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Carvin

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by ProfessorAire, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. ProfessorAire

    ProfessorAire Member

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    Okay, I've been running sound now for two + years, ranging from plays, to ballets, to auctions, to full fledged 'rock' concerts. A group of my friends and I have been putting on concerts ourselves for now over a year, and we're just about ready to finalize and grab a business license and start our company for real. Right now we're in the market for our own sound system, and I was wondering if anybody has an opinion on Carvin electronics and speakers? Good/bad/okay?
    From my experiences with a small 16 channel Carvin board and an amp and four two-way 15" mains I can't complain. In fact, that system has run exceptionally well for me through auctions, ballets, plays, and the like. The thing is, if I'm planning on forking out close to twenty grand on equipment I'm going to be cautious. So I'm just wondering if anybody has any horror or rave stories about Carvin's equipment.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    FWIW, Carvin gear is pretty decent stuff to use. Their power amps used to have a lot of problems, but that was a long while ago and I think they have improved them since (Power ratings used to be considerably less then what they stated--and thus you had mismatching to speakers and blown horns and distortion etc). I have heard good things about Carvin gear for base equipment--their consoles are decent and I'm glad to see someone looking at gear aside from Mackie. I personally haven't used Carvin gear in a while. When I did--aside from their power amp issues, everything worked fine with no problem. If I may point out tho, My question for you to consider if you are starting a PA business, is are you looking at supplying or stocking pro sound gear to meet touring or band tech riders--because you should consider that Carvin is not usually rider friendly at all, and if your goal is to open up a shop that will supply to regionals and nationals, then you might want to consider buying higher end gear that will be more acceptable by some of the more picky folks. If you are just supplying to local groups and events that will have specs to what you have and what you design--Carvin gear should work very well for you.


    -wolf
     
  3. ProfessorAire

    ProfessorAire Member

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    Thanks for the insight.
    As for what we're doing, mostly we're running shows that we put together ourselves, picking the venue, the bands, the time, etc... However, we do want to be able to recoup our investment by hiring out to other groups. I have good contacts in my area and for the most part they aren't too picky about the gear as long as it 'sounds good' and 'goes smoothly.' I have potential opportunities at running a few upcoming graduation ceremonies in a local amphitheatre, for example. (Nothing tremendously huge, mostly just area micing the band, and providing a few microphones for the speakers.)
    You say their consoles are 'decent,' but do you know enough to be able to compare them directly with another brand? I wouldn't touch Mackie unless you gave it to me, but the Carvin 40 channel 8 bus touring board is $3000... I could chalk $2700 more onto the price (according to the last estimate I've received from dealers) and get the A&H GL3300-840A... Is it worth it to do that? I don't want to put $3000 into a board only to find out that it isn't going to perform.

    Thanks again, and I'll probably post more questions as I think of 'em...
     
  4. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    Well the Carvin vs the Allen & Heath...I have to say that the Carvin is packed with a lot of quality components & features just like the A&H, with a few slight differences. I guess it would depend if you felt those differences were worth the extra $$ for the A&H.... While the Carvin and A&H EQ's are nearly identical in features and close enough on the fixed frequency's to be negligible, the differences between the consoles comes into play in the specs and the smaller features.. For example--if you put the two side by side and compared overall "noise" (empty channel turned all the way up for hiss), you would find the A&H a quieter console. For features of consideration is the fact that the A&H offers phantom power on each channel, while the Carvin offers the phantom in groups of 8 channels. Thats can be a key issue--cause if your phanton fails on one channel on the Carvin--it effects 8 channels total in that block, while on the A&H it only effects that one channel, making for a quick re-patch. Both are gridded out in blocks of 8 channels--you're not going to find individual channel strips on a console for under $30K--so thats not an option. The GL3300 also offers a 12x2 matrix option--which can be a handy feature to have on a console for a couple of extra mixes or outputs. Also the A&H has signal indicator lights per channel, instead of just a peak over-load light which can be helpful to know that a channel has signal coming in before you unmute it, plus it gives you some eye candy to watch during the show. ;) Both consoles have the usual gain, phase & assign button features, but check out the individual features you find on the A&H--they are comperable to more higher-end consoles. Both use ALPS faders 100mm--very nice faders. :) And both use external power supplies (suggest you have a back up power supply too--always go dual!!). The talkback function on the A&H allows you to go to each aux separately as when doing monitors. A final consideration--the warranty... Carvin's warranty is 1 year, while the A&H is I believe a 3 year warranty (check that with A&H--but they used to be 3 years and I cannot imagine they would change that). That could be a big consideration for a purchase of this magnitude. If after a year of good hard road use--do you want a console that is still under warranty for another two years, or one that you own and are stuck with? Also--check the warranty's on both--see what exactly they cover and what they do not...AND is the power supply covered in that warranty or is it a separate warranty--and does that cover damage done to both components??

