Carvin Cobalt 980MW Reviews 4

I have been looking for a crisper sounding acoustic with active electronics and the Carvin Cobalt series was very affordable and appeared to get unanimously glowing reviews. Purchased direct from Carvin for $848 including shipping and hardshell case; they threw in a nice 20 ft. cord. The first unit I received had a serious neck defect and was replaced.

The tone is crisp, clean, full, and well balanced both plugged and unplugged.

The first one they sent had a neck action worse than my old Harmony acoustic; the neck was twisted and scalloped in one spot and could not be adjusted properly. They replaced it with a new guitar that is much more playable, straight neck with good action and no string buzz, but still not quite as good as the action on my old Yairi DY57 or my old Epiphone. I expected a better playing guitar than my existing ones. The maple version is only available in black and tends to smudge very easily and noticeably.

The construction and quality of the replacement unit is excellent. Still not able to get the 3/64 inch string clearance they advertise for their rapid play necks -- it is more like 3/16 at the 12th fret and tends to buzz when the bridge is taken down any more than that. Still very playable for a jumbo acoustic.

The Cobalt 980MW (maple) is one of the best sounding guitars out there if you want a clean, crisp, full balanced sound. The Fishman Prefix electronics allow all the tweaking you want when plugged. I would say the action is good to very good, although not as good as I expected and definitely not as good as many of the higher-end Guilds and Gibsons I have played (as well as my old Yairi and Epiphone). Nevertheless, well worth the money.

Martin Hansen rated this unit 4 on 2004-07-06.

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