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Lead Sled: Carvin DCM1500 vs. CA6 or 9

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by manray, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. manray


    May 1, 2004
    So, what do you think, with sound, weight and cost in mind...... rock, in small and medium venues..... with a Kern Pre.... bad back!?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I haven't used the Crest amps yet. But I can tell you the Carvins are plenty mighty, in a much smaller and lighter package.

    Maybe you could hear a difference, but as we go back and forth on the subject of lead sleds vs. switching amps, maybe any difference heard is in the (im)proper gain settings of the preamp, and maybe you won't hear any difference at all.

    The reason I haven't even tried the Crests yet is because I get every bit as loud and powerful as I could ever want to with a Carvin, and my back isn't getting any younger either.
  3. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    Having owned a second generation DCM1500 for the last couple of years, I can tell you that amp is everything it's said to be in terms of compactness and huge power.

    It's actually not that heavy, certainly much lighter than the CA-9. I just sold the DCM1500, and the USPS weighed the complete shipping package at just over 30 pounds. Carvin's website lists it at 34 pounds.

    I didn't need the huge power of the 1500 for the gigs I do, so I'm buying a DCM600 which will be plenty and save some weight.

    I have no personal experience with the CA-9, however, so perhaps someone who has owned both amps can step up.
  4. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I owned a DCM1500 for about a year. Great power, weight and very good features for very little $$$. Actually liked it better than the QSC PLX I had later.
  5. I've owned a bunch of power amps over the years and the only one to ever go down (one side) is my Carvin DCM1000. I tried to get fixed but nobody would touch it and said it had to be sent back to Carvin. So my advice is to buy where you can get it fixed if it goes down. My Carvin is out in the shed now and will probably end up going to the recycler some day.
  6. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    I use a CA-9 and couldn't be happier. It's definitely an amp that packs a punch. However, it weighs 47 pounds and because of this, I keep it in its own rack. Funny thing is that I actually sold my Stewart 2.1 for the CA-9. While the 2.1 can get stupid loud, I loved the clarity and punch of the CA-9. I will drag the CA-9 with me anywhere, anytime.
  7. Jeff A

    Jeff A

    Oct 22, 2005
    I use a bridged DCM1500 w/a Kern preamp. :)

    Since the DCM is short, I put the amp and the preamp in a short (3) space Gator rack. This makes for a compact package. Much easier for me to carry around. The CA9 is a huge amp and requires a full sized case.

    The current 2 space DCM1500 is 26 pounds. The older 3 space unit was heavier. The CA9 is a bit heavier.

    BTW, you can use the same speakon cable and go from stereo mode to bridged mode without rewiring the connector at one end. Carvin did it internally.
  8. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    Jeff, that's a good point. Carvin DCMs have the three output connector types- 1/4", 3-way binding post, and Speakon. Two Speakons for left and right channel, and a center Speakon for bridge mode. Very nice.

    The CA-9 has binding posts but no Speakon, unless the design has been changed recently.
  9. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    In various bands I got other band members to buy various DCMs (since I was supplying most of the PA it was only fair). Every bit as good or better than a lot of other SR amps I've used and lighter than many. Seemed bulletproof. Spec is topnotch, price is cheap.
  10. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    Manray, in general most everyone on Talkbass who's used DCM amps have a very positive opinion of them. There are a few users who've had the amps fail on them in various circumstances, but who knows what led up to the failure, how they were connected up, the operating conditions, if the amps had been abused.. you certainly don't get all the details, more often you get "Carvin amps suck" or something that most likely means the users probably didn't know what they were doing to start with (or were teenagers.) Certainly any line of amps can have QC problems or can fail under the right combination of circumstances. It doesn't appear that the DCMs are any worse than other amp lines. I'm sure the Crest CA series are overbuilt and are ultimately tougher than DCMs, but you wonder for backline use, if that overbuilding is an absolute necessity. User experience would argue that it isn't for most players.

    We've had a number of DCM vs. CA amp threads on TB in the past couple of years. In general, I think everyone would like to have a CA if you threw out the other considerations. They are widely regarded as one of the premier power amps for bass racks. However, look at those considerations, and I think most players probably would go for the DCMs. Size, weight, connectivity, price, adequate power for nearly all backline use- all argue for the DCM1500.
  11. manray


    May 1, 2004
    A BIG thanks to all of you for these helpful comments!

    I think MichaelVee's post #10 sums it up....... and actually, that's what I expected to hear!

    Thanks again!

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