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  • Carvin TRx153 Mains - Wow!

    TRx153 Speaker Review (Part 1 - Initial Observations) Includes 2 addon updates since the original post.

    I ordered a pair of TRx153 speakers late Monday 12/05/05. Part of the reason I ordered them was because my son's band won the "Battle of the Bands" at the Resch Center (an 8000 seat arena) in Green Bay on 12/02/05. They will be playing some larger venues in the next couple of months and I wanted to get something that would push some air.

    The TRx153 speakers arrived nine days later Wednesday 12/14/05 in a snow storm. I'm not counting the 5th because I called the order in late that day.

    I'm am going to be as honest (non biased) as possible because I want this review to help anyone else who might be considering the TRx153 speaker.

    First off, I am not a professional sound guy, but I am learning a lot as I have been running a PA system for my son's band and I have been playing the guitar for about 42 years now. We have two Carvin Guitars (a CT6T and my son's DC127T). Both are excellent guitars.

    The first part of my review only covers testing the TRx153's in my basement, although it is 2400 sq. ft.. its not the Resch Center. I will be comparing the TRX153s to a pair of PAS RS1.2 which sound incredibly good and are incredibly expensive at $2190 each. Also, the first test only covers testing the speakers using a CD player as the sound source. I hope to give a second review (live sound) after I have had a chance to use the speakers at the Resch center.

    Review:

    The build quality appears excellent on the two speakers I received. The Black DuraTex covering feels tough (really tough).

    Each speaker weights 95 lbs. I can position them without any problems, however, if I were to move them any distance, I would want some help. I cannot say the same about the speakers I am going to compare them to which weight 125 lbs. The additional 30 pounds seems to make a huge difference when moving the PAS speakers. Anyway, 100 lbs. or less is where I would want to be for frequent gigging.

    Here is the equipment I used to test the speakers:

    Behringer PMX 5000 Powered Mixer.
    2 Behringer Euro 2500 Power Amps.

    I used one amp for the TRX153 (one channel per speaker for the two TRx153s)
    I used the other amp to run the two PAS RS-1.2 (again, one channel/speaker)

    The Behringer EuroPower 2500 is rated at 500 watts @ 8 ohm per channel
    The Behringer EuroPower 2500 is rated at 750 watts @ 4 ohm per channel

    I ran both power amps wide open for the PAS and the TRx.

    The Carvin TRx153 are rated at 600 watts on the web page (800 watts in the Carvin catalog) and I was quoted 860 watts by the sales person when the internal crossover is used. Anybody know for sure?

    The PAS are rated at 800 watts nominal 4 ohm with a caveat (that I did not understand in the spec sheet).

    After several hours of listening to different styles of music ranging from no bass to extreme bass through the TRX153 and the PAS, here is what I observed (other than my ears hurt and are still ringing and the neighbors wondering what the hell I was doing as my house sounded like it was going to explode)...

    The bottom line, after tweaking the mixer to boost the High Mids (25%) and the Low Mids (15%) the TRx153 speakers sounded very good. Boosting the mid range was critical when playing the CD to get a good sound.

    How do the Carvin TRx153s compare to the PAS RS-1.2? Well, the PAS are excellent. They sounded better when the EQ on the mixer was set flat. The PAS have excellent clarity.

    Something interesting happened however, when I played the Carvin TRx153s with a pair of 12" CGM mains. I slightly boosted the high and low mids and ran the TRx153 with the CGMs and had a excellent mix with the CDs I played. The CGM mains were set on top of the TRX153s.

    I am sufficiently impressed with the TRx153 speakers, that I will be keeping them.

    I also plugged in an AKG D880 mic, and sang a few of the oldies I use to do. I'll give you a run down on that and part two of the review after the boys band (Plan of Attack) plays the Resch Center for their New Years Eve gig.

    From my initial (limited) test in a live sound setting, I think it is going to be interesting to see how they perform versus a DJ mode.

    ============================
    Update 1

    I've had a few more days to experiment with the TRx153 speakers and I picked up a pair of EV Eliminator i speakers.

    Here is what happened over the last couple of days...

    I went to a local music store where they had a pair of EV Eliminator i speakers in excellent shape. In a sound room they have set up, I was able to compare the EV Eliminator i to some EV Gladiators, Peavey SP2, Peavey SP5, Peavey TLS and a few others. The EV speakers sounded the best to me (the Eliminator and Gladiator) which were so close in sound I could not tell any difference between them (with closed eyes).

