Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

NEED HELP WITH OLD CRATE 212 AMP

Collapse



X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • NEED HELP WITH OLD CRATE 212 AMP

    Hello. First post, thought I'd test the waters here. I'm a drummer and basically bought a guitar rig for whoever wants to come over and jam. I can play a little (power chords) but my talent is on the skins. I did some homework for a good used combo under $400 or so that is all tube power. I landed on the Crate VFX5212 all tube 50 watt amp. It had good reviews and the price was right. So, I found one locally on CL from an older guy in his late 60's who played in his church. Cosmetically, the amp looks like new, especially being a 1998 model. Well, I took the front cover off, checked the speakers, looked it over and he played through it on both clean and dirty channels. The clean sounded very crisp and tight; however, the overdrive side was not a home run....it was loud, but I didn't think it was running on all 8 cylinders. I played through it last night, cranked the gain to 8 and volume to 8. It was loud (my ears rang for an hour) but I feel like this amp needs an overhaul.I'm guessing this amp has the original tubes (preamp 4 12ax7) and two EL34's. The speakers are not busted or torn but they look old and dry. He wanted $300, he took $200 cash. So....I need some advice on getting this amp back to business. I looked at tubes on Guitar center, 2 el34's, $100. One speaker, $100.00. Please tell me there is some way to fix this amp without spending another $400-$500. Geez, I could have bought a new Marshall 212 combo!! While I'm re-building this thing, can I "hot-rod" it up with hotter tubes and speakers? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Here's the amp and my Jackson guitar.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yea and for the same price as modding and repairing your Crate you could have bought a crappy Chinese made Marshall, That one should be labeled on the back panel as Designed and Manufactured in the USA does it not? Throw another $500 if that by a long shot at it and you wont touch it again for another 20 years, The Chinese made Marshall? Figure on replacing it soon after the warranty expires. My amp guru wont even touch those turds, and he's an authorized Marshall repair tech. Things he could do with an old US made Crate? You couldn't even imagine,
      Last edited by doublecross; 10-31-2017, 07:04 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SWEET LENNY View Post
        Hello. First post, thought I'd test the waters here. I'm a drummer and basically bought a guitar rig for whoever wants to come over and jam. I can play a little (power chords) but my talent is on the skins. I did some homework for a good used combo under $400 or so that is all tube power. I landed on the Crate VFX5212 all tube 50 watt amp. It had good reviews and the price was right. So, I found one locally on CL from an older guy in his late 60's who played in his church. Cosmetically, the amp looks like new, especially being a 1998 model. Well, I took the front cover off, checked the speakers, looked it over and he played through it on both clean and dirty channels. The clean sounded very crisp and tight; however, the overdrive side was not a home run....it was loud, but I didn't think it was running on all 8 cylinders. I played through it last night, cranked the gain to 8 and volume to 8. It was loud (my ears rang for an hour) but I feel like this amp needs an overhaul.I'm guessing this amp has the original tubes (preamp 4 12ax7) and two EL34's. The speakers are not busted or torn but they look old and dry. He wanted $300, he took $200 cash. So....I need some advice on getting this amp back to business. I looked at tubes on Guitar center, 2 el34's, $100. One speaker, $100.00. Please tell me there is some way to fix this amp without spending another $400-$500. Geez, I could have bought a new Marshall 212 combo!! While I'm re-building this thing, can I "hot-rod" it up with hotter tubes and speakers? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


        You can toss a ton of coin in to tubes, but you don't have too.

        Pre amp tubes kinda either work or they don't, some will have a lil more gain, some a slightly different color or compression. You can replace them if you want. I believe your amp as 4 12ax7 pre amp tubes.

        10 bucks a pop.

        https://www.tubedepot.com/products/j...mp-vacuum-tube


        Power amp tubes
        https://www.tubedepot.com/products/j...er-vacuum-tube

        You might like others that this place has to sell, so look at the reviews.


        If you really want to upgrade the speaker try Weber or the Speaker Warehouse. You're still looking at 70-100 bucks per speaker.


        With the gain on 8, and the volume on 8, you're probably at the top edge of what that amp will do.



        Best of luck.
        Treat your ears kindly.

        This amp was a modestly low cost amp when new, but not that bad.



        Here's a guy that did the speaker up grades on the V32.


