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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:42 pm 
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Mark III
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Location: Southwest Michigan
Resurrected this thread for the sole purpose of announcing Carvin is closing its factory after 70 years.

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TC-50, Mark V, Electra Dyne, Road King I
Mostly Fenders with Duncans
Celestion, Eminence, EVM, and WGS speakers


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:00 pm 
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Mark III
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Apparently, either someone bought up Carvin, or they partnered with someone else. Either way, they have re-launched their website and company. They have a couple amps in their clearance section, but I would never call the prices listed as "clearance." I suspect they will no longer be made in USA, which is a big disappointment. My first amp was a Carvin, and I still have it 36 years later and it still functions flawlessly. I've only had Boogies since 2009 and I know those will last beyond my lifetime.

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TC-50, Mark V, Electra Dyne, Road King I
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Celestion, Eminence, EVM, and WGS speakers


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:14 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 3059
Location: North Carolina
If there was a re-launch on Carvin audio, I doubt they would start building off-shore or in Mexico. If they have all of the equipment there is no reason to build off-shore. Depends on what it is. Would like to see some change as the product line was getting stagnated since the split (Carvin audio <-- x x --> Kiesel guitars). Considering the lineup of mixers and PA systems to amps that is a huge chunk on top of all the guitars and such.

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Current amps: TC-100, TC-50, JP-2C, MK V, Roadster, RA100


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:48 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:24 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Michigan
I sure would like a new V3 head to go with my other amps! I have the Gen 1 combo with Vintage 30's in it and would like to downsize to a head.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:47 pm 
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Donating Member

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:48 am
Posts: 641
Location: Central Texas
I can't help you with Carvin amps other than what I've read in forums - which is usually quite positive regarding the Legacy and the X100Bs. Of all the guitarists I've known in my life,nobody ever owned a Carvin.

I did want to respond to your luthier's comments about Mesa being terrible...Has he ever owned one? Did he play through it enough to make a statement like that or is he just trying to sound like "Mr. Old School" by bashing Mesa?

One thing I've learned from the folks on this forum is that tone is subjective and sometimes you just gotta go with what feels right. As much as I love tube gear, one of my favorite pieces of gear is the Marshall JMP-1, which is not exactly all tube. It still sounds great and has a pretty good feel to it.

Do yourself a favor and go play a Carvin. While tone is subjective, price is not. You can get some amazing deals on a used Legacy or a used X100B.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:50 am 
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Mark III
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Location: Southwest Michigan
Bandit -
Apparently, prior to the closure, Carvin built a whole new factory. Someone in the Carvin forum also saw a "Closed" sign on the new building. There used to be videos of the Carvin factory, showing assembling amps and such. But I have never seen one, nor do I know if they showed the actual "construction" of their PC boards. I could see the guts being made in China or elsewhere and then finally assembled here in the US. I hope that is NOT the case as I have had great luck with the quality of their builds.

I've only had one bad experience with Carvin gear and that was from their solid state SX series. I once had a rack mount preamp from that line, and I could not stand the thin, tinny nature of the tone. I sold it as fast as I could.

My Legacy 1 combo is a beast of an amp. Not high gain, but it has a dark tone that just roars. That amp is what started my knowledge of tube technology. The amp arrived with damaged preamp tubes. I knew nothing and one day just replaced the tubes and that experience not only made me love the amp, but got me into learning about different tubes and their tones. That particular amp has had a few quads of EH 6CA7s in it for over 15 years. But it doesn't have a true master volume, and it goes from too quiet to too loud way too quickly. Add to the fact it's a heavy beast...It doesn't get used any more. That's ok, though. My TC50 does all I need and more and weighs a LOT less, even with the 2x12 vertical Recto cab.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:04 am 
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Triple Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
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Location: North Carolina
You do know that California is ROHs compliant right? No tin lead or other heavy metals allowed. Must be Lead Free. Not sure when the mandate was set to be 100% compliant to the ruling. It is possible that Carvin had to shut down and evaluate the assembly process, converting over to lead free on a wave solder machine is not easy, you have to replace the equipment. If the majority of the products used SMT that would be easy since that process does not use liquid solder pots. Reflow oven may need expensive cleaning or replacement but the rest of the equipment is not effected. If the burden of the cost is overbearing I could see a move to resource PCBA out of house or off shore. It is quite possible to get quality builds from China, my company resources from a few companies offshore but are also located in USA as well. The only issue with China, you may not get what you think you are getting if the resource brokers out the assembly to another company. Many times they substitute components due to availability without written or notification. That is all too common. There are some though that will build to print. It is a toss up. I have seen better quality workmanship and assembly quality out of China than out of Mexico. Now I feel I am at work, :x If the parts are to print, and the board files are secure (owned by Carvin) it should not matter who manufactures the PCBA if the resource practices all of the IPC standards and maintains quality control of product. Considering the vast amount of electronic products from cell phones to TV's and such, it is all made in China or off shore somewhere. I have tried to bring my company to change to building all PCB in-house. It is quite feasible to do but cost is always the issue.

