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crate V Series V18-112 18W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp

Sound Quality

Out of the box, there were no decent clean tones, way too much bass, the speaker was garbage, the reverb was way overdone, and the amp sounded muffled. The gain was way too saturated and fizzy, no doubt perfect for the chugga-chugga crowd. I performed the following modifications: 2xEL84 JJ/Tesla cryogenically treated power tubes 3x12AT7 NOS JAN/Phillips preamp tubes to replace the 12AX7 tubes for better cleans and less gain. Eminence Legend 1258 speaker to replace the crap Chinese speaker I can't tell you how much I dislike the Sovtek tubes that came with this amp. I think that they're the worst tubes that I've heard in 42 years. The difference in the amp is like night and day. Before it sounded as cheap as it was, and was minimally useful at best. Now it has much better clean tones, with much more headroom. The gain is much more usable and controllable, and is no longer over saturated and fizzy. The Eminence speaker sounds 100 times better than the junk that was in there. It no longer has that dead, muffled sound, and actually sounds like a real amp. Since the reverb is tube controlled, it sounds better too, though there is still way too much for my tastes. So I have 2 ratings for the sound quality: Prior to modifications- 3 After modifications- 8


I have no idea how reliable it will be. Who knows for $150?

General Comments

I did not need to buy this amp- I have 8 other amps, vintage and modern.

I bought it just to have something to play with.


My modifications cost a little over $100, and made a huge difference in the sound quality of the amp.

I plan on giving it to my niece, who is learning to play the guitar now.


I'm not sure that Crate did the right thing by going for the absolute bottom of the market with this line of amps.

Blackheart amps are made by Crate, cost a bit more, and sound significantly better.

Crate could have put better components in these amps, sold them for $300, and buyers would be a lot happier with the sound quality.


My rating is based on a lack of quality components, and that it has the potential to sound significantly better.

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