1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Carvin vs Ampeg half stack opinions, reviews, experiences

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Allhailthefail, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Allhailthefail


    Dec 13, 2013
    I have a very limited budget and a need for a better amp considering that my band is just about to start playing shows and i've been using a beringer 300 watt combo, I'm thinking about getting the either the ampeg portaflex 500 head with the porta flex 2x10 cab for $800 together or a carvin BX500 Bass Head with the carvin BR210 Cabinet together for $600. I know the ampeg is better but I would prefer to have the carvin because i dont have much money but I'd like to know everyones's oppinions.
  2. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    If 800 bucks is your budget, look at the Carvin BX500/BRX10.2halfstack. For 719.00 (plus shipping), you get a much better cab than the BR210.

    Also, you can score an Avatar B212 + the Carvin BX500 for around 800 bucks. That might be the winner right there.
  3. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I have owned several Carvin and Ampeg products. I prefer Ampeg much more. There seems to be more tonal options and more clarity. For $800 you could get a great used Ampeg half stack.
  4. Allhailthefail


    Dec 13, 2013
    @kmonk and @jeff7bass thanks so much for the advice, what about under the $800 like maybe around $600 give or take would you sugest for me to be playing pretty small venues and jamming with a singer/keyboardist, loud ass drummer, and guitarist?
  5. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    The speaker is the key if you're looking at 600 bucks with a loud drummer. A 300w amp will sound great and LOUD through a good speaker cab. I saw a 400w Avatar 15" cab with tweeter in the specials for a 199.00 bucks at www.avatarspeakers.com. Might want to talk to Mark about that. That leaves you with with around 350 - 400 bucks for a head which gets you either the Carvin BX500 or Ampeg PF-500, which run about the same cost.

    I have to disagree whole-heartedly with Kmonk about the Ampeg PF-500 having more clarity or being more versatile than the Carvin BX500 though. I own the PF-350 and various Carvin amps, and while the Ampeg sounds like an Ampeg, which is good, the Carvins are VERY clear and extremely versatile. All it takes is reviewing the EQ section on the Carvin. Too many possibilities for some people.
  6. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Looks like that Avatar cab is gone. For 6 hundred bucks, you might want to go with a combo or used.
  7. Allhailthefail


    Dec 13, 2013
    @jeff7bass and @kmonk what about this cab?
    I can get it for $150 or less art a local pawn shop. And what's a few good not too expensive heads that could go well with this?
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    Carvin makes some good gear but I find their amps to be too bland sounding for me. I would take Ampeg or GK over Carvin but wouldn't be opposed to using Carvin over some of other brands.
  9. That Cab is a decent cab...but it's is made of mostly MDF (which means it's fairly heavy and not something you want to let get wet) as opposed to Plywood....and those aluminium cones are too zingy for some people

    that said, i started out on a cabinet like that and my Son is still playing through it...(though the Aluminium cones are long gone)

    cab construction and Speaker cones are a vital and important part of your rig......your best bet is used..

    As far as Heads go the PF500 has been reported as having a high failure rate (though the word is the issues have since been fixed)

    Hartke Makes a very Nice dependable workhorse of a head as well the older HA3500 are pretty rock solid as are the new LH500 and both can be found used all over the place for about $250.00 or new for about $350.00 though some don't like their voicing (I do)

    The New line of Carvin BX products are very nice and have tone for days (don't let anyone put you off these) they have three different eq sections, lots of power sweepable mids (important for cutting through a dense mix) and very light...500 watts for six pounds...WOW

    Carvin has a sale going right now on Half Stacks, you should check those out

    also AVATAR cabs are hard to beat for the money

    the best advice i can give you is get out there and play everything you can get your hands on!!

    just glancing quickly at my local craigslist i have found 4 different half sack combinations available for under $700.00 including Ampeg...(Which Jimmy will probably Kill me for this but IMHO they are not the company they once were)

    if it were me starting all over again

    It would be through a Carvin BX500 paired with an Avatar 4x10 or a Hartke LH500 paired with an Avatar 4x10

    Peavey is also Making some really nice stuff for the money
    the Peavey Tour Series and Headline Cabs are very hard to beat for the money

    and the Fender Rumble series is good for the money too (especially the cab) 1000 watss for $300.00!! (Eminence Designed the Speakers for Fender) excellent cab for the money

    exciting time to be a new player

    Good Luck
  10. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    The Carvin head is going to be a more "modern" sounding amp with a lot of clarity that is probably going to display a lot of the inherent tonal characteristics of your bass. The Ampeg is going to have a more colored sound, and IME, will probably have more low-end on tap than the Carvin. The head choice really comes down to personal preference. They're two very different heads.

    As far as cabs go, while I really love the Carvin B and BX series heads, their cabs are kind of meh. I don't have any experience with that specific Ampeg cab, so I can't really comment on it. Regardless of what head you choose, if you scour the used market, you could probably turn up a cab much better than the Carvin cab.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    PF500 + PF210he for me, but I suppose that's predictable ;) Not a fan of Carvin gear.
  12. On the other side, I really enjoy my bx500 through my pf210he. Its a beautiful thing.
  13. personally I'd recommend getting a sans amp first off if your going to play shows. the sans amp RBI or RPM. They have great sounding XLRs so with that investment alone you'll sound good in the PA. then look for an inexpensive cab and a cheap power amp. Avatar makes decent affordable cabs. I personally prefer sealed cabs like the ampeg 410he, ampeg 810e and SWR Marcus Miller 410. power amps are cheap, you can get 1000 watt (bridged) power amps all day long for $300 even buying new.