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Crate Amps
So over the years we have tubed just about as many Crate amps as we have Carvin amps and the two brands are pretty close in build quality and although they sound quite different they are not worlds apart. The Crate amps have a bit more of a VOX vibe to them because most all the EL84 Crate amps are fixed bias running the tubes close to class A. They have a nice warm clean tone and do well with a moderate grade of the JJ EL84's where hotter grades will brown out and burn up pretty quickly. All in all a nice vibe if your after a nice chimey clean and a decent drive tone. We tend to like the V series a little more than the VC series but both are pretty nice for decent consumer grade quality. The VFX Crates are adjustable bias and have a pretty nice clean channel and the drive channel is not bad either. It's not quite as compressed and ratty as the Fender Hotrod Deluxe drive channel but it still leaves most players wanting. The ECC83S pre's will smooth it out a bit and most players find it more pleasing to play with the JJ's versus the stock tubes. The power section can run the standard EL34's or if you like more low end chunk the JJ E34L's, or the Big Bottle 6CA7’s and the KT77's will do it and sound warmer while they are at it. The onboard FX's are not bad so all in all this is a pretty decent choice for someone looking for a gig amp who is trying to cover a lot of different sounds. So the last series is the Blue Voodoo series and Bob got some heat a few years ago for the following comments. “I know I'm gonna get Barbecued for this section but here goes. These are one of my least favorite amps. I remember years ago when the first one came in for tubes. I fired it up and played the amp and I thought wow, these tubes must have really been hammered on, so with delusions of grandeur and great expectations, I pulled the sovtek power tubes and chinese pre's, biased up a quad of the JJ 6L6GC's to about 40mA per tube, stuffed in some good preamp tubes and let it rip! At first listen I was floored... There was no difference in tone what so ever... The clean was still sterile and mediocre at best and the drive tone was just as thin as it was before. I threw some of my best NOS pre's at it and there was no real difference. I tried a quad of EL34's and it only proceeded to get thinner sounding. I basically gave up and went back to the 6L6GC's and JJ pre's hoping the customer would like it better than I did. Well, to my surprise he did! His comment was "that's more like it!". I asked him what he liked better about it and he said it was warmer and smoother with a better low end. Moral of the story? It just proves that there is no right or wrong when it comes to tone, just opinions.... I have lots of Blue and Red Voodoo customers who love their amps so they are just as right as I am wrong!” The Voodoo series amps have a loyal following and we’re always happy to talk about all the options for these amps.
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