The Carvin C1644 is a 16-channel, four-bus mixer that has been optimized for live sound use. The C1644 is part of the Carvin’s “Concert 44 Series,” which includes the company’s 8 – 32-channel four-bus mixers.
Product PointsApplications: Live sound, sound reinforcement, installation.
Key Features: 16 channels (8 – 32 channels in the product line), three-band channel EQ, nine-band master graphic EQ, four-bus design, top-mounted I/O
Contact: Carvin at 800-854-2235, Web Site
Made in the U.S.A., the Concert 44 Series is a “true four-bus design” that allows for increased mixing flexibility over stereo consoles. You can assign channels to any of the four subgroups or to L/R. This allows you to mix all the vocals, for example, and assign them to one subgroup. Similarly, you can assign all the instruments to another subgroup. By assigning both the instruments subgroup and the vocals subgroup to the L/R output, you can now instantly balance the house mix by moving two faders.
Every channel has a balanced XLR and line (1/4-inch) preamp with an insert jack for a compressor or EQ. The insert jack also serves as a direct out when plugged to the first click.
Low-impedance, low-noise preamps are used on every channel. Carvin says the balanced common-mode rejection is better than 70 dB to eliminate all cable noise. A 125 kHz switching power supply is built into the C1644.
There are phantom power switches, providing power through the XLR connectors, for use with condenser mics. Phantom power is engaged in groups of eight channels.
The EQ section, with blue-topped knobs, features a three-band EQ with a sweepable mid, 15 dB cut and boost range. Both the low and high are “shelving,” which means they are effective from 20 Hz up to 20 kHz.
Below the EQ section are four gray monitor sends. Every channel can send up to four different monitor mixes and retain access to two effects sends. In practical terms, this means that virtually all performers can have their own monitor mix.
The C1644 also offers two independent nine-band equalizers. These provide one-octave adjustments to control feedback and to zero in your overall sound. The C1644 also boasts two built-in 24-bit effects processors, each offering 256 stereo effects.
Each processor offers chorus, reverbs, nice meaty-textured flanging and cool echoes with fully adjustable parameters for damping, decay, depth, speed, time and regeneration
Controls on the C1644 are logically laid out, making the mixer easy to use. Given that it is just slightly larger than a briefcase, it packs a lot of features and control options. The knobs and buttons have enough space around them to easily make adjustments without the requirement of elf-like fingers.
For looks, the C1644 is true to its classic, slightly retro look, but not to the degree of some of Carvin’s other products. The C1644 is all business, with a dark gray platform and white lettering. Red caps adorn the input gain and pan pot knobs; blue knobs point out the EQ section while gray knobs are used for the monitor and effects 1 and 2 controls.
The build quality is first rate. There were simply no flaws in the C1644’s cosmetics or function. The feel of the pots and faders is smooth and consistent.
Not to be missed, though, is the best feature of the C1644, the sound. The C1644 “passes” audio through, adds nothing unless you want it to, and it is quiet.
A visiting ensemble from another church provided a great opportunity to put the Carvin through its paces. The system consisted of the Carvin C1644 mixer, Electro-Voice 257B mics, Crown CE1000, CE2000 amplifiers and a Bose Panaray speaker system.
The C1644, with its built-in effects processor, eliminated the need for an outboard processor. I was anxious to hear what the Carvin’s onboard effects sounded like in this sonically dead venue, and their resolution was quite good.
I assigned the guest vocalists’ mics to the Group 1 and 2 faders. Our team’s mics were assigned to the Group 3 and 4 faders and a guitar and keyboard to the L/R fader. I am quite familiar with our team’s characteristics, but not the visitors, so I wanted to quickly control each group of singers with its own group faders which the C1644 allowed me to do.
The careful layout of the controls made the Carvin a pleasure to use. There is just enough space between the controls to avoid clutter and claustrophobia.
The Carvin C1644 is an absolute knockout in its functionality and performance. In the bang-for-the-buck department, the Carvin is a stunning, made-in-America achievement.
Electro-Voice 257B mics, Crown CE1000, CE2000 amplifiers, Bose Panaray speaker system