Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Crate GX-30M Guitar Amplifier Review

Howdy!

It seems that I have been on quite a roll lately with finds at the local flea markets, and today we are looking at another one of my finds – a 1990s Crate GX-30M guitar amplifier. I was not super interested, but the seller was highly motivated, and it is always great to have a loaner amp around for friends who think they might want to take up the guitar.

The Crate GX-30M is an entry level combo amplifier that puts out 30 watts through a 4 Ohm 12-inch Crate speaker. It is the usual practice amp size, measuring approximately 19 by 20 by 12 inches, and weighing in at 29 pounds according to my scale. It was made in the USA and it feels sturdy, with the usual black Tolex and hefty plastic corner protectors.

For a 2-+ year old budget amp, there are a surprising number of features available. There is a clean channel with a 3-band EQ, an overdrive channel with gain, shape, and level, a reverb effect, and a chorus feature with depth and rate. A single input is provided, and there are also jacks for a footswitch, headphones and a speaker out. If anything is plugged into the headphone jack or speaker out the internal speaker is bypassed.

I gave the GX-30M a bit of a workout with a Tele, Strat, and Les Paul, and it did ok. There is a light hum all of the time, but it does not get much worse at higher volume levels. The clean channel sound is probably the best feature of this amp, but there is an unpleasantly muddy distortion if reverb is elected at higher volume. The distortion channel has an ok tone but no bottom end and it also does not like higher volumes, so it is nothing special when all is said and done, The chorus is pretty good, though it does take some fiddling to get a good combination of rate and depth.

This is middling praise, at best, but this Crate does have enough volume for practicing out in the garage, and would probably be ok for busking or doing lower volume gigs. Like I said, I will keep the GX-30M around as a loaner, as even if it does not sound super-awesome, it is durable and should get the job done as long as there is not too much expected of it.

Mahalo!

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