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Just bought an amp...should I be skeptical?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by KablesP, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. KablesP

    KablesP

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    So I bought a Carvin R600 head from GC. I have played this head before but not through my cab or bass. I have heard good things about these amps as well as some reliability issues.

    Even though the GC was in driving distance (1.5 hours), the shipping to my local store was 13 bucks compared to the 20-30 I would have spent on gas getting there and back.

    The price was too good to pass up, even if it eventually gets relegated to a backup head. Lots of power if needed. I have an 8ohm cab which is why I went with this head because it can put out 500 watts at 8ohms bridged which should be plenty for me.

    Does anyone else use these amps or have any stories (good and bad) about these?

    Also, I am not sure if it is the Series III or Series II. It does not say Series III on the bottom but I still am unsure.
  2. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

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    Define skeptical?
  3. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant Supporting Member

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    Series II (as well as the original version) have a single 12AX7 tube in the preamp. You can see it if you take the top off the amp. Series III do not have a real tube, but instead have a "tube emulator" circuit.

    I gigged this amp for many years and it stood up to the abuses of the road just fine. I usually ran mine in full range mode, so the two amps were ouputting the same signal (not crossed-over). I ran the matching Carvin 4-ohm 2x10 cab with one amp and the matching Carvin 4-ohm 1x15 with the other amp. It got as loud as I ever needed it to be - including outdoor gigs. I thought the overall sound was very usable, the EQ was very flexible. I mean the typical shelving bass & treble with a semi-parametric mid AND a 9-band graphic EQ should get you what you need. I also thought the two-control compressor was a step above the typical single-knob setup you see on other amps.

    Overall I was very happy with my Carvin for a very long time. But after being exposed to JimmyM for all these years, well...you can guess the rest!
  4. KablesP

    KablesP

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    Awesome, thanks! I should have also mentioned that I will likely be using a VT Bass pedal into the Carvin, so I would be using the Carvins preamp mainly for overall shaping, room control, etc.

    Scott, did you have the Series II or III?

    Skeptical in relation to the reliability of these things. I know more people want to vent about the downside of an amp rather than take the time to give it praise.


    I would love an old SVT head. If my band gets serious enough for me to need one, it will be THE head for me.
  5. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant Supporting Member

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    I had the Series II with the tube. The blend control lets you use as much or as little of the tube as you want. And the gain control lets you drive the tube into distortion, or not.

    If you're using a VT pedal in front of the Carvin you will probably want to use very little of the tube sound and just use the Carvin, as you say, for overall EQ and shaping your sound to the room. In that scenario, it shouldn't matter much whether you have a real tube or a "tube emulator" circuit, you won't be using much of it anyway.

    Enjoy - those old R600s and R1000s are plenty loud and plenty reliable, IME.
  6. jaxom

    jaxom

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    I had a series III for about 8-9 years. It recently bit the dust on me. Could not get the part to fix it. I replaced it with a Ampeg PF-800. I like the Ampeg but do miss the Carvin..
  7. will33

    will33

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    Disclosures:
    Use of this field for any other purpose is prohibited
    I had an R600....played the hell out of it before I really knew what I was doing. It eventually cooked, but after a few thousand hours of abuse.

    They're basically a "blank slate" amp. No real baked-in fat tone or anything but a ton of controls.

    Years later, I realize that some of them "fizzing out" was just due to dirty ribbon cable connections inside. They have ribbon cables like your computer does connecting the different circuit boards together. If it sounds a bit off, try cleaning and reseating those before figuring it's just broke.

    If it's one with a tube, the tube doesn't do all that much. May add a bit of warmth but it's a clean amp with a bunch of eq no matter which series it is.
  8. jweber76

    jweber76

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    I have been playing an R600 combo since about '98. It's a series ll with the tube a the speakers are 1x15, 2x10 and a "tweeter" 2inch maybe?
    Great amp, very reliable, versatile and has the capability to get pretty loud. I was going to sell it after I bought my ampeg portaflex but I love it too much!
  9. KablesP

    KablesP

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    Thanks for all of the responses. This makes me feel a lot better about owning one of these, I can't wait to crank it up. :D

    I have heard bad things about buying from GC online, but some of their prices are ridiculously low.
  10. groove pump

    groove pump

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    Went to see a local band I've known for several years and their bass man was using an R600 with the tube emulator to drive both a single 15" cab and a 4x10". I glanced at his settings and nothing was dialed up too high or low as far as I could tell. This group was pretty much running vocals and a little other stuff through their PA - looked as though the bass sound was coming entirely from his rig. It worked great in this setting - he was playing a Carvin 5-string and his tone and volume were fine in that mix.

    I'd bet that a VT pedal might be much easier to live with than an SVT rig for a bundle of reasons. I've got an Ampeg Billy Sheehan preamp, but the overdrive on that pre isn't really like hard-driving tubes. The clean channel makes me VERY happy, but if I wanted to add some tube-like aggression, I'd probably try that pedal.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    I would just like to say that I never exposed myself to Scottbass or any other TB user, with the exception of bassybill. But he's a mod so he doesn't count.

    :D
  12. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer Supporting Member

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    I have an R600 I bought from Carvin somewhere in the early 2000's. It has kicked ass for me without a whimper ever since!

    Liked it so much I bought an R1000 second hand. Surprisingly, the R1000 and its two identical (also second-hand) successors have all died on me after various periods of use. I have not yet attempted to dig out the infamous ribbon connectors, but I did look inside to discover that more than one of them are inaccessible without major disassembly... so the latter two sit waiting for me to find the time.

    Meanshile, R600 #1 continues to soldier on, and I have bought a second R600 which is also behaving quite nicely. That seller had put some Boss-style knobs on in place of the red ones, and it's a pretty good mod -- the red ones with the black dots are VERY difficult to see in the heat of the moment under good lighting conditions, even worse with normal bar stage lighting.

    To answer the OP's original question: it should serve you well!
  13. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

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    I gigged an R600 as part of a Cyclops combo for several years in the late 90s. It was reliable, but eventually I moved on to other manufacturers for better tone. Also, the combo weighed 100 lbs, which was too much. Had an R1000 that was a P.O.S. and failed after two repairs. Had five Carvin cabs. In general, their stuff is OK. Plays well for the money.

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