. They're terrific amps as far as I'm concerned. I haven't had the opportunity to try the V30. The 50 has 34s while the 30 runs 84s.

    Congrats on the amp. I'm sure you'll find some great sounds on the drive side with a bit of tweaking.
     
  8. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've got the standalone head version of that amp. It's a Class A, and it's the loudest 30 watt amp I've ever heard.

    The overdrive channel will give you a pretty respectable crunch. Congrats, it's a nice amp - and the St. Louis ones are built a whole lot better than the MIK amps.

    - D
     
  9. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that the Crate V-Series amps were Class A amps - and yes, they DO sound great. The V-Series Amps have very warm, chime-y clean tones, and their driven tones are thick, with luscious harmonics.

    I had the V1512T, which was the Tone Tubby option. I bought it as NOS, right out of the box, based upon the Harmony Central review that I had read prior to purchase.

    As was mentioned, the V-Series was the last hoorah for SLM (St. Louis Music); shortly thereafter, Crate was sold to LOUD Technologies and production was moved offshore (Viet Nam, IIRC).

    I think the OP made a great score! Good luck with a great amp!
     
  10. teleman55

    teleman55 Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, SLM's last hurrah. I've got one of these. Not my #1 but it's played a lot of gigs. I love this amp. Mine has the Celestion. They also came with a Tone Tubby. I always thought a C-Rex might sound real nice in this amp too. Or an Eminence GB128 maybe. I play in an R&B band so that's what I'm using it for. Great rock amp too. I don't know how we got on the subject but just last night my kid who's a metal drummer said of this amp that when it's cooking it sound like Keith Richards on Tumbling Dice and Exile in general. I thought well there's that SLM Ampeg DNA. He said do the same with the boost on and it sounds like the Sex Pistols. Enjoy this great little amp. It runs the power tubes hard. If you gig it a lot you'll have to replace them every couple of years.
    Also, if anyone out there has had to replace this amp's reverb tank, I've got a question.
    Also, were these made in St Louis or in Yellville, AR? Anyone know?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
  11. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    St. Louis
     
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  12. rburd2

    rburd2 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have the V32. From what I can tell, it's kind of a Vox AC30 copy. The grill on top can burn you after an hour or so, as they tend to run VERY hot. GREAT sound but gigging mine was problematic as it had to have several repairs over just a couple years.

    If you're not going to move it around, it's a great amp. Some build issues seem to manifest themselves with loading in and out and driving over any bumps.

    Just my opinion.
     
  13. teleman55

    teleman55 Tele-Holic

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    Thanks
    I had one of those Crate V32s, also US made. They're the same circuit just different color, etc., made for Guitar Center I was told. But I noticed the same thing you say about it. I loved it but couldn't finally rely on it 500 miles from home. The black SLM version seems the same amp without the problems.
     
  14. cntry666

    cntry666 Friend of Leo's

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    I have 2 VC50’s, one head and the 3x10 combo. Hands down my favorites. The used market does not like these amps so you can scoop them up for $200. I’ve had a V32 and the VFX as well. Really great if you want that Marshall sound. Personally I like it better than a Marshall.
     
  15. Guitandanza

    Guitandanza Tele-Meister

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    The crate vintage club series, as well as this, was designed by the same guy who is doing the new Magnatone amps. St. Louis owner sold his baby, but didn’t retire. Very close w Billy Gibbons, who sold him on going boutique. Having said this and formerly owned a VC50. Great sound, flimsy solder joints. These amps run hot. MDF cabs really heavy. Mine had a 15 inch speaker. Hella loud.
     
  16. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    See my post above about the resistor mod.
    Mine ran cool all night afterwards.
     
  17. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know GC had Crate V-Series amps in Palomino tolex with gold lettering; they were made in Viet Nam.

    They sounded great, but I can't speak to their reliability.
     
  18. jamesr

    jamesr TDPRI Member

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    Thanks all. I finally jammed with it in a 3 piece doing classic rock stuff the other day. Ran it pretty hard for 2 hours. And it sounded pretty darn good. Went through clean, gain and boost. It got warm, but the knobs didn't get hot to the touch. Maybe the lower gain preamp tube (12AY7) has something to with it - I don't know. Good US -made amp for the $.
     
  19. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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    STL made Crates are great amps and were made when SS was still "the future" of amps (tube amps were a nostalgic niche). Then LOUD came along and bungled a great brand to extinction. I recently visited the LOUD website to find some info on my Crate (pointless, of course) and they tout a portfolio of cutting edge brands (none of which are either considered good or even exist any more).
     
  20. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Afflicted

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