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hartke vs. Carvin

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bmbass, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. Ive heard a lot of bad stuff about Carvin that the gear isnt good quality and breaks a lot. Is that true? i may get an RC210 with a 15 under it for 700, is it worth it or should i get the Hartke 3500 head with a 15 inch transporter cabinet for 800?(with service deal etc.)
  2. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've used Carvin amps for years and never had a problem. I have a PB300 bass amp that is over 6 years old, played on countless gigs, and still works great, although I stopped using it when I bought a Bass Pod (about a year ago). I have a Carvin FET1000 power amp that is even older and I still use it on every gig (with the Bass Pod). I have a Carvin 15" speaker cab that is 6 years old, and a 2x10 that is 5 years old, and both still sound as good as new (I've used the 2x10 on weekly gigs for the whole 5 years I've owned it, no problems). For the last 6 months I've been using a Carvin PA system, no problems with it yet, and I don't expect any. IME, Carvin amps are as reliable as you can get.

    I don't have much experience with the Hartke 3500, but the ones I've used have been good, and their cabinets are excellent. I don't think you can go wrong with either the Carvin or the Hartke.
  3. I think the Carvin heads are significantly better than the Hartkes. YMMV
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Carvin R series heads are as reliable as they come, IME. I can't even begin to count the miles mine have covered in the last year and how many times they've been bumped, banged, and and dropped. And mine don't even have the SMT design they use for the Series III.

    At their discussion board, you always seem to see people talking about choosing Carvin over Hartke or replacing their Hartke's with Carvin.

    Their heavy metal knobs make the plastic jobs others use feel so cheap.

    The Carvin speakers aren't going to win any awards, but then again, I've seen reports that say the Transporter cabs are hardly impressive either.
  5. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I'll weigh in with a vote for the Carvin over the Hartke as well. I've gave the 3500 a test drive or two, but decided on going with the R1000.
  6. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I'd take a Carvin R series head over a Hartke any day, based on personal experience and stories from others. As far as the cabs go, I'd stay away from the Hartke Transporter series. If you're bent on getting a Hartke cab get the XL series.
  7. gbenner


    May 20, 2001
    ocean, new jersey
    rick, i've been looking at the harkee 3500 and might get one soon due to its price. But the carvin R600 has been getting great press. The carvins have built in tube emulators and I know you also use a sansamp, hows the carvins tube emulator, and how good is their compressor. Do you feel you need to use the sansamp with your carvin. Sell me on the carvin, mabey i'll save a little more.
  8. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I've used both and would pick the Carvin head over hartke. btw i would get the R1000 over the R600 alot more headroom for just a little more money. The main thing that should guide you in your choice is the way theySOUND . Hartke heads/cabs sound totally different than carvin head/cabs. Of course I chose Ampeg over both of them for that very reason. but both are good. You shouldn't lose any sleep either way you go
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    benner - I won't try to "sell" you on the Carvin R series. One bassist's "perfume" can be another bassist's "poison." The "I-own-one-so-you-should-too" syndrome is so jive.

    But I have seen these comments many times at the Carvin board, such as this excerpt from an actual thread -

    "Do not even think about Hartke!! GO CARVIN all the way! I have owened both hartke and carvin systems, and Carvin BY FAR blows hartke out of the water. I own a carvin r600 amp with the red eye 4x10 and 1x18 cabs and I get far more than what i ever got with my 3500 transporter 4x10 rig from Hartke (which i no longer have, by the way).".

    If those kind comments weren't repeated time and again, I wouldn't have even bothered to waste your time.

    There is a bassist, "Slim Man," whose tone I love and he uses just a Hartke Kickback 15". But, I think the player and his Steinberger are the main factors of his tone.

    I don't know firsthand how the Carvin Tube Emulator is because my heads are Series II with an actual tube in the preamp.

    Their compressor is okay for a head-contained unit. At least it's "soft knee" so when you see the compressor LED light up, you don't have to worry about any drop in output or degraded tone.

    As for the SansAmp, I think I would use it with any SS amp. The tube waveforms it can achieve and it's enriched harmonics are just too good. It enables "big" to get "bigger."
  10. gbenner


    May 20, 2001
    ocean, new jersey
    Thanks Rick, the problem with the Carvin is I cant find one around here (Jersey) to try it. The band im in has a Carvin PA and it sounds great, but that don't say squat about the way a bass amp sounds. I was looking at the harkee and I dont like the way it sound alone, but when I use the sansamp it sounds pretty good. I will have to track down a Carvin and give it a try.
  11. Iv'e got the Hartke 3500 with 4x10 and 1x15,and i think that it has a great sound with a massive amount of different tones and having played through a carlsbro for ages,was like a breath of fresh air .
    I cant say anything about the Carvin as i have not had the experience,but it still comes down to the same old line "trust your ears".It doesnt come down to whether one is better than another ,but what sounds right to you and whether you can get the tones that YOU like ,or the tones that suit the particular type of band you are in.
    What to say that if you got yourself a rig that everyone was raving about and it cost an arm and a leg,you got it home and you couldnt find the tone that you are looking for?The rig sat next to that one in the shop at half the price might have had just what you were looking for !!!

