V30 Amp Head Shootout
How will the Splawn Nitro Compare?

V30 Tube Amp
      Click HERE for Pictures
 
      Click HERE for Pictures
 V30 Amp Sounds - all in mp3  Nitro Sounds - all in mp3
Clean Sound
Rhythm Sound
Heavy Rhythm Sound
Lead Sound
Clean Sound
Rhythm Sound
Heavy Rhythm Sound
Lead Sound
   
 Specifications  Specifications
30 watts RMS
Class A, all tube circuitry
Two channels
4 x EL84 output tubes, cathode biased
Spring reverb
Foot switchable boost function
New Splawn Nitro 100 watt Head
Splawn tone with more saturation
Voiced for bigger low end and lower midrange
Clean w/ Independent EQ, Rhy and Lead channel
Solo boost and Resonance control
Overdrive channel has an OD1/OD2
footswitch function (which gives you a gain setting for rhythm and lead sounds)
Effects loop
Half power switch
Three button footswitch w/ LED's
F/S functions
#1 Clean & Overdrive
#2 OD1 & OD2
#3 Solo Boost
Heyboer Transformers
with choice of Mullard EL34's, Tung Sol EL34B  or Sovtek KT88's
   
 Our Views  Our Views
The V30 is not the newest amp we are comparing on this site and it is now discontinued - it was replaced with a V33 amp of very similar specification so you might be able to buy one of those instead.

Right from the start of this description let us say that the V30 under review here does NOT say Crate on it anywhere - they developed this tube amp to be different from the outset.

This was a relatively low cost amp and 2x12 speaker set and you could buy just the amp, the cab or both - which we did.

The tube amp uses 4 EL84 tubes for that nice rounder class A tone (not unlike a few amps these days) so it sounds good and for 30 watts - get ready to be blown out of the room if you think 30 watts is not enough - you could easily do a gig with this little head.

It is a two channel affair with something reminiscent of the 'solo' boost found on the recto's and others out there so there is some flexibility in this amp.

It can sound surprisingly good for clean, rhythm, heavy rhythm (aka recto) and lead guitar - so it seems to be a little gem of an amp given the want by the user.

It has a reverb unit in there but no effects loop so you would probably use a floor effects unit with this amp - an important consideration.

Biasing of the tubes is not necessary.

One of the best kept secrets of this amp and cab lies actually in the cab itself.

Some of you might have heard of 'Tone Tubby' speakers. These are used by Santana, Clapton and many other tone critical players out there, but (at least here in the UK) they cost a fortune - upward of $/£400 each which is an obscene amount of money for a speaker.

However, the little 12" Tone Tubbies cut the tone thing - they have a Hemp cone and sound awesome. Hmmm you would like them you say, but can't pay out that sort of money - well no problem grab a V30 2x12 cab for probably less than $200 and you will own TWO Tone Tubbies....  remember you heard it here FIRST. Don't buy the V33 cab - that has regular run of the mill speakers in there....


Warranty was one year on these amps (as is the warranty on the V33 replacement amp) and the tubes a dismal 90 days.

There were absolutely no options for this little setup it came black vinyl, but really did sound awesome bearing in mind the maker.

One last thing, it took me over 14 months to get a power supply replacement for the V30 from loud technologies - to say the service was bad would be a disservice to the devil himself... it was the worst service I have ever experienced from ANY music related manufacturer since 1968.

With two channels delivering 30 watts of all tube Class A British tone, the V30H produces the chiming clean and harmonic-laden overdrive that discriminating pickers expect from four EL84 cathode-biased output tubes. The V30H's foot-switchable boost function, 3-band EQ, fluid channel switching and spring reverb deliver massive Class A tone in a head that is ready for the speaker cabinet of your choice.

Like we said, we recommend the Tone Tubby cab... awesome!

Negatives: REALLY hard to find, REALLY bad parts supply.

 

 

The shootout here goes to the Nitro - the build quality, the support, the sounds, absolutely everything...  but do bear in mind that the V30 IS a lot cheaper. The cab, well, with the tone tubbies for the price you can find a second hand one - lets just say that if it was the cab on trial here the V30 2x12 would put a bullet in the head of the Splawn cab.....

The Nitro packs a punch - of that there is no doubt in my mind. This amp was developed for the guitarist that needed that extra drive and more importantly that bottom end that this amp just loves to deliver.

Each and every one of these amps is custom made for the user by Splawn based in Dallas, North Carolina, USA and there is a waiting list - always a good sign of a hot product.

The one on this site was bought towards the end of 2008 and was delivered a few months later in awesome condition which oozed quality right out of the box. There were absolutely no issues whatsoever with this amps pedigree and build quality.

The options when buying enable you to buy an amp customised for you and a unique product. Fortunately, most guitarists have never heard of Splawn amps - and that's a good thing if you are in the market - firstly because the wait time is kept reasonable (and quality will matter at production) but secondly that you will be buying one of the worlds premier manufactured and designed products for what is really an awesome price and extremely hard to beat.


The Nitro is a 100 Watt head which utilises a few tubes (which you can specify at order time) such as EL34, KT88 etc and likely there are more options if you contact Splawn directly.

Basically it's a two channel amp with extra 'solo' options residing on a foot pedal. It does not have all the bells and whistles of some amps on this site, but it does have a effects loop which is switchable, it does have a mains voltage switch for different countries and it does have an awesome tone.

There's also a handy half power switch if you want to be half soaked ( :-) ).

The amp features a great resonance control that can change this fire breathing monster in to somewhat of a pussy (in the nicest sense of the word) so that it is quite tame - for other styles of music than just modern heavy rock.

This amp comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty to the original owner of the amp, but tubes and transformers are just 90 days... it seems every manufacturer wants to semi warranty those parts...  yet in law they would be liable for failure (at least here in the UK they would).

In any case - it is very unlikely you will need the warranty - or indeed the manual - this amp is as easy to play though as you can get.

This amp is one of the best kept secrets and the best priced top end gear amps available anywhere in the world today.

Negatives: None.

 
Price: £400 (Second User) $400 (Second User)  Price: $1950 ($2250 Export)
   
While the V30 is a good amp (and low cost) it is built on a low cost design. The sounds again, while good (some excellent) are not really world leading, and then there's that manufacturer - the less said about their support the better - awful at best - shit at worst.

It took this manufacturer a WHOLE YEAR to supply a simple power supply - yes you read this correctly.

However, the Cab (and the result is NOT a reflection of the cab) is awesome - I can recommend you go find one of these 2x12 cabs and either use it, or get those tone tubbies out of there - they are really bordering on some of the best speakers you can buy....
 
Nitro, Nitro, Nitro.... there is little else to say, it excels really all round against the V30.

But don't write the V30 completely off - it IS a good amp for what you pay but is let down by that awful support - so the Nitro wins hands down....