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Author Topic: Nice little amp - Crate CA30DG  (Read 1312 times)
el guitana
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« on: September 26, 2005, 09:38:22 PM »

Been looking for a smallish inexpensive powered speaker for several applications:

-To use as a powered monitor fed by a line out from my Fender Passport P250 P.A.
-For quick easy use as a practice amp.
-Possible use as a PA in small live settings.

I checked various powered floor monitors and powered speakers. Finally decided a small acoustic amp would give more versatility. I've been familiar with a lot of what is available, but I did not feel a need for a whole lot of power.

I checked out the Crate CA30DG. It's 30 watts with an 8 inch coaxial speaker and some on-board digital effects. There are two channels, each with independant gain but sharing the EQ and effects. The inputs are 1/4 inch, no XLR.

It's a small (13 x 15 x 12 inch) box, about 26 lbs. Attractive appearance, green vinyl covering.

I'll start with the strange part - in their re-design of the CA-30, they wanted to put the controls on top - which is nice. But the layout is about opposite of what you might expect. The controls are on the back side of the top, and layed out as if they will be approached from that side - yet labelled to be read from the front side.

What's strange? As you look from the front, as in the picture above, everything is layed out in a way that seems right-to-left instead of the left-to-right orientation most of us are used to. So your inputs and volume controls are on the left, moving left you get bass, mid, contour, treb, effects,  insert, and line out. Guess it can be gotten used to, and if the amp is facing away from you it will probably seem normal - yet the labels will be facing away...

Very solid feel to the amp. I like the fold-down legs on the bottom, which let you point  the already slanted speaker face up further to use as a monitor. The legs (one peice that supports both sides) fold down easily without a lot of fuss.

I tried it with my D-03R which has a K & K Mini pickup, passive. The controls were all set flat, and the immediate sound was flat-out gorgeous. I played with the MID and CONTOUR and was able to tone down the mids very nicely. I really love the sound of this pickup and amp combination, and the controls worked very intuitively. The digital effects sound nice, and they are not overpowering.

Next I used it with my Fishman active under-saddle piezo equipped flamenco. A little bit of fuss to get rid of some mid range howling, but no real problem. The "quack" of the piezo pickup was pretty evident, but with a little dialing of the treb, mib, and contour, I was able to calm that down. The digital effects have to be used more carefully with this guitar and pickup. They might tend to take the "quack" and turn it into a whole herd of ducks if overused.

On the digital effects, as I stated they are not overpowering. Moving from one effect to the next is a little different - they don't just "click" in, but sort of smoothly "morph" from one into the next. It will take a little getting used to, but I like the morphing.

Using an alternative set-up, I next fed a line out from the Crate to my PA. Very nice way to use it as a signal processor - and the sound was clear and gratifying.

Finally, in a use that this amp will get a lot of, I fed a monitor line-out from the PA to the amp to use it as a monitor.  This was a very good set up, giving me a very good flat response but with a high quality. Most of my gigging is with my vocal/acoustic duo, and this easy to carry and control little box will serve well as a monitor in most of our playing situations.

Next I decided to just sit and play, and this little amp really invites that type of use.
A lot of fun to use, and a pleasure to listen to. Cranking up the volume, I found that the 30 watts are harnessed very effectively - this little amp gets surprisingly loud. Feeding a vocal mic into one channel and a guitar into the other, I found that it would be easy to use as a stand-alone PA in a small room. Both channels share the same EQ and effects, so a happy medium must be drawn - which is easy to do - (I'm pretty much only a user of slight reverb - but the Chorus/Reverb setting sounds very nice.)

I'm glad I chose this amp for the uses I had in mind - it will do the jobs effectively and give me a little more flexibility than other options I considered - and I can have some fun with it also!

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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2005, 11:38:17 PM »

el guitana,

  Looks like a neat little package. Thanks for the review.



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