    I bought the used (but in excellent condition) EV Eliminator i speakers. For $443 dollars I figured I could not go wrong. That was Sunday (yes they were open on Sunday).

    The EV Eliminator is also an excellent sounding speaker cab.

    So now I am comparing, 4 main speaker cabinets:

    CGM 12" Trap-112H-1
    EV Eliminator i
    PAS RS-1.2
    Carvin TRx153

    After rearranging the speaker cabinets so they all pointed directly at me while sitting at the mixer (and another 2 days of testing) I have come to the following conclusions:

    1). I am going to sell the CGM 12" Trap-112H-1 mains because I have no use for them. They could be used for vocal applications only, but I am going to mic everything from now on.

    2) The PAS RS-1.2 speakers are still incredible sounding, but are designed to be used for long throw applications. They are too heavy to gig with at 125 lbs. After lugging them around, my hands would be too sore to play the guitar. Being long throw, they would be less versatile for my needs.

    3) The EV Eliminator i are very nice sounding. They have a big cabinet which yields a full bass sound with good mids and highs. They are rather light at ~ 76 lbs. They can also be hoisted up (have a pole mount).

    4) Over the last three days of testing, the Carvin TRx153s have become my favorites. I have raised them 2 feet off the ground and pointed them directly at me, rather than angled past me. I have done this for the other speakers as well. With direct viewing, the mids no longer need the boost. The low and high mids come through fine. In fact, the TRx153s sound well balanced with the EQ set flat. Volume wise all I can say is wow! The TRx153 hang in there with the PAS RS-1.2s.

    So now I have a new dilemma.

    I was planning on having two configurations for the PA system.

    1st Configuration (small and medium small venues)

    800 watt powered PA with no power amps.
    CGM monitors (ARM-112V-1) that I would keep.
    EV Eliminator i speakers.
    Mic almost everything (probably not the drums).

    2nd Configuration (medium to medium large venues)

    800 watt powered PA with 2 2400 watt amps.
    CGM monitors (ARM-112V-1) that I would keep.
    EV Eliminator i speakers.
    Carvin TRx153 speakers.
    Mic everything (including the drums).

    But now I am thinking:

    Return the EV Eliminator i speakers and buy a second pair of TRx153s.

    1st Configuration (small and medium small venues)

    800 watt powered PA with (1) 2400 watt amp.
    CGM monitors (ARM-112V-1) that I would keep.
    2 Carvin TRx153 speakers.
    Mic almost everything (probably not the drums).


    2nd Configuration (medium to large venues)

    800 watt powered PA with (2) 2400 watt amps.
    CGM monitors (ARM-112V-1) that I would keep.
    4 Carvin TRx153 speakers.
    Mic everything (including the drums).

    So, WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK?


    Should I return the EV (I have 5 days yet) and buy another pair of TRX153s or keep the EV?


    The pair of used EV Eliminator i's only cost me $443.

    Another pair of TRx153s will cost me ~ $1300.

    ============================
    Update 2

    Here is the latest on my attempt to piece together a versatile PA system.

    I returned EV speakers, only because they were bulky. I decided they did not fit as well as I had hoped they would into the powerful and compact PA system I am trying to build. While the EV Eliminator speakers sounded great, the Carvin TRx153s sounded better at higher volumes. Because the Carvins sounded so similar to the EVs, I could EQ the mixer for either speaker and it sounded good with both. This was not true of the other speakers I tried.

    Before I returned the EV Eliminators, I called Carvin and ordered a pair of TRx152 mains/monitors. I thought they would compliment the TRx153 speakers, and could be used as mains for the smaller venues. I was assured I would get them in time for the New Years Eve gig at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

    So, the next day, (being down to a pair of CGM 200 Watt monitors and two TRx153s), I figured I'd better call Carvin and see if my order had shipped. Wow! Customer service tells me the TRx152s are out of stock until January. I wish the sales guy would have let me know. This put me in a tight spot as I had returned the EVs, sold the CGM mains I had on ebay and was planning on getting the TRx152s in time for New Years Eve gig.

    Carvin customer service comes through for me.

