What do you all think of Carvin Gear

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dilutedrealityg, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. I was wondering what you bass players think of carvin gear. There amp heads, pre-amps, and basses?

    I have noticed a decent amount of good feedback, and fair about of bad feed back, and a lot of feedback in the middle.

    But when I goto review sites, more popular gear, the explinations are short, and pointles, like "this gear is great, so buy it." However when it comes to lesser gear, it seems people take much more greater detail into the reviews.

    So tell me what think of there products, looks, finishes, electronics, craftsmanship, and there necks.

    And please don't respond if you never played or heard a carvin, only people who are willing to give an honest oppion.
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Good quality for the price. Fit & finish on their basses is top notch. The only place the basses are lacking is in the electronics IMHO.

    Their bass heads and PA equipment are good values also.

    IMHO, their bass cabinets are worth about what they sell them for, no more. Eden, Aguilar, SWR, even Peavey, among mid priced stuff, is better soundwise IMHO.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    And I think that's what you'll always find about equipment that isn't high end but is still serious gear. Ampeg by St. Louis Music is another example.

    Plus it's all relative too. If Carvin is the highest end gear a person has ever owned, all they will tend to see are the good points. To someone accustomed to boutique gear, the weak points stick out.

    One theme that always seems to get the most agreement is - It's very good bang for the buck gear

    That said, IME, their R series heads are the best deal of all their bass gear.

    Their basses are quite nice if you put in some better pups

    Their speaker cabs are their weakest link.
  4. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I'd agree w/ whats been said. The basses are nice, but you could do better. The heads are pretty good. The cabs leave a little to be desired. They make good power amps though.
  5. Both Carvin's basses and amplification are very good, general porpose gear. The sound and quality is good but not very unique. I used to own a RL-600 amp some time back and sold it to buy my Eden WT-600. Keep in mind though that the Eden is quite costlier so comparing them head on would be unfair. But, for what the Carvin gear costs, they are very competitive in their price range.
  6. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've owned higher end gear, and still think Carvin is great gear. I've used their bass heads, preamps, power amps, and PAs for years and think they are the best value for the money you can find. I also think their speaker cabinets are better than some here think. I sold my Ampeg SVT410 cabinet (a great cabinet, no doubt about it) because the Carvin suited me better. I use the Bass Pod going into a power amp, and with the amp models on the Pod I need a more full range speaker that doesn't color the sound as much as the Ampeg does (if the Bass Pod is simulating a speaker cabinet, you don't want your cabinet to intrude...). The Carvin works out great. I have very little experience with their basses though, so I can't comment on them.
  7. I love my Carvin LB70F. I haven't had it quite a year yet, but the thing feels good. The finish is really nice, and it plays really well. I also really like the sound, and the feel. They got the bass to me within a week of the projected finish date. Over all, I'm extremely happy with it, and them.

    I don't have any experience with their amps and cabs, but I'm really happy with my bass> :D

  8. ...And now, three words about Carvin:

  9. By now many of you know that I'm extremely happy with my Carvin 5 string fretless.

    Specifically, the neck is very stable... mine's a 5 layer laminate, koa with maple. I live in Minnesota... took delivery during a hot humid period, it's been below zero lately and the humidity is like zip. The action is VERY low and has never needed adjusting... it almost never need tuning :D ! FWIW the neck is tung oiled with an ebony fingerboard... feels great and plays fast.

    Alot of TBassers say the electrics/pups aren't the best... well maybe/maybe not. I have the Jazz/Musicman/piezo combination and while the pickups themselves haven't changed the onboard preamp has... (something to do with the piezos according to Carvin). Anyway, I don't alway trust my own ear, but the guy who runs the Recording Studio (StoneHedge Recording) next to my local music store asked me to bring in my Carvin as he was having trouble with a MIA Fender Jazz... he just couldn't get THAT sound. Well he fell in love with the Carvin... it sounded great all the way down to B, had that warmth and growl he was looking for, and when tweaked toward the piezo also had LOTS of bite. I guess part of the tone could be attributed to the strings... Thomastik-Infeld Jazz flats (spendy, but well worth it on a fretless).

    All is not perfect though... I get a scratchy noise when I turn the blend knob for the pickups... I've been told that contact cleaner will fix it but I've been to lazy.
  10. Donne... I didn't buy it to sell it... I bought it to make music with!!! :p
  11. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    Ok, I hear good things about there basses and especially about there heads...seems common place to buy Rl600s and RL1000s and there poweramps such as the DCM1000s...preamp in the head doesn't give very good tone compared to say an Eden or Aguilar...but much cheaper as others have said. I haven't actually played a Carvin cab, but the complaints I usually hear is the lack of bass...this is either some kind of cheap way of increasing the loudness of the cab, without increasing the wattage because we all know mids and highs sound louder then bass, or just really *gay* speakers...if you look at the stats on the lowend speaker response, its awfully high...

    This is the preamp stats that relate to bass:
    FILTERS; +6dB @ 100 Hz
    BASS ±12dB @ 80 Hz
    GRAPHIC EQ ±12 dB @ 50, 80, 125...

    This is 210 stats that relate to bass:
    Speaker reponse: 64 Hz to 16k Hz

    This is 115 stats:
    45Hz to 3k Hz
    The 115 gets nice lows, even though people tell me that the 115 doesn't really add that good of lows...nice big ports though

    118 stats:
    38Hz to 2k Hz
    That is a big speaker though, and you need lots of power to get that moving...

