Carvin amps? (MTS?? or others?)

Discussion in 'Other Amps' started by TheLoudness!!, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. TheLoudness!!

    TheLoudness!! Active Member

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    Anybody here played or own any Carvin amps? I tried a Carvin MTS the other day and thought it sounded ok but could be better with an upgrade or two. They do sell for low prices.
    The clean channel is very nice but the gain channel seems extremely dark and lacks midrange.
    Any upgrades like transformers for these as I heard these could be better?

    I haven't tried the V3 or Legacy. I tried a X100 years ago that I was fairly impressed with...
     
  2. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

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    i have original X-100b. i like it as a pedal platform.
    i honestly never have bonded with Carvin amps.
     
  3. Wooferhead1

    Wooferhead1 Well-Known Member

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    I owned the Carbon MTS, sorry I sold it, nice features effect loop, 100 or 50 watt switch, multiple power tube compatibility, changed over to el34 tubes for a more Grit tone. The original speakers sucked, ran it thru one of my Marshall 425 cabinets and wow what a difference.
     
  4. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    My favorite amp is a Carvin X100b combo from 1989 w/ hot rod circuit. Like a lot of amp companies Carvin's amps are all different, some like the MTS some like the Belair and some like the X100's. In the X100 series the year matters a lot and for rock you should have the hotrod switch. The EQ system is very good, the controls are active and the 5-band EQ will allow you to dial in almost anything. The clean ch. is the best clean I know of and they have real spring reverb. Although they have a 25, 50 & 100% switch there is not much difference, they are a 100w beast. They use EL34 Groove Tubes in the ones I like, some use 6L6's and work better for cleaner stuff. They are very rugged and take a lot of abuse, the X100b also came in a 2-12" combo that was awesome. I saw one for sale that was a deal but it's gone, a one owner 2-12" from 1989 with all the right stuff for $375! There is one "mod" for them that add's gain, the Belair also can be modded as well. The V3 was to modern sounding for me but an awesome amp as far as options go. The speaker cabs are some of the best I'v ever used and I would take them over almost any other brand, especially for the price. The BR12 speakers are the only ones they made that I liked. The newest X100b head, called the series 4, has the most gain in it and can be set up a lot of different ways. I lucked out and got one of the last ones made and it really is a killer amp. Try to play the X100b and play with all the features so you get the feel of it, once you get the right one and learn how the EQ's work as well as high & low boost's you will find it's a VERY versatile amp.
     
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  5. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    Had several but never bonded with any of them. And resale is horrifying
     
  6. RCM 800

    RCM 800 Active Member

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    I had a Legacy combo. It sounded great for about 30 minutes, then it caught on fire, then I took it back.
     
  7. Harlequin tusk

    Harlequin tusk Well-Known Member

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    I have- had 5. MTS 100 watt head, Belaire 50 watt 2x12 combo, XV 100 watt 2x12 comboOriginal X100 head from 1983? and the Carvin Quad x amp preamp with the ts-100 tube amp.

    Mts had good cleans, lent to a friend years ago, keep the gain below 7 and it's ok
    X-100 had excellent cleans and ok distortion, no loop, still have it
    Belaire 2x12 sounded like pure mud, ugh, gave to my brother , he likes that dull tone
    Quadx 4 channel preamp and matching power amp with footswitch has 9 preamp tubes and a gazillion features, excellent cleans and overall is pretty cool, blast from the past, still have it
    Xv 212 combo.... excellent cleans, takes pedals well, stupid loud for a combo, still have it
     
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  8. guzzis3

    guzzis3 Well-Known Member

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    I had an X100B. I thought all the b's had el34's and the origional X100 was the 6l6 amp?

    I had it atop a marshall jcm800 with G12-65s in it. I actually found some photos the other day as I'd forgotten what speakers. I also had a couple of carvin guitars. Similar problem with both.

    The amp did many many things, but nothing really well. You could dial up all sorts of distortion and eq but none of it was very satisfying. I've always been hopeless with tone knobs so maybe I'm not the one to dial up good sounds from an amp, but for me it was just disappointing.

    Likewise the guitars were beautifully made, much better quality than american fender or gibson. Actually better than any electric guitar I've ever seen, but they were sterile sounding. All sorts of switching options on one of them but again I never got anything really satisfying.