    I was not planning on purchasing a second pair of TRx153s just yet, but it looked like the only solution I could come up with in time for New Years (other than renting the PAS RS1.2 speakers again). The problem is, there was no way I could get the TRx153 speakers in time, seeing as though standard shipping takes 10 days. Carvin customer service upgraded shipping the TRx153 speakers to me using a 3 day service at N/C. I should get the TRx153 Tuesday (12/27/05).

    Now all I have to do is explain to my wife the additional $1300 dollar charge on my card. (Oh boy).

    Four TRx153 speaker cabs, two CGM monitors, two Europower 2500 power amps and an 800 watt powered mixer should move some air.

  • #2
    What??????? No subs???????? Instead of buying the second pair you should have got a pair of the matching subs and some power for them.

    Comment


    • #3
      I thought about getting the TRx118 subs instead of the second pair of TRx153s.

      However, I need to fill large spaces with sound, not thumping. The TRx153 have a great low end bass output.

      The TRx153s are three way speakers. I can get good bass without sacrificing other frequencies.

      These speakers will be used mainly for vintage and hard rock, and some metal.

      No rap

      I will have a better idea if subs are needed after the gig at the Resch Center.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Glyder
        What??????? No subs???????? Instead of buying the second pair you should have got a pair of the matching subs and some power for them.
        For an 8000 seat stadium, it's a toss-up

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by agedhorse
          For an 8000 seat stadium, it's a toss-up


          No rap.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you are happy with the TRX153 then purchasing two more would be a good way to go. When you did your testing you did it on axis or listening to the box straight on. In looking at the spec sheet for it I see it is a 60/40 degree box. ( At least in the high / mid range section )
            Although good for smaller shows where you can point them where you need them if you start to do larger shows you are going to need more than the 60 degree L/R coverage that one box will give you. Two boxes gives you 120 degrees L/R. Also you have added more volume in all freq ranges. Should you need subs later you can add them. I would go with 2-18' per side with the thought of having 2 2-18 subs per side to keep up with and make a good platform for the tops you have now.
            Of course this will be down the road as the band grows. Right now you have the coverage and spl to get started without bi-amping with dsp's and all the complex setups and expense that they require.
            When you use your new system in larger shows be sure to monitor the clip lights on your amps/board etc. Should they start flashing back down alittle and know this is all you have.

            Tell the wife its an investment. We know she won't believe it but its a blank statement showing her you think you have it going on.

            Welcome to the sound persons road. Hang on to your wallet. It could be a bumpy ride.

            Kindest Regards
            Dookietwo

            Comment


            • #7
              Dookietwo, thanks for the comments,

              and by the way, my wallet is already hurting from the guitars and amps I've bought lately.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Smitty-PNS
                Dookietwo, thanks for the comments,

                and by the way, my wallet is already hurting from the guitars and amps I've bought lately.
                Not too fond of that cab design,but it sounds like they work ok for you. I will say that Carvin has always mad a nice sturdy box. And subs would be a necessity in most cases,as well as using a pair of cabs/side,to get a proper spread,unless you are playing long,skinny rooms. I use 60 degree horns in my cabs too because I use 2/side.
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="mailto:tlbonehead@yahoo.com">tlbonehead@yaho o.com</a><br />
                <a href="http://www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy</a><br />
                -For Sale: <br />
                -set of GFS Dream 90s- gold and black pearl- $40 shipped in the cont. US<br />
                -(2) Celestion G12M-70 16 ohm guitar speakers in good condition $40 ea. + shipping.<br />
                - Vox VT15 Valvetronix very clean - $85 + shipping<br />
                - Hughes Kettner Edition Tube 20 (the early Voxy sounding one) Sounds &amp; looks good. $250 + shipping. <b>SOLD</b><br />
                - Crate Palomino V8 - 10&quot; Celestion - Very clean - on Ebay (sold)</div>

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have to say I'm very skeptical of your listening test for a few reasons: anyone that would combine two very different top boxes and consider using it as a final solution; using a powered mixer to AB speakers ($3K in speakers and a 300 dollar powered mixer?); after placing the 153's up a bit the mids and highs came thru better? Really to AB these you should be in outdoors or in a very large room, speakers will change response by distance from walls and such.

