General FAQs

Discontinued models include The Artemus, The Bloke, The Imperial, El Moto, and The Hammerhead. Imperials and El Motos are no longer available new, but The Artemus, Bloke and Hammerheads can still be special ordered while supplies last. For information on any of these models please email us at info@carramps.com.

We don't send out empty cabinets for customer assembly due to our tight quality control tenets. We do all assemblies here so we can extensively test the amp for rattles, buzzes, ghost notes, speaker issues, etc., that can occur in a new amp or in a cabinet swapping situation. These things happen daily around here so we're very good at divining their source and correcting them. Left to a customer the amp might rattle or buzz to the point of distraction and eventual sale. In that case the original customer is dissatisfied, as will likely be the next player that buys the amp off eBay or wherever, and then the general reputation of Carr Amps suffers because of a simple Q/C issue that got skipped over. We like to keep all that to a minimum.

From time to time we revise the circuitry in our amplifiers--usually by refining the existing designs or adding practical features (external bias test points were added to the Slant 6V in March of 2003 for example).

We do not offer upgrades to existing amplifiers for a number of reasons. Many of the changes involve large internal layout differences that are impractical to retrofit. We can make a new amp from scratch in nearly the same time as retrofitting. For many of the more subtle upgrades we find we still have a great deal of time spent on testing.

Our construction methods are among the most hand-wired of the hand-wired types out there. As such it is very hard to dismantle amps and rebuild in new circuitry. This is an asset to reliability and ruggedness but does not make for easy modification.

I believe the price we would have to charge for upgrades would not be warranted given the performance increase one would receive. Offering good value is the central reason we do not update. We are a small company with limited labor.

Also we need to keep time available for true service work whenever it is required.

After all, even the earliest of our amps sounds great. Updates are not service issues and when someone has an older amp or a used model it is not possible for us to turn that amp into our newest work. That said we will always happily service our amplifiers.

Things like changing tubes or speakers are fine by us, but for anything else you should contact us before you take action. You might be doing something that unnecessarily voids your warranty. Apart from that, we like to work on our amps when there is something wrong. More of that Carr Amps quality control in action !

Power and rectifier tubes can cause a fuse to blow when they go bad--often after volume fluctuations. They can glow a bright red and or spark if they are failing. If this happens, contact a competent tube amplifier technician or call us. Preamp tubes usually last for years. Microphonics tend to be a sign that a preamp tube is near the end of its useful life. You may hear crackling or howl at high volumes or a distorted tone; these are preamp tube troubles. Replacing the bad tube solves the trouble.

The The Viceroy, Rambler, Sportsman, Skylark, Hammerhead  (discontinued), and Imperial (discontinued) amps do not need to be rebiased when you change output tubes though it is important to use matched sets of tubes. The Slant 6V, Mercury, Raleigh, Artemus, Bloke, Impala, and and El Moto (discontinued) require rebiasing when the output tubes are changed.

See the documentation for a particular model for a more in-depth discussion of that model's unique requirements.

Carr Amplifier models can use any tube of the tube family that the amp comes stock with. You will find a tube chart inside the cabinet of each amp showing the location and type of tube used. Please note we have spent a great deal of time finding the most toneful and reliable current production tubes for our amplifiers.

See the documentation for a particular model for a more in-depth discussion of that model's unique requirements.

Yes, within certain limits. Most of our amps are designed to perform optimally with an 8 ohm speaker load, but they will work with speaker loads from 4 to 16 ohms. Exceptions are the Artemus, which must not be connected to less than an 8 ohm load in the 15 watt setting; the Mercury, which must not be connected to anything but an 8 ohm load when the attenuator is set below full power; the Slant 6V, which has adjustable output impedance that depends on the power setting; and the Sportsman, which is designed for a 16 ohm speaker load and must not be connected to anything less than 8 ohms. Refer to your amp's owner's manual (available on the Support page) for model-specific requirements. Damage resulting from connecting speaker loads outside of these ranges will not be covered under warranty.

In order to use an extension cabinet in conjunction with the speakers in your combo, you will need a Y cord to split the output from the speaker jack. As a result, your two sets of speakers will be connected to the amp in parallel. The total speaker load (or impedance, measured in ohms) for speakers connected in parallel is calculated by the formula:

1/((1/[Combo speaker load (8 ohms)]) + (1/[Extension cabinet speaker load]))

The following table shows the results of the calculation for some common extension cabinet impedances:

Combo speaker load Extension cabinet speaker load Total speaker load in parallel Acceptability
8 4 2.67 Too low
8 8 4 Ok
8 16 5.33 Ok
16 4 3.2 Too low
16 8 5.33 Too low
16 16 8 Ok

If you are not sure what the impedance is of the speakers you want to connect, you can use a multimeter to find out. To test the speakers in your combo, unplug the speaker cable from the speaker output jack (make sure the amp is off--never operate your amp without a speaker connected!). Set the multimeter to test DC resistance, and place one probe on the tip of the speaker plug and the other on the barrel of the plug. You are measuring DC resistance, not impedance (which is AC resistance) so your meter will read a little less than the impedance value.

