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QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
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QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:44 pm Reply with quote  
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  Torin Opper
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I'm trying to decide between acquiring a QSC PLX 2402 and a Carvin DCM1540L.

I want a power amp that will give me 1000w+ bridged at 8 ohms. Alot of the QSC PLX1602 (or 2402) amps I am seeing are older and I can get a brand new Carvin DCM1540L for virtually the same price as a used QSC PLX 2402.

I have a strong suspicion that the QSC line will be more reliable and more "robust" (for lack of a better word) then the Carvin stuff. But then again the Carvins are 7LBS lighter and much shallower in depth.

I would be using this power amp for loud gigs with my fEARful 15/6 bass cab and it will also see use as a PA amp.

Given the above, which way would you go?
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:18 pm Reply with quote  
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  seprowling
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Welcome to the forum Torin, I have owned QSC and Carvin and own Carvin DCM2000Ls now. If it were me I would get the Carvin and have a new amp with a warranty if I could get either of them for the same money. Now, if you want someone to tell you the Carvin is as good or better than the QSC, I am not going to do that. That would be like comparing a Used BMW car to a new Volkswagen. Each will get the job done but it is up to you to vote with your money. For me I personally have owned in the past 25yrs over 30 power amps in 4 different PA systems and I never had a failure with any of them other than a blown fuse caused because someone (me) wiring up a power distro incorrectly because I assumed a leg in a power disconnect was 120volts and didn't get out my test meter and check first.

I now use Carvin power amps and speakers because they are the best deal for the money and because I am not hung up on "Owning" a name.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:37 pm Reply with quote  
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  Tomm Williams
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Have to say I would choose the PLX.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:00 pm Reply with quote  
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  Craigvin
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Hi Torin,

Welcome to the fourm, lots of good folks here!

While I don't have the PLX2402 I've had a number of different QSC amps over the last 30 years, about 6. Back in the 80's, before QSC got big, we blew out a mono rack mount amp of theirs so, I took it by their original location in Costa Mesa. THEY fixed it, in front of me, while I talked to the tech, FOR FREE! (and not under warranty) Now, the last time I needed repairs, they did charge me $75 to fix my super old 200W per side m/n 3350. Very good customer service.

But, I think your assesment of the situation is correct: The QSC may be more reliable but, it probably has a higher part count and is heavier. (really good price on the QSC as well) Right now I've got a DCM200L and a DCM2004L and they've been working fine. They're class D and might be a bit edgy sounding compaired to the class a/b of the DCM1540L. I'm compairing them to my QSC RMX850 right now, it's class a/b as well. BUT, the next amp I think I'll buy just happens to be the that DCM1540L. It's very much cheaper than any of the QSC prices around here, where they are made! I like the DCM1540L due to the output wattage, class a/b, and weight. I figured I'd buy two, one for each line array speaker, run in bridged mode. That idea is about $2K away, so it'll be a while...

Compairing QSC vs. Carvin though, the differences are in THD specs. QSC tends to RMS rate their amps at very low thd levels. Carvin's approach tends to be more like the rest of the industry where they say, okay, what's the wattage output at 0.1%THD, or 0.02%THD, okay, let's make that the 'rated' power. All complimentary (push-pull) amps tend to have the same characteristic of THD going up with output level. Car stereos tend to have the power rated at 1% or 10% THD so that inflates the wattage figures and impresses the uninformed. Class D amps tend to have higher THD at their rated power but, harmonic distortion is pretty hard to actually hear. Intermoduation distortion and and dampening factor issues would be easier to detect with the ear.

Life is a test, you try the QSC, I'll try the Carvin. Get back to me and I'll let you know too!

Craig

Next...
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:36 pm Reply with quote  
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  Torin Opper
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Thanks for the replies so far guys and thanks for the welcome.

I do have experience with Carvin bass amps including the bx1500, bx1200 (before they switched it do class D) and b800. Of those I liked the bx1200 the best, even though it was the heaviest. There are quite a few complaints about the bx1500 having ribbon cable issues needing cleaning. Personally, I found the bx1500 clipped way too easily though I really liked the way it sounded. I have read about a number of Carvin bass amp issues and that makes me apprehensive to go with Carvin for a power amp. However, I have a suspicion that the power amps will be more reliable. Not sure though.

Given that I live in Vancouver, Canada doing returns to Carvin gets tricky and expensive. On the other hand, I've been told that QSC has alot of service centres around so if one of them did need service I'd rather deal with the QSC. I also read from a Carvin power amp user that Carvin will not service their amps if they are over 10 years old.

