From NAMM: Carvin Steve Vai Signature Legacy III Amp

Vai's Carvin Legacy 3 - Front View

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Vai’s New Carvin Amp – Fresh From NAMM

Vai's Carvin Legacy 3 - Front View
Carvin Legacy - Click to Enlarge

Introducing the next phase in the Legacy amplification from the shrewd mind of Steve Vai and the miracle workers at Carvin.  The all tube amp is built like a tank in its 17″ x 9″ x 8.5″, rack mountable, metal chassis and at a measly 29 pounds it boasts itself as the lightest 100 watt tube amp on the market.  As seems to be the case with anything a guy like Vai gets his hands on there is an attention to detail beyond reason so let’s dive in and see what the real deal is behind the Legacy III.

Channel Options

The Legacy III follows a similar path as its predecessors in that the first channel offers a nice, fulfilling clean signal while the second channel adds distortion control to add grit to the signal much like the original Legacies were designed.  The third channel is designed the same as channel 2, but features a high gain switch to push your signal a bit harder offering more elbow room for leads.

Vai with the Carvin Legacy
Vai and Carvin Legacy @NAMM

Hanging over the heads of all three channels is a master volume knob that can diminish the volume of the amp without affecting any gain settings so your signal will stay as gritty or as clean as you want and also featured is a channel assignable reverb control, a foot switch controlled master boost, and internal LED lights that can assign different colors to different channels.  Colors include red, amber, and green so not only will you, but also your screaming fans know what channel your on and you’ll never look cooler for it.

Power and Tubes

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Thanks to the RMS power switch you can crank the Legacy III up to 100 watts for when you’re selling out arenas, back it down 50 watts for practice with the band, or drop it down to 15 when you’re at home and trying to prevent old man Malone across the street from calling in a noise complaint.  Along with the wattage the output can be toggled between 16, 8, and 4 ohms.  All of this power is pushed through some 12AX7 preamp tubes and four EL34 power tubes.

Vai's Carvin Legacy 3 - Rear View
Rear View - Click to Enlarge

Front Controls

On the front the control layout gives you two separate  bass, mid, and treble controls, one for channel 1 and one for channels 2 and 3 which each also have their own drive and presence controls, and channel 3’s gain switch, all three of which have designated volume controls.  Along with the master volume you get a boost control and a reverb on/off switch and level knob.

Rear Controls

On the backside you get two speaker outputs, ohm and RMS power control, regular line out, the LED toggle switch, foot switch input, MIDI in and MIDI through ports, effects loop send and return, master out, and power amp in.


Editor’s Note:  I forgot to mention earlier.  The sale price on Carvin’s web site is $899.  Here’s a link to the product page.  Carvin Legacy III.

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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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