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Carvin DCM150

 
Solid state, stereo (two channel) rack-mount power amp.


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Good little medium output power amp.

Sound I use a variety of guitars, primarily my Ibanez RG with Bill Lawrence L500XL and PAF pro (neck).
* I use my Carvin with a 2x12 cabinet, ADA Mp-1 and TC G-Major.
* I mainly play rock, metal, shred type music.

So, to the actual "review." I generally use a 100 watt tube power amp for playing live, jamming, etc.. but was looking for something that could get a decent tone at lower volumes for at home while practicing. I tried some lower wattage tube power amps but they were still far too loud at the volume level they needed to be to sound ok. So after some research I decided I'd try out the Carvin.

The Carvin amp is pretty straightforward, two channels A and B, with inputs and outputs for each. I'm using it in a mono configuration so only plug in/out to channel A. Channel B is inactive with no input. Actual output wattage depends on what load you put on the amplifier, 4, 8 or 16 ohm. The maximum being 150 watts in bridged mono configuration, which I've never used.

I love the build of this unit, it just feels super solid in every way. The recessed volume controls for each channel are very sensitive and allow you dial in your output level very accurately, and being recessed into the front panel keeps them from accidentally getting bumped. There are plenty of lights on the front panel to keep you informed about what state the amp is in, and if it is sending signal out, or overloading.

As far as sound goes, I'll say up front that I prefer a tube power section for any real volume output. However, for low to medium levels this Carvin is great to my ears. There is an EQ shift button on the front that alters the EQ curve to add some lows and highs which I find really makes it sound beefy and warm at home levels. I've used it to jam with as well, and tend to turn that EQ button off when I'm using any real volume.

It is a very clean amp, it does not distort, at least not at any sane volume. I've never put to 100% so I can't swear it won't distort, but I've had it up there, 75% - 85% maybe. It doesn't add any coloration to your sound on its own, and is a very transparent reproduction of whatever signal you send through it.

As I mentioned, I've used it with a band on a couple of occasions and it easily provided enough volume through a 2x12 with 30 watt speakers.

This is a great unit for someone with a small rack setup, or someone wanting to run their Pod or something into a speaker cab. As transparent as it is, it would be much more appropriate to use for power with a modeling system than a guitar combo amp. In a pinch you could run vocals or whatever you like through it as well I suppose. I've only used it for guitar.



Reliability It is constructed very well, solid, all metal housing. According to the manual it is highly modular internally, and almost every part can be simply swapped out and replaced quite easily if it should ever break down. Carvin provides a complete list of all the components so they can be easily ordered. I would have absolutely no hesitation to use this to gig. In fact, it is my backup amp when I do gig.


Customer Support I have never dealt with Carvin directly.


Liked about it Good tone at lower volumes. Quality construction and price. Made in the USA.


Didn't like The only thing I could say that I don't particularly like is the fact that its solid state. This is not fault of the unit, just that my preference is for tube tone. This is a very clean sounding amp and doesn't add much warmth like a tube power amp would.


Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0

By blackspy
Dec 21, 2009
 
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