Carvin Audio and the Preamp Tube Shortage

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Tony PD
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Carvin Audio and the Preamp Tube Shortage

Postby Tony PD » Wed May 11, 2022 6:05 pm

Carvin Audio pre-amps VLD1 and X1 have been sold out for months. Apparently there is a shortage of 12AX7 vacuum tubes. I believe Carvin Audio uses Electro-Harmonix tubes. According to The Tube Store, although the parent corporation is American (New Sensor Corp.), they are manufactured in Russia, so I don't think we'll be seeing Electro-Harmonix 12AX7 tubes for the foreseeable future.

So what is Carvin Audio going to do? It seems like they're just waiting for E-H 12AX7 tubes to become available again, but who knows how long that will be? Could they make their own 12AX7 tubes? Should they switch tube brands (e.g. Northern Electric)? Will Carvin Audio stop making tube pre-amps altogether?

Does anyone have any info or insight on this?

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Re: Carvin Audio and the Preamp Tube Shortage

Postby spudmunkey » Wed May 11, 2022 7:46 pm

It's strange that they aren't doing backorders, even from Sam Ash, which to me means they aren't confident enough about their production capabilities/options. I've heard Western Electric is going to open up a US vacuum tube plant, but that's as far as my knowledge on it goes...I have no idea if there's a timeline for it yet.

It's so hard to take Carvin Audio seriously. All of their "Buy now before it's too late and the sale ends at midnight" promo emails are followed immediately by an email at 12:01am proclaiming "New promo! best prices of the season!" with all of the same prices. At least some of their products are just re-badged versions of imported items sold for double the price you can get it elsewhere. They've closed their facebook page, they haven't posted on Instagram in a year and a half, and haven't posted on Twitter for nearly 5 years. It's been 14 months since they've posted anything in their "News" section of their blog, but they are updating their other pages with articles like "HOW TO MEMORIZE LYRICS QUICKER" and "WHAT TO DO IF A BAND MEMBER DOESN’T SHOW UP".

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Re: Carvin Audio and the Preamp Tube Shortage

Postby ElfDude » Thu May 12, 2022 6:53 am

spudmunkey wrote:It's strange that they aren't doing backorders, even from Sam Ash, which to me means they aren't confident enough about their production capabilities/options. I've heard Western Electric is going to open up a US vacuum tube plant, but that's as far as my knowledge on it goes...I have no idea if there's a timeline for it yet.

It's so hard to take Carvin Audio seriously. All of their "Buy now before it's too late and the sale ends at midnight" promo emails are followed immediately by an email at 12:01am proclaiming "New promo! best prices of the season!" with all of the same prices. At least some of their products are just re-badged versions of imported items sold for double the price you can get it elsewhere. They've closed their facebook page, they haven't posted on Instagram in a year and a half, and haven't posted on Twitter for nearly 5 years. It's been 14 months since they've posted anything in their "News" section of their blog, but they are updating their other pages with articles like "HOW TO MEMORIZE LYRICS QUICKER" and "WHAT TO DO IF A BAND MEMBER DOESN’T SHOW UP".


The whole thing with them is sad. When I heard that some of the youngins were taking a stab at reviving that company I was excited for what fresh blood could do for the place. It's no secret that I loved Carvin guitar amps (still own two of the Vintage Series tweed ones) and was looking forward to seeing what would come next!. Unfortunately... not much.

I'm now smitten with another amp company and have three of their amps which I usually gig with. Not always but usually. And I'm so relieved that they're solid state with this whole tube shortage thing.
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Re: Carvin Audio and the Preamp Tube Shortage

Postby UnexplodedCow » Sun May 22, 2022 6:26 pm

Tube shortage is hitting a lot of stuff pretty hard, and Russian-made tubes (New Sensor) are probably the most common or popular. I will admit to enjoying the Sovtek 12AX7LPS - fantastic tube. JJ tubes are Slovakian, and seem to be relatively favored, but also less popular now than a decade ago. That leaves Chinese-made stuff, which is OK, seems to hold up reasonably well, and is cheap. It probably comes down to supplier agreements.

To my knowledge, New Sensor manufactures EH, Sovtek, Gold Loin, Tung-Sol, and Mullard. There may be others.

As it sits, once Line 6 came out with a distortion model of the Legacy Drive pedal - I sold my real one, as I couldn't tell a difference in any way between the two once I got them sounding the same (the model had a "wider" voicing). Now, I would love them to make the clean version of the pre-amp, but a typical Twin model in those cases works just as well.

I've basically switched entirely to solid-state/modeling in the past few years, and only have a few old-school amps I've had most of my life. I have enough backup tubes that should last the rest of my life.

Still, all these supply issues are no fun.
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