Best Carver stereo solid state amplifier design


i would like to know what is the best design Bob Carver has made.Is it really considered hifi.What could we compare the sonics of his best designs to.Can we compare his stuff to mark levinson,spectral,krell.Many people are fans of him but we dont hear much about his work in hifi magazines. Does it mean its only good for home theater or what.Anyone out there can answer on the sound quality of his stuff.Any comparisons made to the big league.Thanks pat
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I run two second-hand Sunfire Signature 600 amps, one per channel, with Marigo Ultra 5 power cords to deal with RF issues. In this configuration they far exceed the performance of the original production Atma-Sphere MA-1 mono amplifiers they replaced in my system.
FWIW, a looong time ago, I owned a couple of different Carver amps. The little 400 watt cube and the really cool looking 500 watt amp with the big analog meters. I don't remember the model numbers. Anyway, I bought a Rotel 980 bx for $600, the Rotel was better top to bottom, in every way, shape and form.

I have not heard any of the Sunfire amps.
I owned both the original M400, the cube-shaped amplifier in which Carver introduced his magnetic field power supply technology, and the subsequent M400t version.

The original M400 sounded quite poor. The M400t sounded surprisingly good, and was certainly an excellent value in relation to its price and its power capability (200W/channel). The "t" denoted "transfer function modification," which meant in this case that it was designed to emulate the sound of a Mark Levinson ML2, which was a pure Class A megabuck monoblock amplifier of the time. Carver demonstrated that by running both his amplifier and an ML2 off of the same input signal (music, not a test signal), electronically subtracting the output of one amplifier from the output of another, and showing that he got a reasonably good null.

The major weakness in my experience with the M400t was that the size of the image it projected seemed somewhat constricted, particularly in comparison to the tube amps I have used.

To his credit, though, creating a 200W amplifier in that small a package, and with a relatively low price, was a remarkable accomplishment. I'll add that in my experience with it, it did sound every bit as powerful and as dynamic as its rating would suggest, although I'll qualify that by saying that I was using it with fairly easy-to-drive 7 ohm 90db speakers.

Some of his later "t" version amplifiers, not in the cube form factor, were designed to emulate the sound of a Conrad Johnson tube amplifier. I have no knowledge of how they sounded.

Regards,
-- Al
I own single Sunfire SRA 250/500 8/4Ohms driving Totem Forrest speakers.
It has a large number of advanteges over the higher priced high-end components:
1. No Heat
2. Plenty of clean and linear power
3. Power rated over the whole audiable freequency bandwidth
4. Fraction of price to Krell Bryston or Classe with competitive performance
5. Can't rise my hand to sell this amp and upgrade to wYred4sound SX500 monos that 'itching' me lately.
Marakanetz so the wyred for sound might be an upgrade to the sunfire.Is your sunfire amp from the latest technologie of Bob Carver.Did you compare both.Anyone out there compare the spectron amps to sunfire amps.In the absolute sound mag,they said that the spectron was the best digital amp.Is that right.pat
All i seem to remember about Carver was his Phase linear amps. PF used a ton of them in Jax FL for their Dark Side Of the Moon show.

I was impressed. Still am.
Blindjim
I was impressed. Still am
is this the amps you are using.pat
My SRA is from late 90's early 2000. It has logic circuit that switches between the classes of amp operation so making it partially digital.
I believe that Wyred4sound is valuable and inexpensive upgrade to my current model.
Marakanetz

I believe that Wyred4sound is valuable and inexpensive upgrade to my current model.

thanks for the answer.pat
I bought a TFM-55 and c-16 preamp right after college. I used them with CV speakers. This was a giant step forward as I left behind a Kenwood receiver and Pioneer tape deck.

I recall the term "MID-FI" being used allot in the early 1990s, but I haven't heard it in a while. It was used on stuff that was too low cost to really be considered a contender. "MID-FI" could be used to brand gear that was better than entry level, but not S.O.T.A - but the term was really a put down too.
Do any people out there made comparisons between carver designs and big league stuff with reference material.Thanks pat.
Still have my 't' mod cube out in the garage. Debate continues on the subject of total rebuild and use as a sub amp for a DVC homebrew design.
Al might have used his with higher sensitivity speakers, but I had very good luck driving a pair of vintage Magnepan MG-1s. It was neck and neck as to which ran out of steam 1st, Maggies or cube.
This was a very impressive (to me) combination especially after I added my First Ever CD player... A Magnevox / Philips FD1001 an original 14 bit player sitting in the next room looking for a laser pickup.
The Phase Linear stuff, especially the 400 is landmark equipment.
08-28-09: Jimjoyce25
I run two second-hand Sunfire Signature 600 amps, one per channel, with Marigo Ultra 5 power cords to deal with RF issues. In this configuration they far exceed the performance of the original production Atma-Sphere MA-1 mono amplifiers they replaced in my system.

the atma-sphere were from the early 90 i guess but did the sunfire beat them in every respect.My brother just compared a carver pm 1.5 to a spectron musician 2 and found the spectron to be much more transparent and maybe a bit flatter than the carver.
By a mile. But you definitely need the power cords with them, or you won't get anywhere near the performance. Without them the RF issues with the Sunfires mean that you won't hear the detail they're capable of.

The 600s are not in production anymore, so only available second hand, and they usually sell pretty quickly. Average price is probably 1500 or so per unit. (Note that the Marigo power cords are quite expensive, so they add significantly to the cost of the amps. But you can try them for 30 days without obligation.)

btw: What do the Spectrons cost?
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I know you requested info on stereo amps. But, the Carver Silver 9t monoblocks have to be reckoned with in this thread. I own the Sunfire 600 stereo amps and the Carver Silver 9t monoblocs. The Carver Silver 9t monoblocs are the way to go. A pair of the monoblocs cost about the same as a used Sunfire 600.
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What do the Spectrons cost? They cost about 1200.00 450 watts at 8 ohms,620 watts at 4 ohms.

The Carver Silver 9t monoblocs are the way to go. A pair of the monoblocs cost about the same as a used Sunfire 600.
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Mitch4t

So Mitch youre saying that the tube amps from carver are better than his solid state design.Have you listened to the lighstar serie.thanks pat
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The Silver 9t are solid state monoblocs. Never heard the LightStar amp, I've heard nothing but good things about it though.
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The Silver 9t are solid state monoblocs. Never heard the LightStar amp, I've heard nothing but good things about it though.

ok i thought they were tube design so the 9s are better sounding than the sunfire amps.Very appreciated comment.Anybody outthere compared the 9s to the lighstar
models.
thanks.pat
I have some old (20 years) Carver equipment I will give away if someone wants to come and get it. 2 amps, 1 preamp and a cassette player. Drop me an e-mail if interested. I am not shipping anything. If you want it come and get it. Don't know the models but I believe the amps are 100 watts.