        _____________________________________
        Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

        Join Date: Aug 2001
        Location: N. Adams, MA USA
        Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

        Comment


        • #5
          As Mikeo said, a pair of EL34's will cost $30 and up depending on what you like: https://www.tubedepot.com/t/tubes/power-tubes/el34-6ca7. EH runs that price, JJ is in the same ballpark, so is Sino. Read the reviews and see what looks good.
          If you're not super picky about speakers you can get a pair of 12" Eminence for $120:
          http://usspeaker.com/Legend1275-1.htm
          http://usspeaker.com/Legend125-1.htm.
          Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
          Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
          Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
          Member of the Schecter Society
          Person-2-Person on the Web

          Comment


          • #6
            Make sure the tubes are properly seated in their sockets [wear gloves or use a rag when touching the tubes, not your bare hands]...and
            make sure both the power tubes are glowing when the amp is on...
            That amp should have a nice 'burn' with the gain on 8, and the master on 3...on 8? way over.
            "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

            Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
            "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

            Comment


            • #7
              You should try to get an older Carvin X-212 amp from the 1980's. The cleans are very classic 1960's clean., the overdrive ( scale of 1 to10) is 5, but put a distortion pedal into the front plug in and the guitar will grind like any Metal amp, put an overdrive pedal in the mix, you'll get a killer 1970's Hard Rock / Blues amp.
              I got an 1986 Carvin X-100 B when my Marshall JCM 800 got ill and need a fix up. I got the Carvin for up coming gigs, with the 5 band Eq, I got Marshall JCM 800 on steroids sound, plus the option of Eq'ing it up to Mesa Boogie Mark 3 kaboom. My JCM 800 , got sidelined.
              Crate amps could be made to sound great too, especially when an amp tech puts in new caps and a new tube overhaul. Tubes are great sounding but require an annual tube change and every five years caps need to be replaced.

              Comment


              • #8
                Personally I'm not a fan of Crate amps. I played out with many guitarists that use them and I'd have to rate them lower then Peavey's. I have two buddies with a 2X12 model and the tone they get is highly generic. Having a unique tone is one thing but not being able to do anything really well just to be unique isn't very good.

                I played with one guy who had a 1X12" 50 watter and he thought the thing sounded great. All I heard was garbage tone and horrible breakup from the thing. All the time I jammed with him I thought this guy must have tn ears if he cant hear how bad that amp sounded.

                I own a SS Bass head for a good 20 years and a bassist I played with for years used a crate combo. They are the kind of amps that aren't good enough to use live and don't have the value to sell.


                I like the idea you have a guest amp for your place. I have a full setup in my studio including drums, guitar and bass amps. No one has to haul anything to rehearsals, they simply walk in and plug in.

                I can say as a guitarist, if I walked into a studio and I had the choice between a Crate Tube amp and say a SS Fender Marshall or even Peavey, I wouldn't hesitate to choose one of the solid state amps. I know I'd be fighting that crate to squeak out a decent tone.

                There are good and bad tube amps just like good and bad SS amps. Most guitarists use pedals for their drive, especially when using higher wattage amps. So long as the clean tone is decent he has no problem getting what he needs. 50W amps are too loud to get tube saturation so they either need a good drive channel where the preamp tubes are overdriven or the cleans must be good so pedals can do the job.

                If you want to be able to plug without pedals and get good tube saturation, you're better off using a tube amp under 30W. 50 waters can be OK playing live in a medium club when pushed to saturate but for rehersal its usually over kill. Plus you can always mic a lower wattage amp up when needed.

                Tube combos are also what you call high maintenance because the tubes rattle themselves to death from the speaker vibrations. I'd try tubes on the amp. You can likely retube it for under $100. If it still sounds bad, sell that thing and get something else.
                Last edited by WRGKMC; 11-01-2017, 08:01 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for everyone's input!!! To cover a couple of questions. The amp is an early U.S. model denoted by the "D" in the serial number. I tried to decode the serial #: CDUD080076. My read is based on the homework I did. CDU is the model #, D stands for U.S, 08 stands for the year...2008, and the last four numbers are the serial number. Let me know if I'm correct on this. I think I misspoke when I said the amp was from 1998. The patent on the magnet reads 2001. I guess the speakers could be from 1998 and installed later and the patent came in 2001? The serial number should be the bottom line I would think. I got 98 out of it because the magnets had 98 on the end of some number? Well, anyway, I got on the phone yesterday to some local guitarist, explained my dilemma, and they had a possible solution.

                  There is a guy, electronics pro that works on amps but mainly high-end concert units. I called him, told him what was going on and he said it sounded like a tube, effects, or speaker problem. He said drive it over (1 hour) and I'll take a look. Very nice guy that knew his stuff and WOW what a bunch of bad ass huge Marshall stacks. I'm a drummer but all those Marshalls stacked to the ceiling made me tremble with joy LOL! Anyway, he pulled the EL34's out and said "these are fried", he said he would check the entire board but usually the pre-amp tubes are pretty durable. I read the "V series speakers"were supposed to be very good units. He disagreed and said the speakers were not that great even when new. He said my amp was pretty much straight forward and very easy to repair. So, here's the deal (which after looking at prices), seemed like a good deal. He gets $85.00 to totally go through board, check all areas, power output, bias, grounds, switches, tubes, speakers.....the works. Here's the good part
                  (I think), if I need all 4 pre-amp and 2 el34's, their included in the $85.00 price.

