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Do Amps Really Matter?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rickreyn, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    Of course they do, but I have played on a Carvin R600 for nearly five years now and I am wondering if I am missing something by not going Eden or Aguliar or SWR or something else. In other words, would I be shocked by the improved sound with another amp? My bass cabinet is a SWR Goliath 4x10.
  2. EString


    Nov 20, 2000
    Los Altos, CA
    You won't be shocked.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Because you have the Carvin R series, I don't think you'll be "shocked". Unless it is something exceptional like an all tube head, an Aguilar head, an SVT head, or a carefully chosen rack system, the Carvin R's hold their own IME.

    I've seen scores of people who say they shopped the SWRs, Ampegs (not SVT),Trace Elliot, GK, and a lot of other popular heads and opted for the Carvin R series. Their strength is their flexibility. They are "chameleons" that can sound drastically different depending on how you tweak all those controls. The reason I say this is because I've used others' heads at club jams and the Carvin R's were at least comparable if not superior.

    If you want the purity of a good rack system, an EA, or something like that, those are a different story, IMO.

    Carvin's speakers/cabs are another story.....
  4. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    My previous head was a Hartke 7000 It sounded good, until I got my ampeg svp-pro preamp and my carvin power amp. To me it was so funny, I didnt realize how small and thin it sounded and how much I hated that thing. I cant believe I ever played with it, So yes they are a huge difference but you have to try out a bunch until you find the one that makes the sounds you hear in your head.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The speaker cabinet has far more impact on the final sound than the amp head.

    Yes, you can hear differences between amps, but I'd rather use a so-so amp with a great speaker than the other way around.

    Probably the biggest difference between amps is how they are "voiced". Very few are truly flat in response and the EQ repsonse varies quite a bit from one model to another. I once put three amps on the testbench, set all EQ to what was indicated as "flat" and measured the response. They varied from almost perfectly flat, to a slight boost around 2KHz, to a pronounced treble boost. This could be confirmed by ear when playing the same bass through each driving the same speaker.

    Some of this is done to counteract speaker response. Cabinets with no tweeters need large treble boosts. Not surprisingly, the head with the treble boost was from a maker who was not using tweeters at the time the amp was designed.
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I agree.

    Brian, did you test your AMP and if so how did it come out? Just curious.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You would notice a significant improvement in your sound if you switched from Carvin to Eden or Aguilar. I don't know if you'd be shocked.
  8. Do Amps Really Matter?

    You'd better believe they do... I'm broke as #$^& and don't have a amp to go with my fretless 5er... you wouldn't believe how weak and thin it sounds!
    :D :D :D
  9. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i'd say so. my rig made my old dearmond pilot sound like it cost a LOT of money.

  10. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    I'd say you have a pretty nice setup. But to find out for yourself, go to a music store, preferably an SWR dealer. Try out every head they have one at a time. I say an SWR dealer because you can then try all those heads through an SWR Goliath III 4x10 so it will sound the same as the cab you have.

    Go play with the toys and have fun.

    Warning: The activity mentioned above is likely to cause GAS no matter how good a rig you already have. I take no responsibility for that. :D
  11. Whether you're shocked or not will depend on what you like.

    I can't pronounce on Aguilar, lacking extensive experience with it, but I will say this: I went from a Carvin R600 to an Eden WT400, for reasons that are not worth going into here but that had nothing to do with sound. The Eden is a great little amp, but what shocked me was that, at least through my Acme, the Eden was NOT better than the Carvin IMO--though better in some ways, it was worse in others.

    You;ll have to use your own ears to determine what's worth it for you.
  12. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I was thinking along your lines too until I decided that what I wanted was not a different amp, per say... But different speakers. I decided to change my 118 cab for another 210 cab and found a sound I liked better when using 4 10s.
  13. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I have a Carvin R600 powering an Eden D410-XLT and I have to say its a killer rig. IMO Carvin heads are on par with heads from other companies such as Eden and SWR. Even with all the versatility of the head I run it pretty much flat and it still sounds great.

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