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Carvin: Mo' betta?


_Sweet Willie_

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I have a mid-1990s Carvin LB-70. Nice bass. Those folks at Carvin do a nice job. Really.

 

My general impression of Carvin over the past 10 years is that they have become progressively stronger in terms of their offerings.

 

Some examples:

  • Carvin has been steadily increasing the options available on their instruments. They've added what is supposed to be an excellent MM style humbucker, rosewood fingerboards, fingerboard radius options, and now soapbar p'ups.
  • They have continued to work on improving their active on-board preamp, with tweaks to the mid control and now also offer an 18v pre.
  • They have added some thoughtful designs to their guitar and bass lines. The CA carved top guitar and the Icon bass .
  • They have expanded what's available for bass amplification w/ the BRX series.

 

According to the Carvin catalog I received recently, they have added some more choices to the BRX amplification series and have reduced the weight of the cabs a bit.

 

One item that completely intrigues me is the BRX 2x12 combo:

 

They also have a package of the B800 head (22 lbs) w/ a 2x10 Neo cab (46 lbs.) that looks good.

 

They claim great bass response ("down to the low B") and flat response. I haven't played these and I take all manufacturer claims with a grain of salt. I also have found myself not happy w/ Carvin amps in the past, but these at least look different and may have something different going on under the hood.

 

Generally, the BRX series, originally not much weight savings despite using neo speakers, appears to be trying to address the interests of bass players looking for flatter response, lighter weight, and reasonable power.

 

Anyway, this is all just Sunday morning musings spurred on by some flipping through of the Carvin catalog earlier.

 

Thoughts? I'll go get myself a cup of coffee and then see who's had time and inclination to respond... ;)

 

Peace.

--SW

 

PS: I'm still waiting for Carvin to offer a p-style split humbucker so we can order their bolt-ons as p basses!

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

 

One item that completely intrigues me is the BRX 2x12 combo:

This got my attention when it first appeared. I'd still like to get my hands (and ears) on one of these little BRX beauties. In the meanwhile my precious Nemesis combo will suffice.

 

 

PS: I'm still waiting for Carvin to offer a p-style split humbucker so we can order their bolt-ons as p basses!
Amen.

AAAAAmen!

Amen Amen Amen Amen!

- Matt W.
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Hey look! A response before I made it to the bottom of my first cup of coffee!

 

Bravo, M-Dub! You win the prize...errr, verbal compliments! What a great contributor! A team player! An instigator of further discussion!

 

I just don't know why Carvin doesn't have a p-pickup in their arsenal. I would think that the market is there for that option.

 

I like the idea of the BRX separates, especially now that they have the B800 head, which weighs more than 10 lbs less than the more powerful, 3U B1500 head, and still does a respectable 300W into 8 ohms, 500W into 4 ohms, and 800W into 2 ohms. The simple mono design with 6 eq points holds appeal for me, and the right gig essentials are in place -- balanced XLR out w/ pre/post and ground lift switches.

 

The cabs and combos have casters built in and handles to make tilt'n'roll locomotion easier.

 

It all just seems thoughtful -- although at the end of the day it comes down to the quality of the sound. Tone, baby, tone.

 

Maybe when I'm in CA this summer I'll be able to land in a Carvin store to try these out.

 

But, is it just me or do others seem to think Carvin has been on a path of general improvement and growth?

 

Peace.

--SW

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Hey Doc - On my third cup. Helps me to RELAX!

 

I played the BRX 212 at the new Carvin store for a few minutes and my initial impression was very good. I am not the kind of guy that will crank an amp in a music store but I did get some nice tone out of it at low/medium volume. It would have been nice to play with my own fish and crank to sphincter jarring volume for the low B but, ya know . . .

I would be willing to bet that the little sucker could have blown the door off the bass room though.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

 

One item that completely intrigues me is the BRX 2x12 combo:

 

I was just drooling over that in the Carvin catalogue last night! My wife is constantly amused by me and my "bass porn". :D
Push the button Frank.
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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

Bravo, M-Dub! You win the prize...errr, verbal compliments! What a great contributor! A team player! An instigator of further discussion!

Well, golly, thanks. Such a nice accolade, then I left you in the lurch for 5 hours as I ran out the door to get to my sax/church gig on time. I was barely on time so there was no stopping at QuikTrip for mocha!

 

Judging by some of the comments I've seen on their discussion board Carvin has a pretty good following that would like to see a P pickup. I haven't been there for a while though.

 

I'm not anybody's best customer, but I would certainly get a Bolt or kit if they would cut the right holes. A P/J or P/Humbucker combination would just give them that much more ammo in the marketplace. Now that they offer the humbucker in the neck position, I suppose they think a P-pickup is redundant.

- Matt W.
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I was sent a DVD explaining the company and showing how they manufacture the products. Once I got past listening to some of their spokesmen, I really enjoyed it and feel pretty confident you are getting a high quality item from them.

 

If you want to find out more of thier company without traveling to Cali, you should request the DVD. A highlight was the owner chucking a power amp around the parking lot, then plugging it in to show the toughness of thier products.

"Some people are like "slinkies". They're not really good for anything;

but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a

flight of stairs."

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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

They also have a package of the B800 head (22 lbs) w/ a 2x10 Neo cab (46 lbs.) that looks good.

Just received my catalog today. The BRX810.2 system, as they call it, looks like it will be a real winner. This rig may become the pat answer to everyone looking for small, powerful, not-too-pricey packages.

