Carvin B1500 with Acme Low B Cabinets

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jazzdogg, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I've been reading about Acme Low B cabinets lately, and I'm interested in knowing if any of my TB brethren are using a B1500 to drive Acme Low cabinets.

    I like the sound provided by my B1500 and iAMp800 (especially the iAmp at reasonable volumes and when doubling). What I'm looking for is a relatively "dry" sound that provides clean and articulate reproduction of DB and slab, that'll cut through effortlessly playing outdoor venues that seat 500 with dancing.

    My main bass is a 5-string active strung with TI Jazzflats. I don't slap, eschew fret clatter and finger noise, and play a wide variety of music. My regular gig is a six-piece band playing Santana and Tower of Power covers, along with swing, Latin jazz, R&B oldies, classic rock, and blues, but i also indulge in trio and big-band jazz on upright, and the occasional casual.

    I'm wondering if the B1500 will have enough power, or I should use my QSC PLX 3102 instead (I don't expect the iAmp to have enough power to drive Acme Low B cabinets).

  2. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    The iAmp 800 should have plenty of power to drive Acme Low B2 cabs. 500 watts @ 8 ohms, 800 watts @ 4 Ohms, 1000 @ 2 Ohms.

    The Carvin has 700w at 8 ohms, 1250w at 4 ohms and 1900w at 2 ohms.

    Now are Carvin watts == EA watts. Dunno.

    What ohm rating are your Low B2s and how many are you planning to use?
  3. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    :) If the ratings were as close as the specs make them appear to be, I definitely wouldn't expect to hear a difference of greater than 6dB if only 200 watts separated the two amplifiers. Compared to the iAmp, my ears tell me the Carvin produces significantly more than 200 more watts in the frequencies used by my bass.

    Although I really like the sound of my iAmp800, it doesn't have anywhere near as much power as my B1500 - especially at bass frequencies, 1,200 watts seems just about right with my 8-ohm Dr. Bass 1580 and 2460 cabinets; there's plenty of headroom in reserve while effortlessly prodducing gig-level volume.

    I took both heads to my last gig, to see if I could use the iAmp, if only for the first set. I stacked my cabinets with my B1500 on top, and the iAmp atop the Carvin. After soundchecking with the B1500 everything in the signal chain was working normally. Then I re-routed the Speakon connector from the B1500 to the iAmp, and tweaked the iAmp in an effort to coax suitable volume out of my cabinets. It was the 27th time we'd played that particular outdoor venue, so I knew what to expect acoustically. Subjectively, the iAmp produced an appreciably lower maximum volume level; I'd guess the difference was at least 6dB, but I didn't take SPL measurements.

    Might be a different story with 4-ohm cabinets, but Acme Low B cabinets are reputed to be power thirsty, so I'm asking other TBers out their experience, rather than buying blind.
  4. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    The Iamp is grossly overrated power wise. I would be shocked if it had enough power to make you happy with the Acme. Dunno about the Carvin. Never played one. They are reputed to have a lot of headroom, so they may very well be able to swing those Acmes. I presume you are thinking about getting an Acme cab. Worst case scenario, you use a pre/power rig. Actually worst case scenario you can't make the Acme work and you sell it off. Acmes are reasonably priced so at least you won't be taking a bath on them.

    PS: I am not meaning what I wrote as a knock on EA. The Iamp does sound good at lower volumes, but that power section is pretty meh at best. Their cabs on the other hand rock.
  5. You don't specify, so I'll assume you're talking about running a couple of 8-ohm Low-B2s with the Carvin B1500. IMO, the B1500 can push them nicely. In fact, The power ratings for the B1500 match up pretty well with a array of Acme cabinets, as follows:
    -700 watts @8 Ohms: one 8-Ohm Low-B2
    -1250 watts @4 Ohms: two 8-Ohm Low-B2s (net resisitance 4 Ohms)
    -1900 watts @ 2 Ohms: two 8-Ohm Low-B2s (net resisitance 4 Ohms)
    plus one 4-Ohm Low-B4 (net resistance = 2 Ohms)

    There is no question that Acmes are less efficient than most other speakers--it's one reason most other speakers can't match the Acmes' incredibly clean and deep low end. I've read comments (here at TB) that the iAmp800 doesn't do the job with Acmes nearly so well. Andy has spoken in the past about how well Carvin amps match with Acme cabinets. Don't hesitate to contact him.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  6. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Thank you, gentlemen. :)

    Since I haven't heard any first-hand reports from people who use Acme cabs with a B1500, I guess I'll just have to roll the dice.
  7. That's the reason to call and speak to Andy Lewis at Acme: he talks to customers everyday about the amps they use with his cabs. No one--anywhere--has spoken to more Acme users who have Carvin amps than Andy. I realize the manufacturer's comments about his speaker cabinets are self-serving by definition; but, if you're not aware of it, Andy is notorious for being a straight shooter about cabs, amps, specs, experience, etc. Ask the folks at Accugroove.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  8. Bofee

    Bofee Guest

    Aug 19, 2005
    Grass Valley, CA
    I used to run a pair of 4 Ohm B2's with a Carvin HT1000 power amp and Pearce preamp. That's the same power section as the older Carvin B1000. For smaller rooms it was fine, but I found it to be marginal for larger rooms and not very satisfying for outdoor use. I later went to a Mackie 1400i power amp and the cabinets sounded better at higher volumes. (The Mackie is rated at 500W per side at 4 Ohms.) These cabinets do sound great for double bass. I just recently sold them to a friend who is driving them with a Carvin B1000 and he's happy with the performance. He did tell me that he can hit the clip limit on his power amp fairly easily. So that's consistant with my experience.
    I've just gone a different direction recently after years of striving for a very clean sound.
  9. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    And this has what to do with the B1500?
  10. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    I give my 4Ω B2s 350W each which is their specified power rating. I have never needed for volume indoors or out. I do not own a B1500 but I am running almost exclusively on Carvin power amps. You do not mention your particular Acme cab(s) but I would think that the B1500 should be able to power just about any combination. If you have more power than you need, let you ears advise you. If you hear distortion drop your volume.


