• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!

How is Carvin PA gear?

DreamTheaterRules

Former Lyricist for Calhoun Tubbs
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,433
How does Carvin gear compare, and to what is it comparable? I'm interested in mixers, speakers, powered speakers, power amps, etc.

Are the mixers comparable to Mackie? Or something cheaper? Same for amps and speakers. I know some people using some of their stuff that are very happy with it, but am curious if buying direct gets you more for your money.

I have several small systems to put together soon and am considering putting Carvin in the mix.
 
Last edited:

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,650
Like most companies, they have a range of quality. I wouldn't touch their budget stuff. although some of their older passive speakers I had were decent. Lots of reports of failures and unavailability of parts on their forum, and most times, the only way to get service is to send stuff to them for a flat fee repair. There's a lot of decent, inexpensive competition that makes more sense.
 

Floyd Eye

Member
Messages
13,851
I am a fan of their guitars and basses. The necks are Effin' incredible. Like GCDEF says, the older passive cabinets were decent. I used some RL bass cabs and I liked them fine. After years of use the drivers finally started blowing. Carvin replacement speakers lasted less than a full gig. Chinese sourced for what it's worth.

Personally I would never buy anything from them other than guitars and basses. There are better products in the same price range.
 

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,732
Carvin PA gear is rock solid reliable. It is like Peavey gear that sounds better.
These days the downside of great reliable PA gear is that the tech is obsolete before the unit needs repairs.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,346
OK, until it breaks.

Comparable stuff from Peavey, Yamaha, EV is just as good and you can fix it.
 

billyguitar

Member
Messages
5,176
I wouldn't hesitate to buy it for budget use. I've been using their 12 channel powered heads since the 90s. I still have the first one that I use for rehearsal PA. The only problem I've ever had that one or three others is that the phantom power went out on it. I sold two others to get the upgraded versions when they came out. I have the current 12 channel head now that weighs 18 pounds, has 12 xlr channels, four 400 watt amps, ability to have two separate monitor sends and decent effects. I never bring the gear inside for storage yet it always works great. I also have two of their ndym bass 10s that I use in monitor cabs. I've had those for 7 or 8 years with no issues. I've also had a pair of their 12" plastic 2 ways for mains for the same amount of time with no problems. So you see for small club use the stuff is great. However, if I was going to buy some really big stuff I would buy what was available locally so I could get it serviced locally. That's just common sense.
I would agree that Yamaha, Peavey etc. would probably be just as good. I don't know about now but I didn't think they had powered heads with the same amount of xlr channels etc.. If they don't, and I needed another head, I would go back to Carvin in a split second.
 

lamenlovinit

Member
Messages
3,820
The knobs on the Carvin Amps I've owned, a couple of acoustic models, scare the vinegar out of me. They look and feel so cheap. But the amps worked very well, and they knobs (and jacks) never broke. If you are like me and are a worrier, take that into consideration.
 

bob-i

Member
Messages
8,776
I've had Carvin PA gear for years. My first set of cabs were unpowered 1x15/horn pole mounted. I used them for single and duo work for maybe 15 years then sold them to a band playing small local venues.

My current set of cabs is their current PM15A powered cabs. I use them for local bar gigs, sometimes with subs. They sound great, plenty loud for bars with 4 piece classic Rock band, everything mic'ed.

We had carvin mixer for awhile. Honestly is was not the best for the money. Effects are only fair, EQ works but is not very effective, and it was a bit noisy. We now use a Mackie and like it much better. To be fair it was a fairly old Carvin mixer.

I hope that helps
 

mudster

High Prairie Wrangler
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,282
Frank Zappa used a lot of Carvin gear. I've used some of their mains and monitors and they were both fine, no issues (and they have been around the block a lot of times, my former bandmate still has the mains and they have to be 25 years old).
 

Floyd Eye

Member
Messages
13,851
Frank Zappa used a lot of Carvin gear. I've used some of their mains and monitors and they were both fine, no issues (and they have been around the block a lot of times, my former bandmate still has the mains and they have to be 25 years old).