    Usually when I shop for a console, I like to stand at them for choices, and see if it is spread out to the features and things that are in my reach and easy to find and the features that I need or want to have available. I also like to get a ""feel" for the desk--run the faders, run the knobs...basically molest it ;) and see which console "feels" more durable and sturdy to me for taking a lot of use.

    You will probably be dropping your new console in a good sturdy roadcase for protection--only thing that strikes me of concern is that the Carvin is fan cooled--which begs me to ask the question of why and where are the fans and how noisy are they. Sure--most higher end consoles have some kind of cooling and most are darn near silent, but you need to make sure these fans are not blocked by cables and your roadcase parts for it to be effective. I've seen fans on some consoles be UNDER the console--which does SQUAT sitting in a foam lined roadcase.

    I'm not going to tout either console over the other--I would just comment for you to check out the features and details/differences of both, and ask yourself as to why one does something and the other doesn't--and will that effect me later on in my mixing and what I may run into. Will you ever run into a situation where you needed two more mixes and wish you had that matrix 12x2...or need to be able to route your mixes out of the groups to various areas or amps or delay devices? or need to have that A&H "center" mono mix to send to a video truck cause all the auxes are used up? Both are excellent consoles in features...again for my money, I would suggest you check out the features, the warranty & service, and the "unknown" factor you may run into down the line and if your mixer can handle it for outputs or inputs.

    hope this helps you decide and consider your options....

    -wolf
     
  5. ProfessorAire

    ProfessorAire Member

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    It does, thanks for the run down... I think I might have to look into Carvin's 10-day trial program and see how it works.
     
  6. ProfessorAire

    ProfessorAire Member

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    Okay, I guess I'll broaden this topic a bit... Currently at my church I work with Shure-SM58s and a few Audio Technica microphones that I can't currently remember the names of. I like the quality of the 58s, but they're also not a cheap mic. I know that you have to shell out decent amounts of money for quality hardware, but I was wondering if anybody has any suggestions for any cheaper microphones. I'm specifically wondering about the SP series of Nady mics. I've got an SP-5, and recently I used it for the first time on a stage application, for my Sr. High Youth Group's Worship... My friend who lead the worship vocally has an incredibly low voice, (so low that at times it sneers at the crossover, which is set at about 160hz) and I was actually pleased with how it handled his voice. It seemed to add a bit of warmth and tone to his vocals, but I have yet to use it on a female vocalist or a higher toned male. This week's worship I plan on having one of our female vocalists use it, so I'll have the opportunity to listen to it, but I was still wondering about other people's opinions.
    Shout out if you've got any opinions, or horror stories, or anything...

    Once again, Thanks in advance.
     
  7. seanb

    seanb Member

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    Check out the Shure PG-58. Same idea as the 58 with a slightly lower build quality. Seems to most ears to have very near identical sound qualities, though I can't speak for this personally.
     
  8. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    What Seanb said--the Shure PG's--virtually the same mic but almost half the cost and the sound quality is nearly the same as the SM series--so much so that you have to really listen to hear the subtle differences. Also--Audio Technica PRO series mic's are fairly nice mic's to use most times as I recall..and they have a wide range of mics to choose from. Not sure about the prices anymore on them tho. Some of the Nady mic's aren't bad sounding when they work..but for dependability and durability, I have had bad experience with Nady and their wiring.

