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  • My Carvin BX1200 Review

    I have a 15/6.5 cab from Low Down Sound that can handle lots of power, so I needed a head that could push at least 500 watts @ 8 ohms. I ended up going with a Carvin BX1200 which can push 800 watts bridged @ 8 ohms. I've been kinda quiet about it because I was afraid you guys would judge me... :cry: Anyway, here is my review after having it a few weeks.

    Features : 10
    Features galore on this amp. Semi-parametric and 9-band graphic EQ sections. Footswitchable mute, graphic eq, and effects loop (any two of those three). Crossover can be used if using two cabs (Lo and Hi). Contour, Drive, and Compressor controls. XLR output includes Pre/Post EQ option as well as Ground/Lift. Tuner output on back of amp is a nice feature because I can plug directly from my bass into the amp's Input jack. Weighs about 23 pounds without the case (included), and the head is rackmountable. As for power...

    - RMS 8 ohm 275W/ch, 4 ohm 400W/ch, 2ohm 600W/ch
    - 8 ohms Bridge 800W, 4 ohms Bridge 1200W


    Sound Quality : 9
    I've been using this amp with my Yamaha BB3000MA bass, which is a passive bass equipped with P/J pickups. The cab is a Low Down Sound 15/6.5 featuring an Eminence Kappa Lite 3015LF 15" and 18 Sound 6ND410 6.5" midrange driver. My band plays mostly Rock covers ranging from Sabbath and Zeppelin to Poison and J. Geils Band to STP and Pearl Jam to Finger Eleven and Theory of a Deadman. Add a little Blues, Funk, R&B, etc. and there ya go. Overall, I'd say this amp is working very well for my needs. I'd call this amp a bit bright with a lot of clarity especially when compared to my Peavey Pro Bass 500 (less clarity with a bit more low end). Some might find it a bit harsh or shrill at 1kHz (upper mids), but, again, there are plenty of EQ options if you need to cut those frequencies. In my band's mix, this amp seems to sit just about perfectly with minimal EQ. In fact, most of the time, any EQing I do is simply for personal taste based on which song I'm playing. Boost at about 500Hz for more aggressive Rock tone, Boost at 200Hz for a bit more low end when I don't need to sound so aggressive, and I generally use the Drive control dimed. The Drive just adds more harmonic content which makes it sound a little gritty. I wouldn't call it overdrive or distortion at all. I engage the graphic EQ via the optional footswitch when I need a good Slap tone. The Contour control can also be used if that is preferred. I usually only use the Contour control when I need just a little for a song like "Santeria" by Sublime.

    Reliability : No Opinion
    I do have a backup amp just because you never know. Plus, I've only had this amp for about a week, so this is a preliminary review. I have used it for two gigs so far, and no problems so far. It does seem to get a bit warm after my 4 hours gigs, though.

    Customer Support : No Opinion
    I haven't had to use Customer Support. They do respond to e-mails, although it takes about 2 days. Their online forum can be somewhat helpful.

    Overall Rating : 9
    I've been playing for about 14 years, and I'm using the gear I already mentioned. I have a 5-string coming soon, so maybe I'll post an update in a few months and mention how the amp sounds with those additional lower notes. For the price, this amp has some amazing features and lots of headroom. I run it bridged into a single 8 ohm cab, and it's way more than I'll probably ever need. I love the head's versatility. It might be better if they could make it a bit less shrill at about 1 kHz. Maybe they could also add a tube preamp with a Gain/Overdrive control. Comparing it to my Peavey Pro Bass 500 head, the BX1200 is brighter with more clarity, but it sits quite well in a mix. The Peavey doesn't have the same clarity and has a bit more low end.

    Any questions?

    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="green">Yamaha BB3000MA (Green Satin)</font><br />
    <font color="brown">Hanewinckel Vintage Draken 5-string</font> <b>Kindness approved!!!</b><br />
    Turbo Tuner ST-200<br />
    Crown XLS 1500 Power Amp<br />
    BBE BMAX Pre<br />
    ART Pro Channel Pre<br />
    Peavey Pro Bass 500 Head<br />
    Low Down Sound 15/6.5 Cab<br />
    Zoom B2.1u</div>

  • #2
    That's a hell of a powerful combo there man!!! What other amps are you familar enough with to give comparisons to?
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Originally Posted by Kindness Ender_rpm makes a move for most intelligent life form on HCBF.</div>

    Comment


    • #3
      That's a hell of a powerful combo there man!!! What other amps are you familar enough with to give comparisons to?


