Since our launch in 1946, Carvin Audio has specialized in designing and selling premium amplifiers and audio equipment for the professional musician and sound engineer.
The first tube amps were produced in 1948, with later models featuring 6V6 and 5Y3 rectifier tubes. Mother of Pearl covering and hand wired chassis were the norm of that day with Jensen speakers introduced a few years later. Dedicated bass amplifiers began in the 1960s.
Carvin Audio continues our 76-year legacy by providing great sounding gear for musicians and sound professionals worldwide. The company is still owned and operated by the Kiesel Family.
Lowell Kiesel, founder of Carvin Corporation, was born on a farm in Eustis, Nebraska on February 22, 1915. As a young man, he spent time in Wichita, Kansas, where he developed an interest in musical instruments; specifically, Hawaiian steel guitars, resonators and the newly-emerging electronic aspects of these instruments. During his time in Kansas in the 1930s, he performed live on local radio stations with his Hawaiian steel guitar. However, like other innovators in the burgeoning industry of that era, he found that he had an equal passion for building instruments and equipment as he did playing them and that passion would become his life's work.
Following his time in the midwest, Mr. Kiesel relocated to Los Angeles, where he took a job with North American Aviation. It was World War II, and Mr. Kiesel was one of many men building aircraft for the war effort; notably, the legendary P-51 Mustang, which is often credited as turning the tide of the war for the Allies. Near the end of the war, in 1944, he married Agnes Dorothea Jorgenson, who would be with him until her passing in 2007.
Lowell founded the company in 1946, and began winding guitar pickups on an old sewing machine. The company was initially located in Los Angeles, briefly relocated back to Mr. Kiesel's home state of Nebraska, and then moved back to southern California in 1949, by which time he had added amplifiers and steel guitars to his lineup of gear. Originally, Kiesel's products were sold through a distributor, but Mr. Kiesel felt he could do a better job by eliminating the middleman and selling directly to the customer, so an idea that would last until this day was born. The company is named Carvin, after his two eldest sons, Carson and Gavin. In the earliest years of the company, he advertised in magazines such as Popular Mechanics, and began producing his own mail order catalog in the early 1950s. In the years that followed, the company expanded with amplifiers, pro audio equipment and other musical accessories. Early Carvin amplifiers and electronics were made by Mr. Kiesel himself, and later by a few employees of the small company.
As the decades passed, Carvin blossomed into a world-class manufacturer of instrument amplification and pro audio products. The company relocated several times, from Baldwin Park outside of Los Angeles, to Covina, California, to Escondido, California, and finally to San Diego. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mr. Kiesel's sons joined the family business, bringing their own engineering and technical skills to the company. Today, the 3rd generation of Kiesels are carrying on the tradition. Mr. Kiesel's leadership, technical expertise, innovative engineering and marketing concepts led the company for decades, and even after handing the reins of the over to his sons, he maintained an office in Carvin's San Diego headquarters. The innovative direct to customer sales approach adopted by Mr. Kiesel in the 1940s continues to this day, and is one of the primary reasons for the company's success. Lowell Kiesel passed away in 2009.
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all of the earth; make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praises. Sing to the Lord with the harp and the voice of the psalm." - Psalm 98:4-5