    Question for you--how come your x-over point is at 160hz? Thats a bit high for most low/subs x-over point. just curious...

    -wolf
     
  9. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    That's because unlike Shure, their model numbers are all like this:

    ATW890FS-WEA

    ... yeah.

    Never used an SP-5, but I'll note that CBS used what looked like a BRAND FREAKIN NEW SM-58 as the announcement mic for the post-Superbowl ceremony.

    Seriously, I've never seen a pop grille look that shiny or non-bent...
     
  10. ProfessorAire

    ProfessorAire Member

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    Our crossover point is now set, and I'm not allowed to touch it anymore. I had been experimenting with different x-over points and seeing how it changed the sound of our room. Before I even went in to take a look at our crossover the first time, the techs who came before me had 'accidentally' (I question that though) pushed the x10 button, setting it to crossover at somewhere way higher than it was supposed to. In essence when I ran test signals through just our subs the tones would have virutally the same level from ~50hz all the way through to around ~12khz... So I started experimenting, and then another tech (one of the adult/Sunday morning techs) came along, took some ideas of mine, slapped his name on things, did a few stupid things that caused me to lose my EQ curve out of our SABINE unit (I was willing to commit murder after that one) and told me not to touch the x-over anymore... I think I need to talk to our pastor about it again and get his permission to resume my work on things.
    Well, that's a long answer to your question but that's pretty much it. Also, our subs are JBL 'low frequency loudspeakers.' Honest to God, that's what they say in the specs, and their 'internal crossover' is set to 250hz. (I believe it is 250; if I'm wrong it is at least very close to 250...)

    Thanks for the heads-up on Nady's wiring, and the tips on the PG's... Once again, I'm thankful I found this place... Most helpful.
     
  11. The_Terg

    The_Terg Active Member

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    ATW890FS-WEA

    ATW - Microphone series
    890 - Microphone model #
    FS - capsule type? I know that the ESW series have the M type capsule, while the AT series have their own types of capsules.
    WEA - usually something minor like the build signature or a slight variation on the model.

    This is what I get from working around TONS of audio-technia mics. ;) The company I work at usually uses ESW 935 mics with the M capsules, but there are a few AT's lying around. the AT are particularly durable mics, if you apply a little bit of minimum strength lock-tite to hold the capsule in place. Infortunately, the freq. responce aint great....
     
  12. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    Ahh--JBL...that explains things a bit.... JBL subs usually set higher. However it is most notable that many of their low freq speaker drivers cut off at 100hz and let the box do the rest for stuff from 50hz on up. Wierd designs...but effective in many environments. If you have the specs--check out the frequency response pattern for your boxes...cause in my experience a setting over 120hz is high for a sub cabinet point. Whats is your crossover if I might ask (provided you want to continue the conversation)? Is it active like a mini-drive or DBX..or a fixed passive one like the Rane...cause your slopes also can effect how things divide and overlap. Just curious.... I share your pain--i hate it when I work a long time to get things set and someone else comes in and changes things or wipes it and convinces everyone they are right when they may not be...

    wolf
     
  13. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    I did make the number up, I'd be surprised if it actually is a real one.

    Upland High where we did CETA has a vast inventory of A-T mics, the resident SD said when he spoke to the A-T rep at some show recently and described how many they have, A-T just about gave them free gear... it's a lot. Let me see if I can find the list.

