Carvin

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by campersand, Feb 14, 2006.


  1. campersand

    campersand Member

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    What do you guys think of Carvin amps? I have a Carvin guitar that I love but I've never played an amp of theirs and I don't quite trust the people over at the Carvin forum to give an unbiased opinion. Anybody here ever own/play/hear one?
     
  2. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I've only played through them at the Carvin stores, but I haven't really cared for any of them. The cleans are servicable, but the distorted tones are lacking. I've played most of their amps from the 5 watt practice amp through the Legacy head. I think you can do better at any of the price points.

    Bryan
     
  3. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    I disagree at least with one thing bryan T said. I have been playing thru a carvin vintage 16 since May/June (while I searched for a new amp) and recently decided to trade for it from my buddy. at least at the $399 price point it sounds better than the blues jr, IMO. I think you'd be hardpressed to find a better sounding amp under $400 new. but I guess it also depends on what you want it for and what specific amp you're speaking of. for my needs, the tone/price ratio is very good.
     
  4. Boogs

    Boogs Member

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    I have an OLD Carvin, the '88 X100b head, and it's amazing for cleans. This is a transition model still using 6L6's. Don't know the new ones.
     
  5. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    My younger brother has a Carvin MTS 100. He really likes it, but to my ears it sounds like a bunch of preamp fizz with way too much bass. The cleans are decent on it, but not beutifull. He played a gig with me using the MTS and could not be heard over the band. We were not that loud either. The amp has no mids and too much bass. Even running the MTS on 100 watt settings, my Reinhardt cut through it with impunity.:Spank
     
  6. Roodboy

    Roodboy Supporting Member

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    I'm have a V3 head and cab whcih I was a hair away from returning on a 10 day fee trial. Its a bit tricky to dial in, especially for a one channel marshall guy like me. I got some tips on dialing it in at the Carvin forum and have decided to keep it. Great cleans, great scooped metal tone and very good high gain.
    Build quality a little shaky , the cab had a 1" x 4" gouge in the wood that was tolexed over. Customer service and tech support a bit too laid back for the NY'r in me.
     
  7. hawaii5_o

    hawaii5_o Guest

    I can't speak much for the other amps but I own a Carvin VT50 Head and matching 4x10 open-back cab. Sounds great. I've always loved it, especially since I picked the stack up for $500 used. Unfortunately the VT50 head / cab are out of production now. These amps definitely perform much better with JJ's over the factory tubes. My friend also has a 2x12 Bel-Aire (which is basically the combo version of my VT50). It sounds amazing. His Bel-Aire has a few mods and the front is modified to have a 12" and a 10" instead of the standard 2x12. Can't remember which speakers are in there now. The nice thing about these is that there are several simple mods you can do to really make this a boutique quality amp. All in all, I like playing out w/ it because it sounds great and I'm not constantly fretting about getting a nick in the tweed or kicking an SM57 into the grill :)
     
  8. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Carvin has the MOST incredible clean sound, with the most headroom I have ever had in an amp.

    I have a Carvin MTS3212 (highly recommend), and a Carvin Vintage 33.
    Both have this fantastic clean that is just hard to describe, but think HEADROOM. They are both loud (the MTS is switchable 100/50 watts...you can't hear much difference between the two, and the clean stays clean...the Vintage 33 is 33 watts, plenty loud though).

    The distortion, on the Vintage needs modding, it is like a blanket over the thing. It isn't very good stock. On the MTS3212 though, it IS using "clipping diodes" but for me...I play blues and rock, when I set the "drive" fairly low it adds just that touch of OD that I want. It sounds fantastic.

    Here's the thing though... I was unlucky in a sense, because after not playing in bands for some years, I bought the Carvin MTS3212 used when I was going to start playing again. I got to know it, loved it. Joined a blues band and the vocalist especially was blown away by the sounds I get out of it...asking "I always thought a Carvin was for like metal, and that" (I never heaard that but...) in any case, it is perfect for blues.

    But since I got it first, I always thought there must be much better amps out there (and of course, there are...but I haven't owned them yet). So I went out and bought several: Peavey Classic 30 (great little amp! still love it), a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410 (getting to know it...gets some sounds that don't come natural to a Carvin, BUT...not as good a clean in my opinion), Carvin 33, and a Fender Prosonic.

    So NOW I have much more to choose from. No butique amps, but if you are at all interested in a Carvin, I am betting it is not like "I can pay any praice, is Carvin the best" because Carvin is relatively inexpensive compared to butique amps or even major amp makers amps.