  11. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks, Paul! :)
  12. I use a 4 ohm Low B-4 with my B1500. Sounds wonderful, to me anyway, and it's plenty of power. I think it's actually a great combination, because neither component is particularly colored compared to most of the gear out there (not really getting into the whole "flat" argument again). You can get a lot of oomph, but also great clarity.

    I don't play upright, however, so I can't help you there. I've never tried this rig with my ABG, because any gig I'd take an ABG to is usually one to which I don't want to carry a bigger rig. (Actually, I almost never really enjoy taking a 4-10 to any gig any more, given my skinny stairwells.) But I imagine it could sound pretty good for that.

    But I'm not entirely sure what you're asking in regard to power. Haven't you already tried it out and discovered it has enough power? In any case, as you probably know, the whole idea of an amp being enough to drive a cab is a nonstarter anyway. The real issue is whether a rig as a whole will have enough output for the gigs you're actually doing.

    IMO, if the B1500 isn't enough for your situation, any amp you get that would allow you to actually USE significantly more power than the B1500 would might put you at risk for damaging the speakers. (If you've ever spoken to Andy, he tends to get irritated at the idea that you can just pour any old ridiculous amounts of power into his cabs with no consequences.) IOW, if you need to be much louder than that, you might consider more efficient speakers or adding another Acme.
  13. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks for the first-hand report, Richard. :)
  14. Thermo

    Thermo Guest

    Jul 23, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I also have a B1500, and I'm currently in the process of looking for seriously bass heavy cabs to pair with it. After searching through a lot of reviews and threads (like this one), I really like what I've read about the Acmes despite what looks like the relatively high frequency of people damaging them and a few negative comments about post-sale customer service. (My own correspondence with Andy so far has been positive). If I go with Acmes I'll be buying them from the Australian distributor and freighting them to NZ which won't exactly be cheap, hence why I want to make a well-informed choice.

    I'm considering getting two 4 ohm low b-4s to drive at the B1500's maximum output of 1900w @ 2ohms. Andy has recommended 800-1000 watts per b-4 unit. I know the logical thing to do would be to try it out for myself, but since I can't do that until I go to Sydney in October, I'm wondering if someone here (Zooberwerx? Richard? Thangfish?) can give me an idea of what to expect from such a rig. To give some context, I only play dub and reggae, not rock or metal, so it's not as if I need to compete against loud guitarists and drummers. I'm just hoping that the B1500 with a couple of b-4s will happily provide enough low end volume for most of the gigs and venues without PA that I'm likely to encounter. From what I've read in fact, it may be more power than I'll actually ever require. Did I mention that I crave low end of seismic proportions? :p

    Does anyone also know how a couple of b4s would compare to a more efficient cab such as a single Bill Dickens 212, which I would also have to ship from Australia? As I said before, I should be able to find out for myself in a couple of months, but I appreciate any advice or recommendations that you might have to help clue me up now.

  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have not tried this combo, personally, but I am going to say that is a safe bet. The B1500 should be simply marvelous with Acme cabs. In fact, you have me thinking of picking up a pair of Low B-2's, myself, to pair up with my B1500... :ninja:
  16. chefjoe


    Jan 3, 2009
    Denton, TX
    I'll be able to let you know what two B4s and a B1500 sound like in the very near future.
  17. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    I am always confused by the "Iamp 800 watts are overrated" comments. I find mine to be pretty derned loud. I expect the lack of a low end shelving might be a big contributor as well as the lack of any real built-in frequency bumps that makes folk think that.

    Anyone ever scoped this amp for real output to see if it's just ear tricks?
  18. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Bearing in mind that I'm still strictly a lurker with regard to Acmes, nevertheless from everything I've gathered thus far (which is considerable), I'll be the first to come out and say that two B4s with a B1500 should make a fantastic rig for dub and reggae! :cool:

    If you were strictly a hard rock/metal player, you might want to reconsider. But the Acme's subterranean lows and smooth, round, tubey tone are tailor-made for any kind of roots music (dub, reggae, blues, etc.) that requires massive, powerful low end. Good choice!

  19. chefjoe


    Jan 3, 2009
    Denton, TX
    I'll be playing all of the above with that setup! But our metal is different... not the usual Slayer, Pantera, Mesuckica stuff.
    I'm trying to get a dub thing goin and I'm also playing in a Texas Rock/Country group as well.
    I'm afraid they might be a little underpowered with only 625 watts put into them. They're 8ohm cabs.
    When I had my pre/poweramp setup, I put 850 into one B4 and it sounded fantastic.
  20. Thermo

    Thermo Guest

    Jul 23, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I very much look forward to hearing your review