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Aguilar vrs Carvin

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Green Lantern, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern

    Nov 3, 2011
    I am looking at two bass amp setups

    1. Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 which has 500 watts in 4 ohm
    With. DB212 cabinet that weighs 7o pounds.
    I have heard the DB 410 cabinet which is too heavy for me so I am thinking the DB212 which is 28 pounds lighter with casters would be a better choice. I am not going to buy a second cab so I am thinking of getting a 4ohm DB 212 cabinet. TOTAL COST $1,800

    2. Carvin BX500 which also has 500 watts in 4ohm.
    a four 10'cabinet which weighs 72 pounds. TOTAL COST $700

    I am wondering if anyone has heard both bass amps and what your opinion is of each. I have not heard the Carvin but I have heard the Aguilar. Rich clean, less top end than other company's.

    Even if both amps were the same price is Aguilar really a better quality product or since it is is small mom and pop shop with NYC rent does it just cost more due to their overhead costs?
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    The Aguilar rig is far superior, imo, and will sound great. Carvin, though they're a good option for the price, always sound sterile and weak to me. You should try to test drive both, and decide with your ears. And, even though you expect to only use the one cab, it's still a better option to get the 8 ohm version. The volume difference will be negligable, but cutting off the option to add that 2nd cab later could be a huge mistake.
  3. A plus with the Carvin is that it will run a 2 ohm load, so you can run 2X4 ohm cabs if you find one cab is not enough. You will get the full 500 watts either way. Also I have a BX500 and love it. Have never used the Aguilar but have heard one and it also sounded very good.
  4. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I own the BX500 an also played through the Aguilar. Both are great amps. The Aguilar has more bite and grit but the Carvin has a huge variety of tones.

    If you're looking for aggressive tones get the Aguilar. I do like having the 2 ohm option and all the eq flexibility of the BX500.

    Both rock!
  5. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    It's like the old joke: "What's the difference between the Volkswagen Bug and the Mercedes?" They both have 4 wheels. They both have 4 doors, engine, and a steering wheel. What could the difference possibly be?? Get it?
  6. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    First of all, I would de-couple the costs of the heads from their respective cabs, in order to compare units head to head (pun intended). It's a much more useful process. :meh:

    Altogether, I think you'd find the Aguilar to have more overall tonal character. But the Carvin is no slouch, and is considered an excellent, affordable Class D alternative around here.

    If money is not an issue, choose the one that has "the sound" for you. Otherwise, select on the basis of superior bang for the buck. (If it's the latter consideration, the Carvin should win.)

    Secondly, depending on the overall musical application you have in mind, I know you could do a lot better than the generic Carvin 4x10 cab - with a possible exception if it's Carvin's BRX 4x10. So is it?

    My suggestion: Consider a pair of quality 8-ohm 2x10 cabs, stacked vertically. Or a good 4-ohm 2x12, with drivers vertically oriented. Or a nice pair of 8-ohm 1x12 cabs, again stacked vertically.

    Depending on your performance & tone goals, along with budget, either look at mainline commercial brands, i.e. Avatar, GK, Mesa, Genz Benz, etc. Or consider something boutique - if you can: AudioKinesis, fEARful, Baer, etc.

  7. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    The BX500 + BRX10.4 kicks serious butt and would be my choice. Can't justify spending well over twice as much for the Aggie.
    I don't quite understand the "sterile + weak" comment. The EQ section can go from bright + sparkly to fat and boomy no problem. I have an MB10 with a BX250 head built in and it shakes my walls with punch and tone. The key is in the semi-parametric mid controls. Set the low-mid FREQ to 100 and boost the level to around 3:00 and the amp comes to life. The DRIVE control really thickens up the sound also.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I wouldn't say "sterile and weak." Maybe a little "boxy and cardboardy." But just a little.
  9. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern

    Nov 3, 2011
    I have a new active Fender Jazz bass and I am playing jazz and praise and worship music.

    With the jazz pickups I want a amp that will offer a nice full sound but will also allow me to hear the top end. I played the Aguilar 500 with their 4 10 cabinet. With boosting the tweeter knob, I was able to get a great sound that I really liked. The only problem is I cannot lug a 98 pound cabinet. I thought about getting two 210 cabinets but the 210 cabinet is only 10 pounds lighter than their Db212 cabinet that has casters. So transporting the DB212 would be much easier for me.
    I played through 2 SL 112 cabinets and found it lacked the low end I wanted. It sounded good but with not a good match. If I played my steady G&L 2500 bass the SL speakers would have been great with its larger fuller sound, but not with my Fender Jazz. The DB212 received a stellar review here. http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/aguilar-db212-vs-swr-goliath-3-vs-bergantino-ht112-ex112-885680

    So at this point I am leaning more towards the TH500 with the DB212 cabinet. I believe the Carvin with graphs EQ that it would probably offer more tonal sounds. But I believe the Aguilar amp has a more solid sound that I would like more...but I only heard Carvin through YouTube which you can't get a correct impression on.
  10. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    The Aguilar is much better.
  11. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    The quality of a product is reflected in the product's warranty length. That number is calculated using statistical methods that are rigorous and nontrivial. There's nothing more meaningful than warranty length when it comes to comparing how well two products designed for equivalent use are engineered and assembled.
  12. brotherbassj


    Sep 20, 2008
    Jim Dunlop USA, King Kong Cases, Golden Eagle Energy Drink
    I would say to pick the Aguilar db 212 over the Carvin 410. I think that the Aguilar tone hammer is a great head, especially cool for rock, however if I was playing praise and worship I might pick the carvin as it honestly has more variety of tone and maybe more clear without imparting amp character ror coloring (hence maybe why we got a "Sterile" comment on the carvin) I am a huge fan of the db 12 series of Aguilar and own 2 db112's. The 212 sounds bigger than the two single twelves. I have had the Carvin and liked it alot, however it was beat out by a little mark 2 and then a thunderfunk 550B. Ive played a tonehammer but do not own one as I have been happy with my amp tone. Hope this helps a little
  13. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    They're both excellent heads. As has been alluded to, the Aguilar will have more "character." The Carvin has a modern, "transparent" voicing.

    Now as far as cabs go, I'm going to have to recommend the Aguilars over the Carvins. I love the new B and BX series amps, but I've never been a huge fan of Carvin's speaker boxes. They just sound very boxy to me and seem to clip way too soon.
  14. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    As much as the new Carvin basses are approaching world class, (in my opinion) especially at the price point, their amps are still not there for the most part. I had a BX500 when they first came out. Took it on a few gigs. We spent most of the night playing with knobs and faders trying to get a good sound. We did, but it took a lot of effort. After a few gigs the amp broke. I still had to pay the shipping back even though it was still in the trial period and broken just because I didn't want to keep it. This left a bad taste with me.
    Also, all the extra eq circuitry and bells and whistles made the head noisy. The TH500 sounded great right out of the box.
  15. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern

    Nov 3, 2011
    Going for the Aguilar and DB212