    Now that I have those other amps, which are all great actually, I appreciate the MTS3212 even more. Number one, for the sound. But also...I was BLOWN AWAY by how other amp manufacturers design their amps, what features they leave out that I thought were just plain common sense.

    Like:

    Two channel, each with its own EQ (extra presense knob on lead channel): Both Carvins have this. The Peavey, DeVille don't.
    Just how often is the OD sound going to be perfectly dialed in and also be perfect for the clean channel? Never, in my experience. This is just cheap.
    and it is cheap that affects the guitarists sound.

    Footswitchable Reverb: Carvins have this, also the Peavey, the DeVille doesn't AND the DeVille doesn't even have it switchable on the amp itself...only the knob controls if it is on or off...and the knob is very sensitive so it is hard to find the same setting if you turn it off/on again.

    Indicator light for lead or clean channels: MTS has it. DeVille has it also. Peavey doesn't. If you are someone that sets the lead close but slightly different, this is important.

    Selectable output impedance for speaker cabinet: MTS has this (4,8, 16 and the 4 setting also handles 2 ohm), Peavey doesn't , DeVille doesn't.

    Line out: MTS has it, Peavey and Fender don't. To be fair, it isn't that useful as it doesn't sound all that good.

    All three have effects loops.

    I don't know about modding on the other two. I have modded my MTS slightly. I see it is built really well.

    Main thing is, the Carvin MORE THAN my Peavey and Fender amps, seems designed for a musician. It has more options, and the options that just plain make sense (especially the separate EQ for each channel, and footswitchable reverb...to me those are BIGGIES) and give you lots of flexibility.

    Don't know anything about the new V3 from Carvin, but the MTS 3212 (or 3200 head) are really fantastic. I am now looking for a used Legacy to see how much I like it.
     
  9. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I gotta say...that sounds like the amp was either not biased correctly, or had bad tubes. the MTS 3212 is known for being easily too loud. I never have mine above 3-4 and play in a full band (drum, bass, rythm guitar, keyboards).

    One thing I forgot to mention, there is a bias switch on them also that lets you use either 6lG6 OR EL34 power tubes in it (though I have no experience yet running EL34, I hear it does not have all the volume as it does stock with the 6LG6's.)
     
  10. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    The amp was functioning perfectly. It wasn't a loud thing, it plays plenty loud, but it just has no mids to speak of. Me and the rest of the band just walked on him. While being a powerfull amp, it just isn't focused in the mids like a Marshall. It may well be a good amp for playing cruchy, scooped, metal rythm, but an up front lead amp it definitely is not.
     
  11. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Not sure exactly what an MTS-100 is. I have an MTS3212, I know the head/cab model is an MTS3200. Never heard of a MTS-100.

    My MTS3212 has plenty of mids, and plenty of control on the EQ.
    I cut through the mix just fine. Not sure how you know the amp was working "perfectly" (even if it is your brothers, the bias can vary, tubes go out of spec. I'd be hard pressed to tell you whether my amp is working "perfectly" but I have modded it, and biased it, and changed tubes and it has plenty of mids).

    Maybe first we ought to agree an what amp we are talking about. You sure about the name?
     
  12. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    Sorry man, I'm getting the model number confused with the wattage. It is an MTS 3200. Like I said, It's a preamp fizzy setup and I don't particularly care for it. The Legacy on the other hand is a killer amp.
     
  13. GuitarGuy510

    GuitarGuy510 Member

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    I will start by saying I have liked and disliked several things about all Carvin gear I've owned in the past. That being said, I have owned about 4 Carvin DC-127's, 1 DC-200 and 1 DC-400AT guitars. They have sweet necks and they sound pretty good (with new pickups, sound even better IMO), however their fretwire has a tendency to get dirty if not cleaned VERY frequently. I have bought most of my Carvin's from the first owners, and all but one had this problem. Now, for their amps, I've only owned the Legacy and their acoustic amp the AG-100D. The Legacy has an AWESOME clean channel, headroom for days.... really thick and clear but it has a great sustain to it. Hard to describe without playing one I guess. The lead channel, however, blew terribly. I was told by the guy at guitar center (I bought it from a gcrep on eBay... bad move. lol) that maybe the tubes were busted in shipping, and I could file a claim blah blah blah... so instead I ended up returning it through their eBay GC policy. IF it was a tube problem, maybe that amp had more potential than I saw firsthand. I have heard before that when you swap out the stock tubes in Carvin amps, they have a tendency to sound much better, but I never bothered trying. I'm curious to see how the V3 sounds though, as I heard it was the best amp they've come out with thus far. I don't believe hype anymore, so until I hear it for myself, I will remain a skeptic! :(
     
