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Carvin amps... reputation?


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About to take the plunge and buy a new amp... any theories on how reliable/ how tone friendly these things are?


I will say I own an amazing Carvin fretless, and have played six-string through a damn decent Carvin tweed amp.


However, I'm more wary about plunging 600-1k on something I've never heard before.


I've heard that Carvin, while still making their basses in the good ol' USA, farms out some of their amp business to Mexico and other foreign countries.


I went to Carvin's own message boards, which (although had posts with negative critcism) seemed to be fanboy central.



"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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Love their basses, have heard some spotty reviews of their amps. Mostly reliability issues, people seem to like their sound ok.

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STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

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I've got a Carvin ProBass II that I bought 20+ years ago. It's been replaced by a GK800RB and a Demeter/QSC rack rig recently.


I still have the Carvin, but it's not used much. Still, it has worked for me up until last New Years Eve with only one glitch - An internal fuse went bad one week after I received it. Sent it back on Carvin's dime, and I haven't had a problem since.


Nice on-board effects (Noise Gate, Compressor and adjustable Crossover), too.


My impression is that their current power amp line-up is solid, but that their combos have lacked.


The only thing I didn't like was their "Mud-Cutter" EQ format. I ended up EQ'ing back in everything they had decided to cut. Of course, many things could have changed by now, but track record is a good measure to start with.


My $0.02 - keep checking various forums and listen (subjectively) to what you hear. Carvin gives a good bang for the $$, but if it's not what you need, then...??



Some swear by it, some swear at it.

It's all in the eye of the beholder...or the guy who has to carry it.


Confirmed RoscoeHead

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i like carvin. i have a Carvin R1000 head, and a Carvin 4x10 cab. it works perfect for me, i really like the 9 band EQ, and the ability to toggle your effects on and off. it is very diverse and i think it is a supurb all around rig.


i bought both of my Carvin products over ebay though, and there is something wrong witht he amp. whenever i turn the gain to around 0, and the volume down arouind 1 or so (indoor practice), it makes a crackle sound whenever i hit a string. however, when i play at high levels, or turn the gain to -10, it sounds about fine. :confused::confused:


but thats becuase i bought it over ebay.



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Originally posted by bottle12am:


I've heard that Carvin, while still making their basses in the good ol' USA, farms out some of their amp business to Mexico and other foreign countries.


I'm just curious where you heard that-- on the Carvin site, it says:


"Our amplifiers are made right here in the USA, with the kind of hand-craftsmanship and quality you can always expect from Carvin."


I wouldn't be surprised if the components are made somewhere else, but it sounds like they are assembled here. As far as I know, the only complete products they sell that are not built here are the Cobalt series acoustic guitars.


I have owned two Carvin amps, a PB100-15 combo and a B500 head. The PB100 never gave me any problems during the three years I had it. The first B500 that I had died after about a week, but Carvin took good care of me-- they shipped out a new one immediately, and sent UPS to pick up the dead one. It didn't cost me anything.


Sound quality is pretty subjective, but with the 10 day money back guarantee, it doesn't cost much to try one out. I think there is a free shipping sale on now.


Just call me one of the fanboys. :thu:



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About Carvin send making products outside the U.S., I thought I remembered seeing that in one of their catalogs.


My mind is foggy, but I thought I remembered a quote that went something like "Our guitars are manufactured in the USA, while (some of our other products) are manufactured in factories outside of the USA, build to our high standards"


...or something like that.


I'm not trying to start controversy; I just want all the facts myself, esp if I might be sending them another check.


(And Bruiser, FYI, I can be a fanboy, too. I'm a lefty and a jazz fusion fool. When other manufacturers wouldn't give me time of day, Carvin sent me an amazing LEFT-HANDED fretless with a custom quilted purple maple finish and a tone that sounds like it was stolen from mid-70's Jaco... all for a three-digit price tag).

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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I've always been happy w/ my Carvin LB-70 bass -- well-made, sounds good. I did switch the pickups and preamp to Bartolini, and have been happy with that change. A pro player/good friend recently rec'd a 6-string mahogany fretless from Carvin that he says is really quite nice (although he did have a luthier mod it with a brass nut and a more curved radius).


I don't have much experience with the amps. A friend of mine has an older 1x15 combo from the PB series. It's okay, but I've never been really satisfied with the tone I've been able to get from it.


I'll admit to being curious about those newer 500 and 1500 heads.


Also, there have been a bunch of Carvin threads. Try a "search" here, too.






Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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I've used lots of Carvin gear and am presently using the R600 amp and 2x10 cab. I also own a PA1200 and a couple 0f 832 speakers for gigs not requiring a lot of sound reinforcement. I've had one problem in all these years, and the company handled it quickly at no or little cost. I've had no experience with the new B series bass amps.

You may add me to the "I like Carvin" list.

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I thought a while about commenting here, because I'm still not sure if my Carvin experience was a good one or a bad one.


I bought the RC-210 combo, with 1x15, and loved loved the sound. I got a lot of complements about it. It started with farting speakers. You know, just a little distortion, but the speakers eventually failed. I had to replace all three, under warranty.


I think the problem was that the head was overheating. It shut off several times during gigs, and I think now, I was just pushing it too hard. The faceplate was too hot to even touch. The levels weren't really that high, but my thinking was I should be able to turn this thing all the way up, if I needed to. At least I could with my Ampeg SVT3, without any problems ever.


Carvin's service was really great. I bought this at the Sherman Oaks store, so I was able to go back and get speakers, and I took the head there to be sent to service, and they gave me a loaner.


Next gig, a summertime outdoor party, the replacement head overheats and shuts down. Getting kind of embarassing now. I called Carvin, brought back the head, and they sent me a brand new RC210 in the mail. Very nice!


Next gig, we played for about 4 hours, everything was going great, when the 15" cab farts and dies.


The good thing here is after 3-4 months of this ordeal, I return the stuff, Carvin refunds all my money, and everybody is happy.


The bad thing is, I miss how good that thing sounded, and after much web surfing, I could have avoided these problems by adding an extra fan, taking the head out of the cab, and/or turning down the eq on the low end.


Oh, and I'm still searching for that ultimate tone. BTW, my LB70 still sounds and plays better than my Fender.

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