DC Resistance Impedance
2.3 - 3.6 4
5.6 - 6.8 8
12.6 - 13.8 16

To determine the impedance (speaker load) of your extension cabinet, plug a speaker cable in the cabinet's input jack and measure the resistance at the plug on the other end of the cable just like above.

Again, always refer to your amp's owner's manual for model-specific requirements. Damage will result from connecting speaker loads outside the range that your amp can handle.

Typically I recommend the people stick with the speaker configuration they are most used to. That being said, these are my general impressions of the speaker configurations we offer:

  • 1-12 open back combo

    This is the most popular Carr amp configuration. Rich, juicy midrange with full bass and a smooth highs. Nice shimmer and dimensionality. A single speaker has a great focused projection as a point source and some people find it easier to pick themselves out of a mix with one speaker setups. This is the most portable and lightest configuration. 8 Ohms (16 Ohms in the Sportsman).

    The following comparisons are to the 1-12 combo.

  • 2-12 open back combo or extension cabinet

    Higher perceived volume and dispersion then the 1-12. Much better bass control especially when using fat sounding humbuckers. More 'air' to the tone. Slightly less focus. 8 Ohms.

  • 2-12 closed back extension cabinet

    Focused with great bass. Very directional and controlled. Slightly favors Overdrive tones over Clean sounds. Works great on bigger stages, outside shows, and for higher power amps. 8 Ohms.

  • 2-10 open back combo or extension cabinet

    Many of the same differences as the 2-12 but with the typical 10" speaker attribute of quickness and a certain agility in the bass. Slightly leaner in the mids. A snappy sound. 8 Ohms.

  • 2-10 closed back extension cabinet

    Focused with great bass. Very directional and controlled. Slightly favors Overdrive tones over Clean sounds. Works great on bigger stages and for higher power amps. Slightly lean in the mids. Snappy sound. 8 Ohms.

  • 1-15 open back combo or extension cabinet

    Extremely taut bass. Wooden, swampy vibe with a nice grind when pushed. The 15 breaks up slightly faster then the 12. This is a fun and unique tone great for jump blues. 8 Ohms.

Usually! All Carr Amplifiers models are compatible with alnico speakers though it is important to note the speaker manufacturer's wattage ratings. Our combo cabinets are very compact. Some alnico style speakers are deeper in profile than ceramic types and require more room in the cabinet. You may have to remove the magnet cover on your alnico speaker for it to fit.

Please refer to the individual amplifier pages for current speaker configurations.

Amplifiers can pass on the noise in the AC outlet mains. If you experience buzzing, check for dimmers, computers, refrigerators, etc. on the same electrical circuit and move the amp to a line with cleaner power. Sometimes switching the power switch to the other On position can help.

Yes! We began offering tweed coverings in January 2011.

Previously, the Slant 6V was the only model to have an effects loop, which came standard on amps built between July 1, 2003 and April 1, 2008. The Bloke is the only current model which offers an effects loop option. Effect loops are impractical on the other models due to space and logistical constraints.

Carr Amplifiers designs are very open and transparent. Pedals sound fantastic through our amps and stay dimensional.

Yes. The tone controls on Carr amplifiers have a wide range and address the needs of single coil and humbucker players alike.

There is a difference in the way tube and solid state rectifiers respond to the current demands of an amplifier as you play. Tube rectifiers will tend to give a more compressed yet bouncy tone while solid state rectifiers are very quick and focused sounding. These are generalities. Amplifiers work as a whole, while individual components contribute to the final sound. Rarely does a single component dominate the final tone.

The Slant 6V and Artemus use tube rectifiers, the Raleigh uses a solid state bridge rectifier, and the Rambler, Mercury, Sportsman, and The Viceroy amps use new technology Ultra Fast Recovery solid state rectifiers in combination with tube simulation circuits for the best of both worlds, resulting in dynamic and expressive tone.

Owner's manuals for each of our models are available to view and download on the Carr Amplifiers support page. We can also email or snail mail you a copy of your owner's manual. Just call (919) 545-0747 or email info@carramps.com.

We do not make covers for our amps, but we do recommend two manufacturers: Tuki Covers and Studio Slips.

When ordering a cover, always measure your amp according to the cover manufacturer's instructions. The dimensions of some of our models have changed, and we can't rule out the possibility that dimensions may change in the future. For instance, early Mercurys and Hammerheads were significantly shorter than they are now.

No. We don't ship new amps directly to customers. All new sales are transacted through our dealers.

This varies. Typically it's around 2 - 3 months, but can get as fast as 5 or 6 weeks, according to how many orders we are working on.

Most of our dealers are happy to ship out of state and they all offer some type of approval policy to accommodate their shipping customers. We rely on our dealers for all sales.

Carr Amplifiers are sold through authorized dealers. Please refer to the dealers page to find the Carr Amplifiers dealer nearest you.