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Author Topic: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?  (Read 9736 times)

Rainsong

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New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« on: April 23, 2004, 12:09:36 pm »

Hi folks,

New to this forum... Just a little background.  I'm an acoustic guitarist/singer in an acoustic duo playing bars 1-2 times a week to audiences of 50 or less.  I'm no sound man and don't really have any aspirations to be one.  We run our own sound from stage and right now our gear is a Carvin PA620 200 watt powered mixer w/ Yamaha AS312 12" acoustic suspension speakers.  My partner runs his acoustic bass through a seperat PEavey bass amp w/ 15" speaker.  We also have a 2nd 150 watt carvin power amp that we use to run 2 spot monitors off of.  To me and the people in the crowd who's opinion I've asked, we sound pretty good as far as acoustic duos go.
I know the opinions of the "Pros" on Harmony central about Carvin products but would like yours as well.  Most of the guys lump Carvin into the same catagory as Nady, Kustom, Behringer etc (ie: entry level crap).  I know Carvin doesn't probably compare with high end EAW, etc., but would you say it's on the same level as Peavey or Mackie or JBL (comparing like specs with like specs)?  I guess what I'm driving it is if I have a budget of, say, $1000.00 do you think I can signicantly improve our sound over what we have going with Peavey or Yorkville or JBL or Mackie?  Or is Carvin as good as the rest of those brands and about as good as I'll get unless I want to spend $2000 or more.  We have found that the Carvin PA gives us plenty of volume in our venues and we really only need a 6 channel mixer (as of now, we still have an extra unused channel, even adding a mic in addition to the pickup on my guitar).  Do any of you think going the seperate component "rack route" will be significantly better, given our budget and the fact we run our own sound from stage?
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Vic Turner

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2004, 10:34:37 pm »

I want to start by saying I am not an expert by any means. From my research and being a Carvin owner (not for much longer) I would say with what you are doing you should be fine. All accoustic, no drums. But if you planned doing covers, adding drums, becomming a rock band you may need upgrades. What I feel would greatly improve your sound is to upgrade you power amp. I recently discovered that you want to run an amp that has 2x the RMS rating of your speakers. The Carvins are prolly 300RMS which means you have been underpowering with the Carvin amp. That will greatly improve your sound.
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Dietrich Sider

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2004, 11:53:01 pm »

In my opinion, if your system is doing what you want it to do, then it should be just fine. Don't get too hung up on brands. Adding rack components means adding complexity and weight. I'd say focus on what you do best - play your music!

Regarding amplification - I doubt that you're underpowering your speakers. For your application, I can't see that you'd be driving the Carvin mixer's amplifier all that hard. Do you know if that 200 Watt rating on the Carvin is per channel or for both channels? The most important thing to remember is to not drive the amplifier into clipping. If you see that little red light blinking, back off!

Saying all of that, if you have doubts about your system's capabilities, then the best thing you could ever do is audition some other mixers. I don't just mean in the store though - take one out on rental and use it at a gig. This will tell you a couple of things - how is it to transport, and set up, and how does it perform in the application you're going to use it in. For the cost of a few rentals, you can save yourself a lot of heartache (and money)

Good Luck
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Rain Jaudon

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2004, 02:37:17 am »

I agree with the other guys -
Don't get sucked into Gear Snobbery -
If what you have does the gig consistently each week, then don't worry about it.
Put the profits into a savings account or a mutual fund.
(at some point the vocalist will move away, gigs will dry up, or one day you will not be healty enough to perform and will need that cash to live on)

I have seen my share of hard working delta blues bands on a peavey top box mixer and a set of old SP2 cabs.
They havent bought a piece of PA gear in 15 years and still do not need to.

Me?  I have been the entire road on this.
I started my own system with a Crate 8 channel powered mixer and a set of JBL Cabaret speakers.
Then I gave that back to the guy I was renting from(15$ a gig) and bought my first system. (yamaha 12/horn Club III series mains on tripods, same cab monitors, Carver PT series amps on mains and monitors, yamaha SPX90 efx, Peavey Autograph EQ, Nady wireless, and a DOD 12 channel rackmount mixer) Had it all in a nice rat fur covered rack. All cables stayed in the mixer/rack so set up took 5 minutes for a 3 pc acoustic act.

Eventually the gear bug(and box of cash) got to me and I sold the yamahas for a DAWN system.  dual voice coil 15 inch sub and coaxial 10 inch mid/hi boxes on tripods.
Then parted with the entire rack and picked up a Peavey top box mixer.  That was underpowering the DAWNs but I kept a careful eye on the levels.

