Carvin woes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CaptainHueso, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. Alright guys, simple question here, I'll explain as best as I can. I used to use a Carvin probass 300 for a little while for gigging. For those unfamiliar with it, it is an older model combo amp from Carvin with a single 15" woofer, high frequency tweeter, and 300 watt bi-ampable head. It was used when I was relatively new to bass and gigging so I didnt understand how to properly eq or to get decent volume out of it, so I boosted most frequencies to make up for being overpowered by the rest of the band. At the last gig I played it with (about 8 months ago), it started cutting out about halfway through the show. It didnt turn off, the sound just came and went. I thought it might have been a cable, so I tried new ones with no luck (both speaker and instrument). My basses are all fine as well. No effects were in the chain either when I've used it. So I let it sit for many months and used different amps. When cleaning out a storage shed I had the other day, I picked it up and brought it back to my place to try it out again and now it works, but not properly. I havent tried it at high volumes again, but at low volumes it basically just sounds like I'm using some sort of distortion or fuzz effect, and am getting about 1/10 of the volume I used to get out of it. All of my other equipment is in top notch condition (all basses and cables), so I know the problem has to lie with the Carvin. Everything is currently set to flat, and the volume is at about 9:00. Is the speaker blown, or perhaps some sort of fuse? I know next to nothing about amp work, and would love to use it again (not to mention give it back in the condition I originally borrowed it in)? What am I to do?
  2. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Call Carvin service & repairs, or take it to a good amp person for an estimate.

    If it has an effects loop (or preamp out and amp in jacks), I've heard there's something you can try that *may* help. You might as well try it first, since it's cheap. Try plugging and unplugging cables repeatedly in those jacks, maybe using a little contact cleaner. No guarantees, but I've heard of this helping ina few cases. It could of course be that you have a blown speaker or some other problem it would take an amp tech to fix.
  3. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    Sounds like bad solder joints to me. Find a local electronic service center and get a price or a friend with an ohmmeter and a soldering iron.
    On another eq is not meant to used for making the amp louder, merely tailoring your sound.The average slider positions should equal about the half way position across the row. And for a simple fix.. try what the RL suggested, cleaning the input/output and send/return jacks.
  4. BigSky Bass Guy

    BigSky Bass Guy

    Apr 15, 2005
    See my answer in the thread, "Carvin Amps: unreliable?" You'll get NO help from Carvin.

    Besides making good boat anchors, Carvin amp heads are effective door stops. And I have two of them as trailer wheel chocks.
  5. With excessively tweaked EQ and loud volumes, I'm voting for blown speaker as the most likely. Amp portion is certainly possible too, wouldn't rule that out either.

    Bottom line: check the easiest to check and/or cheapest stuff to replace first.

    Got a speaker output jack on the combo? Try that amp with another speaker, with the original speakers disconnected, see if you get decent sound.

    If that doesn't work, got any effects loops? Try putting clean signal into effects loop return. If that works, the problem is in input or eq sections, and everything past the effects return is AOK.

    Stuff like that, you can localize it to some extent. Hopefully the speaker is the problem, its the only thing you can fix yourself, and replacing spkr with no labor is probably cheaper than fixing any electronics component with labor charges if you have to take it in.

  6. I had the same amp and the same problem. My amp guy told me it was the solder joints. Fixed them, worked at the shop, return home and worked for a minute, then off it went. After the third time, I said forget about it. Carvin will repair it fully for a set fee and shipping.
  7. jointus


    Sep 20, 2003
    Carvin Tech support has always been good to me, Albert C. is a great guy to deal with.
    Always try to talk to him if you can, and make sure you talk to anyone in the service industry in a calm, professional manner.
    The Carvin BBS is also a great resource for advice on Carvin equipment problems.
    And like Richard said, clean the effects loop jacks first in case this is the problem.
  8. I realized that excessive eq'ing isnt the trick at all. That came to me several months ago when I purchased the GBE600, which is now my main amp. I first tried it out flat and loved the tone so much, and that I was actually able to turn the amp up past 9:00 without getting horrible sounds. I tried it on the rest of my amps/basses and realized that flat or close to flat is definately the way to go. It lets the instrument speak so much more naturally. Wish I'd have known that when I started using the Carvin, and it would still be operational. I loved the sound when it was working.
  9. I remember a long time ago (2 years) on an amp search when Carvin was one of the few amp manufacturers I was reading about. I was strongly considering Gallien Krueger and the SWR 350x (which I later bought). Carvin was "the other one". I read at least two dozen reviews on these manufacturers and this is what I came up with. Carvin sucks. I never read reports of any "catching fire" but they would always end up fuzzy or die.

    The quick fix:
    1. Douse it in contact cleaner (no not the kind you pour in your eyes).
    2. Re-solder the crappy job they did, preferably after dousing it in contact cleaner.

    If that doesn't work can tell your friends you bought this really cool amp-shaped doorstop.
  10. My 15" Carvin combo had the exactly the same problem. I cracked it open expecting to find bad soldering or a burned out circuit board, but it was just a lbad snap-in connection (the front panel tone controls were connected by an analog CD-ROM sound cable, which I had about five of lying about). This may be your problem. I could still get full volume by running my SansAmp through the effects loop and completely bypassing the front panel, you might want to try playing hooked in through the effects loop to see if you get the same results.