The Vintage 16 is the low-wattage, "boutique" recording tube amp so many players are looking for. Everything about this little amp "oozes" tone. The SOAK control goes from stout clean tones with rich midrange body to a filling upper-midrange snarl defining its tweed sound. The ALL tube design incorporates V1 12AX7 preamp and two EL84 output tubes. The power amp in its normal "PENTODE" mode puts out a crisp 16 watts. The "TRIODE" mode produces 5 watts of incredibly sweet spongy harmonics, ideal for both mic'd recording and small stage rigs. Selectable 8 ohm/16 ohm impedance switch, along with silent mode for line-out operation. Made to last, with a quality plywood enclosure covered in vintage tweed. The sound possibilities are only limited by your fingers and imagination!
Vintage16 Rear Panel (click to enlarge)
Carvin offers an assortment of colored coverings for guitar and bass combos, 4 X 12 speaker enclosures, guitar amp heads and bass amps. To select a color for your new Vintage 16, check the appropriate swatch in the "Accessories" section below. Note that while custom cabinets, enclosures and heads are covered under our 10-day trial and are fully refundable, the cost of the colored vinyl is not.
Please add 3 - 10 business days for custom-covered heads.
- All tube design
- two 12AX7 preamp tubes, two EL84 output power tubes
- 1 Meg Passive tone controls for broad adjustment range.
- Front controls: VOLUME, SOAK, BASS, MID, TREBLE and REVERB
- Metal shaft controls, ivory knobs, red jewel lamp
- Strong plywood enclosure covered in thick tweed vinyl
- GT12 speaker / 16 ohms
- Output: 16 watts / 5 Watts, Pentode / Triode into 8ohms
- Cabinet-voiced line out, 2 speaker jacks
- CH EQ: 60, 650, & 11.5K Hz.
- Size: 16 inches wide x 8.5 inches deep x 17.75 inches high
- Weight: 31 lbs.
- Made in San Diego, California
Robert Potter Astoria, OR
"This amp provides me with all the tone and volume I need for my Carvin SH550B, '67 Gibson ES335, and '84 Fender Telecaster. Three distinct guitars, one reliably consistent amplifier. The Class A mode is ideal for home intimacy, while the full blown 16 watts is more than enough for all other applications. The Celestion Vintage 30 speaker adds just the right ambience. A well made and designed piece of electronics. Well done, Carvin!"
Mert Schweppe Wichita, KS
"This is the first Carvin product I have owned, however, I have been aware of your products since 1981. I have a very diverse style (blues, jazz, rock, & country), and this amp complements all my playing styles better than any amp I've ever owned! In the past, I've owned nothing but vintage Fenders, but this little monster blows them ALL away! I was VERY skeptical about buying an amp without first playing through it, but Carvin's reputation has always been stellar, so I took a chance. This thing has KILLER midrange, and makes my Strat and Tele sound fantastic! This is hands down the best amp I've ever owned! I initially thought about buying a Nomad because I thought the Vintage 16 would not be loud enough, but Mike in sales assured me that it would be plenty loud for smaller venues, and boy ,was he right! Don't be fooled by the diminutive size and wattage rating, this little thing SCREAMS!!! I use the TRIODE setting(5 Watts), and it is plenty loud indoors. I've used it on full power outdoors on a country gig and actually had to turn DOWN about 1/3rd on the guitar volume. Simply put, this thing has tone as good as Mesa & Matchless at 1/5th the price!! You can't beat it!!! Kudos to Carvin for a TOP DRAWER product!!"
"I have to tell you guys that this amp has become my sole amp for band practice, personal practice and gigs! Mic'd through the P.A. this amp holds it's own. I'm getting alot of positive feedback about my tone. People just can't believe the size of this amp giving such a big, warm sound. I was playing through a Fender Blues Deville 410 and it just can't hold it's own next to the Vintage 16. Sure it's so much louder but that's it it's just louder. The V-16 cut's through the mix. I'm playing it in the 5 watts mode and she makes me sound even better.
Thanks for such a cool, little amp."
John Ayer Hartland, Wisconsin
"Used my Vintage 16 last night on it's first gig. Awesome, shimmery, neat-o. My American Deluxe Tele (Virtual Vintage DiMarzios in neck and middle, Hot Tele in bridge) sounded great on everything from the blues-y stuff to the country and rock. Nice saturation, nice clean tones - I Like It!"
William Hunter Buffalo, NY
"Yes, I have to agree. I fell in love with this little amp from day one. I cannot believe such a sweet tone can ring from such a small and portable package. I have even entertained thoughts of selling my 65 Twin Reverb now, something I always swore I would not do! Excellent work, Carvin! "
Mike Ratcliffe Flagstaff, Arizona
"I just needed a good little amp to travel with me over the holidays. I did not expect this little EL-84 gem to make me re-evaluate my concept of good tube amp sound. I normally use a Mesa/Boogie Nomad (swiss-army-amp). However, when I got the Vintage 16 out of the box to check it out, I fell in love with it's pristine EL-84 sound. Set-up correctly, it produces very beautiful touch-sensitive bell-like tones. What can I say? I'm not usually quick to endorse anything (and this is the only Carvin amp I've owned), but this is a great little amp."
