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Carvin MACH100 review

A 100-watt stereo power amp the size of an MXR stompbox

(Image: © courtesy of Carvin)

Our Verdict

A small box with a big output, the MACH100 makes perfect sense for those looking for loud, clean and reliable power – perfect for when your amp fails on your, perfect for building a compact and portable pedalboard rig.

For

  • A lot of power from the teensiest of footprints.
  • Tone-wise, it's clean and neutral.
  • Stereo functionality and line-in.
  • Good value.

Against

  • Some players may want an EQ control or two.

Sooner or later, I believe you’re going to be seeing a lot more power amp pedals. Nearly every guitarist I know relies on multiple stompboxes or modeling/effects-processing floorboards as their main guitar rig, and at this point you’d be foolish not to have one of these compact power amps as the last part of your signal chain on a pedalboard. 

In the rare occurrence that your favorite amplifier fails you, at least you’d have this as a backup. However, in the interest of downsizing and convenience, there are many players who already use a power amp pedal in their rigs. 

Carvin is one of the latest companies to throw their hat in the ring by introducing the MACH100 100W Stereo Pedal Amplifier, a 100-watt stereo two-channel pedal (50- watts per channel) that can drive two guitar speaker enclosures with 16, 8 or 4 ohm impedance, making this powerfully small wonder a real standout.

The MACH100 connected through a Carvin X1 Legacy Drive Preamp – a full rig you can mount on your 'board.

The MACH100 connected through a Carvin X1 Legacy Drive Preamp – a full rig you can mount on your 'board. (Image credit: Carvin)

The MACH100 is a MXR-sized pedal that features one control knob labeled “Level” for master volume adjustment and a Mute footswitch. What’s nice is the single LED lights green when you have an active signal and red when the MACH100 is muted.

You should be aware that the 24VDC power supply is bigger than the actual pedal, but seriously, where else are you going to store that kind of firepower?

The pedal includes left and right output jacks for its twin-channels, mono and right input jacks, a 3.5mm stereo input Line In for inserting a backing track, and a 3.5mm stereo output Phones jack allowing you to monitor the amplifier output. 

You should be aware that the 24VDC power supply is bigger than the actual pedal, but seriously, where else are you going to store that kind of firepower?

Even though it looks like a pedal, the MACH100 is a high-powered amplifier, so you’ll need speaker cable when connecting either channel to a speaker cabinet.

I auditioned the MACH100 through several different cabs, and, as anticipated, the MACH100 is primarily a loud and clean pedal, which makes it ideal as a neutral tonal center for the many effects and drives on my pedalboard.

(Image credit: Carvin)

Many popular guitar speakers are tuned toward the midrange, so you’ll notice the MACH100’s clean signal having a very strong low-to-mid presence, with the highs being somewhat muted. 

The cure is to fine-tune your pedals or processor to your desired frequencies – or use a separate EQ pedal – and you’re in business. Outside of that, the MACH100 is very loud and capable, and the stereo option alone makes it worth investigating.

Specs

  • PRICE: $179
  • TYPE: Stereo power amp pedal
  • OUTPUT: 100W (50W per channel)
  • DIMENSIONS: 44mm (H) x 73mm (W) x 125mm (L) 
  • WEIGHT: 11.8oz
  • CHANNELS: 2
  • CONTROLS: Level, Mute/Engage footswitch
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES: Line in, headphones out
  • POWER: 24V DC supply (included)
  • CONTACT: Carvin