    I suppose if you want to get a full stack, its definitely a good buy....I would rather just get a D-210XLT though and save me from carrying all that crap...
  12. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Quite true. However, as has been said on this subject before, this may be an overrated consideration.

    Consider: if you buy a $1000 Carvin and sell it two years later for 50% of what you spent--that is, $500--you've paid $500 to own it for two years.

    If you buy, say, a $2000 Lakland and sell it two years later for a better resale percentage, say 65% of what you spent--that is, $1300--you've actually paid $700 to own it for two years. In other words, it cost you more to own the Lakland than the Carvin.

    Leaving aside the question of relative quality (which is obviously a matter of personal taste and belief) and focusing solely on resale value, the Carvin in the above examples--which are not out of line with what I've seen--is actually the better deal in absolute terms, because the absolute cost of ownership (which, if you think about it, has got to be more important than the relative cost) is actually less.

    None of this is to say that Intrepid or anybody else should buy a Carvin--or a Peavey, or a Yamaha, or anything else--if they don't work for you as basses. It's just to say that the resale issue shouldn't be as big a deal as we sometimes make it.
  13. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I disagree with this in part--the part having to do with Eden, because I am not very knowledgeable about Aguilar. I have played Eden amps side by side with current Carvins through the same speakers--which, I suspect, not all those making that kind of blanket tonal judgments have actually done--and I don't think the Eden is overall much better, if at all. This is all my personal taste, of course, but to me, though the Eden has a sweeter treble and the cool Enhance control, the Carvin has better defined, stronger bass, more tone-shaping possibilities, and more clean headroom. This is of course anathema to many folks, but that's what I heard.

    It all depends on what you personally like. Just use your own ears and beware of blanket assumptions.
  14. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I never think of music gear as an investment that will appreciate or hold value anyway. There are financial instruments in this world, and there are musical instruments. If I want something to have resale value, I'll look to the financial instruments of the world, not something subject to wear and tear day in and day out.

    That sort of mindset is for vintage rarities or exotic boutiques. The concept of resale value is most closely associated with gear that has tremendous, albeit sometimes inflated, brand equity. It's also associated with gear that was high end or expensive to begin with in most cases.

    As far as I know, Carvin has never been considered as fitting into any of the above categories. I think buyers understand that a brand name with limited clout in the marketplace is going to depreciate from day one.

    If someone wants equity or resale value, they should buy a house, not a bass.
  15. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    My first Carvin purchase was a PB300 back in 1982 or 83 It was a great head... Unfortunately it got stolen in 88 after a show.

    My next purchase was an LB75. It was green with gold hardware, no neck inlays and matching headstock. Great bass. It was my only bass from 90 till 96. I sold it for $650 (paid $1100)

    I only sold it because I needed money to go back to school. I'd buy it back if get the chance.
  16. SlimT


    Feb 27, 2002
    Eden Prairie, MN
    Well, there is another side to the resale issue.

    I bought an LB20 used from ebay - $360. (For those that don't know, the LB20 is the passive version of their neck-through.) I bought it for a weekly open jam my band hosts. I didn't want to bring my Warwick down there anymore.

    Long story short, I sold my Warwick (Corvette active). For a jazz style bass, I really like it. I've yet to own one of the upper echelon basses (Ken Smith, Alembic, etc.). So, I can't compare it to one of those.

    I've heard that the J99 pickups (the newest version of their J pickups) are as good as a lot of replacement pickups.

    Their MM style pickup, however, seems to get less positive reviews. Not ever having owned a MM bass, I can't really comment.

    I've got one of their amps. The PB110. It's their smallest practice amp - 100 watts into a 10" speaker. Pretty full featured and a great buy.
  17. Truer words have not been spoken. Anyone who buys anything but real estate or financial instruments "as an investment" is a fool. The "winners" (e.g. a '59 Les Paul now worth $120,000) are still not doing all that well.

    Look at it like this: in 1961, a new Fender Precision cost (if memory serves) 400 British pounds, which is about $4,000 in current American dollars. That same Precision is worth probably $8000 today. Compounded annually over 41 years, that's a 1.7% return. I'd hardly call that a good investment value.
  18. 98dvl


    Jan 31, 2002
    I just bought a Carvin RL1015 stack based on what I read on this forum and other places on the net.

    Let me start by saying that this is my first "real" bass amp. Before the Carvin set-up, I was playing through a 15W practice amp.

    I was skeptical at first of buying the stack, but I was pleased with what I had read. I've had the rack only two weeks, and I must say I'm very pleased with it.

    Sure, the cabs may not be the greatest, but for the price, they're great. They sound fine to me, but I haven't compared them with any high end products.

    I was considering getting some used gear. But, I ended up getting the Carvin stuff because it was new and came with a warranty. I still don't think I would have been able to find the same type of set-up (1000W head, 4x10 cab, 1x15 cab) for what I paid for the new Carvin stuff ($1300 shipped).

    Do some more research and get what you're comfortable buying. If you're interested, you might be able to find more info here:


    Although, I'm sure most of those guys are pretty biased.
  19. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    So be it. But your lone experience doesn't invalidate the general tendency of high end owners. Moreover, far more people have owned their basses than their bass amplification
  20. Hey, poor resale value is only a bad thing if you're trying to sell. If you're buying Carvin used, then it can be a very good thing.