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Carvin B800 Head

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dgce, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Well here's another new one from Carvin. This is an 800 watt addition to the BRX line. Unlike the B500 or B1500, this one even has its own case. Seems pretty straight forward and plenty powerful. Has anyone tried this amp out? What's the scoop?

  2. Haven't tried it yet, probably will the next time I'm out in SoCal. If it's anything like my B1500, it ought to be a very nice piece indeed.
  3. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    What's the scoop on yr B1500? What's hot? What's not? How do you think it compares to the old Redline Series? What bass(es) do you play through it? Do you gig it out much and has it been reliable?

    I really appreicate the feedback.

  4. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    Everyone seems to think that the BRX amps are WAY better than the Redlines in every regard. I haven't tried a BRX, but for now, I'm content with my R600. I might change my mind after trying out a B800, though.
  5. Well, basically, there's nothing about it I don't like--other than that I wish it weighed what my iAmp weighs--and I think it's better than the RedLines in every way that's important to me personally. I never disliked the RedLines quite the way some folks did; I was able to get some quite usable (though not really thrilling) sounds out of the R600 I had. But for my personal tastes, the B1500 is just *way* better.

    I play 6 string fretted and fretless basses (Jon Shuker custom matched pair) and so far I haven't come close to testing the amp's limits. I haven't gigged it heavily, since probably two thirds to three fourths of what i'm doing at the moment involves either being plugged into a computer or using my smaller rig (iAmp500/Acme B-2). But when I do gig it, I'm always impressed by the "big iron" feeling of power in reserve.

    The early scuttlebutt on this amp on the Carvin forum was that it was Ampeg-like, but I haven't found that to be all that true, at least in terms of the basic un-EQed tone. I actually think it sounds better than Ampeg-like. (No dis, I'm just not a huge Ampeg fan.) The B1500 is really a very full-range sounding amp, fairly flat in response (at least with my Acme B-4) with sweet and extended highs. There's a drive control that can give you a nice dollop of harmonic warmth, but it's fairly subtle and will not sound anything like a cranked SVT (which is cool for me because I don't use that sound anyway).

    So far I have no reason to suspect the B1500 won't be reliable. When I got it, I took off the top to have a look inside, and it appears to be built very well.

    I never believe in claiming an amp is "the best." No amp is, really. But I think the B1500 is a very good amp indeed, and if more bassists get hip to the B series, my guess is that they'll sell like hotcakes.
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    SMASH did ahuge review of the B1500 (with soundclips) in another thread about a month ago. It is a must read if you are considering buying one. Do a search and I'm sure you can find it.

    I can teall you that if I wasn't so hung up on Trace Elliot ;) I would probably buy a B1500. They sound like the best bang for the buck IMO.
  7. Well, the price is sure right on the B800. $430 for a brand new US-made amp that puts out 500 watts into four ohms? I'm definitely gonna be spending some time at the Carvin store on Sunset once I pick up my D-210XLT.
  8. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thank you Richard and Kelly Lee. This is great info. I'll take an educated guess and figure the B800 shares all the characteristics of the B1500 just with lighter wattage. I'll do a search for that B1500 review and hope to luck up on a B800 review one of these days. The way things are looking; I may take the plunge and buy a B800. This could be the best bang for buck deal since Avatar speakers came on the scene.

    Thanks again!

  9. Check out the BRX cabs while you're at it. I haven't played the very newest ones (the so-called Neo 10.2 and 10.4), but I played the original BRX cabs from a year or two ago, and they're serious. You might still reasonably prefer the Eden of course, or something else, but the BRX cabs are pretty well done IMO. Something like this looks like it could be nice:


    Or this:

  10. Here's SMASH's very thorough review:

  11. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    I love my B1500 which I've stated many times. The B800 is the less wattage model w/same eq. I have not had a chance to test it's full power potential @ a gig. I have the BRX12 to go w/it.
    When I bought it I needed to keep up w/a 60watt tube Fender guitar amp that was burying my SWR pre Fender redface @ 220 watts. After I got the B1500 that was never a problem again:)
    Fortunately lately all my gigs have been briefcase gigs.
    All that headroom is cool but is not it's best feature IMO. The EQ & drive are.