    On the other hand plug an american std strat into a plexi and instant gratification. Marshalls were never top quality amps and the lefty fenders have useless knobs, but they just work straight out of the box.

    I understand the argument for not trying to copy famous guitar players but at the same time their overwhelmingly favouring certain gear choices can't really be ignored. It's not so much that no one uses carvin because no one uses carvin, but rather walk on turn on plug in play will happen with a fender/marshall amp and fender/gibson guitar. Just is.
     
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  9. TheLoudness!!

    TheLoudness!! Active Member

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    Likewise the guitars were beautifully made, much better quality than american fender or gibson. Actually better than any electric guitar I've ever seen, but they were sterile sounding. All sorts of switching options on one of them but again I never got anything really satisfying.

    On the other hand plug an american std strat into a plexi and instant gratification. Marshalls were never top quality amps and the lefty fenders have useless knobs, but they just work straight out of the box.

    I understand the argument for not trying to copy famous guitar players but at the same time their overwhelmingly favouring certain gear choices can't really be ignored. It's not so much that no one uses carvin because no one uses carvin, but rather walk on turn on plug in play will happen with a fender/marshall amp and fender/gibson guitar. Just is.[/QUOTE]

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Actually, I agree on so many points here. On the guitar side of things, I've tried some really $$$ high end stuff just to see what it was about and often left feeling let down. I end grabbing one of my old beat up cheapie Gibson's and I'm happy. It has to has a neck that feels good because my hands are eat up with arthritis and outside of that, tone is all that matters!
     
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  10. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    The guitars are not bad, it's the pick ups that suck. I just got mine working good by, new DiMarzio pu's, all new pot's & switch's, and a new nut cut slightly wider. (pic's below)
    The amps are ALL different, they didn't use EL34's until 1988 I think, and the "high lead" boost is not the same as the "hot rod circuit" boost. They did not switch to Groove Tubes until 1988 either. What gets most people is the EQ system for the bass, mid, treble knobs, they are an "active" system and work by boost and cut. I think the better ones have 15db boost / cut on bass & treble and 9db on the mids. (Around 30 for the 5-band EQ) Also in the foot switch there is a 9db lead boost. The treble is hooked into the drive and add's more high end gain when cranked up. A good place to learn about the one you may have or had is the Carvin Museum. Just click on amps or whatever at the top then the years you want at the bottom. http://www.carvinmuseum.com/guitaramplifiers.html You can click on the pic's as you go. The one I like best is the 1989-90 X100b with the fuzzy covering. The oak cab ones are more geared towards cleaner playing and had a 300w EV speaker in them. They were about $750 and was to compete with Mesa's wood combo's that were $1200 then. I'v always thought the X100's had the best cleans of any amp that I ever played, lots of depth and tone. But something I learned awhile back was very interesting, seems a lot of people in the 80's - 90's used them as well. I read a list of people that used Fender, Carvin, and 1 other behind the stage for cleans and some of the rhythm playing. They had Marshall, Ampeg, Peavey etc. on stage and used other amps for cleans piped into the cabs. I'v seen big lists of people using Carvin and Fender's before but didn't see them with the amps, now I know why. The only speaker Carvin ever made themselves I liked was the BR12, they used Magnalabs for awhile but I never played them. They used Hammond and Accutronics reverb tanks and they work great, I like them much better than the digital stuff. About the only grip I have with them is the switch to set where the 5-band EQ goes should have a center position so the EQ would be ON for both ch at the same time. And they weigh a ton, my combo is about 75lbs. and it's getting heavier every year.
     

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  11. guzzis3

    guzzis3 Well-Known Member

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    My X100b was a 100w head with the grey fuzzy covering. I can't remember the year sorry. I may have a picture somewhere. I understood the eq was active, I played with it a lot to try and get it working for me.

    I'd make a suggestion which might rev some people up but here goes. I think a lot of guitar players just want it to work. They want to plug in turn on and go. They will buy into a rig that is less versatile if it gives them right off a rythm and lead sound they want. That's why certain fenders and marshalls have always been popular,and why strats teles and LPs and ES335's are popular. You just pair them and go.

