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Carvin Amps....Unreliable?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Nightsblood, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. I bought a Carvin R600 a few years ago, but have never played out with it, only practiced. Well now, im looking to get out playing again after a few years hiatis and I read a few posts on here of people stating the Redline series is unreliable. I agree its not a very good head and I most likely will have to replace it, but, what is unreliable. No one has stated what goes wrong with it. I dont want to be onstage in front of thousands of people (OK, maybe thirty) and have this thing go down, so everyone who says its "unreliable", please elaborate.
  2. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    Carvin may be midway on the list of popular brands but because you have one, you're probably more aware of when a Carvin post pops up (like I am ;)) Other brands have similar posts I assure you. I don't own the r600 but I do know that there are a lot of control functions that, unless you're familiar with them, you can make it sound real bad. Most problems I've seen with them (even on the Carvin bbs) are heat related. Some have mounted a fan to the back side. Operating any amp within it's limitations should give years of reliable service. Happy gigging. FWIW,
    I've had more serious service issues on my non- Carvin amps. fendercough,cough, mesaboogiecough
  3. BigSky Bass Guy

    BigSky Bass Guy

    Apr 15, 2005
    Carvin Customer Support and Service sucks out loud. My Carvin power amps (600 & 2000w) are still working fine, thankfully. But hundreds of dollars worth of my other Carvin Crap died, bass head included, and they wouldn't repair it ("old technology, we don't carry parts to repair it, and no, you can't buy parts. But we WILL sell you our NEW crap to replace it.") This stuff was two years old, and they don't carry parts??

    I wish your R600 all good health. But when it soon dies, all I can say is it'll make a great boat anchor.

    Folks, don't be stupid like me... buy right the first time. (For the record, I'm now an Ampeg and Peavey devotee.)
  4. For counterpoint, my experience differs from BigSky's. Carvin's customer service has been great to me, to the point of building me a new bass for a nominal amount when it developed a problem while months out of warranty.

    As for the RedLines, I'm not necessarily convinced that they're all that much less reliable than other comparable gear. We all tend to judge by our own relatively limited experience. If I were to judge *solely* by my own experience, I'd be forced to conclude that Ampeg SVTs are unreliable crap compared to Carvins. I've known four people who owned SVTs, and all four had to take their amps to the shop repeatedly. And I had an SVT blow up on me in the middle of a gig once--something no Carvin ever did to me. But the point is, I know that other people have had experiences different from mine, so I know that my story isn't the whole story. So I don't assume that Ampegs are crap simply because I've had bad experiences.

    It's the same with Carvins. Some people here have had problems and have expressed quite legitimate complaints. But that by itself, though entirely valid, doesn't constitute an epidemic. There are plenty of people who have used their RedLines for years without problems.

    My father used to say, don't holler before you're hurt. I'd just suggest, don't assume you're gonna have a problem until you really have reason to think you will. Which, at the moment, IMO you don't.
  5. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I've read too many accounts of Carvin amps catching on fire to go near one even with a 10-foot truss rod.
  6. Aaron J

    Aaron J

    Jul 16, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    Although I don't own one anymore...I had the R600 for a couple of years and never had any problems with it. Not my favorite in terms of tone, but I always found it very reliable and sturdy.
  7. Such as where? From whom? I'm not attacking you personally, and I'm not saying this couldn't or didn't happen, but I'm interested in the process by which beliefs become accepted Internet "wisdom" (which sometimes is anything but wise). We all know that the Internet can sometimes be the vehicle for passing along "information" that is not accurate, or only partially so.

    I hear people referring darkly to stories of Carvins catching fire much more often than I ever see the actual stories myself. I can think of only one such story offhand, and that one was questionable. If there really are a lot of other fairly reliable accounts of RedLines catching fire, that would be worth knowing. I absolutely mean that. OTOH, if there really aren't that many, if any, believable accounts of this, it would make sense not to spread the unsupported story.

    Personally, I've seen more Peaveys catch fire (one) than Carvins.
  8. What caused the Peavey to catch fire? Just wondering...
  9. My stupidity, basically. I had it with me in Ireland and used the wrong AC adapter. I have no beef with Peavey on toughness, really; that's not something any amp should be expected to endure. I have seen a couple of Peaveys conk out without flaming on; but I still consider them pretty reliable, considering the numbers of them out there and the way they're often treated ("aw, you don't have to be careful with that, it's only a Peavey"). My original point was that a few complaints, in the big picture, don't *necessarily* mean there's a big problem.
  10. bassist286


    Nov 22, 2001
    rhode island
    well i highly recomend the b1500 to get carvins back, it's amazing. but hey what do i know.
  11. I agree with you, I like mine a lot. Appears to be built quite well, too.
  12. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    I had a red-eye R600 2 x 10 combo. Where to begin...........

    Preamp crapped out early. It required a stupid amount of voltage to run. It would shut off and reset at the worst times.
    Then the horn died. Followed closely by one of the 10's.

    At that point I took it into a field near my house and set it on fire...........