John Ayer Hartland, Wisconsin
"Just got it - plugged in my Schecter custom Tele w/ Lace sensors - Great sound! Plugged in my main workhorse, a Tele Deluxe that has been extensively modified - DiMarzio Virtual Vintage stacks in Neck and Middle, Virtual Hot Tele in Bridge - So far, so good! Will be using it out on gigs this weekend, leaving my Top Hat at home - I will update after that. My initial impression is that this thing is gonna be alot of fun."
Jim Fiegen Carlsbad, CA
"I'm a jazz player and I was looking for an alternative to the solid state sound in contemporary jazz amps. I was hoping for something a little "fatter" but still clean with a nice reverb. The Vintage 16 completely surprised me when I played it in the San Diego showroom! It's now my main amp and I love everything about it. It's beautifully made, the tone is incredible, and it's light weight, plus it's much louder than anything with 15 watts I've ever played through. Buy one!!!!!!!!!!"
Arthur Dib Bloomfield, NJ
"I've owned a 100 watt Carvin X amp since the mid 80's. It's bulletproof and still 100% functional after many years on the road. I love the sound of it when cranked up all the way; but that volume can be hard to tolerate. This vintage 16 sounds beautiful with the master and soak controls above 6 without rattling the windows. Perfect for any vintage style player who wants that pushed amp sound without excessive volume."
Ron Caldwell Morgan City, LA.
" Just wanted you to know, this is one very nice amplifier; quality workmanship, and a very attractive product. I think every guitar player should own one of these vintage amps! One day before I reach retirement, I would like to purchase one of your beautiful custom guitars to play my country and blues on. Once again, thanks for a very nice AMERICAN MADE product!"
Nathan Rademaker USA
"You must hear this a lot but I just wanted to drop you a note in appreciation for making such a great product. I recently purchased a Vintage 16 amp and an SH550 guitar ... since then I have sold all my other amps and guitars because I don't want to play them anymore. Thanks for making such a great product affordabe for musicans like myself. Everyone who has heard my guitar and amp have had to pick their jaws up off the floor. Thanks for the heirloom."
Kevin P. Martin Garland, TX
"You know Texans love hot tones and this is simply loaded with hot tones. Clear bright blues tone. I've left mine on 5 watts since day one! I bought this one 5 years ago and not a problem one. My friends all love it ! I don't think I'll ever need to replace it. This amp is the best at any price! It's a pedal killer just turn up the soak. I love this amp and it will rattle the windows. Texas heat at it's best and sure to be a classic."
Bob Gannuscio Temecula, CA
"I ordered it on Thursday, received it on Friday, and played on it all day Saturday and Sunday. This amp rocks! Best small amp I've ever owned. The tone at low volumes is as saturated and soulful as the tone produced by my Carvin Bel Air at high volumes. I recommend this amp to anyone who needs a great recording amp or simply wants fantastic tone at low volumes. Also, can't beat the price for a genuine, American made amp. Way to go Carvin!"
Clint Brink San Diego, CA
"This little amp delivers! Great vintage tone and plenty of volume for such a small package. I am a K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) kind of guy who insists on a no nonsense tone so this amp is perfect for me and others like me. I was able to dial in the classic rock tones (ie Ted Nugent, Eric Clapton, Paul Kossoff, etc.) I prefer within minutes. While the Nomad and Bel Air offer a bit more versitility via their channel switching this is the perfect amp for those on a budget or like me, just like things simple. This is a super value for the money no question about it. Highly recommended!"
Chuck Page Deep Park, TX
"Awesome reverb. Notes bloom and then fade away perfectly. Has a great growl when pushed hard. Love this amp!"
Sal Hamby Murrieta, CA
"This is one hot little number. Plugged my Parker Nightfly directly into it away we went. The tones that can be pulled out of this amp are only limited by your own imagination. Clean, smooth, and slightly overdriven, what else do you need?"
Jim Greenwich, CT
"My previous solid-state transister amp made my low-impedance pickups on my electric guitar sound terrible so I decided I needed a tube amp with some reverb for practicing alongside my iTunes. I shopped around and chose the Carvin Vintage 16. Well, the Vintage 16 makes my low-impedance pickups sound sweet. This guitar amp is a finely engineered piece of electronics - the all-around workmanship makes it a smart purchase. Buy one, you won't regret it."