                  Here's the deal, he gave me an example. The Zac Brown's band guitarist (forgot his name) played one show for three hours. The guitarist wants to replace tubes for next show and my guy to "tune up" his rig. He pulls these "almost new, top quality" tubes from his rig and uses them in my crate amp. The deal is he can't sell these tubes as "new" so he uses them in repair jobs and guarantees his work for one year. So, let's say I need all four 12ax7's (probably) and both EL 34's (I know their shot)...that's included in the $85.00. Two Mesa 34's from Sweetwater are $65.00. The pre-amp tubes, Mesa are$20 each. So, from this standpoint I'm looking pretty good, especially if the amp needs all new tubes. The only snag was he said he would replace speakers and they run about $100 each. I told him to dial in everything first and let's see how bad these speakers suck.

                  Any suggestions on replacement speakers? I want some strong bottom end, growl and punch, good midrange and decent highs. Looking for classic rock tone, AC/DC, Tesla, Bad Company etc. He said he liked the Celestian Patriot speaker and they are about $100 each. If I do this, here's the damage to wallet: $200 for amp, $100 for repair (tip included), $200 for two speakers.= $500.00 total . Should be a basically new amp that sounds a lot better than new;however, that's only $100 away from the NEW Marshall 40W combo all tube 212 at Guitar Center............what to do, what to do? Could put new tubes in, show receipt for new tubes and tune-up, and sell that bitch OR know that I have a basically new amp and play it until I die or it dies? Any thoughts? Sorry for the length of post!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Update.....Just bought speakers. I called loudtechnology company who sales parts for crate and ampeg. Told them I needed speakers for a crate VFX 5212. I looked at several speakers today and kinda landed on Celestion greenbacks or Speaker warehouse, veteran series, greenbacks about $140 each shipped and SW about $100 shipped. The tech at loud told me this amp stopped in production about four years ago. He said the earlier ones made in the US vs overseas were better units. I told him I needed speaker replacements and ask for the specs on what came in the amp new.
                    He said, your not gonna believe this but I have three speakers left in my warehouse. Well, I'm trying to do this on a budget and I ask him how much for the speakers. He first said $75.00 each plus $30.00 shipping. I said no way....I can buy a much better speaker for $5.00 more.

                    He said I'm looking at the specs on this amp and some Crate amps had Eminence speakers and some had Celestion speakers. I asked which one's he had in stock...he said the Celestion brand. One of the tech's got in the conversation and said the Celestion brand speakers were a "vintage 30" clone. Long story short, I talked him into selling me both speakers and shipping for $90.00. Speaker specs are 12" 8 ohm, 80 watts, G12, 98 db, 7.2 lbs,ceramic magnet 31 oz. Same specs as the Celestion g12 V-type speaker selling at $99.00 each, only the one's I bought are 80 watts, not 70 watts. So, I'll have $400 in it......everything rebuilt or new. This amp better be good.

                    Comment


                    • 1001gear
                      1001gear commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Carvin?

                  • #11
                    Originally posted by SWEET LENNY View Post
                    Update.....Just bought speakers. I called loudtechnology company who sales parts for crate and ampeg. Told them I needed speakers for a crate VFX 5212. I looked at several speakers today and kinda landed on Celestion greenbacks or Speaker warehouse, veteran series, greenbacks about $140 each shipped and SW about $100 shipped. The tech at loud told me this amp stopped in production about four years ago. He said the earlier ones made in the US vs overseas were better units. I told him I needed speaker replacements and ask for the specs on what came in the amp new.
                    He said, your not gonna believe this but I have three speakers left in my warehouse. Well, I'm trying to do this on a budget and I ask him how much for the speakers. He first said $75.00 each plus $30.00 shipping. I said no way....I can buy a much better speaker for $5.00 more.

                    He said I'm looking at the specs on this amp and some Crate amps had Eminence speakers and some had Celestion speakers. I asked which one's he had in stock...he said the Celestion brand. One of the tech's got in the conversation and said the Celestion brand speakers were a "vintage 30" clone. Long story short, I talked him into selling me both speakers and shipping for $90.00. Speaker specs are 12" 8 ohm, 80 watts, G12, 98 db, 7.2 lbs,ceramic magnet 31 oz. Same specs as the Celestion g12 V-type speaker selling at $99.00 each, only the one's I bought are 80 watts, not 70 watts. So, I'll have $400 in it......everything rebuilt or new. This amp better be good.
                    Nice, I like your style.

