Worth restoration? I'm not sure. My first question would be if the power transistors are still available. I would hate to put money into a restoration and then blow an unreplaceable component.
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"Why not call Bob and ask? Think he is still here in Lynnwood."
Funny....I filled out a form on the Carver site about my repair and got an email today from Bob's current partner in the tube amp business, Frank Malitz. I decided to call and talked to him for over an hour about life and amps. (and not just Carver amps.).
They do not repair vintage product anymore but refer me to the one and only authorized repair service in Illinois that handles their repairs and refurbishing. I am tending to do that, but would still like to hear from people who have actually had a C-500 restored and what it's performance is like, today.... Frank is a delightful, knowledgeable man who has a vested interest in the product...I just want a little input from people who are currently listening to a restored C-500 and how it compares to modern solid state amps, I guess....... Thanks.
Get a variac and plug the amp into it and turn on both with the variac set at zero. Slowly turn up the variac over a 12/24 hour period until 120 volts are reached. This will let the caps reform without shocking them with a sudden turn on. Next hook up the amp and have a listen. No hum/noise is a good sign that the amp is working fine and can be used without need for new caps.
Hi Jason...thanks for the input. I am of the mind to have the amp checked out by a skilled tech. It’s well over 30 years old and every knowledgeable person I have talked to says that the capacitors should be replaced. I don’t mind the inconvenience or the expense. I would like to feel that the unit is reliably functioning and running at 100% capacity.
Audio Classics looks like a really cool, friendly shop and could be a nice day trip for me....hmmmmm.....😎
Do they do their repairs on-site?
Edit: I did a little research- Audio Classics seems to be a McIntosh specialty house, right?
So...I am kind of becoming an expert on the topic! LOL! I have had all these "experts" telling me to replace the capacitors, blah...blah blah. The only Carver-authorized location has mixed reviews, for sure. Plus I would be shipping it to strangers...the cost of packing and shipping and potential for damage, etc..etc......so.... I finally talked to an HONEST, open tech here in NJ, who has a killer reputation and he works out of his house. Has worked on Carver before. He said that all the hyperbole about capacitors is horse sh*t! 🐎💩😬
He told me how to test my amp with a voltmeter (and it checked out fine) and I inspected and there is no leakage from the caps..They look brand new...so the amp may work just fine. I am waiting for a Schiit Freya + tube preamp to get here (they are 6-week back ordered)...and I will get some junk speakers to test on in the meantime. If it doesn't work out, I can take the 80min drive to Ho-Ho-Kus and drop it off in good hands. I am finally getting somewhere. 😁👍🏼
Thanks for your input!
OK...I connected with Tim at Bristol Electronics in Ho Ho Kus., NJ..as mentioned above. After my amp testing the Schiit Freya arrived and as it turns out.....my amp works just fine and sounds GREAT! So Tim was correct about the capacitors! 40 years old and kicking badass! 😬
So...I am an extremely happy guy with a fantastic, powerful combo with the Freya and The Carver together. I plan to install/solder-in a new power cord on The Carver, as the original is spindly and about done. Also, the amp has no on/off switch as it was designed to be plugged into a switched outlet on the Carver preamp, (as many amp/preamp combos were of that era). So I plan on installing a radio controlled outlet for it and The Freya (as the on/off switch on The Freya is on the rear of the unit? The remote also does not have any on/off control. That is super inconvenient if your gear is in a cabinet like mine is. DUH!).
I have a Marantz SCAD/Streamer 30n shipping 2moro morning for my set-up, so I am pretty excited!!! 👍🏼
OK..this is interesting...the tech I talked to here in N.J., who has been spot-on with his info and help (no charge!) had an interesting "take" on the variac thing. I digress...Marty, Bob Carver's business partner, told me during my hour-long conversation with him that bringing up the amp to 120v with a variac over a 2-3 day period was a good idea... but...After investigating this whole situation and learning more (and from my own small personal experience with this amp)...I have to say that I would dismiss a lot of what Marty has to say. Marty likes to talk and be the expert..(I am not the only one with that opinion),Nice guy...but... ..Actually I would like to know what Bob himself has to say on the topic. Truly.
Anyway...when I mentioned the variac treatment to my guy here he said: …"Yes...that could be a useful procedure in some situations, but your particular amp, and the particular capacitors in vintage Carvers in general do not respond well to that and in fact, that my C-500s capacitors may respond negatively to that procedure. I have to say, Tim, my guy here seemed very knowledgeable, confident and just laid back in his assessments. He instilled confidence.
Bottom line...I just fired the amp up, no variac...the capacitors seem fine and oh does this baby have some nice punch and depth over my Marantz SR6015 in stereo mode! My Carver could be benefiting from the Schiit Freya + ...but when I play an SACD thru the Marantz 30N and the Freya.."to me" it sounds fantastic. I would really like to compare it to a "modern" solid state stereo amplifier and see how it compares, especially in the base region.
Thanks for your feedback...but I threw caution to the wind! 😎 It’s all good.
Nice story, your situation is almost to duplicate of mine except the 40 year old amplifier in question for me is an Adcom GFA-1. I have been told that both Bob Carver and Nelson Pass were employed by Adcom in those early days. Updating the hardwired power cord seems like it might be worth doing. I like the Adcom but it has a cooling fan that adds a little noise to a quiet room although not much worse than hiss provided by some tubes.
Nice story, your situation is almost to duplicate of mine except the 40 year old amplifier in question for me is an Adcom GFA-1. I have been told that both Bob Carver and Nelson Pass were employed by Adcom in those early days. Updating the hardwired power cord seems like it might be worth doing. I like the Adcom but it has a cooling fan that adds a little noise to a quiet room although not much worse than hiss provided by some tubes. I also live in Northern New Jersey :-)
Well...I have mine in a cabinet...but had a 12v micro fan for a computer...So I cut a vent hole and a hole for the fan in the back of the cabinet...I put the fan on a rheostat so I can run it on low..and since the Carver has no on off switch I got a radio control plug in and put the Carver, the fan and my Schiit Freya Preamp on the radio controlled switch. The Freya has no on off on the remote??? and the mechanical switch is on the back???? WTF? LOL!
I found out that my Carver is working well...I did something REALLY dumb...and blew a fuse on the Carver. Can't get it anywhere locally!
That fuse and the Carver shut-down circuitry saved my $5000 speakers. PHEW!....now I have to wait a week for fuses!!! LOL!