I've gone thru Club IV series Yamaha mains, peavey wedges, EV mains, Yorkville subs, Mackie powered heads, Yamaha powered desks, Presonus compressors, peavey Eqs, mackie amps, qsc amps, and even a few Community pieces.

So I've seen my share of MI series gear!  
I've also decided, SIMPLE IS BEST!

I run the Mackie 808m with drums and acoustic guitar plus 2 vocals 3-6 shows a week.  Mains are nearly always EVsx200 tops with a single powered Yorkville es700p sub(dual 10s 700 watt amp on board).  Monitor is an active Community 12/horn wedge.
No external anything!  And its a solid quiet show every night of the week(plus it takes me one trip from the van to the stage).

I do occasionally add steel pans, lead guitar, or other vocals to this system with no problem.  

Rain
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Rainsong

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2004, 06:53:23 pm »

Motown,

Actually the RMS rating of the speakers I use is only 180 watts, they are 8 ohms (Inefficient acoustic suspensions, but oh so smooooth).  The Carvin PA is rated 200 watt RMS into 4 ohms (So I assume that is 100 watts power ea. speaker)  Still think I need a higher watt amp?

Thanks!
Mike
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Vic Turner

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2004, 07:35:55 pm »

Rainsong wrote on Mon, 26 April 2004 18:53

Motown,

Actually the RMS rating of the speakers I use is only 180 watts, they are 8 ohms (Inefficient acoustic suspensions, but oh so smooooth).  The Carvin PA is rated 200 watt RMS into 4 ohms (So I assume that is 100 watts power ea. speaker)  Still think I need a higher watt amp?

Thanks!
Mike


Hey Mike,

Well I would say if your posting you must not be totally satisfied with your gear. Like I said I am not an expert, maybe someone else could give you better advise. Being a Carvin ower I found when you purchase a Carvin PA system from them they seem to come underpowered, and making sure they got the power they needed would improve your sound, I think that's a fair statement. But, what's you application? You are an accoustic band so like many of the others were saying you may not need to do that. How does it sound to you? Where does it lack and what would you want it to do that it already doesn't? I am in an original/cover rock band. So my purpose is if we use our own gear to sound freakin awesome. I want to run an amp that's 2x the RMS on my speakers to get the most out of my set up. My goal is to upgrade our system to get close as possible to a pro set up without breaking the bank (too badly)to improve my sound as much as possible. But.... we leave our accoustic guitars at home. Your volume is low I would immagine compared to an average rock band, so you probably won't need to upgrade unless your just totally unhappy with your sound, and if that's the case maybe an EQ would be a better purchase than an amp. Does you set up contain any sort of EQ?
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Rainsong

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2004, 03:14:13 pm »

Hi Motown,

I guess I would say I'm not unhappy with anything, just want to get the best sound we can without breaking the bank.  Was really wondering how Carvin compared to other brands since I can't go out and "borrow" somebody's Yorkville (or other "higher end") PA to see if there is a marked improvement.
Sometimes you think what you have sounds pretty good, until you hear something else.../  Kind of like my Yairi, I thought it was a great sounding guitar, until I bought my Rainsong.  Now it sits in a case.  I've also made the mistake of buying something because I thought it would sound better because it costs twice as much only to find that what I had sounded just as good.  That's the reason for my inquiry.  Wondering if any Carvin users think there is better bang for the buck out there.
    As far as EQ, it's got a simple 7 band EQ with Hi and low shelving filters on the individual channels.  And yes, I agree that ideally I should have a 300-400 watt amp for a speaker rated @ 180 watts program.  Just didn't know if it would make much difference since I'm only running my curent amp at 4 (out of 10) to get the volume we need.

Thanks for your input!
MIke
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Henry Denman

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2004, 06:13:26 pm »

Hey Rainsong,

The theme of the posts seem to be if it ain't broke don't fix it.  Be careful and don't get to complacent with your Carvin stuff.  You need to ask yourself a couple simple questions.

1. What do you want/need in a sound system?  

2. Do you want ease of use, pro-quality sound or something in between?

If you really want to find out if you sound better through other equipment then a good idea is to rent.  Carvin is great starter stuff but I personally wouldn't rely on it for the "big show" or long term giging.  That is not to say go out and buy all new stuff next week.  

Bottom line is if you are happy with what you have then yes use it.  Just keep in mind you will never know how you will sound through other equipment unless you give it a try.