Noel McCarthy Valhalla, NY
"Time to retire all your other amps! I actually found my Vintage 16 in the back room of my local guitar store, to which it had been ignominiously consigned by someone who had obviously not tried it out. In truth, I was only looking for a small practice amp, nothing more. So, imagine my surprise when I plugged in and was greeted with a gorgeous, bell-like tone that could go toe-to-toe with a Fender Vibro-King, which retails for, well, a lot more. To cut a long story short: I bought it, took it home, and it has now become my main studio amp. The 16 is simply the most musical, flexible amp I've ever used - bar none. There isn't a tone you can't coax from this little gem! Humbuckers and single coils, it doesn't matter. I've run Strats, Teles, SG's, a Santana PRS, as well as my trusty old Gretsch Country Gentleman through it, and the Vintage 16 always brings out the best in any guitar. Add in your favorite stomp boxes and the Vintage 16 can put a huge musical palette at your disposal. If you can't get anything less than singing, gorgeous tones from this amp you should just give up and switch to the dulcimer. Practically everyone who has used the amp sings its praises. Bottom line: do yourself a huge favour and buy this amp. You won't regret it."
Chris Smith Reedville, VA
"Have played many boutique amps and this is the best small tube amp ever. Sales advisor at Carvin advised to get the vintage 30 speaker and it is worth the small additional price. I have nothing but praise for both the sound, construction and quality of this little guy. It has become my go to amp both in my studio and miked."
Ray Maestas Tracy, CA
"I just wanted to say thanks for a great little amp with a big sound. The vintage 16 is perfect for home or giging with my friends. Now I know what people are talking about when they talk about that tube tone, sweeeeeeet!!!! Thanks Carvin, I'll be keeping this amp for a long long time."
Michael Sutton Bellevue, NE
"I have owned a lot of different amps in my 43 years of playing, and this is one of the best sounding. I just received it last night and I couldn't stop playing it! Played several different guitars through it and they all sounded amazing. I bought this for use in my home studio, and I can't wait to start recording with it. I was especially impressed with the build quality. Nice job, Carvin!"
Doug Orgon Portage, IN
"Just wanted to say Kudos to all of you at Carvin. I just got my Vintage 16 today and my Taylor T-5 sounds absolutely amazing through this amp. Fantastic sound, great looks, great craftsmanship! You have to hear this 16 watt sweetie to fully appreciate your instrument! Looking for a reasonably priced, low-watt, all tube amp? Well here it is!"
Skeet Myers Mississippi
"This Vintage 16 amp really is everything I've ever wanted and needed in a guitar amp in my 20-something years of playing onstage and in studios: Real wood cab, all-tube circuitry, USA-made, and great, veratile tone at decent volumes! Also, it's not too heavy, looks great, and is very well made! Thank you for making this Vintage 16 amp, and selling directly to customers at great prices! My guitars seem to sound better than ever before, and I've owned many vintage and boutique tube amps!"
Bill Folwell California
"I was talking with a neighbor about his amps and I told him I was considering trying a '70s silver face Champ at a local Guitar Center. He insisted I take his Champ home and try out. (Ok, twist my arm!) The first thing I did was fire up my Carvin Vintage 16 next to the Champ and wire them together with an A/B/Y box. I set the V16 to the 5 watt setting to keep things even power wise. I played the Champ has loud as I could without it breaking up. I was able to dial in the tone knobs on the V16 and nail any sound I got out of the Champ. The only difference I could hear I would attibute to the 12 inch Vintage 30 speaker in the V16 and the slightly larger cabinet for the Carvin. The small differences I heard certainly weren't worth spending $300 on a Champ. Plus, the V16 has tons more volume, tonal control, the 16 watt setting, and reverb to boot. And, if you want a larger, more spacious sound it's easy to unplug the V16's speaker and plug the amp into an external cabinet; not so easy with the funky F-connector on the Champ.
The Champ wasn't the champ in this shoot-out!"
Jon Coppetti Olympia, WA
"Great amp!! Beautiful Western wrap, I can hardly find a seam. Vintage 30 upgrade sounds great, one of my preferred speakers. Great breakup when utilizing the "soak" control. The amp shines like most all other vintage style amps when the volume is pushed, very articulate and touch sensitive. Dig in a little and find a little extra grit. The amp is voiced slightly "middy" perfect for country or vintage rock. I connected the amp up to a larger 1x12" enclosure loaded with a Celestion Greenback and the amps voice changes, a little more bottom end a little less in the mids. The Greenback breaks up a little earlier, is a little smoother and more articulate, less hard sounding more of a vintage growl I'd say. I think the Greenback compliments the Vintage 16 nicely. Stock with the Vintage 30 upgrade it sounds fantastic and I don't mind taking it to gigs without the external cab, the amp has a great shimmer and beautiful cleans. Chords have an openness and are very robust. With the "soak" control a little past 8 and the guitars volume turned down the amp cleans up beautifully, very dynamic and full.
Overall the amp has a great vintage sound and vibe, I am proud to put this up on stage and I get more guitarists asking about Carvin than any of my other Citrus or Classic American flavored companions. This is my first Carvin purchase and I assure you it isn't the last."