Frank Zappa used one piece of Carvin gear, not lots. And it wasn't PA related.
He used an X100B tube Guitar head. And I read somewhere that when he used Carvin 4x12s on stage he reloaded them with V30s.
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,650
Frank Zappa used one piece of Carvin gear, not lots. And it wasn't PA related.
He used an X100B tube Guitar head. And I read somewhere that when he used Carvin 4x12s on stage he reloaded them with V30s.
Yeah, I don't think Frank Zappa using one of their guitar amps 25 years ago has much to do with the quality of their PA gear today.
 

GTRJoe

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,660
Mediocre in my experience. I've owned a couple of power amps, an eq, and a pair of speakers. There stuff sounds ok but all of these units had problems. I returned the speakers after a few days. They could not take loud volumes. They distorted very quickly.
A friend of mine had one of their powered mixers which had issues from day one. He had it in for repair many times. He finally got rid of it. I think there is better PA gear available in the same price range from other companies, Mackie, Yamaha, etc.
 

modulusman

Member
Messages
2,007
Thirty or so years ago you could buy Carvin PA and bass gear loaded with JBL or Electro-voice components. I had a 15 inch bass cab that had a JBL-E140 in it. Sounded great and I used it full time for years.
 

335guy

Member
Messages
5,232
IMO, Carvin gear is all over the place in terms of quality. Some of it sounds good, works fine, other stuff breaks easily or doesn't perform that well.

I've heard some good PA cabs and some pretty bad sounding ones. Our bass player uses a Carvin 4 x 10 cab and she likes it and it works fine for her.

Carvin builds their rep on value and the MIA aspect. That they are able to make some gear at the cost they sell it for baffles my mind at times, but then I remember they are a direct seller. There are no dealer markups involved when buying Carvin. Getting their stuff repaired can be problematic.
 

Stratobuc

Member
Messages
15,927
Had several items. All had problems. I would never buy their PA gear again.
I have four speakers, an amp, and a 16 channel mixer that I bought in the early 90's. None have had any problems. Reliable and sound very good. I would buy it again.
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,434
I have been using a Carvin 1644CP with powered speakers and passive monitors. No problems so far and it sounds OK. I'd like to upgrade to a non-powered board like a Mix Wiz, but right now I need the power to power the passive monitors other band members have right.
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,650
I have been using a Carvin 1644CP with powered speakers and passive monitors. No problems so far and it sounds OK. I'd like to upgrade to a non-powered board like a Mix Wiz, but right now I need the power to power the passive monitors other band members have right.
I've had four of them. Bought one, it was defective, returned it for another that I used for several years. Sold it because my needs changed. A few years later I bought another that was also defective and had to be returned. The next one was okay though.

The weird thing about them is the monitor sends are before the channel eq, so you don't hear any eq made to individual channels in the monitors. I thought that was really odd. Also, compared to even very basic Behringer mixers, their effects suck.

Still, a lot of features for the money.
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,434
I've had four of them. Bought one, it was defective, returned it for another that I used for several years. Sold it because my needs changed. A few years later I bought another that was also defective and had to be returned. The next one was okay though.

The weird thing about them is the monitor sends are before the channel eq, so you don't hear any eq made to individual channels in the monitors. I thought that was really odd. Also, compared to even very basic Behringer mixers, their effects suck.

Still, a lot of features for the money.
Yeah... I am ready to upgrade. But, as I said in the other thread... my SUV is at max capacity so I'm not really sure how I could fit another pair of powered speakers in it for monitor duty. Right now it works because every application I use them in involves me using the powered speakers/sub for FOH and someone else bringing passive monitors which are powered by the Carvin.

I suppose I could upgrade the board, get a pair of in ears for myself, and tell everyone else if they want a monitor they need to come up with their own solution (in ears, powered speaker, no monitor).

Then again I keep telling myself I'm going to pick up a Fender Princeton. I always mic the amp and I think it would be loud enough for every place I have to bring sound... that would free up enough space for atleast one powered monitor.
 




Trending Topics

Top