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Carvin Power Amps, Yay or Nay?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nismaniac, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. nismaniac


    Feb 21, 2005
    OKC, OK
    I did some searching but I thought I might see if I could get some more specific answers.

    I have been shopping new amps and have pretty much narrowed it down (based on features, sound/style, price) to either the Eden WT800 or the Aguilar DB680 pre. The only other thing I need to consider is if I go with the Aguilar, what power amp should I use.

    The Aguilar power amp is too expensive and big/heavy for me. I have compared some crown, qsc etc. but it seems like the Carvin DCM1500 looks to be a great amp for the price (features wise).

    The amp I have used for the last 5 years is a Carvin R600 and Carvin RL410. I have never had any reliability issues in that time and they have stood up great. That being said, has anyone had any personal experiences with Carvin power amps? Given the price of the DB680, I can't spend a fortune on an additional power amp now (I can always upgrade later). I just want to know if most of you think this would be a good option for now.

    Thanks again for all of the helpful information. :)
  2. I'd go with an RMX 1450 for that price. I think QSC is a little more honest with their specs.
  3. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I've used a DCM 2000 for a year or two now. I've ran it at 2.6 ohms bridged [not recommended] before and while it ran hot-it didn't shut down. The power amp is plenty reliable and has supplied me with more power than i'll ever really need. The catch-the thing is right about 40 pounds. That's all
  4. afroman

    afroman Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I have a Carvin DCM1500 and it has never given me any problems. Great punchy and very powerful sound. Great features with both 1/4" and Speakon connectors. Now are 2U rack spaces ans lighter.

    Sent you a PM...

    Take care...
  5. I used a DCM 600 and a DCM 2000 a while ago for my bass rig. Even though both amps were very reliable, the down side was that each of them started rattling due to my cabinet's vibration. If you can live with that or move the rack unit next to your cabinet then the Carvin is a good choice; if not try the Crown XLS or QSC RMX series.


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    Had a DCM2000, great amp, never a problem & sounded top notch with plenty of low-end punch. Should've never sold it...

  7. craigb

    craigb G&L churnmeister Supporting Member

    I've got 2 DCM-1000s, one for my bass rig and one to run monitors for the PA. One bought new, one bought used both in use for over a year (by me) so far.

    I found them to be the best compromise of weight/power/cost that I could find. I had an QSC RMX-850 previously that, while it was a great amp, was too heavy for me. There were some features on the QSC I liked better than the Carvin (selectable frequency high pass filter) and some things I didn't like as much (dip switches for settings) but in the end the weight did it in. One neat "feature" on the Carvin is the shallower depth. At 10" deep it fits in a shallow rack case (most other power amps are 15"+ deep and require a full size rack). Also the bridged mono speakon connector is wired the same as the stereo speakons so you don't need a special cable/adapter (whether that's a plus or a lack of a safety feature is up to you).

    I've only had "problems" with them twice.

    - one time the one running monitors was shutting down at the end of the night. I felt it and it wasn't even warm so it wasn't thermal shutdown. It's never happened anywhere else so I'm thinking it may have been lousy power at that particular bar (we've only played there once).

    - did an outdoor gig Sunday running all 4 of my bass cabs (4 Avatar 1x12s) and was clipping the power amp (first time ever). So I'm thinking 300W/side isn't enough power to drive them all in an outside situation (not a problem with the amp, just that I probably need more power if I want to drive all 4 cabs).

    So I'm pro-Carvin power amps (and if you can find them used they seem to have dropped in resale value over the last year or two so you can get them cheap) but I covet a PLX (although that's going to mess up my rack situation).
  8. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I used a Carvin DCM2000 power amp with my bass rig for about 8 months or so, and though it sounded and performed fine, there was a chassis rattle that is a function of the front grill design, it isn't all one piece and is purely cosmetic. I had to cram a piece of black construction paper in there to keep my bass from rattling its case on the low notes.
  9. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Have a DCM1000, and have yet to have any problems with it. Right price, good power, can't complain.
  10. nismaniac


    Feb 21, 2005
    OKC, OK
    Thanks for all of the opinions. I really don't know to much about power amps so I appreciate the info. I have heard people also recommend the Qsc rmx amps as well. But like I said, I have never had problems with my Carvin head, so I figured they have to be decent.
  11. John Herzog

    John Herzog Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    Schertz, TX
    I've been using a Carvin DCM2000 to run my PA mains for about 8 months, no problems.
  12. BigSky Bass Guy

    BigSky Bass Guy

    Apr 15, 2005
    I've had a Carvin DCM2000 powering my PA mains and subs, and a DCM600 for our floor monitors. No problems, I'm very impressed with their power amps.

    I also have a Carvin 410 bass cab that still works. Its sound is very weak and marginal, but hey... I test-drove it in the shop and decided to buy it, so that was my stupidity.

    That said, I'll now introduce myself as one of the biggest Carvin hater/critics that God ever hatched. I've had a 12-channel mixing board that's now a 5-channels clean and 7-channels that hiss horribly; a wireless guitar xmitter, and two bass amps go poof after minimal, easy useage, and Carvin wouldn't do a thing for me, except to try and sell me new products.

    They wouldn't repair the stuff ("that was old technology"), and they wouldn't sell me the components to repair the stuff. I began my rant on their Forum, and was banned...and I don't blame them...and I don't miss it.

    Just telling it like it is: I'm happy with my Carvin power amps, but Carvin as a company, their customer service, and many of their products, Suck On Ice. On the up-side, I've discovered that some of their bad products do make good boat anchors.
  13. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    We are running a DCM1500 at my church to power the front monitors (also Carvin) that our singers use. It's been in use for about four years and we have never had a problem with it.
  14. I can think of two reasons not to buy Carvin, but they may not apply to you:

    1) Resale - I doubt that a Carvin amp would hold much value if you sell it used. If you never sell the amp, this does not matter.

    2) National Act riders - if you ever work as a sound man, providing equipment and engineering, many riders specifically state "No Peavey, no Carvin shall be used in the FOH or monitor system". If you never run sound/ provide gear for national acts, then this does not apply to you.
  15. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    I had a DCM600 that was quite a problem child, always something happening to it. In fact I still have it, didn't get it fixed the last time it crapped out. This one is probably more the exception than the rule, their stuff is generally pretty reliable. Sounded fine, not great, and I too suspect their specs are a bit optimistic. Despite this, I think Carvin makes relatively decent amps and instruments for the price range. My opinion is their cabs, especially bass cabs, sound like ass.