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Carvin DCM200L vs Matrix GT800FX

6L6C

Power User
A few guys are interested in Carvin vs Matrix so here we go.
(Carvin DCM200L vs Matrix GT800FX)

Little background been playing since 1977 have had a fair amount of gear through the years, also built racks for a few people (mostly friends) processor and midi programming that sort of thing. Have always been interested in the tech side. Always thought there would be a solid state solution that was on par with tube gear, just didn’t think I would see it in my life time! The first that really peaked my interest was the original POD in 1998 maybe 97, forget?? Anyway it was the one piece of gear that made me think “this is starting to go in the right direction”. There were others after, but nothing that was moving forward, in what, I would consider a positive direction. Just adding bells and whistles. Didn’t matter, along came the Axe Fx Standard in (09 for me) and now the AF II.

Thought a little background would just put you, (the reader), get a little into my head. Don’t know if it helps or not. Bottom line been around.

Keep in mind I have not had the Matrix long a few days and have not had the opportunity to spend allot of time with it, so I would call this more first impressions. First of the Matrix is really nice construction lite but very solid.
Another very important thing to take into consideration, allot of the reviews I have seen for the Matrix are based on real guitar cabs and also matching the EQ curves of other tube amp’s VHT being top of that list. I on the other hand am currently FRFR cabs (Atomics) and just keeping the Matrix neutral.

Always liked my Carvin, in my case a little under powered with the 200L so was considering the 1540L, and then started seeing more and more on the Matrix and curiosity got the best of me, and glad it did. Without going into a bunch of techno-babble, the Matrix sounds more 3D especially with higher notes there is just more meat there. With the Carvin I was using the output1 EQ (just little tweaks) with the Matrix I returned it back to neutral and getting a more satisfying results.

Bottom line can get a good result out of both amp’s but the Matrix is the winner, sometimes it’s just a matter of color between the two pieces of gear in question, but in this case it is a bit more. I even feel a bit more connected with my FRFR system (hard to explain, just take my word for it). What also makes the Matrix a winner to me, if I were to walk out of the room and somebody A/B amps, could I tell the difference. YES I can, and believe most players would be able to pick one from the other.

So that is my first impression, if on a tight budget the Carvin is still a great choice the 1540L would be my choice, again my 200L sounds great but slightly underpowered. Other amp’s I have tried, the Atomic Mono Block . Decent amp for sure, the Carvin sounds pretty dam close though. Also had an Art SLA-2 which I hated but there again I wonder if it was because I was running it FRFR where others are using a real cabinet with it?

John
 

axel

Power User
The difference could be associated more with the fact that the Carvin 200 is Class D, where the Matrix 800 is Class A/B. Also, the Carvin 200 has less power, and thus less headroom. It would be interesting to see a comparison of the Carvin 1540 to the Matrix 800 as they are both Class A/B.
 
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6L6C

Power User
The difference could be associated more with the fact that the Carvin 200 is Class D, where the Matrix 800 is Class A/B. Also, the Carvin 200 has less power, and thus less headroom. It would be interesting to see a comparison of the Carvin 1540 to the Matrix 800 as they are both Class A/B.
The 200L is actually class AB, the 1000, 2004 and the new HD1500 are all class D. Somewhere the Matrix is different it is based on MOSFET designs and have not come across anything that suggest the Carvin is. That could be part of it, both amps do sound good, if I did not like the Matrix there would have been no hesitation and went for the 1540.

You are right about the headroom of the 1540 of coarse, forgot to mention the comparison was at bedroom levels and there again not a clinical lab just first impressions. But so far really digging the Matrix.
 

axel

Power User
The 200L is actually class AB, the 1000, 2004 and the new HD1500 are all class D. Somewhere the Matrix is different it is based on MOSFET designs and have not come across anything that suggest the Carvin is. That could be part of it, both amps do sound good, if I did not like the Matrix there would have been no hesitation and went for the 1540.

You are right about the headroom of the 1540 of coarse, forgot to mention the comparison was at bedroom levels and there again not a clinical lab just first impressions. But so far really digging the Matrix.

Sorry, my mistake, you are right about the 200 being class A/B. On the 1540, I was referring to the DCM1540L (guess I should have been more specific), which is also class A/B. That's the one I've had my eye on, and would like to give a try. There probably is something to the MOSFET design of the Matrix, as that is what Marshall used years ago in their SS amps that were supposed to "sound and feel" like tube amps.
 
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6L6C

Power User
I'd be interested to A/B the 1540 and the Matrix. Might be a more fair match up.

Power wise for sure!

I did however do the comparison at bedroom levels we could have had a conversation while I was playing. There again no studies for the government. I didn’t get a grant. :p:p

And I’m going to make an assumption here (I could be wrong)

The 1540L is one of the big brothers to the 200L both are also class A/B, the assumption: Basically the same amp with more power and of course under conditions were you are pushing the 1540L would do much better (lots of head room). If the 1540 and 200 are basically the same tone wise or maybe I should say voicing, I will still take the Matrix.

Have a trip to go on but going to plug it into a real cab when i get home, have not tried it this way yet. but loveing it with the FRFR cabs.

John
 
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