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The little Carvin Amp (BX500) that could!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ClassicJazz, May 3, 2015.


  1. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    I recently picked up a GK NEO 412 (4x12) cabinet to use mainly for bigger venues. (Also I got it dirt cheap which is another reason I got it!)

    Well I had the opportunity to use it a couple of weekends ago playing in a big theater venue for a cancer benefit. So the GK cabinet is rated for 1200W. So I figured the ideal amp would be my Genz Benz Shuttle 9.0 which is 900W @ 4 Ohm.

    I also have which is my main gigging amp a Carvin BX500 which I love! It is rated at 500W @ 4 ohms. I mainly use it with a SWR Marcus Miller 4x10 cabinet which is rated at 700W, so the Carvin works out great. But I was concerned the GK might be too much cabinet for the little Carvin.

    Well took both amps to the gig (they are sooo small, so why not!) to see which one would be best. Well never even setup the Shuttle. Hooked up the Carvin and man did it sound great through that 4x12 cabinet. I barely had the amp on the "3"! Granted the acoustics in the room were incredible, but still the BX500 did the job. Uber amounts of punchy low end! I like the Carvin because of all the EQ sections. Generally I run it pretty much flat, but having the parametric and graphic EQ sometimes comes in handy fine tuning the tone to the room. Also my Roscoe basses are very hot, so having the built in compressor comes in handy.

    I have always like Carvin amps, used a B1500 and B2000 for a while. Built like tanks. Well this BX500 has really impressed me!

    big_rig.
     
    reno88 and rogypop like this.
  2. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    Thanks for reporting your BX500 experience.

    I carry a BX500 as back-up because it is so light weight, and inexpensive.

    I typically only use it at home for testing new basses, cabs and speakers because it's sound is mostly neutral (un-colored). I've been considering making a small combo with it for rehearsals... So, your information helps my decision.
     
  3. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    I have a BX500 as well. I think it's a great little head. Mine did suffer from the ribbon cable issue. It has been solid since the fix. I'm thinking I'll hang on to it until it just dies. Given that these are not the current model, and they have a known issue, resale value is minimal. That said, I'm glad I bought this one used. It took most of the hit before I got it. I've used it on almost every gig I've done in the last two years. Currently eyeing either the Veyron M, or the MiniMega. Knowing me like I do, likely both....
     
  4. ClassicJazz

    ClassicJazz Bottom Feeders Unite!! Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Delray Beach, Florida
    I got mine new around 6 months ago when Carvin was having a sale. And it has been a work horse since then.
     
  5. Honestly cannot say enough good things about this head. Originally had it in a BRX 210 but got a ridiculous craigslist deal on a Redline 810. And originally I had the same concerns the OP did with the 500 watts not pushing the 1200w cab but it's been a beast even at low volumes.
     
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Nice amp.

    Now gimme that Roscoe bass!
     
    ClassicJazz likes this.
  7. I don't understand the concern with a 500 watt amp? Many people get quite loud and good sound with a 200 watt G-K MB200 or 400RB III and the NEO412. ;)
     
    jjk2007 likes this.
  8. reno88

    reno88

    Mar 16, 2008
    Atlanta
    I use a bx500 in a riffy 3-piece combo. great amp. I bought it new just over a year ago. no ribbon cable issues, but I did replace the preamp tube with a mullard. no problems at all, and it sounds great driving 2 eden 2x10's. I also use a carvin bx1500 for my way-loud post-punk group. enjoy!
     
  9. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Gasaholic
    I guess it depends on the 500 watt. My GK MB200 had more oomph to it than my BX500 did.
     
  10. Like others, the BX 500 is my backup for the BX1500. Neither have failed, ever.
     
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Wow, a really different experience than I had with those two amps. I also compared a friend's GK 1001RBII to the BX 500 and it was pretty much a dead heat given the cabs we used and our tonal preferences, FWIW.
     
  12. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    I'm thinking if an MB200 outran a BX500, something was seriously awry
     
  13. Low Class

    Low Class Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    Gasaholic
    The MB200 had a much fuller tone through my Berg HT112ER's than the BX500. The BX500 sounded thin.
     
  14. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    With the eq set flat, or after adjusting to taste?
     
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The native "knobs at noon" curves for those two amps couldn't be much more different. The GK is quite scooped and the Carvin rolls off substantially from about 200Hz down. Neither one is that hard to make fairly flat, but the tone controls are then pointing in very different places. If you just bypass the Carvin's preamp and run a vintage sounding preamp into the power section it can be a very warm sounding amp, IME.
     
  16. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    That was kinda my point. Playing them "looks like flat" will result in vastly different tones. I took the original comment comparing the two to mean the MB was also louder. I don't buy that for a second. The BX500 may not be the best amp on the planet, but it isn't lacking in the LOUD department.
     
  17. Jeb

    Jeb

    Jul 22, 2001
    USA
    I bought my new BX500 in Jan 2011. It was gigged almost every weekend until it developed the ribbon cable thing. Which was easily fixed in a day thanks to this forum. That's when I ordered the GB shuttle 6.2. So now I have them both. And I gig them both depending on where I'm going.

    The BX500 has over 300 hours of real gig time on it and is my go to outdoor amp. This Sunday is another outdoor fest that I'll be taking it to again. Now I have adequate PA support at these things, but the tone of the Carvin is easy for me to hear on stage outdoors. A great little amp.
     
    reno88 likes this.

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