Carvin Bass Amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MasterBlaster, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. I've had my eye on this Hartke combo, but I'm really intrigued by this Carvin.

    My buddy thinks Carvins are crap, but I've had a Carvin guitar amp and liked it just fine.

    Does anyone have and experience with Carvin bass amps?
  2. MyMusic


    Jun 1, 2010
    Dover, De
    I have had a Carvin BX500 since 2010 and a BX250 since 2013 both of which I bought new. Even though I have not run them constantly day in and day out, still I have not had any problems with them. Last year a buddy asked me how I liked my Carvin gear and I told him how much I liked it. He bought a BX700 and BRX210 cab and he has had no problems. Also I'll be getting a new B1000 for Christmas. Love Carvin.
    P.S. I also have a Carvin bass, a Carvin guitar and guitar amp.
    Mechanical and gebass6 like this.
  3. Just looking at pictures and specs for both it seems like an apple/oranges comparison.
    Carvin 200 watts/8 ohm, 250 watts/4 ohm (with extension) vs Hartke 75 watt/16 ohm.
    Carvin can take an extension speaker, I appears that the Hartke does not.
    Carvin has DI out. Hartke doesn't appear to have this.
    Carvin $469. Hartke $249.
    At this point it is not a quality comparison as much as witch amp is better suited to your needs.
    Once you figure that out then find comparable competing brands and bring in the opinions of others.
    BTW I think Sweetwater got the weight wrong for the Hartke 75, it seems they quoted the Hartke 150 weight for the 75.
    Blue Dragon likes this.
  4. BlackCatBassman


    Aug 11, 2016
    Opinions are polarized on Carvin gear around here.

    Everyone either says: they're the most reliable, bang for the buck amps I've ever owned OR I've owned 728 Carvin amps and all of them caught fire, burned my house down, and ran off with my wife!

    They're cheap enough that I think it's worthwhile to take a gamble on. Especially if you live in California near their HQ where you can easily get it serviced should something go awry.

    I'm tempted by the B1000 and BX700 myself but I live nowhere near the golden state to try them out heh
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass!

    I would go for it. Reviews are good. You can add another matching cab to it later to add volume. Lightweight. Plenty of features.

    I have owned Carvin gear over the years. It never let me down except once and Carvin customer service was incredible that time. They swapped out the preamp on a bass and paid a local tech to do it after overnight shipping them the part.
  6. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    I have 4; BX250, BX500 (2), BX1600 and they've been great. Love the tone and power I get with them. Plus I have a Carvin power amp that has been great as well. No complaints at all.

    8cfec2189bf01221308d3e87c82839b6.jpg 13315462_10209411244507571_7044931551003804110_n.jpg
    staurosjohn, Mechanical and tubatodd like this.
  7. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    I bought my first Carvin amp in 1992. The Pro Bass 150 10' combo and except for replacing a fuse 4 years ago, the thing has been a workhorse for 24 years. Awesome amp, I use it with Carvin's 12" extension cab.
    I bought the R600 amp in 2000 and it has been and is still hunk of garbage. So, two ends of the spectrum for me. I have a Carvin power amp in a rack with a Yamaha pre and it has been fine for 12 years.
    Hit and miss from my experience but I think Carvin in general is a good amp and if the need comes up, I would consider another.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  8. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Carvin are far from crap, and if you do a search you will find hundreds of happy users here on TB. They did have some problems with their initial run of BX500 heads, but they sorted that out, and as far as I've heard such problems haven't occurred in newer models, especially not the MB series. As Carvin only sells direct, it's not easy to audition one before buying, but they do offer a 10-day trial period.

    I've always avoided Hartke like the plague, as I don't like the sound of their aluminum cone drivers and my encounter with a HA3500 left me cold. And I could care less if Mr. Wooten endorses them.
    Mechanical likes this.
  9. Interesting. I've always assumed Hartke was probably the best bass amp out there, but I'm no expert.

    Thanks for the responses, fellas.
    Datsgor likes this.
  10. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Carvin and Peavey are about equal IMO. Both make pretty serviceable stuff. If you believe that having Ampeg and Fender (or other premium names) on your stuff is more important that woodshedding by all means stay away from other brands LOL.
    steelbed45 likes this.
  11. deathness


    Jan 19, 2015
    Hartke has made some great stuff and some carp. They have a distinctive sound esp the aluminum cone drivers and that leads to a loyal following. If it's your bag then cool. Rocked a 3500 for years, great for my needs then and reliable. Not my thing now.
  12. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    seriously, how so?

    i've always thought of hartke as a work horse budget brand with an interesting variety of stuff and a mostly good rep for customer service.

    i've owned 3 carvin heads - i still own one now. i don't love the carvin voice, but i played a lot of shows with my R1000 back in the day, and it never let me down. i owned a carvin guitar combo, too. every piece of carvin equipment i sold the buyers were very happy with, too. i haven't owned hartke, but i am considering the LH500 as i really like the LH1000 voice and simplicity, and while both are heavy, especially when compared to the GK fusion hybrids, it's hard to beat the hartke price and i won't be moving the head around.

    back in the '90s and early 2000s i used to hang around at the hollywood carvin store a lot. i had buddies who worked there, and i played every piece of guitar and bass gear and instruments that came through the store. they were very well made, very clean, nice variety with purty finishes. most owners who came into the stores were very happy. the carvin business model has changed some, but the head i got less than a year ago was very well made, clean and works fine.

    i'd say carvin and hartke are good bang-for-the-buck brands that deliver good features and power for the money, and you can't go far wrong with either if you get one with the features to meet your needs.

    i'd go for the carvin combo. more power, more versatility.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
    Mechanical likes this.
  13. I've had both an MB210 and MB15 for quite a while and have never had any problems.
    kohanmike and Mechanical like this.
  14. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I ran Carvin amps and/or power amps exclusively for several years and enjoyed them. The only one I ever had any issues with was the BX500, which was known for having a reliability issue that required you to clean the ribbon cables now and then. Solid tone from all of them, including the BX500.
  15. deathness


    Jan 19, 2015
    When Hartke first came out in the mid 80s (under the Guild brand) the solidstate tech and aluminum cone drivers were pretty revolutionary. Over time, by diversifying their offerings into entry level gear and with competitors quicker to bring innovation into the market, the perception of the company has shifted somewhat. Their best stuff is still pretty damn good though.
  16. Hartke and Carvin are the two best amps for the money. Can't go wrong with either but the Carvin would be a more gig worthy choice out of the two. More power and more options but of course it's more expensive.
    Nev375 likes this.
  17. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've used Carvin amps since the late 1980's. They aint a Glockenklang, but the Dollars per Watt ratio is awesome! Very much meat and potatoes amplifiers, but they've got plenty of power, will run 2 ohms, and I've never had one fail me.

    On the other hand..... Larry Hartke stands behind everything with his name on it. I've seen him post his cell number on these forums in response to customers concerns. That is pretty bad ass IMO.
    bassfran, alaskaleftybass and Nev375 like this.
  18. tubatodd


    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    Why not.........both!!!! BAM!!! I have a Hartke kickback 10 that I use for rehearsals and use this 210XL with my Carvin BX250 (or my Markbass LMII) for gigs. It is a very clean sound. I can highly recommend both brands. Yes, they are workhorse/budget brands, but they sound great.

    Nev375, cableguy and mark beem like this.
  19. ric4682

    ric4682 Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2008
    I had a Carvin B2000 that blew up 3 different times and the 3rd time Carvin told me it was a month out of warranty and wouldn't fix it. I won't be buying another Carvin. I didn't really love the tone either.