    I accept some people won't agree, but I think a lot of people feel safe with those pairings, or plain old fashioned just don't want to work for new sounds. Some of us would rather just be playing...

    I'm sure someone cleverer than me can wring good sounds out of an X100, but in the end I just couldn't be bothered. 2c...
     
  12. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom Moderator Staff Member

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    My problem w/ Carvin guitar amp's, especially the X-100, is the shrill presence that they had. Seemed like they were thin sounding & that upper bite gnawed on my ears...

    On the other hand, I like the JVM's presence. It sounds like the upper harmonics are excited, supercharged, but, they don't always have that piercing shrill. Only when some sort of magic is happening, you get some harmonics, but, they are only in passing & make things interesting...

    The X-100 seemed to always have the shrill, but no magic harmonics...
     
  13. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    I think your absolutely right, most people want simple, and most only care for one sound with slight variations. Marshall and Fender both shine at this, however this is why I don't care for either because I like completely different tones at times. For more British type stuff I bought a Ceriatone modded Plexi type amp that I find much more versatile than a std Marshall, and for more modern stuff I like the Mesa TC100. With those 3 amps there is not much you can't do, only bite is not all 3 will run it's best with the same speakers. I have 3 2-12" cabs I have to use. If your a 1 sound Marshall amp type guy you will probably hate the X100, the only Brit tone I can get is some 800's and Vox. With the Chupacabra I can get Plexi, 800 and more modern stuff as well. (Plexi & 800 tones are all I'm really after.) It took me about 2 years before I really knew how to work all the tone shaping in that amp and 30 years later I STILL find stuff I can use.
     
  14. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    There is a perfect example of how people hear tone, that is just backwards to what I hear. Unless I make it shrill I have ton's of tone with the X100, but my JVM I hated. The only ch I liked was the crunch and some of the cleans. OD 1 & 2 I could not even use, I read about them in a bunch of reviews but said "oh they can't be that bad", they were. After about 3 on the drive it was like white noise to me, waaay to over driven and modern sounding as well as very noisy. But, others may love it this way, which is great. I like a lot of versatility to be able to make all kinds of different tones with amps, not pedals. Others are happy with only 1 sound and will play it their whole life. A lot of people on here will buy 8 -10 Marshall amps and try to get the same sound out of them all, whatever floats your boat I guess. To me, out of the 10 one is going to sound the best, why do I need the other 9? I get a kick out of people saying the Carvins have no resale value, I paid about $650 for my combo 30 years ago and could sell it for $450 - $500 today. My JVM410 I paid $2800 for and a few months later I was lucky to get $1000 for it. But if it works for you, so be it.
     
  15. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom Moderator Staff Member

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    The thing though, is when you dialed it out, the sound was dull as a plastic razor. Uninspiring no matter which way you went w/ it. It still sounded thin.

    In a band I was playing in (bass), we did a live show on KNAC 105.5, in LA. They made us use their gear, which was all Carvin. The bass wasn't too bad, I was ok w/ it, but my guitarist was suffering through the whole set...

    I wish I knew someone that recorded that from the radio, but nobody ever fessed up...

    I had a friend that was a drummer, who had an X-100 at his place. He asked me to come over a few x's. That amp is where I got my idea about it. On a later date, I even brought my JMP-1 over to bypass the pre-amp, & it still sounded thin & shrill, so it was definitely the power amp &/or possible the speakers, but, I've heard the same complaints from other people.

    Even on here, old member Swede, bought one of their stereo power amp's & he had the same impression & sold it within a couple months...

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    Yeh, like I said to each his own. I couldn’t tell you what you had then, mine is all I can account for. I never liked any of the 6l6 ones, or without the hot rod boost. I can’t remember what my first one sounded like, I sent it back for a couple reasons, but the one I have now is far from shrill. But like I said the JVM didn’t do it for me at all. In fact when I first got it I thought it was broke and had Sweetwater send me another one. Unfortunately it was not broken. It’s to bad they didn’t use EL34’s until after ‘88 because those are the ones a lot of people remember and think all X100’s sound like. Even Marshall 800’s are not all great, some are much better than others, and I know a lot of people that think an 800 is an 800.
     
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  17. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom Moderator Staff Member

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    IIRC, it was the all tolex head, which would probably be pre-'88, before they used the outdoor carpet...
     

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