The QSC is 1/3rd heavier and 4 inches deeper and that is really the main detractor for me as the Carvin is much more portable.

If I knew the Carvin was going to fire up and perform for me for the next 5 years I would get it for sure, but based on bass amps made by Carvin, I just cannot be sure of that.

This is a hard decision.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:03 am Reply with quote  
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  Mikeitloud
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I have a DCM-1500, it is a great amp, although it has a bad relay (pops when powering down), doesn't affect it's performance at all...Carvin will not service it.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:30 pm Reply with quote  
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  Torin Opper
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Well, I just bought a QSC PLX2402 from a fellow talkbass member in Canada. Its about 8 years old but has seen low use and has just had some service upgrades.

It was a tough decision that I based on the following reasons:

1. I have read about numerous Carvin bass amp failures. That doesnt mean the power amps will have issues, but it does speak to Carvin quality. Here on the Carvin Pro Audio Forum there are a few current reports of Carvin power amps having issues too. I have have a fairly strong feeling the QSC PLX2402 will be more reliable in the long run versus Carvin.

2. Living in Canada and sending a Carvin back to them would be an expensive hassle. Chances are strong I could find a QSC service centre in or around my city of Vancouver. Also, after the Carvin is a certain age (10 years as a talkbass member posted) Carvin won't touch their amps.

3. Though the QSC PLX2402 is going to be a bit on the large side, it might not see that much use so while portability is extremely important to me, in this case it doesnt matter that much. The amount of use it will see remains to be seen. Regardless, it will serve 3 purposes: 1. to be used at super loud gigs with my 15/6 2. to be used as the PA amp for a band I am in that gigs about 2 or 3 times per year. 3. to be used as a back-up amp to my gkmb800. So even though it may not see that much use, it is still necessary to have it.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:01 pm Reply with quote  
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  Tomm Williams
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PLX series amps see frequent use with large production companies for good reason. Given that you're looking at equal priced amps, I cannot see any reason to go with the Carvin. If the Carvin was much cheaper, then maybe. Over the years, I've not been impressed with Carvins reliability record on amps or powered speakers. They make some smokin' cabinets and really good mixers. If you're unhappy with the PLX, resale value will be much higher than a Carvin unit.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:14 pm Reply with quote  
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  Torin Opper
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Well it turns out I ended up with the QSC AND a Carvin HD1500. I snagged one for $200 only a couple months old. I could not resist that price.

At some point I am likely going to have to decide which one to keep as I dont know if I can justify owning two power amps plus my gallien krueger mb800 bass amp. I'll have a better idea about things once I have the two amps in possession.

I do agree about the Carvin reliability though. Its very hit and miss. However, power amps are fairly straightforward so they should be alot more dependable... right?
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:20 pm Reply with quote  
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  Tomm Williams
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I don't believe there's anything "straightforward" about amp design. (and I'm not an engineer) If it were that simple we wouldn't see so much $$$$ spent on R&D.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:17 pm Reply with quote  
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  Randy L
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QSC is one of helluva pro amp line, but they aren't bulletproof. On a DJ forum I frequent, DJs have had their QSC amps fail on them. The DCM3000L's have had their issues. [Knock on wood] My DCM3800L is still rock solid and and never even hiccups, providing pristine and very punchy sound gig after gig. My old DCM2000's also never let me down neither.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:04 pm Reply with quote  
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  Craigvin
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As an engineer in the electronics industry (30yr+) I'd say amp designs can be simple thru complex. Designing IN reliability is done through testing/changes/testing/changes untill the reliability criteria are met. So in the development environment, the engineer is caught between marketing (time to market) and the test schedule. The more time for testing and redesign, the more reliable the amp becomes. AND the more likely there's more competing designs.

Given that each amp design at each mfg. is a seperate program, reliability probably varies from model to model, mfg to mfg. Even within a series of amps different wattage outputs lead to different heating.

Because a power amp must supply power, I look at it like a light bulb, at some point its 'heat life', it will fail. I've had good luck with Carvin's and QSC's, 'sounds like' Crown is building great products now too.

Let us know how those amps do!
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:53 pm Reply with quote  
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  floyd
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I have QSCs and Crowns. Never had one fail. Never even seen one fail.
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Re: re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:47 pm Reply with quote  
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  Randy L
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floyd wrote:
I have QSCs and Crowns. Never had one fail. Never even seen one fail.