    All that being said, that 1500 watt monster they just came out with looks good!!
  13. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    There was a Carvin head in the local Music Go Round that sat for nearly a year. It might even still be there. Must be a reason why.
  14. I owned one of the 1x15 combo amps a few years back. I played it at church. First time using it, it cut out about 10 minutes into the music and would not turn back on. It was either actually heat related or the protect circuit was faulty. BTW there was no way to bypass the protect circuit. Very embarrassing to have your new amp cut out on you mid-service.

    After contacting them, and pleading for a replacement. They sent me another head to pop in it. I recall it took two weeks to arrive and I was without a working amp for that period of time.

    I slapped in the new head, same problem! What a POS! I then contacted them and wanted a full refund. They at first would not honor it because it was past their 30 day refund period.

    I asked to speak to a manager. I pointed out to him that they counted the shipped date as the beginning of the trial-period. It took over a week to get to me originally and then a couple of weeks to get it fixed, and all told I only had the amp working in my possession for less than a week. He still would not budge until I brought up the fact that they were a Christian-owned business and I expected better service than that from them. Sheesh! did I really have to go there?

    Well, they finally took it back, full refund, but they lost me as a customer since the mid 90's. This CS experience really turned me off to wanting to deal with them ever again. I truly hope they have improved on their QC and CS. But I am understandably gun shy because of my experience.

    Maybe they have gotten their act together, I wouldn't know.
  15. Dirty Dave

    Dirty Dave

    Oct 17, 2004
    Boston, MA
    When I was looking for a new bass rig almost a year ago, it came down to either the Carvin Red Line series or the GK rig that I went with. I did a number of searches on the Red Line's and read literally hundreds of posts, reviews etc. here at TB, the Carvin forums and HC.

    Some complained about the RL115 cab not having enough low end, but most of the problems I read were related to the RL amps overheating/shuttting down. Having read the manual (available at their website), I started to become convinced that a lot of the people experiencing these problems may have been using their amps incorrectly.

    There is a "bridge" button on the back of the RL amp that will enable the head to run at full rated power at 4 ohms. However, the RL cabs are rated at 4 ohms each. I suspect a lot of people may have set their amps to bridge mode for more volume while using two of Carvin's 4-ohm speakers, causing their amps to overheat under the 2 ohm load and shut down.

    It's just a theory, but it's the only thing that really made sense to me. Most of the posts I read were old so I didn't bother to resurrect ancient threads to ask these people how they set up their amps, but I do remember some mentioned using the Carvin cabs.

    In the end, it wasn't reliabilty that swayed me not to buy the Carvin so much as the sound of the GK that I was already familiar with. If I had the opportunity to try a Red Line series before making my decision I might be playing through a Carvin amp right now. For the record, I currently own (4) Carvin basses, a Carvin PA system and an HT150 power amp w/PM5 monitors for my recording gear, so I am beyond convinced of Carvin's reliability.
  16. FWIW my combo amp didn't have any bridging options and I did not use an external speaker. Just the combo as it was designed to be used! Also the time period I am referring to was right before the red line series came out, (within a year) so it sounds like they have improved their designs.
  17. winston


    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I had a Carvin PB-200-12 combo for about 7 years. It was hard to get a decent tone out of the thing--even with great basses(F-Bass, StingRay, Peavey Cirrus, Alembic, Godin) that sound fabulous through every other amp I've owned. Reliability- wise it had intermittent random volume changes and loud crackles.

    When I opened it up to fix a couple of blown capacitors I was quite underwhelmed by component/construction quality. Flimsy board-mounted plastic pots and jacks, cheesy component mounting, small transformers, low-rated caps/resistors would have looked right at home in a cheap home stereo. The innards of my GK, EA, and Eden amps are much more robust and confidence-inspiring (and make better tone).

    The pre-Redline ProBass amps sounded pretty good to me. Back in the 80's/early 90's they sold cabs with EVs and JBLs. When they moved to cheapo Eminence speakers it seems like they started to design their amps to make up for the shortcomings of the speakers. The new B-series mono amps and Neo-speaker cabs look interesting but I'm not sold on the Redlines or recent ProBass models.
  18. Well , isn;t this nice !! :confused:
    Guess what I bought at the end of May . Yup , an RC210 .
    I got rid of an awesome Fender 410 Pro , and a 6 space rack to downsize and make life easier .
    I saw this thread and did not want to read it . Now I'm parinoid that my rig is going to overheat and blow up and start a club on fire , and I'm not even in the band Great White !!!
    What do I do ?!?!?!
    I would like something that gave me more bottom , something that handles a Low B better .
    HELP !!!!!! :help:
  19. Actually I've never played on it, but that new Carvin BRX212 combo amp is the only combo on the market that looks appealing to me at all. Its setup sort of like a Schroeder, its only 69lbs, and it doesnt look as wide and awkward to pickup as a 2x10 combo. It has a 500W/800W at 4ohm/2ohm version of the B500/B1500 head in it, and a seperate adjustable 50W for the horn like a GK. Its kind of expensive though if you're on a tight budget.
  20. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    Gecko 5: Don't let this thread get you down. IME, Carvin amps have been the epitome of reliability. I have watched friends replace Ampeg, Peavey and Fender amps that were newer than my RL6815, that gave up on them. The Cyclops is still running strong. These threads contain some isolated incidents of failure and some stories that are speculation, but not the whole picture. Play your new Carvin and let the product speak for itself. Good luck.