BelAir 212 Review

manufacturer: Carvin date: 11/01/2013 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Carvin: BelAir 212
True vintage tones give 'open-ness and breath' to your playing as you power soak the EL84 tubes. Dual channels offer all the vintage features you need including long-tail reverb. This amp comes loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.3
 Features: 8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (3) pictures (2) 8 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.3
BelAir 212 Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 24, 2007
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Music Go Round

Features: This a 50 watt tube amp with clean and overdrive channels. Mine has two Carvin designed Vintage sound 12 inch speakers but Carvin now ships these with Celestion Vintage 30. It has channel switching and long-tail reverb. The reverb is not very strong but noticable when you turn it off. I believe this amp was made in 1995 or 1996. It's great for what I play: classic rock, blues and heavy rock. The overdrive won't handle heavily distorted sounds, but a cheap pedal can easily fix that. // 7

Sound: I use an Ibanez RG4EX1(h-s-h). I use a Crbaby 95Q wah, Dunlop Fuzz Face(only sometimes) and a compressor (again only sometimes) with this amp. No matter what it sounds great. I was picking between this and the Fender Ultimate Chorus and there was no competition. Right when I heard the just saturated pure tube overdrive the decision was made. The clean channel has nice punchy mids, smooth lows and defined highs and distorts at high volumes for that classic overdriven tube tone. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have had this amp for six months, therefore I cannot properly rate it. I haven't mentioned this but the amp has a fake tweed covering, which although not as cool as real tweed is more durable. On that topic, this amp has a nice Vintage look that really catches your eye. A real beauty. // 7

Overall Impression: This amp, is a Vintage designed amp so metal and anything distorting your tone beyond something recognizable is not going to work. But as I said a cheap distortion pedal on the clean channel will fix that. Also, if you're wondering if it's loud enough, rest assured. This amp can crank. Perfect for jamming and small gigs. If it was lost I would buy another one and if it was stolen blood would be spilled. I do wish mine had the celestion Vintage 30 as opposed to Carvin's speakers. I love this amp. // 9

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overall: 8.8
BelAir 212 Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 20, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 599

Purchased from: Carvin

Features: all tube 50 watts, 2 channel clean and dirty(overdrive). This is a Vintage voiced amp, you will need to build up to metal etc; you guys know what I mean... features are solid for the price- trust me I looked everywhere and beyond. Presence on the back, effects loop, line out and reverb. Reverb is subtle on first few settings then increases. Was hoping for V30 but came with Carvin speakers. They are not broken in yet but sound really good so far. // 8

Sound: I currently use Epiphone Les upgraded pickups and a Kramer 424 (h-s-h). Right now I plug in straight to get a feel of the amp, effects delta tube driver, digi hot head and a Pandora Px4. Amp sounds smooth, crisp, clear and articulate on the clean channel, the presence on the back pushes this channel over the edge with definition. I will not mention other amps here but it is up there with those. The amp has it own quality sound as well. Dirty channel, classic over driven tone, Vintaged Voiced, more or less 60's 70's tween type of thing going on. The eq is very responsive, take the time to find your sound there is a lot there. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Had the amp for 4 days now, build like a tank, they use really good wood, tolex is nicely fitted. It looks 40 years old, classic. So cool. They have to save money so handle is rubber - looks like leather and the knobs are plastic. Switches are metal inputs are solid, they put it where it counts. Pots and equip inside solid. // 8

Overall Impression: I play, folky stuff, metal, classic rock, rock etc, this amp is for people that love tone and are so called tone searching. This amp can be loud as hell but can be played at bedroom levels ok - no pro there. Was hoping for V30, my first set but, they came with carvins, kinda sux but they will do for a little while. But again good. Breaks up nice - probably will get better. Thanks hope I helped someone out there. // 9

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overall: 9.8
BelAir 212 Reviewed by: Straydogger, on november 01, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: I traded a Fender 75 for this used Carvin in the mid '90s. The "75" was way too harsh a sound for me. I wanted a Twin Reverb Fender but the price was too high and they weigh too much to be hauling around. I found the Carvin at a shop used and traded for it after a short test. Also made in the USA was a good selling point for me. Two channels. One clean and one they call Soak. It also has a "Presence" knob on the rear that works only with the clean channel. There is a mod that can be found online to make it work with both but I haven't done that to mine. // 9

Sound: Very nice warm clean channel and the "soak" channel didn't impress me much. At the time I was playing a Fender Strat and a Gibson SG. The Strat sounded better than the SG with this amp at the time. After changing tubes and having a general tuneup done on the Carvin it handled both guitars better. Seems to handle pedals well. I don't have those guitars any more. I now play an Ibanez AS73 that I had loaded with Gibson '57 Classic and Classic Plus pickups (a combination which I highly recommend also). This guitar is a perfect match for the Carvin. What sweet sounds I can get now. I think the "vintage" feel of the Carvin with the semi-hollow body Ibanez is a match made in heaven. It's my "poor man's" Gibson ES-335 and Fender Twin Reverb combo! // 10

Reliability & Durability: It's a very well made amp that should last me a long time. It already has. Love the tweed too. Carvin has done a great job on this amp. Its reverb is very nice. True spring reverb and not digital. I have gigged a couple of times but mostly studio work these days. It traveled well when it did get gigged but I am nervous when it comes to transporting tube amps. It is a little heavy but not near as heavy as the Twin Reverb Fender I used to haul around. Someday I may change the speakers out but for the immediate future I am very happy with the stock ones. // 10

Overall Impression: I play mostly rock/pop music and don't gig. My Carvin is a studio queen these days. I would look to buy another if lost or stolen. I've been playing for 45 years or so and have had lots of guitars and amps. Strats and SG's, Les Pauls, Kramers... I've had a bunch. Fender amps have been my amp of choice over the years and now the Carvin. For what I do these days it's the only amp I think I'll ever need. I also have a Carvin SX-200 amp. It's not tube but has a nice character of it's own. I am a Carvin amp fan for sure. LOL. // 10

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