                    I hope it works out all for the best.
                    Retube and see how it goes with the new speakers.



                    _____________________________________
                    Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

                    Join Date: Aug 2001
                    Location: N. Adams, MA USA
                    Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      See.. I told you, Now you have a nice US made 2x12 tube amp for $400 dollars, That's not a bad deal at all,

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by SWEET LENNY View Post
                        . . . Anyway, he pulled the EL34's out and said "these are fried", he said he would check the entire board but usually the pre-amp tubes are pretty durable. I read the "V series speakers"were supposed to be very good units. He disagreed and said the speakers were not that great even when new. He said my amp was pretty much straight forward and very easy to repair. So, here's the deal (which after looking at prices), seemed like a good deal. He gets $85.00 to totally go through board, check all areas, power output, bias, grounds, switches, tubes, speakers.....the works. Here's the good part
                        (I think), if I need all 4 pre-amp and 2 el34's, their included in the $85.00 price. . . .
                        Given that you probably don't need preamp tubes and your electronics guy is going to install EL34s that didn't cost him anything I'd agree the tubes should be included in the $85 he quoted. If there's nothing else wrong you'll get it out the door for $85 and you can install your own speakers.
                        Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
                        Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
                        Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
                        Member of the Schecter Society
                        Person-2-Person on the Web

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Mesa are branded tubes from Russia or China. They may not the best choice for tubes in my book. I had a couple of the preamp tubes and they sounded awful in my Fender. The EL's will likely be OK "If" they are new, but my choice would be to buy tubes with the manufacturers brand.

                          As far as I know the Mesa only come in amps so I suspect he's giving you used tubes that came out of an amp he serviced. If the amp had low hours on them then maybe you'll be OK but he shouldn't be charging you new prices.

                          JJ's are only $35 a matched pair and are one of the more durable sets. The Electro Harmonix are $39 a matched pair and are Big Bottle tubes made by either Sovtek or a company in Yugoslavia and are quite excellent. I've always had great luck with Groove tubes too. What I like most is you can choose your power level, low medium or high. Groove was bought out by Fender I believe. I'm not sure they actually make them however. I think they buy from Russia and China and match sets.

                          The rest are either boutique or branded tubes. You have to be careful with branded tubes. They are bought in bulk by vendors who go through the batches to (hopefully) match the ratings. Then they will put whoever's name on it they have orders for. The handling by the middle man is not great for the elements and the chance of getting duds goes up. I bought a set or Ruby Tubes new which are branded tubes and they wound up being duds, noisy as all get out. They were made in China too. If I had a choice I'd choose Russian made. I have far fewer problems with them, even with the branded tubes.

                          This is different then a company like groove tubes which has contracts to buy in bulk and have their names printed on them. They are buying top quality Firsts, not seconds like branders who sell to anyone.

                          You can do the preamp tubes yourself. They don't need to be biased so its just a matter of plugging in new ones.

                          As far as speakers go, I'd wait to see how the stock speakers sound, maybe get some opinions from guitarists before buying them. Someone whos experienced and has good ears can tell you what the amp needs to sound better vs just buying speakers in hopes there might be an improvement.
                          Good speakers can sound awful if they are matched to the wrong amp. Amps have unique voicings and getting speakers to match that voicing is important.

                          If this guy knows his stuff he could tweak the amp's tone stack to get the most from the speakers. If you just throw something in there it can create problems with the amps EQ being unable to flatten out the sounds. Manufacturers usually tweak the tone stack to work with their stock speakers. They'll do this to get the most from them. If the replacement speakers have different frequency responses or frequency bumps, it can really screw an amp up from being able to dial up good tones. Its not that the replacement speakers are bead either, its just they aren't the right match.

                          If you go with something like Celestin's, ask the guy if the amps tone stack is British voiced like a Marshall or Vox. If it is you'll likely be OK. If the amp is American voiced you might want an American voiced speaker to match. British Voiced speakers can have too much midrange when paired with an American voiced amp. A British voiced amp may sound too scooped with American voiced speakers. Some speakers can be middle of the road and sound decent with both. My Celestin Cream backs are like that. They are more full ranged and respond well to anything they are connected too. Greenbacks on the other hand lack highs with a fender amp but work well with a Marshalls boosted highs.

                          Luckily most manufacturers make a wide range of speakers to match the type of amp you have.

                          I will say if this guy is recommending you speakers before he even knows how the amp will sound, He's not looking to make your amp sound its best. Like the tubes he's looking to unload stuff he has around. This isn't necessarily bad is there is an improvement. (I been a tech for 50 years and I'd do the same if I had good components around and the gear was greatly improved) Just be sure you can measure that improvement first hand.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Thank you guys!! Lots of good info!

                            Comment













                            Working...
                            X