    You can walk up to this amp & get your sound immediately. I run mine pretty much flat all the time w/ sub bass rolled off @ 30hz & a little treble.

    Sounds great for acoustic guitar too which I'm using it for to practice for this weekend's gigs right now.
  12. Isn't the B800 the head part of the BRX12 combo? If so, kind of logical to have it available separately.
  13. dgce


    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Yes it is. If I didn't already have a couple of good speaker cabs, I would have bought the combo. It seems to have it all in one package and in a pinch, you could always smack on an additional 2x10.

  14. I tried out the B800 today at the Carvin store in Hollywood, plugged into the BRX-series 2x10 and 4x10.

    Good points:
    1. It's got a nice amount of power. Pretty impressive.
    2. The basic sound is very usable--pretty much flat, with a small low-mid bump. (I'm guessing that this is where people draw the conclusion that it's "Ampeg-like.")
    3. The Drive control, while very subtle even at the top of its range, adds a nice little edge to the sound. With a pick, it's deliciously grindy.
    4. It's light, portable, and in a very stout casing.

    Bad points:
    1. Like a traditional Ampeg (SVT, non-"Pro" SVT-II/SVT-III), the EQ circuit is interactive and difficult to use. It's very powerful for tone-sculpting, but in a room it's kinda tricky.
    2. There's no pre-gain control.

    All in all, I was quite pleased. I'm going to bring my D-210XLT to the shop sometime and test it out that way. I'll report back when I have.
  15. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    I'm trying to understand your bad points Peter.

    You say the eq is interactive- meaning you give it a command & it reacts. How is that bad?

    How is a 6 band non semi parametric eq hard to use?

    Either you're in a room or you're outdoors w/this amp, so are you saying it's hard to eq indoors?

    When you turn the drive knob all the way down, you will notice a drop in volume & the amp becomes more polite loseing some harmonic richness. There's also an active passive input jack switch. I believe the drive helps w/the pre gain control.

    Just tryin' to understand.:)

    Oh & Peter what did you think of the new BRX210.NEO? If you get a chance, tune the bstring to A & see if it starts choking or if it holds up.
  16. 1. Instead of -5 to 5 or -10 to 10, the amp is 0 to 10, and 5 is not necessarily flat. Additionally, cutting or boosting one frequency seems to have an impact on the frequencies cut/boosted by the other controls. It's not a huge effect like it is for guitar amps, but it's noticeable. When I say "EQ for the room" I mean, if one frequency band is either boomy or missing from stage sound, I like to be able to cut it or boost it without substantially impacting my overall tone. I'm not entirely sure if the B800 would be able to do that.

    2. An active-passive switch is better than nothing, but a pre-gain knob allows one to have fairly precise control over the level going into the EQ and the effects loop (especially the former, given that EQ circuits can distort kinda nastily if the signal going into them is too hot) without altering the shape of the signal. My old EBS Fafner had a drive control very similar to the one used by the B800, but it also had a pre-gain control. I can see the wisdom in having the drive control come before the EQ circuit--the increased harmonic density means that the EQ has a more substantial impact on tone--but we're talking about a little grit around the edges, not full-on distortion like a guitarist might use.
  17. BluesCat: I'm not sure if I was playing through the regular BRX 2x10 or the new NEO one.

  18. Actually, there's only one BRX 210. What did you think of it?
  19. I didn't get a chance to play through just that cab, because I was too lazy to reach around back and disconnect the 4x10. (You may mock me, if you wish. :oops: )

    I'll A/B it with my 210XLT when I bring it by the Carvin shop, probably Saturday afternoon.

  20. Sounds good, looking forward to it. Should be an interesting comparison.

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