?Yeah, wonder what the EH 6CA7s would sound like in the TC-50 or TC-100. I think I need to find out some day.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:17 pm 
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Mark III
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There has been a little discussion on the Carvin forum regarding ROHS with some speculation about solder joints failing because of the new regulations. Of course, no one, aside from Carvin, knows what really was going on. Now, on the Carvin Audio site, there is a new "opportunity" to become a dealer, which is a first in their history.

The last time I ordered some EH 6CA7s, I got a matched sextet. So, I have plenty of those to keep me stocked for a while. I liked what I initially heard in my Mark V with those tubes, but I need to do some more, intensive, maintenance on the sockets before I try them again. I did try them briefly in my Dyne, but preferred the Tung-Sol EL34Bs still. I will have to wait 4 more years before I start experimenting with power tubes in my TC50. I am having a lot of fun with the preamp section, though. Just got my ECC803s yesterday.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:40 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 5:43 pm
Posts: 13
I have some Carvin amps.

A XV-112 combo, second generation (with EL34). The first generation was voiced slightly differently, and used 6L6.
This is a very capable amp, the combo version of the X100B (they share the same schematics).
This is a dual channel (+ boost) tube preamp followed by active stages (op-amps) : active voicing network followed by a 4 bands active "tone-stack". Then a graphic equalizer. Reverb is usable. The power amp is all tubes.
The equalizer is not very neutral with all sliders at "0".
I like this amp.

A Quad-X preamp. The design is an extension of the X100B/XV-112/XV-212 technology : tube preamps surrounded by an amazing number of op-amps. Never seen that many solid-state stages in a tube preamp !
4 channels, including a hi-gain channel using 11 (eleven !) tube gain stages.
Good "modern" cleans, a bit clinical. I found the overdrive definitively voiced for modern hi-output pickups. It sounded quite good with my Jackson (Duncan pickups).
The equalizer is of much better design than in the X100B, electronically speaking.
There is a usable spring reverb, a noise-gate, and a sophisticated, per channel, effects send-return system.
Oh, and MIDI switching (but not MIDI control, like in the Triaxis).
Seems very well built.
I used it with a Simul-Class 295 power amp and the power section of the XV-112. Eminence Legend or JBL E120 speakers.
For me, overall, it lakes a bit dynamics, and I'm not fond of the general voicing.
I'm definitively not a hudge fan of this preamp (I tried very hard !), but 90's hard-rock/metal fans may really love it!!!
I have a Triaxis and a Quad Preamp, so comparison is tough for this Carvin preamp !
One of these days, I will try again to love it.

A Carvin Legacy, first version. This unit had recurring faults, and have been butchered by a "professional" repairman. The owner finally sold it for cheap, and I fixed it.
Sounds exceptionally good, really. Very good cleans. Soaring, fluid distortion, without any harshness.
Some people says it has a Dumble flavor. As I don't have 30k for an amp, I can't tell for sure... :mrgreen:
The Legacy circuit is said to have been tweaked for almost one year under direct control of Steve Vai.
Great amp, not necessarily for Steve Vai fans !
P.S. I changed a number of pots (to audio taper), to get a much more progressive volume/reverb control.

Cheers !


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