 

Sight unseen and sound unheard, my only complaint might be that they slanted the face of the B800. I'm sure they think it does something for visibilty onstage, but it eliminates any possibilty of a clean rack installation.

 

They addressed a couple other things (which I approve of, just in case they ask):

 

The new BRX10.4NEO comes in at 76 lbs, 22 lbs lighter than the BRX10. If you remember the BRX10 was a surprise for all the wrong reasons when it came onto the market - it was one of the first non-boutique cabs to have lightweight NEO magnets, but it outwieghed most of the standard-magnet 410 competition.

 

The new cabs (10.4 and 10.2) feature bumpers on two sides. Either cabinet can be set with the vent horizontal (across the bottom) or vertical (up the left side) and both positions are "right." They also recessed handles and wheels. Super snazzy!

 

On a non-technical note it appears the Carvin logo takes up less real estate than the big one on the Redline series. As I'm not a fan of huge logos this makes me happy, and less likely to attack the grill with a screwdriver in the event a BRX cabinet comes into my possession.

 

Good move Carvin! Now all you need to do is open a store in Tulsa and provide me with some part-time employment. :D

- Matt W.
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Carvin has continually made improvements on their bass amplification systems and units. They have always sounded good since the Red Series came out back in the mid 80's. Their basses got better through the 90's, but have suffered a bit in the past few years through the ills of becomming a high quantity production facility. All in all...Carvin ig a good company, and has many excellent products.
I seek knowledge from the winds of destiny , Wisdom from the seas of time, and honor from within myself. Lost in a land where bass and time collide.
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I do love my LB70F fretless.

 

My problem with Carvin is (besides the moderators on their Forum that kicked me off for no good reason...long story)their prices.

 

When I bought my bass from them 5 years ago, the price totally trumped by more than a few hundred any other quality lefty fretless.

 

Last year I was in the mood for a new fretted. I dressed a MM Sterling and Carvin Bunny Brunnel up to the 9's... This time, the Carvin was less than $200 off the price of a made-to-order MM, ordered through a dealer.

 

The build time was maybe a month more than Carvin's quoted time, too.

 

So with less than $200 difference, and the jacka** moderators on their forum acting the fool, I went with the Sterling.

 

I am more than satisfied with my purchased as the MM is the finest bass I'd ever laid my hands on. I have no doubt it would send the BB crying home to momma.

 

Gone or the days when 'we cut out the middleman' actually affected the bottom line enough to influence a musician's purchasing decision.

 

Yes, they do make a quality product, but the charm and essense of the company is gone... sorta like when Domino's Pizza dropped '30 minutes or less.' Still a good product, but something just ain't right.

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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Originally posted by Dr. Sweet Willie:

 

PS: I'm still waiting for Carvin to offer a p-style split humbucker so we can order their bolt-ons as p basses!

I think the closest that you are gonna get are the soapbar humbuckers. They are a side by side split coil as opposed to p-style split.

 

I was looking at the brx series as a replacement to my swr. But with all of the revisions, it puts them on equal ground with acme cabs(as far as price and weight).

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I still own a late-80s LB70 fretless (arrow headstock) that is totally lineless and passive. I'll put it up against any fretless short of a Pedulla in terms of feel and tone.

 

A couple of years ago I added an LB76 active fretless to the herd. It is a bit under the tone of the LB70 but it still commands respect and gives great tone. The few complaints I hear about Carvin preamps, IMHO, come from people who don't know how to use them. They're not Barts or EMG or Fishmans, but they have a unique character and tone I can work with.

 

A buddy of mine is still holding on to the fretless AE Carvin 5 he bought three years ago, even though he hasn't touched it much recently. You see very few Carvins on sale in GC and SA because they don't stay there for long.

 

I did sell my older Carvin cabinets (a 90s 4x10 and an 80s 2x15 with JBLs) last year simply because I had too much equipment and little use for it. Others are enjoying it now and I expect they'll last for years and years.

 

The best thing I can say about Carvin is that it is still one of the great bargains of the instrument world along with Peavey. It would be tough to choose between them if I needed a serious tour-ready road rig, but I give Carvin the edge on instrument-building. If I had to do it all over again, Carvin would be my first choice for a bass and amp. :thu:

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I have played Willie's and a few other Carvins. I like them very much, and for a while they were in the running for a purchase (found more money, went more custom).

 

I played through an old PB150 one night, and it was pretty good. I tried a red 600 and it sounded quite fine.

 

I don't have any direct experience with the company, though brief times on the forum were underwhelming.

 

Seems a solid company with good value for the money.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I find the general quality of their instruments to be pretty good -- can't speak for their amps, because I've never played one.

 

But I had a major customer service issue with them last year that left a bad taste in my mouth.

 

I won't be buying from them again.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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My brother-in-law bought one of their bass "kits" and got a sweet bass out of the deal. I have played it, and although it will never be mistaken for a boutique bass, it is solid and has a very nice neck. I have the Redline RB600 amp and Redline 2x10 cabinet. Great sound and portability. I am GASsing for a 1x15 cabinet to take advantage of the amp's built-in crossover. Our church had that rig when I started playing there, and it reminded me of an Acoustic rig I played through years ago. This will probably affect the portability some, but as two separate cabinets it will be a bit easier than as one integrated cabinet (I used to haul around a Sunn 2x15 "Sugar Scoop" bottom - mmmnph!). I've not had any issues with the amp so far, after 2 years of use.

Do not be deceived by, nor take lightly, this particular bit of musicianship one simply describes as "bass". - Lowell George

 

"The music moves me, it just moves me ugly." William H. Macy in "Wild Hogs"

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