Have Fun
Henry
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Vic Turner

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2004, 10:13:42 pm »

Mike,


The renting is a good idea, I would rent a good quality amp that has enough power to power you cabs,(2 x 180rms), make sure the RMS is correct. Get online with Carvin or call the tech and see what exactly that amp is putting out per side. Rent a QCS, Crown, Crest something that we know will sound good. Give it a shot, hear how it sounds compared to your other amp. Switch between them fo S & G's to see the difference in sound.
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Rainsong

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2004, 12:44:29 pm »

Thanks Henry and Motown,

In answer to Henry's question, yes, I want ease of use and yes, I want professionally sound (Yes, I want to have cake and eat it too!).  I guess I can't expect really pro sound from a "PA in a box",  I just need to decide if it's worth the extra $$$ and hauling to go the seperate rack component route.  Maybe I'll try the rental route and see if the sound is that much better than what I have.  Thanks for the suggestion.

MIke
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mikeyb

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2004, 01:09:11 pm »

Don't let the snobs grind you down on Carvin's stuff.

I currently have A&H/JBL/Bag End/EAW/ stuff but it's all because the money was there. I ran Carvin top boxes (TR-1502) for 5 yrs. in a regional alternative rock band and they performed great as long as they were not underpowered or clipped. They had clarity that beat alot of JBL stuff and the theme here is "if it ain't broke...." Carvin service was great when I lost a crossover on one of the boxes and we ran one of their DCM1000 amps for our monitors extremely hard with no problems. Did people diss our Carvin stuff? Sure. But we were able to do probably 60% more gigs than most groups on our "level" because we had a complete system and knew how to get the most out of it.

In answer to your question about comparison, I think they do compare favorably with Peavey and probably exceed on several levels. I would put them way above the Nady's , Behringer, etc.
I would prefer a Mackie board over a Carvin just because of routing features, but like the sound of the Carvin better. Mackies Active speakers are great for what they are intended to do and I haven't heard Carvins active speakers yet, so I can't compare.

$.02 worth
MikeyB
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Dave Dermont

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2004, 01:34:58 pm »

Calling someone who prefers Peavey over Carvin a "snob" is just about the funniest thing I ever heard of!  Laughing

You know, being able to hear the difference between a real PA and one held together with spit & glue does not make you a snob.

If you have a rig that works on your gig, all is good. Making a sidways move & buying something that is at best a marginal improvement is not something I would suggest.

The "standard" $250.00 Carvin boxes and similar Peavey TLS would probably qualify as a sidways move.

If you live in an area without a local music store, I'd always try to support them by buying locally instead of mail order.

The newest Peavey SP2 (not even on the web site yet!) has the new Q-horn. The SP2 is about $400, and is a better cabinet. (bigger & heavier too) In my mind, the Peavey SP2 is "the standard by which all cheap PA cabinets are matched" They have been a band-for-the-buck box for decades.

For a nice, inexpensive, good sounding birch cabinet, look at Yorkville Elite with the birch option, or Community XLTE. Figure on $1,500 a pair or so for these. Plan on at least $1K for an amp (or amps) to drive them too.

If your audience digs ya, spend the money buying them drinks. Public relations money is always well spent!   Cool

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Rainsong

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2004, 03:26:21 pm »

So Dave...

Am I to assume by your post that in your humble opinion, Peavey is a step up from Carvin and Carvin PA's are held together with spit and glue?  Somebody on a different forum said I should replace my Carvin PA620, 200 wat mixer with a PV XR684f.  Seems to me THAT would be a sideways move since the Peavey is still only 2oo watts X2,  But I don't need the 2nd channel since I have a Carvin DCM150 to run my monitors.
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Dave Dermont

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2004, 06:35:37 pm »

Rainsong wrote on Thu, 29 April 2004 14:26

So Dave...

Am I to assume by your post that in your humble opinion, Peavey is a step up from Carvin and Carvin PA's are held together with spit and glue?  Somebody on a different forum said I should replace my Carvin PA620, 200 wat mixer with a PV XR684f.  Seems to me THAT would be a sideways move since the Peavey is still only 2oo watts X2,  But I don't need the 2nd channel since I have a Carvin DCM150 to run my monitors.


What I meant was that the low end of the Peavey & Carvin lines are about the same. The Peavey SP is better.

The "spit & glue" comment was not aimed at any gear in particular.

You are right about the mixers. It is a move sideways.

Again, if what you have works, don't be so quick to spend your money on what you already have, but newer.

Save up for some Nexo PS 8's and amaze everyone at how great you sound with the tiny speakers nobody ever heard of.

BTW...My opinions are really not so humble  Cool
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Henry Denman

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2004, 06:54:22 pm »

AnotherDave wrote on Thu, 29 April 2004 15:35



BTW...My opinions are really not so humble  Cool



Funny Dave...VERY Funny!      Laughing
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Stuart Pendleton

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2004, 10:12:52 am »

[quote title=AnotherDave wrote on Thu, 29 April 2004 18:35]
Rainsong wrote on Thu, 29 April 2004 14:26

So Dave...

