Hi all,

yesterday I played a Carvin vl300 with the intention of buying it. I love the sounds I've heard others online get from it, and thought it would be perfect for my needs. It played it through a Marshall 1936 cabinet.

The clean channel sounded excellent. Channel 2 and 3, however, sounded really not so good (in my opinion), and nothing like the demos online. I spent about halv an hour on those two channels trying to get a decent sound, but the sounds were - and I'm not quite sure how to describe them - thin or something. Increasing the presence caused the sound the get really harsh (in the lack of a better word), decreasing got a box type of sound, but I could not find any setting that got my guitar sound even close to a decent sound.

I played at very loud bedroom level, and noticed that the power switch (100/50/15 watt) did not affect the output volume at all. I was under the impression that switching from 100 watt to 15 watt would lower the volume, but this didn't happen. To keep the volume at very loud bedroom level, the master volume and channel volume were quite close to 1.

May the issues I've outlined indicate a technical issue with the amp, or is it supposed to take even longer to dial in drive tones that sounds decent?

I can't answer your question on what to do but I will tell you that dropping the wattage doesn't necessarily correlate to volume. In fact, that's not what it does. It reduces your clean headroom. That said, I would expect some tonal difference between 100w and 15w.

If the amp didn't do it for you then maybe move on to something else or at least try some other amps.
this would be a good question for the Carvin forum , I have the V3m three channel Carvin and it took a few months to get/find the tones I wanted , there is just so much in there it takes a while to find what you want in the beginning , Carvin three channel amps are not something you can dial in quickly when your unfamiliar with it , they also recommend Celestion V30's with the L300 ....... I guess you just figured out watts don't affect volume like what you think it would , my V3m has 7 , 22 and 50 , the lower watts takes the thump out
Was this a new amp, or used?
What's in the 1936? G12-75s are stock. Have you looked?
V30's are probably preferred.
You're not going to hear an appreciable difference in volume between 100 and 15 watts, especially if you're working at relatively low volume settings to start with.
As has been mentioned, Carvins can be a bit tricky (at least the high gainers when I played them).

I personally think it was the cab. I don't know what it is about that cab but it never sounds good to me. I don't mind the T75s in a 4x12, but in that particular cab they are not appealling.
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Quote by dementiacaptain
As has been mentioned, Carvins can be a bit tricky (at least the high gainers when I played them).

I personally think it was the cab. I don't know what it is about that cab but it never sounds good to me. I don't mind the T75s in a 4x12, but in that particular cab they are not appealling.

that is the bad on the Carvin high gain amps , it least the three channel models , the X100B doesn't seem to have a problem , but it takes some time to learn they're other amps , your not going to just plug in and find "your" tone real quick , the tone is in there but you have to find it and then remember your setting .... kinda going through the same thing with my Messa MK V , there is just all kinds of tone hidden in there but it's up to you to find it .... it took me 2 months to figure out my Carvin V3m and now I love it , if you already bought your L300 then just spend some time with it , you'll find your tone

all Legacy/L300's cabs come with V30's from Carvin , all other Carvin get T-75's so you might want to check to see whats in the cab your using
Last edited by Fumble fingers at Jul 19, 2015,
I'm going to be the devil's advocate here and ask if your ears haven't filtered out the bad resulting in a seemingly good tone.

There's a lot of evidence that ears can get tired even within 2 hours of fiddling. There's also tons of anecdotal evidence of people liking what they play one day, but the next day feel they sound like shit, when their gear has obviously not changed over night. This would logically suggest the brain/ears are not that reliable when it comes to judging tone over time.

If it would come down to micro difference, then there would also not exist popular guitar tones.

Ie. There's a big portion of people that like the tone of slash. Yet all the people that think this have decided this through (micro) different EQ'd versions of the same recording. Some listen to headphones, some listened through big stereo sets. Not too mention, some listened it in rooms with a lot of reflection, some listened to it in rooms with no reflections, all resulting in audible differences.

I'm an elitist when it comes to needing months to figure out an amp. I feel it's just as much if not more likely your ears filter what they don't like, than that you suddenly found the magic micro setting.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jul 19, 2015,
Thanks for the replies!

I was surprised that the volumes didn't change when switching from 100 watt to 15 watt, and neither did I find any significant change in tone when doing so. After doing some googling I now believe I must use an attenuator to lower the volume, right? I'd like to be able to set the volume knobs greater than 1 to get a good tone when playing at home.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the oppertunity to try another cabinet than the Marshall 1936. I'd love the hear for myself how it sounds through V30s.

It's very interesting that the X100B may not have the same "issues" as I had with the VL300. I really loved the clean sound on the VL300, and thus - I presume - the X100B. For this reason, and that pairing it with V30's from Carvin is recommended over the Marshall cab, I'm actually considering going for the X100B with a Carvin V30 cab (http://www.carvinamplifiers.com/products/c212s-2x12-120w-slant-front-cabinet). I know it's rather risky to go for an amp very similiar to the one I discarded, but I really believe in it and hope that spending some time with it (and possibly adding pedals to the clean channel instead of using the drive channel, if necessay) will get me the sound I've heard on videos online.
to use the VL300 at low volume you adjust the master volume ....... if you want the VL300 quiet turn the master volume down ..... there is 4 volume knobs , .... use the channel volume to balance sound level between all three channels .... then use the master volume to make as quiet or loud as you want .... no attenuator needed

X100B has fabulous cleans as with all Carvin amps ..... I also have a VT50 head that I had channel two modded by a guy name Richard Hasslebrock , Fender cleans , Marshal crunch with more gain than Marshal ever had , it's a great sounding amp as well , if you really play quiet get the VT16 head and use your favorite pedal , all of them take pedals beautiful
Last edited by Fumble fingers at Jul 19, 2015,