  14. daneswede1

    daneswede1 Member

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    The Legacy amp seems like a winner for $800 bucks. I think people get turned off because its not a $4,000 boutique amp head per se. It is what it is. THat is a great clean tone and a nice lead tone with upper midrange power tube thing happening. Not for heavy death music or the like thats for sure. But You slam your G Force in there, add a little delay and verb for some ambient and start ripping your fav Eat M N SMile tunes and I think it would be a fun amp to play on. Ive been thinking of getting on to add to the Marshall arsenal.
    ____________________________
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  15. daneswede1

    daneswede1 Member

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    IF the tubes were busted the amp would have not turned on or if it did the gain channel would be out. Im surprised you didnt just throw a set of "C" Wingers in there and see what the amp was about. Maybe you had a dyud with the tubes. I dont know, If you listen to Vai playing the original Demo of the Legacy on their website. (I think it is gone now and replaced with some drab clips) all he is using is the G Force for some delay and verb. Just a bit. And the AMP KILLS!! As I said, For what it does. It is a Lead Guitar amp. Not a lot of sag by any means. I also would like to try to kick the gain back i.e Vai and slam a Keeley DS1 pedal in there for some added steructure.

    What type speakers did you use. I also think the amp would benefit from running at 8 ophm impedance for a bit more Damping. 16 ohm is a little tight for that amp .You can hear that it is all power tunbe tone already and may benefiot from a little Damping? I dont know, I still want to go through a "Trial and Error" deal with that amp just to see what I can coax out of it. It cant be a total LOSER IMO if Vai endorses it and plays the crap out of it everywhere he goes. I dont own it now but I will; defend it until I play oit and hear otherwise. You need to give an amp a chance IMHO.I dont think you gave it a fair shake!
     
  16. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    That's cool. My experience doesn't jibe with yours, I got plenty of mids, and a good adjustable EQ (was pretty dissapointed with the EQ on the Hot Rod DeVille after getting used to the MTS). I think the lead channel has it over the DeVille.

    Our experiences don't match, so it is either subjective (but the mids issue, while somewhat subjective, isn't all that....which means it could be) but could also be due to tube differences, voicing differences, you don't mention if you yourself tried to dial in a better sound, could be your brother didn't want to go that high on the dials? I often have mine set with bass around 4, mid around 7-8, and treble about the same as mids.
    There is a difference in the lead channel,and is very interactive with the drive settings. It does take time to learn the amp...or else the amps differ even though the same model.

    But the clean on mine cuts through just fine. It takes pedals really well too. The clean is just incredible. I haven't yet tried a Legacy, seriously thinking about it...this might be dumb since we are at odds about the sound of the MTS, but what did you think of the Legacy's lead channel?
     
  17. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    I loved it! That amp can cut through for days. I like upper clanky marsally mids and most Carvin amps don't produce that. The legacy gets closest of all the Carvins to what I like to hear. If I ever run into any extra cash, I'd consider buying one.:dude
     
  18. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    I had a Carvin Bel Air Vintage something.
    Great sounding amp, nice reverb.
    But the speakers or cab they were in (combo) stunk and really limited the sound. When I wired the output from the Carvin amp to my 2x12 Holland combo speakers the sound improved 100%
     
  19. campersand

    campersand Member

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    My Carvin guitar has stainless steel frets, haven't had to clean them much at all.
    That's funny because on the clips on Carvin's website I think the distortion channel sounds smoother and more unique (in a good way) than even most high end amps I've heard. If it were a three channel amp I'd probably already own one.
     
  20. GuitarGuy510

    GuitarGuy510 Member

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    Stainless steel frets only became available fairly recently. I'm talking about their regular fretwire. I'm not bashing the Legacy or Carvin by any means, the question was posed about experiences with Carvin and how people felt. I liked the clean channel a lot, but I think a preamp tube was dying out possibly because there was barely any gain on the lead channel. The GC rep said it was a power amp tube, but that would only affect the volume, and there was plenty of volume on that thing! I would have to try out a NEW one to give a fair judgement, my opinion is based on a used one from guitar center.... I did say it was used from a gcrep? I would like to try a NEW one out someday when I have more money to spend on "trying" amps out.

    BTW the last Carvin I sold (which I am kicking myself for...) was my DC-200 that was new and was made out of black walnut with tung oil finish on the body and neck.... THAT guitar was amazing!!! :AOK I
     

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