It's not as common as others but it does happen.
I would have to admit though, that the QSC name (IMO) would be at the top of my preferred amps for dependability.

However, I'd have to say that in the 15+ years I've run Carvin DCM2000 amps and the new DCM3800L, only ONE time did a DCM2000 go into protect, due to a hot outdoor gig. I reset it and it came back on and never quit again.

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/archive/index.php/t-2709001.html
http://forum.qscaudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4007&sid=a445c9821d8d859c2a42c75ffd8cc384
http://forum.qscaudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3958&sid=a445c9821d8d859c2a42c75ffd8cc384
http://forum.qscaudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3940&sid=a445c9821d8d859c2a42c75ffd8cc384
http://zmarchive.com/psw-srf/flat/0056/th0056598-first-qsc-3602-amp-failure-pictures.html
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:03 pm Reply with quote  
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  Craigvin
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Good old Pat Quilter and QSC (Quilter Sound Company) did not get to the top of their industry because of just great sound quality. Reliability and long term service of amps brings those customers back again and again.

It's funny that it seems more amps out there are blowing due to being in the sun THAN being pushed too far power-wise. Good reason to bring fans to a gig on those globally warmed days!

Floyd's first name couldn't be Pink OR I'm sure he would have seen a few blown amps, Phase Linear's no doubt! ;^)
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:14 pm Reply with quote  
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  jack
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Hello,
All I can say is I've owned 4 QSC GX amps, 2 GX 5's/2 GX 7's and 4 DCM/L Carvin amps, 2004/3000/2- 3800's. All were purchased new. I had to send 2 of the Carvin amps back right from the git go. When the Carvin amps worked they were great. I now have 2 Peavey IPR 3000's and 2 QSC GX 7's. I got rid of the GX 5's because of weight. My main reasons for letting the Carvin amps go was the service issue, (not customer service), and I wanted xovers in the amps. Even though the guarrantees are about the same I would still have to send the amps back at my cost after 30 days, (guessing here). The other amps I would just bring them to a local authorized service center. I'm on the east coast. Just my 2 cents.
Jack
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:40 pm Reply with quote  
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  floyd
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GX5s and Crown XTis for me. Soon to be adding at least one GX7. These are great amps. I can't really comment as to the reliability of the Carvin amps, I've never had one. I have a buddy in another local band though and he has had them. He doesn't have them now. Don't know why.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:55 pm Reply with quote  
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  jack
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Hi Floyd,
The DCM3800L is a real nice amp but in a side by side comparison with the GX7, I can drive the gx 7 more before clip which turns into more volume to my ears anyway. Also the fact the GX7 has a xover if that's what you want. I'm not an electrical engineer so I can't explain why but the GX7 works for me. I have all Carvin speaker cabs though and I beleive they're great for the cash!
Jack
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:15 pm Reply with quote  
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  Craigvin
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Hi Jack,

The failures on the Carvin amps "from the git-go" was probably what's called "infant mortailty" in the products. I think we've all seen this in new products. This is why some manufactures still do burn-in testing, to weed out all the infant mortailties. The failures are typically defective silicone devices (power transistors and MOSFETs) where they 'require' a short period of time turned ON before they blow up.

If a product has a burn-in test in the factory, the cost of the electricity for that test comes right out of the profit margin. For the mfg., there's no 'value add' other than a lower warranty return rate. All thanks to the bean-counters; reality bites!

Ah Peavey! Hanging in there like an old trooper. It'll be interesting to see how they last. My first mixer was a 16 ch. Peavey -- touch it gently, there's a spring reverb inside there! 28 years ago seems like yesterday...
Peavey has every possibility of being as reliable as the Carvin just due to the similarities of the companies.

I guess right now I'm picking Carvin for power amps due to the weight and price. I'm sure QSC will get it down there soon, so there is hope.
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re: QSC versus Carvin Power Amps?
 PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:22 pm Reply with quote  
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  jack
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Hi Craigvin,
Thanks for the info, burn in, I didn't know about that. Good to know. I've been dealing with Peavey since the 70's in one way or another. I'm glad that I found out about Carvin though. Great gear in my mind. If the 3800L's had xovers in them I probably would have never went with the GX7's. I just weighed all my options at the time and behold. Carvin C/S has been FANtastic for me. I also had a sub delivered w/speaker blown from the git but was handled real quick. 80% of my gear is Carvin right down to my 16x8 snake and some mics. Gotta love them.
Jack
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