Carvin Amplifiers and Audio

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Puma, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. Puma

    Puma Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2020
    falbergo likes this.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Honestly? I hope so. They were a great affordable option and a good company for a long time. I wish them all the best.
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    They are the mainstay of my musical gear. I have four of their basses and a whole bunch of their power amplifiers.
  4. PraiseBassing

    PraiseBassing Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2017
    They have been making most of that stuff for probably about a year now. Waiting to see if they bring back bass amplification and power amplifiers.
  5. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    I was a huge Carvin guy for years... I've owned multiple heads, instruments cabinets...
    And SCREW those people now
    They declared "bankruptcy" voided everyone's warranties, and reopened the doors the next day.
    I suspect they have offshored all of their manufacturing to China. At that point you might as well throw the dice with Alibaba
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    I wouldn't say Carvin is 'back', as they folded a couple of years ago. They liquidated all of their assets so they wouldn't be on the hook for any warranty responsibilities.

    The name is back, but they do not manufacture anything. They just buy generic Chinese gear and put their name on it. So I wouldn't hold my breath for bass amps or power amps.

    Example of their generic branding is their 100 watt pedal amp, which is the same thing as the Harley Benton Thunder a different case:


    Their direct box is available in many different incarnaitons:

  7. PraiseBassing

    PraiseBassing Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2017
    Their direct boxes have been the same as other generic direct boxes for years. They’re identical to their old ones, except now black and green. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the past, they had all the boards for their various amps manufactured in China, and assembled in the US.
    agedhorse likes this.
  8. I wish they would bring back the US made power amps.
    jeff7bass likes this.
  9. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
  10. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Kinda. Jeff and Mark Kiesel bought out Carvin's side of the guitar business and split off to become Kiesel guitars. It's a totally seperate company. The amp side stayed Carvin then within a couple of years, Carvin went out of business. Mark Kiesel ran Carvin's custom shop since the 70's, now he and his son Jeff run Kiesel.

    I just wanted to clarify that because of Carvin shutting down and leaving their customers holding the bag by voiding all warranties. Kiesel is totally separate and had zero involvement in any of that. Kiesel is the same custom shop they were as Carvin, they make wonderful stuff, and they are killing it right now.
  11. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    I agree.
    Their basses have the best 'bang for the buck'. Their quality far surpasses any fender. I've owned and built their bass kits (sadly not available).

    There is a great site to view old carvin equipment and catalogs, with extensive photos:

    The Carvin Museum

    mikewalker and mmbongo like this.
  12. To be fair, I don't think all the gear is generic stuff that's rebranded. I don't recall seeing any other versions of the pedal preamps:

    X1 All Tube Preamp Pedal
    VLD1 - Legacy Drive Preamp Pedal

    Still, they don't inspire a ton of confidence with what they're doing these days.

    Kiesel OTOH is indeed killing it these days in terms of quality and craftmanship, though a lot of their aesthetic choices are definitely not for me. I have a Kiesel Zeus that I love.

    Too bad about Carvin amps, though. I owned several good tube guitar amps of theirs back in the day, and their old B1500 bass amp was my favorite bass head ever, even if it turned out to be massive overkill for where I'm at now.
    Wolfhound32 and GlassToMouth like this.
  13. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    I used a pair of Carvin monitors bought in 1979 from the factory in Escondido for many years. They served me well. I had a lot of respect for them as a company, employing all those locals in their business producing Made in USA audio gear for us. I used to stop by their place from time to time when I visited San Diego and always drooled over their big mixing consoles.
    Sadly, today they look a lot like "just another marketing firm" shilling a very select bunch of fairly generic audio equipment from China. Personally I'd have more faith in Harbinger or even Alto or Gemini gear at this point for quality and warranty support. Kind of sad for sure, and I wish them all the best, but it really doesn't seem like the same Carvin to me any more. Keisel guitars is an entirely different story altogether.
    jeff7bass and logdrum like this.
  14. Puma

    Puma Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2010
  15. ardgedee


    May 13, 2018
    Brand necromancy — When a company buys the name and trademarked assets of a dead company or product and repurposes it either for nostalgia value or fake credibility. It rarely has anything to do with the original aside from the printing on the package.
    velalv likes this.
  16. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    This is exactly why you see RCA Android tablets and Polaroid USB drives at WalMart.
    agedhorse and mikewalker like this.
  17. dangevans

    dangevans Guest

    Mar 26, 2014
    Carvin is not and will not be what they once were. Just another place selling over-priced Chinese junk.
  18. After their Customer Disservice to ALL of their current customers at that time a few years ago, they will never be recommended by me.
    Though they HAD some good stuff. :(
    Bass4Gsus and agedhorse like this.
  19. Carvin is a San Diego thing in my opinion. The musicians born and raised in the area and transplants like me at one point or another have owned some form of Carvin gear and most still work. I hope they make bass amps again. My opinion of course.

    My B1000 -- I lent out to a friend's son and was used hard for about 8 months and nothing happened to it. He is in a loud band and he has a 410 and a 212. That amp can go loud. I may just give it to him. Oh and contrary to the rumor, they can be repaired.
    jeff7bass likes this.
  20. Did not know they are doing Chinese crap rebranding now. Oh well