                  I really don't know why anyone would get a 2nd pair of TRX's without micing drums up. What's the point? For a vocal only PA the original CGM traps would have done fine, for full band with drums the TRX would be adaquate but lacking on the low end (sub 80 hz). I'd suggest (if possible) keeping your CGM wedges (did I just say that?) and adding either single 18" or dual 18" subs. Before doing that though get a decent mixer and 31 band EQ (not behr, do a search on this one). You'll find the sub will really fill out things and make the top boxes work much less that running full range. And micing drums will not be an issue, do it if you want (I suggest at least kick and snare) or run vox only w/o subs for smaller places.

                  p
                  <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.rock-bot.com" target="_blank">www.rock-bot.com</a><br />
                  Live-Band-Karaoke<br />
                  <br />
                  bassist and sound reinforcement</div>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Unalaska,

                    You made some good points about my testing. I was also surprised about the mids coming through better in my second testing session. I think the mids and highs were much more audible because I directed the speakers at me rather than past me. It was not because I raised them up a couple of feet.

                    The EV speakers were powered by the mixer, but the Carvins were powered by the power amp.

                    I never considered the PAS as a final solution. These were simply rented from a local music store and I used them for comparison to the Carvin TRx153s. Because the Carvin TRx153 sounded so good next to them, the PAS helped me make the decision to keep them.

                    Also the EV Eliminator i speakers sounded so good to me. I had my son switch between the EVs and the Carvins. I could not tell the difference in sound between the two. I think these two speaker types could easily be mixed and get a great sound. Like I said, setting the EQ so one set of speakers sounded good worked for the other and vice versa.

                    I would loved to A/B these outside, but being in Wisconsin in the middle of December, well this was not an option. Maybe I could take them over to the local high school gym.

                    When you state "anyone that would combine two very different top boxes and consider using it as a final solution" what speakers (I assume you meant speakers) are you referring to?

                    I'm sure I will be keeping the CGM wedges for awhile. My wallet dictates it...

                    My setup was this:

                    800 watt mixer - powering 2 CGM monitors (still have and will probably keep)
                    800 watt mixer - powering 2 CGM mains (initially tested and then sold them on ebay)
                    800 watt mixer - powering 2 EV Eliminator i (tested and returned to the music store)
                    Europower 2500 - powering PAS RS-1.2 (2 cabs - 1 per channel)
                    Europower 2500 - powering Carvin TRx153 (2 cabs - 1 per channel)

                    Now I will have:

                    Behringer PMH 5000 800 Watt mixer
                    Two CGM monitors (ARM-112V-1)
                    Two Behringer Europower 2500s
                    Four Carvin TRx153 860 watt mains

                    P.S. I probably would not have bought the Behringer mixer or power amps, but I did some work for a local music store and was "paid with barter arrangement" with the Behringer and CGM equipment.

                    Now that I have used the Behringer equipment for several gigs, I have to say it has worked very well. Hopefully it will continue to do so.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Smitty-PNS
                      Unalaska,

                      You made some good points about my testing. I was also suprised about the mids coming through better in my second testing session. I think the mids and highs were much more audible because I directed the speakers at me rather than past me. It was not because I raised them up a couple of feet.

                      The EV speakers were powered by the mixer, but the Carvins were powered by the poweramp.

                      I never considered the PAS as a final solution. These were simply rented from a local music store and I used them for comparison to the Carvin TRx153s. Because the Carvin TRx153 sounded so good next to them, the PAS helped me make the decision to keep them.

                      Also the EV Eliminator i speakers sounded so good to me. I had my son switch between the EVs and the Carvins. I could not tell the difference in sound between the two. I think these two speaker types could easily be mixed and get a great sound. Like I said, setting the EQ so one set of speakers sounded good worked for the other and vice versa.

                      I would loved to A/B these outside, but being in Wisconsin in the middle of December, well this was not an option. Maybe I could take them over to the local high school gym.

                      When you state "anyone that would combine two very different top boxes and consider using it as a final solution" what speakers (I assume you meant speakers) are you referring to?

                      I'm sure I will be keeping the CGM wedges for awhile. My wallet dictates it...