     
  14. ProfessorAire

    ProfessorAire Member

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    I don't have a model name/number for our crossover right now, though I'll make a note to grab the manual back from the church when I go there for Jr. High Youth Group, tomorrow. I'll also grab the names of the subs and write those down; heck, I'll even whip out a ladder and see about figuring out our blasted main speakers... Maybe I'll even draw up a quick diagram of what our room looks like and what the speaker set up looks like. (It'll make every one of you shiver with horror...)
    To give a quick description of that: Our church building is a converted bowling alley, so the main sanctuary is very wide and about 1/2 as deep as wide. It's got two brick walls on the sides, and then sheetrock drywall at the back. (Though one side of the back wall does have some attempt at sound absorption material.) The ceiling is something like 25' high. Anyway, two glulams span the sanctuary from brick wall to brick wall; one is right above the very edge of the stage, and the second is something like 23 feet into the house. Each beam has 5 JBL (don't know names for these, seeing as how they're all on the beams and I've never looked) speakers mounted at intervals across the room and pointed straight back and down at an angle.
    Needless to say, it functions okay (though only okay) as a 'sermon system' but when it comes to music... Yech. Dead zone after dead zone makes this one of the most frustrating systems I've ever worked with.
    So I guess I'll grab some specs on those speakers and throw 'em up here... Tomorrow.
     
  15. DMXtools

    DMXtools Active Member

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    I'll second the motion on the Shure PG series. The biggest difference I've been able to detect between a PG58 and an SM58 is a little more handling noise from the PG... still quieter than some higher-priced mics I've worked with. It's probably not quite as "bulletproof" as the SM as far as being dropped, stepped on or thrown across the stage, either.

    John
     
  16. ProfessorAire

    ProfessorAire Member

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    Location:
    Enumclaw, Washington USA
    Crossover: DBX Project 1 223 (powered 2 or 3 way)

    Mains:
    Either
    1: JBL MS28 (60Hz - 19Khz / 45Hz - 20Khz [-10db] 300watts @ 16ohms)
    OR
    2: JBL MS26 (65Hz - 19Khz / 50Hz - 20Khz [-10db] 400watts @ 16ohms)

    I'm not sure exactly which one our mains are, they look like they might be large enough to hold dual 8"s (the MS28) but it wouldn't surprise me if they were the MS26 model. (Dual 6"s)

    Subs:

    MS125S (46Hz - 175Hz / 35Hz - 250Hz [-10db] 600watts @ 4 ohms)


    There y'go, that's what we have. Remember that we have 2 subs on either side of the stage, and 5 mains on each beam for a total of 10...
     
  17. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Thanks for the post.. Hmm, seems like your system is a non-digital processed system using an analog X-over. Most of those processors use a fixed 12db, 18db or sometimes a 24db slope. I think the dbx is 24db Link-Riley slope. Given the specs of your speakers, I would still venture in saying your x-over point is still a bit too high as your mains are capable of much lower fuller response..even tho they are 8" or 10" woofers. But it would also depend on its sound..and since I am not there I cannot help ya much further then to say I would still drop the Xover down to at least 120hz to give your mains a fuller sound and response and let your subs do a sub's job. Just my opinion...but then you may listen to your system and it may sound good at this setting--it would be up to you to decide that. I can only note what I see based on the spec's....

    hope this helps..

    -wolf
     
  18. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    It is. Few of the dbx analog xovers aren't.
     
  19. ProfessorAire

    ProfessorAire Member

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    Thanks!
    For Sr. High Youth Group today... (is it still today... <checks clock> yeah, it is still today) I went back to the amp box and made my usual changes to the wiring and cranked the crossover down considerably. I am going to walk this Sunday's tech (who happens to be one of my youth leaders) through the changes that I make to the system and he might keep them for his weekends. Which'd be nice.
    Even if he does though, the other techs will want things 'their' way, so for the time being I'll be making crossover changes every Tuesday and Thursday. It isn't that I mind doing that so much as the fact that I'm starting to have so many changes that I do to the system every week that it is sometimes hard to remember them all to change them back.
    Oh well...
    By the way: crossed over at a lower (I think I hit about 120Hz) frequency things sounded better, though I also had the benefit of two Yamaha speakers from the local Young Life office that I plugged into the mix and set up on stage left and right. That helps the clarity of the sound a lot. I will probably be doing adjusting of my EQ curve again with the crossover lower, but you know how it goes. Whatever it takes to make it sound good...
     

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