    THINK ON !!
  12. gbenner


    May 20, 2001
    ocean, new jersey
    Carlos your right, trust your ears, beleave me, im to old to do the old he has one so I want one. Im looking to keep the price around 500 or so, I LOVE the tube sound but it costs to much AND most tube amps are toooo heavy, my 4x10 cab is bad enough. In this price range I think the harkee is it, but I still would like to hear the carvin first.
  13. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Hi man, I'm not too far away, it's a small state. :)

    I don't use the tube emulator on the Carvin, I keep the blend all the way to the left. Instead I use a Sans Amp DI as a box in front of the head, and I think it does the sound some justice. Still, it's a nice head alone, but the cabs I have aren't that great, so the Sans Amp helps a lot there.

    I don't feel I need to use the Sans Amp, I just like what it does for my sound. It does a good job on the tube emulation. Not so much in the area of funky tube fuzz, but sounds nice on filling things out plus the harmonic content someone mentioned earlier. I keep things mostly flat when using it, except I like to boost the mids +3 to +5 around 300.

    As far as the compressor, adequate, but not knocking your socks off or anything. Gets the job done though. I put the threshold up quite a bit so that the compression is always there, but I keep the ratio at 9 o'clock or so (forget what the ratio is around there). That way, I just get enough compression to help sustain and even things out ever so slightly. I don't slap much at all, so I rarely kick the ratio up beyond 12:00, and I like it at 9:00 about 99% of the time. I still like the punch and attack when I want to dig in, but without a huge variability in attack. It really depends on what style you are playing at the time: pick, slap, finger, etc.
  14. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    the carvin stack will blow that hartke rig away any day IMO. i play an R600 combo, with an 18" extension cab. im not the biggest fan of carvins speakers, but their head rocks, and can take a helluva beating. i too have the series 2 with a tube preamp. very versatile, loud, and durable.

    even though im not the biggest fan of carvins speakers, i would say that they are better than the transporter hartkes. the transporters are the "cheap" models, not very good IMO. i wouldnt play a hartke cab unless it was an XL cab.

    best of luck!
  15. jplb70


    Nov 1, 2001
    I'm using a R1000 through an Eden D410T and a D215XL. I think this setup sounds great. Benner If ya aint doing anything Sat. Feb 16 my band is playin at the Dunellen Elks. 131 North Washington Ave. Dunellen NJ. Doors at 7 I think we are goin on around 9ish If ya don't live to far away, got nothin better to do you can check the R1000 out for yourself :)
  16. Must also ring in on this one.

    When looking for a new head, I was weighing the options of the R1000 Vs. the Hartke 7000. I did not like the sound of the Hartke, and decided to try the Carvin. One of the best heads for the money you will find.

    You must also consider the versility of the head.

    The Carvin will run Full Range, Bi-Amp, and Bridged. What is important about this is the fact that while running unbridged in full range, you can control the volume to each cab seperately. The head is basically a stereo power amp (DCM1000) with a Carvin pre-amp. It is great to be able to run different full range or bi-amp, and still be able to dial in volume to EACH cab seperately.

    Go for the carvin, you won't regret it.
  17. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    My two pennies.....go for the Carvin! I have/had both, and Hartke heads are ok but their speaker cabs blew very easily.
    Aloha, Jerry
  18. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Carvin RL1000 here, into Aguilar cabs.
    No complaints about the amp at all, or any of my Carvin gear for that matter. It's holding up fine along w/ its high-end roommates.
    It's a good-sounding, versatile head. Well worth the money.
  19. cheeseman


    Feb 3, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I play a Carvin R600 and I like the freedom it gives you as far as how you set your tone. I've also played through a Hartke 3500 and I never quite got the sound I was looking for. As far as durability, though, my friend once had his Hartke 3500 fall off his truck while taking a turn and it still played as well as it did before, so I would say they sure can take a beating.
  20. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    My Carvin rig predates the Red Line Series, so I can not give you any first hand experience of how they sound. I do love my Carvin rig. It sounds great. It's about 12 years old and going strong.


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