Price paid: $ 1300
Purchased from: Carvin
Sound — 8
With the ease of dialing in the EQ I find the sound to be quite terrific. At practice we are usually playing on a beat up old pa through pretty crappy mains and monitors and for me, not being the most talented in the vocal abilities, I sound fairly good. First time I sang through this PA I was somewhat embarrassed to say the least. It really reproduced all the intricacies of my voice, for better and worse. Over time luckily I have understood the importance of lowering my levels and adjusting my EQ to help my voice. Overall though the speakers were the reason why I chose this PA package. When I was trying out all the different packages they had that were in my price range, they had all the speakers set up in the same area, running off the same mixer, and we put on the same song and switched between speakers. I ended up choosing these speakers because as I have said they sounded the clearest while retaining a great bass response. At live shows vocals stand out and come through extremely well. We also run Piano/Keyboards through the PA and that sounds great through it as well. I have played Acoustic guitar through this on two separate occasions and once again was able to accentuate the sound of my Martin. While playing with the Martin it was not Mic'd up, it was using a L.R. Baggs M1-A. Generally with the Acoustic I played with the PA EQ right around 12 o'clock for the Low, Mid, and High frequencies and the guitar sounded fantastic. For vocals it really comes down to what you want to limit and what you want to accentuate on a given persons voice. All in all I have been continuously happy with the results from the mains on this system. The monitors also sound good for what they are. By no means do they sound as good as the mains but that sound is coming back to us just to hear ourselves. There is really no issue with these, we really do not care how good that sound is we just need it so we can hear our vocals and keyboard. Once again all of these are extremely easy to adjust by use of the Powered Mixer. For each channel you have a monitor level and then you have a separate (master) monitor level. I was and I still am a complete rookie (nOOb as I have been told) when it comes to knowing all the technical aspects and how to set everything up to a tee but for my knowledge and expertise (or lack thereof) I am able to dial in our bands sound with ease.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I have been extremely satisfied with my purchase. It has paid off itself by avoiding a ton of rentals, has performed incredibly well, and has been covered by some awesome customer service. The sound has been great, durability phenomenal, but I understand that it was a lot of money. That is my one downside with this. Being a rookie with PA's I didn't necessarily know what the price point was of a PA in this ballpark. I conducted a lot of research online and this is what it narrowed down to. Am I happy? Yes. But I do feel that I could have spent less elsewhere if I only had a little more knowledge. Going elsewhere though I am not sure if I would have had the same customer service and treatment that I have had experience with through Carvin. If you are looking into a PA I would highly recommend checking out some of Carvin's pro-audio products. From my personal experience it has stood up to a year of gigging and I can only see this lasting for many more years to come.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This PA system has stood up to gigging quite well over the last year and a half. When traveling with this PA to shows I have to Tetris it into my car. It is actually quite a site to see, if you are ever around feel free to help me as it takes a lot of geometrical knowledge, a lot of will power, and a whole lot of brute force. To say the least there are dings, nicks, scrapes, scratches, dents, and some other "love" marks on the speakers. As to date nothing has gone wrong in that field. I keep the mixer, cables, microphones, and power supply in a very durable Rubbermaid storage container in order to protect the expensive delicate parts. Everything has operated well with the system, the only problems I have ran into have been self inflicted. Problem number one was on one of the microphone cables (which are definitely not the highest quality) a tiny little screw fell out of the metal casing which is plugged into the mixer. When you go to pull it out the metal casing slides off and then you need to grab the cable to pull it out. I went to nearly every hardware store I knew of to find this tiny little screw, no luck. Finally, I emailed Carvin and told them my situation and asked if they sold that screw because I would be more than happy to buy several from them. Well in the first half of the reply email I got (which was received about 2 hours after I sent mine) it stated that they do not sell those screws. I was pretty annoyed thinking now I have to go buy another cable. Well in the second half of the email they stated, since we do not carry those screws we will just send you an entirely new cable for free. No shipping charges, no problems, no return of the original cable, just bam, two days later I had a new cable in my hand. I was pretty impressed with this. Customer service seems to be on the way out in a lot of the big name companies these days so I was thrilled to see a company tend to the little people. Problem number two was another self inflicted wound delivered by a member of the band. While setting up for one of our shows they decided to Jam the microphone cable into the base of the microphone without lining up the 3 pins. As it turned out, two of the pins were aligned but the third was not so it jammed that pin into the actual body of the microphone. When I finally found out what happened I was pretty angered considering I spent my own money on this system and charge the band mates per show. The next day I went into my local Carvin dealership and said basically what had happened. As I was expecting the worse they grabbed a new microphone from the shelf handed it to me and took back the broken one. Once again, no questions asked, just great customer service and handling of issues. For these two separate incidents I cannot give Carvin enough credit. For that they definitely, at minimum earn a 9.
Features — 7
This is a big time, big boy PA. To start things off I play in a cover band, we play anywhere from 2-3 times a month, some clubs we play have a PA, some do not. Based on how many shows we play and with PA rentals in my area hovering around $120/show I figured it would be a great investment to own our own PA. To say the least in under a year it has already paid off in contrast to renting some beat up crappy gear. There are three main parts to my system, the Powered Mixer, the mains, and the monitors. Specs for the mains and mixer are below. XP1000L (Powered/Portable Mixer) Frequency Response: Mic or Line Inputs 20Hz-20kHz 1dB Total Harmonic Distortion: Less than .1% at nominal levels Equivalent Input Noise: 150 ohm source: -117dBu Output Noise: -90dBu Master Line Out (All Levels Minimum) Output Headroom: +20dB Maximum Gain: Mic in to Master Line Out: 70dB Crosstalk: Adjacent channels -60db at 1KHz Common Mode Rejection: -78db at 1KHz Phantom Power: 48 volt @ XLR Mic channels USB Power Port: 5 volt, 200mA for LED lighting or MP3 charging Channel EQ 3-band active: LOW: 80Hz 12dB, MID: 750Hz 12dB, HI: 11.5KHz 12dB Power Output: 1200w (3x400w@4ohms) Power Req.: 100-140VAC or 200-250VAC, 50-60Hz Dimensions: 10.3" high x 17" wide x 10" deep Weight: 15 lbs LM 153 (Mains) System Type: 15-inch 3-Way, bass-reflex Frequency Response: 50 Hz - 18 kHz (-10DB), 58 Hz - 17 kHz (-3 dB) Coverage Pattern: 90H x 45V Crossover: Speaker Guard HF protection Crossover Frequency: 400Hz, 3.5 k Hz Power: Continuous / Program / Peak, Full Range 475w /950w /1900 Recommended Amplifier Power: 400 - 1400w Sensitivity (1w @ 1m): 97dB Maximum SPL: 123dB / 129dB peak LF Driver: 15-inch Neodymium Woofer MF Driver: 6-inch Neodymium Woofer HF Driver: 1-inch exit 1.5-inch VC Nominal Impedance full range: 8 ohms Enclosure: Virgin Polypropylene Suspension/Mounting: 1-3/8-inch pole mount cup Transport: 2 Handles Grill: Black steel Connectors: Two Neutrik Combo 1/4-inch / Speakon Dimensions (H x W x D): 27.875 in x 17.875 in x 13.125 in Net Wt: 16 kg (35 lb) For me that is a lot of mumbo jumbo and a little complex for me. My requirement for a system was that it needed to be powerful enough to fill larger clubs while retaining clarity of sound. In other words I wanted it to have a lot of headroom so we did not have to crank the level and encourage feedback. After being in the Carvin store multiple times to try out the various systems and packages they offered I settled on this one as the speakers sounded the best and the mixer had enough inputs for our band.