      I mentioned the Peavey Pro Bass 500 already, but I've also owned an Eden WT400. The Eden lacked a control that could add any sort of "grit", and, of course, it wasn't nearly as powerful as the Carvin. The Carvin is probably still the brightest of the bunch, but I do like how it sits in the mix with my LDS cab. The Eden would likely be in the middle of the pack. It had clarity, but it probably didn't have the low end the Peavey tends to have when set flat.

      I played outside on Wednesday night. My rig had to carry the patio, although I wouldn't call it a high volume situation. Anyway, I had the Drive at 8 (3 o'clock), the Power Amp 1 at 6 (1 o'clock), and the Master was just above 2 (9 o'clock). So far, my Master is usually between 2 and 3 but usually closer to 2. And I can always turn up the Power Amp 1 volume if needed.
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="green">Yamaha BB3000MA (Green Satin)</font><br />
      <font color="brown">Hanewinckel Vintage Draken 5-string</font> <b>Kindness approved!!!</b><br />
      Turbo Tuner ST-200<br />
      Crown XLS 1500 Power Amp<br />
      BBE BMAX Pre<br />
      ART Pro Channel Pre<br />
      Peavey Pro Bass 500 Head<br />
      Low Down Sound 15/6.5 Cab<br />
      Zoom B2.1u</div>

      Comment


      • #4
        Pretty much the first and only Carvin I've ever gassed for.
        <div class="signaturecontainer">Dingwall ABZ 5<br />
        Pedals: GM modded BBE OptoStomp, TC Polytune, FEA Dual Band Distortion<br />
        Markbass SD1200 -&gt; LDS 15/6 fEarful</div>

        Comment


        • #5
          Pretty much the first and only Carvin I've ever gassed for.


          Yeah, it just had the features I wanted at the right price. So far, so good.

          As for the "shrillness" at 1kHz... At first, I cut at that frequency, but, lately, I haven't needed to cut. Maybe it forced me to clean up my fretting hand technique a little bit. :facepalm:
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="green">Yamaha BB3000MA (Green Satin)</font><br />
          <font color="brown">Hanewinckel Vintage Draken 5-string</font> <b>Kindness approved!!!</b><br />
          Turbo Tuner ST-200<br />
          Crown XLS 1500 Power Amp<br />
          BBE BMAX Pre<br />
          ART Pro Channel Pre<br />
          Peavey Pro Bass 500 Head<br />
          Low Down Sound 15/6.5 Cab<br />
          Zoom B2.1u</div>

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice. I like the looks of their new micro head, just have NO justification for new gear right now
            <div class="signaturecontainer">Originally Posted by Kindness Ender_rpm makes a move for most intelligent life form on HCBF.</div>

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah, it just had the features I wanted at the right price. So far, so good.

              As for the "shrillness" at 1kHz... At first, I cut at that frequency, but, lately, I haven't needed to cut. Maybe it forced me to clean up my fretting hand technique a little bit. :facepalm:


              Yeah, my IAmp is the same way combined with this cab. I've gradually been reducing my 1khz cut as my technique improves (always practicing with the amp flat).
              <div class="signaturecontainer">Dingwall ABZ 5<br />
              Pedals: GM modded BBE OptoStomp, TC Polytune, FEA Dual Band Distortion<br />
              Markbass SD1200 -&gt; LDS 15/6 fEarful</div>

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't have any questions, but I wanted to say thanks for the review. It's in quite a bit more detail than we normally get around here, such as "Hey I just got amp XXX. It's da schiznit, man. You should get one, too."
                HCBF Mesa Brigade Member #2

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't have any questions, but I wanted to say thanks for the review. It's in quite a bit more detail than we normally get around here, such as "Hey I just got amp XXX. It's da schiznit, man. You should get one, too."


                  Cool, thanks, and no problem.

                  BTW, I've had the amp for a few weeks now, and I wouldn't really change anything in my review. Although, I don't necessarily have the Drive dimed anymore, it's still on 8, so close enough.
                  <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="green">Yamaha BB3000MA (Green Satin)</font><br />
                  <font color="brown">Hanewinckel Vintage Draken 5-string</font> <b>Kindness approved!!!</b><br />
                  Turbo Tuner ST-200<br />
                  Crown XLS 1500 Power Amp<br />
                  BBE BMAX Pre<br />
                  ART Pro Channel Pre<br />
                  Peavey Pro Bass 500 Head<br />
                  Low Down Sound 15/6.5 Cab<br />
                  Zoom B2.1u</div>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I own the same amp and drive a pair of Dr. Bass 12" cabs in bi-amp mode (2 x 275w per channel @ 8 ohms each).
                    I really need to try running my cabs in series for the full 1200w but the situation hasn't come up to warrant that much power, plus I love the way the bi-amping sounds with my 112LF cab and one 1260 3-way cab.

