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Is Carvin any good???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by stop_drop_pop33, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. stop_drop_pop33

    stop_drop_pop33 Guest

    Aug 15, 2002
    under your bed
  2. leper


    Jun 21, 2001
    this could have been answered with a search...but...

    the general consensus is that the heads are ok if you dont mind futzing with the knobs to find a tone you like, but the cabs are crappy.

    I think the heads are marginal at best, and the cabs are atrocious. Theyre not gonna fall apart or anything, but i just think the heads have 0 tone and the cabs an obscene mid-bass boom problem.

    You can only buy direct from carvin, so its not like youre gonna find a better price than that or anything.
  3. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    I've never played through a Carvin bass cab, but if they are similar to Carvin's PA speakers they should be fine. I'm pretty sure that Carvin uses Eminence speakers. Our PA speakers have 15" & 8" & horn. They are very good cabinets. Great sound, superb construction, and no problems since they were purchased in 1997. Yes, we could have paid more. I'm glad we didn't.
  4. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    I think you're gonna get a wide range of opinions on this one...
    I don't have a Carvin cab, but I own the R1000 head and while it has lots of "knobs", it has plenty of power and I have had no problems with it. I was trying to get the max amount of headroom for the cost/value, I am not dissapointed at all with the purchase and it gets lots of use.

    good luck!
  5. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    leper's right... a search on 'carvin' and 'amp' returns 78 threads... you'll get a ton of differing opinions there. From my experience, (4 years with an RC210 combo, or running the R600 head with a variety of cabs), there's good performance to be had for the bux.

    I became dis-enchanted with the cabinet recently, but it did perform as expected for most of the time that I used it. My main gig changed, and my needs changed along with it. The 2X10 combo/cab just didn't suit anymore. I've since paired the head with 1 or 2 1X15 homemade cabs and am a much happier camper.

    FWIW, in four years of steady gigging with the R600 head, I've never had any reliability issues, have always been able to get a sound, (hint: read the manual), and have pushed this pushed this thing hard every which way, (bridged into 4 or 8 ohms, biamped into varying loads, full range stereo into varying loads). There are others who can't get a sound, and I know of one guy locally who killed his... I don't know what he did, but it's dead! Could be a lemon??? Could be mis-use??? I've seen 'name' brands do the same thing...

  6. I've played through numerous Carvin bass heads/cabs and PA gear. My honest opinion is that Carvin cabs are very well built, reasonably priced and sound just awful. Their bass heads are adaquate and sound pretty decent once get your sound dialed in and figure out how to turn that horrid compressor off.
  7. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Carvin cabs do use eminence speakers. But I don't believe they're top of the line eminence drivers.
    Now I think that the Avatar cabs have heavier duty Eminence speakers, then the carvin cabs use.
    I've also heard that the Carvin heads sound great on top of an Eden 4x10 cab.
  8. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    I don't have any experience with their cabs, but their heads can be pretty good deals USED. The tradeoff is that the preamps on their heads have reliability issues. On mine, for example, the preamp has malfunctioned, creating a weird gating effect at all times, probably due to something going bad in the useless noise gate. Hopefully it won't cost much to repair, and I still don't regret the purchase because I did get it for only $200 after all.

    Another thing to be warned about is that the preamp has a mid cut circuit on at all times (12 dB !! :mad: ), although that can be fixed with the EQ.
  9. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    You are correct, Beefbass. Eminence builds the speakers according to Carvin's specs, and they're not "top of the line". The price reflects that. Carvin doesn't pretend to be Glockenklang, nor have they been building "crap" for the last half century. They just do what they do and they do it well. I think their products are superior for entry-level musicians, and still plenty good enough for those of us who just want good sound for a modest price.
  10. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Actually rockindoc, my only experience with Carvin speakers was with their PA cabinets. I thought those sounded pretty decent actually, so I'm guessing the Carvin bass cabs are pretty decent too.
    I guess those of us that have them, or used them before would know best.
  11. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Im gonna go against the grain here. I dont think that the Carvin cabs sound crappy at all. They could use more bottom end, but I wouldnt say they sound crappy. The lows they do get are pretty warm and full IMO/IME. They reproduce very crisp highs and throaty mids as well. Are they the best sounding out there? No. Are they the worst out there? No. For the money they cost I dont think they can be beat for sound/quality value.
  12. My rl410t was the worst cab Ive ever owned, bar none. The Hi's were harsh (and a lousy attenuator to boot), the lows were non exixtant and the mids, well, it did ok in that segment -but nevermind That! :) I replaced it with a Goliath III.