                      My setup was this:

                      800 watt mixer - powering 2 CGM monitors (still have and will probably keep)
                      800 watt mixer - powering 2 CGM mains (initally tested and then sold them on ebay)
                      800 Watt mixer - powering 2 EV Eliminator i (tested and returned to the music store)
                      Europower 2500 - powering PAS RS-1.2 (2 cabs - 1 per channel)
                      Europower 2500 - powering Carvin TRx153 (2 cabs - 1 per channel)

                      Now I will have:

                      Behringer PMH 5000 800 Watt mixer
                      Two CGM monitors (ARM-112V-1)
                      Two Behringer Europower 2500s
                      Four Carvin TRx153 860 watt mains
                      And still no subs! Its a shame that someone who lives in Wisconsin doesn't own any Sonic stuff!
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="mailto:tlbonehead@yahoo.com">tlbonehead@yaho o.com</a><br />
                      <a href="http://www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy</a><br />
                      -For Sale: <br />
                      -set of GFS Dream 90s- gold and black pearl- $40 shipped in the cont. US<br />
                      -(2) Celestion G12M-70 16 ohm guitar speakers in good condition $40 ea. + shipping.<br />
                      - Vox VT15 Valvetronix very clean - $85 + shipping<br />
                      - Hughes Kettner Edition Tube 20 (the early Voxy sounding one) Sounds &amp; looks good. $250 + shipping. <b>SOLD</b><br />
                      - Crate Palomino V8 - 10&quot; Celestion - Very clean - on Ebay (sold)</div>

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        tlbonehead,

                        Are you picking on me?

                        By the way, are you having balmy weather over there in MN?

                        If so, be sure to put some sun block on...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Smitty-PNS
                          tlbonehead,

                          Are you picking on me?

                          By the way, are you having balmy weather over there in MN?

                          If so, be sure to put some sun block on...
                          Just in good fun. Yes,its been pleasant. BTW,our Packers cost me a chance to win my fantasy FB league with that sewage-infested Monday night game against the Ravens. And I was serious about the Sonic stuff. Its home-grown for you and great bang/buck.
                          <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="mailto:tlbonehead@yahoo.com">tlbonehead@yaho o.com</a><br />
                          <a href="http://www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy</a><br />
                          -For Sale: <br />
                          -set of GFS Dream 90s- gold and black pearl- $40 shipped in the cont. US<br />
                          -(2) Celestion G12M-70 16 ohm guitar speakers in good condition $40 ea. + shipping.<br />
                          - Vox VT15 Valvetronix very clean - $85 + shipping<br />
                          - Hughes Kettner Edition Tube 20 (the early Voxy sounding one) Sounds &amp; looks good. $250 + shipping. <b>SOLD</b><br />
                          - Crate Palomino V8 - 10&quot; Celestion - Very clean - on Ebay (sold)</div>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Oh, Yea... the Packers...

                            Well, I'm a fair weather fan, and we haven't had fair weather for quite awhile now.

                            It has been fun/interesting working with the sound stuff. I don't know much about it, but I am learning more as I muddle through.

                            You know... when I was playing out back in my high school/college days (1970 - 1976), all I had to do was plug my Les Paul into my '65 Fender Bassman along with a $20 1/4" mic I bought a Radio Shack. And "Proud Mary keep on rolling"... wasn't. vintage rock

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Smitty-PNS
                              Oh, Yea... the Packers...

                              Well, I'm a fair weather fan, and we haven't had fair weather for quite awhile now.

                              It has been fun/interesting working with the sound stuff. I don't know much about it, but I am learning more as I muddle through.

                              You know... when I was playing out back in my high school/college days (1970 - 1976), all I had to do was plug my Les Paul into my '65 Fender Bassman along with a $20 1/4" mic I bought a Radio Shack. And "Proud Mary keep on rolling"... wasn't. vintage rock
                              You sayin' times have changed?
                              <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="mailto:tlbonehead@yahoo.com">tlbonehead@yaho o.com</a><br />
                              <a href="http://www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy</a><br />
                              -For Sale: <br />
                              -set of GFS Dream 90s- gold and black pearl- $40 shipped in the cont. US<br />
                              -(2) Celestion G12M-70 16 ohm guitar speakers in good condition $40 ea. + shipping.<br />
                              - Vox VT15 Valvetronix very clean - $85 + shipping<br />
                              - Hughes Kettner Edition Tube 20 (the early Voxy sounding one) Sounds &amp; looks good. $250 + shipping. <b>SOLD</b><br />
                              - Crate Palomino V8 - 10&quot; Celestion - Very clean - on Ebay (sold)</div>

                              Comment

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