                    Hey B7770, is the picture accurately portray your settings when you play? (except for master of course).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hey B7770, is the picture accurately portray your settings when you play? (except for master of course).


                      Generally, I start with Drive at 8 and Contour at 0. Then the EQ is generally flat, and the graphic EQ is NOT engaged. Power Amp 1 is generally on 6, and I adjust Master volume accordingly.

                      The graphic EQ is engaged when I need a Slap tone, and my current graphic EQ is slightly different than pictured.

                      Other than that, I might boost about 3db at around 200Hz (some low mid presence) or 500Hz (more aggressive fingerstyle sound) depending on the song, then I adjust the tone control and pickup selector on my bass as needed.

                      I don't touch the Contour control much really.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="green">Yamaha BB3000MA (Green Satin)</font><br />
                      <font color="brown">Hanewinckel Vintage Draken 5-string</font> <b>Kindness approved!!!</b><br />
                      Turbo Tuner ST-200<br />
                      Crown XLS 1500 Power Amp<br />
                      BBE BMAX Pre<br />
                      ART Pro Channel Pre<br />
                      Peavey Pro Bass 500 Head<br />
                      Low Down Sound 15/6.5 Cab<br />
                      Zoom B2.1u</div>

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I was getting popping noises when using the Graphic EQ and Mute switches on my BX1200. When I had the amp turned up to gig level volume, the popping was quite loud. If I turned the volume all the way down, I didn't hear anything. In other words, I could have lived with it...

                        Anyway, I contacted Carvin to let them know about my issues, and the guy suggested shipping it into Carvin Service, so I did. The package was delivered on Tuesday, and Tuesday night I received an e-mail from Carvin with tracking info for my "order". I noticed that the package was about 10 lbs. lighter than the package I sent them, so I'm guessing Carvin must have shipped me a brand new BX1200 (which are now lighter than the older models). It's due to be delivered on Monday the 2nd.

                        I just thought I'd post about a possible positive Carvin Customer Service experience. :blah:

                        I'm also glad I have a backup amp so I could do this without worrying about it.
                        <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="green">Yamaha BB3000MA (Green Satin)</font><br />
                        <font color="brown">Hanewinckel Vintage Draken 5-string</font> <b>Kindness approved!!!</b><br />
                        Turbo Tuner ST-200<br />
                        Crown XLS 1500 Power Amp<br />
                        BBE BMAX Pre<br />
                        ART Pro Channel Pre<br />
                        Peavey Pro Bass 500 Head<br />
                        Low Down Sound 15/6.5 Cab<br />
                        Zoom B2.1u</div>

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Awesome dude. I was totally jazzed to hear you might be snagging a lighter Bx1200 That's going to be like, a 65lb 800w combo. Monstrous.

                          Let us know how the new one turns out - if it's got all the bugs worked out I might just snag one too.
                          <div class="signaturecontainer">Dingwall ABZ 5<br />
                          Pedals: GM modded BBE OptoStomp, TC Polytune, FEA Dual Band Distortion<br />
                          Markbass SD1200 -&gt; LDS 15/6 fEarful</div>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Awesome dude. I was totally jazzed to hear you might be snagging a lighter Bx1200 That's going to be like, a 65lb 800w combo. Monstrous.

                            Let us know how the new one turns out - if it's got all the bugs worked out I might just snag one too.


                            Let's see. The new head with the case Carvin includes is 25 lbs (about 7 lbs. lighter than the older model). The case is about 9 lbs. I think, so that means the head itself is about 16 lbs. I think my cab weighs in the lower to mid 40s. My combo will weigh around 60 lbs. Nice! :thu:

                            I'll post again fo sho.

                            When Don's supplier gets more 6ND410 speakers in stock, he'll have one shipped to me. Here's a pic of my current 6ND410. Needless to say, it was causing some buzzing at higher volumes...

                            <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="green">Yamaha BB3000MA (Green Satin)</font><br />
                            <font color="brown">Hanewinckel Vintage Draken 5-string</font> <b>Kindness approved!!!</b><br />
                            Turbo Tuner ST-200<br />
                            Crown XLS 1500 Power Amp<br />
                            BBE BMAX Pre<br />
                            ART Pro Channel Pre<br />
                            Peavey Pro Bass 500 Head<br />
                            Low Down Sound 15/6.5 Cab<br />
                            Zoom B2.1u</div>

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oh good lord, what did you do??!?!
                              <div class="signaturecontainer">Originally Posted by Kindness Ender_rpm makes a move for most intelligent life form on HCBF.</div>

                              Comment

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