    For less money, the avatar is 2x the cab. It is true that Carvin uses Eminence, but they spec' em out to be low priced, the Avatars are straight-forward about which series speaker they are using.

    I use an Eminence KappaPro 400wRMS 12" in my Nemesis and a/b'd it to a GS112 and it is very, very similar (nearly unnoticable, but the nemesis would get louder, with more low end authority). Double thumbs up to the Gamma and Kappa series speakers.
  13. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    The R heads are fine. The speakers cabs aren't "fine"....just "okay" IMO. They speakers can't really handle what the R heads throw at them.

    Carvin does some really assinine things like with my RL1018. The 4x10 is an 8ohm cab which means it can't handle nearly the same power as the 18" 4 ohm cab it is paired with.

    They don't handle low end very well compared to more expensive cabs.

    But, dollar for dollar, the cabs do a respectable job, IMO.

    The R heads needs a good preamp unit in front of them, like a Sansamp Bass Driver/an MXR M-80/a Sadowosky, or a Fodera unit to make them sound "big time" IME. Otherwise, they sound sound too "thin" to me.
  14. hi, its SDP. my old name stopped working...???

    this is my new name.

    anyway, i am down with a goliath senior with a 750x head. screw carvin.
  15. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I have a carvin power amp.. it has plenty of power... I've played throught a 2x10 carvin cab before and I did not enjoy it at all.. but thats my opinion.. you may hate the tone I love
  16. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    At first glance it might appear that these two cabs are mismatched, but there is method in Carvin's madness.

    The RL1018 and 1015 are designed as biamped systems. In most biamped systems, when you have an equal amount of power into "low" and "high" cabs of equal impedance, you have to turn the highs down. Otherwise the 410 is louder than the 118 or 115. The different impedances of the 118/115 and 410 will help to equalize the volumes of the two cabs.

    It also might appear that when running full range, the 4 ohm RL118 would be louder than the 8 ohm RL410. The RL1000 amp puts 350W into 4 ohms and 225W into 8 ohms. When you look at the efficiency ratings of the two cabs, and do the math, the 118 (sens.= 97) at 350W has an SPL of 122.4 dB. The RL410 (sens. = 99) at 225W has an SPL of 122.5 dB. So when running the 118 and 410 full range, the volumes of the two "mismatched" cabs are almost exactly the same.
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Very true, rockin.

    But it's a pisser when you only need the 4x10.

    There's another way to equalize the volume......volume controls.

    I'm no techie by a long shot. But people here who are very tehnically knowledgeable don't buy Carvin's spec's. They even talk about "Carvin watts."

    Still, as I said, the heads are a good buy, IMO. The cabs can get you by okay as long as you don't have a B string.
  18. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I think Carvin inflates its image, trying to seem top-of-the-line by putting really high list prices on their stuff and featuring customer comments like "Smokes my Trace Elliot" or "Blew the doors off my Pedulla". I've had a PB-200 combo for about 5 years. In this time the preamp's gotten dicey, the passive jack ceased to work, and I've blown a couple speakers, but the power amp keeps ticking and the enclosure is as solid as ever.

    I think it would be a far better amp if instead of having 3 tone filters (you can't turn off the mid cut, only switch between frequencies-a way to hide the honky mids of the cheap speakers), 4 tone knobs, 5 graphic sliders, a noise gate, a crappy compressor, and only one volume control, they had given it a pre/post volume control, a 3 band Eq with maybe a couple of boost switches, and a higher grade speaker. Now how's that for a long and confusing sentence? Too many bells and whistles, no real tone.
  19. Onesidezero


    Mar 13, 2002
    Carvin cabs = crap. Heads = pretty damn good, ESPECIALLY for the price. Granted, I'm bypassing the preamp (using an RBI instead), but it's a decent head for cheap.

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