Save up for some Nexo PS 8's and amaze everyone at how great you sound with the tiny speakers nobody ever heard of.



in my little town, thats what my EAW FR129zs are for ....

StuartP Confused
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Rainsong

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2004, 12:46:18 pm »

EAW's... aren't those the ones that are about $600 a pop, for 10"?
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breese

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2004, 02:38:18 pm »

I'm not sure what those cost(EAW, etc.), there are lots of things that go into the cost of a pa speaker.

You have the components which vary in quality and cost and sound.

You have crossovers, which vary in complexity, the more complex the more expensive the crossover will be.

Bi-Amp/Passive switchablity is a cost factor, even if it is minimal.

Box features such as fly points, handels, etc will add to the cost of a speaker.

Box materials, MDF is cheap, birch plywood is more costly.

Customer support, if I'm paying a grand per box I expect some sort of tech support and a warrenty.

Carvin claims to cut the middleman by selling factory direct, wether or not this is true is to be determinded by the individual (I've never compared a Carvin box to something else, so I don't know if the cut quality corners or actaully cut the middleman). So, there's the cost of the various product distribution networks.

You also have manufacturing methods which will influence the end cost.

Don't forget profit margin and brand recognition cost(if any).

Once you start comparing speakers keep this in mind. Features are part of the price. If you want more features, the price goes up.

The large concert PA company will need features you probably don't care about and have probably not even considered, that is why their speakers will cost a lot more, but at the same time, they are probably going to get better components with those other features.

These variences in cost can be found in many itmes, not just PA speakers, but also mixers, crossovers, speaker controller boxes. etc.

I hope you and others here find this helpful.
breese
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Roadrage

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2004, 04:31:28 pm »

I think that Carvin is a fine name for smaller clubs, I think that the sound guy just isnt very good.
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Mike McNany

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2004, 05:07:32 pm »

Carvin is in direct competition with Peavey, trying to service the lowest beginning operators with adaquate decent gear while providing several steps to move up within the brand. That said, I'll take Peavey every time in the head to head contest. Peavey support can be found easily, everywhere.

The Carvin 620 is a nice starter PA-in-a-lunchbox. I used to recommend the Yamaha versions to people but. Like it or not, the new Behringer version kicks their butts dollar for dollar, feature for feature. 250 watts per channel stereo, 8 inputs, all for $300 US.

Increasing power, even if you don't always use it, results in a cleaner sound at the same levels you are used to. the goal is to match the speaker's program power but a little more doesn'y hurt. Program power is most common 2 times the continuous rating. Right now you are supplying 100 watts per speaker and the load is a 4 ohm one on the amp. If 180 watts is the marked "RMS" speaker rating, that is likely the continuos rating. So they could easily take 360 watts program. THAT's the output, per channel at 8 ohms, of most power amps with the model number that have 1400 in them! (350 at 8, 500 at 4, 700 at 2 and 1400 watts bridged mono at 4 ohms).

I recommend you borrow or rent a Mackie 808M (dual amp) or 808S (stereo) to power your speakers for a gig. I can't believe that I'm actually recommending a Mackie but one should be easy to find ;>). You'll be pleasantly surprised by your same speakers with proper power. THEN look at other brands and compare the features, power, and such. There are several desk style units with REAL faders (Yamaha, Soundcraft, Peavey, Yorkville, even Samson) and THOSE are real handy when self mixing on stage. A LOT easier to make smaller adjustments on the fly with a long throw fader than a small rotary knob ;>).

You also say you don't need another power amp. BUT wouldn't it be nicer to have THAT built in to the same box vs. taking extra cables and a second power amp? Figure selling the small power amp and the 620 would about pay for another stronger powered mixer.

Boomerweps
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Vic Turner

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Re: New Guy! Carvin Opinions?
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2004, 10:04:53 pm »

I just got my new Carvin catalog in the mail. Some of the new products look cool. The TX? Series Bi ampable speaks look nice. I wonder how the new bass cabs sound? They do have some nice stuff for smaller venues (they actually have some sweet special order high end gear). I guess for the average local band the PA is the most overlooked thing, I mean you can spend 2k on a guitar, 2k on drums, etc etc etc $$$$$, then you need a PA and Carvin can be an affordable good easy to use system, I just think they sell the all in one packages a little underpowered as far as the amps go. We had a Carvin 12 channel set up and it served us well and got our feet wet, now we want MORE POWER!
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