From my experiences, I would guess that it might put out that power from 1000hz to 10,000. Carver has no bass and no highs........
44 responses Add your response
Eventhough I did not have an A....X amp as you do, I had the older M 4.0t amps that Bob Carved had designed before being bought out by board members. It had a rated output of 375 watts per channel, but in my short audiophile experience, those were the most GUTLESS watts I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. How heavy is your amp? Mine was about 35 lbs, and to be honest, the weight to power ratio shows that there is something missing. All the amps that I have had afterwards were much heavier and subsequentialy had better bass, better everything. I unloaded my last M 4.0t about 3 years ago, on the cheap. That was the best decision I did in my whole life. Other amps I have used are PA-7 Nakamichi, Sonic Frontier Power 2 (glorious sounding, a little loose in the base department), Blue Circle BC-2 (75lbs each) nice power supply but needs somewhat flat impedance from the speaker and now I am using a DNA 225(this is one exciting and slamming amp.)
Absolute crap. One of the real performers, the Carver A-760x, is being trashed here. This amp is perfect and stable under virtually any load, for a very reasonable price. Anyone who has found a flaw in this amp has one that is not working properly, or more likely, has no idea what real music is supposed to sound like.
Or maybe you just like amps with a built in bass boost, (working like a "loudness contour,") and you don't know enough about what you hear to realize it.
One flaw Ive found is their output wattage rating. They rate their output using the lame IHF dynamic power rating. Basically their telling you what it can output with a 1khz test tone for a millisecond. 380 watts at the IHF rating could very well mean that its true RMS value be at least 3-6db(1/2-3/4 less output power)or even more below its listed spec. My guess is that the amp is realistically capable of putting out about 50-100 watts of true full bandwidth power at best. And looking over its power supply and output components on some online white papers looks to confirm this. Never been a fan of ANY "Bob Carver" product myself though. I dunno, I cant do a product you see in a Cambridge Soundworks retail store that you know has a 60-65 point markup.
The Parasound HCA does not have a built-in bass boost!It has a much beefier power supply, two huge torodial tranformers,and huge storage capacitors.Its bass is CLEARLY better extended,punchier,tighter, and better defined than the Carver A-760x.The top-end is also more open and extended than the Carver.I owned the Carver for years and had it repaired once by Sunfire Corp.and they said everything checked out as good as new,so the unit is not defective! Alot of amplifiers have trouble in the low frequency range,especially with sustained high level low bass material.It takes a beefy power supply with lots of current capability and lots of power supply filter capacitance to PROPERLY reproduce deep,tight,extended and accurate bass.It is hard to get a solid state amp to sound right in the top-end.Its usually a compromise between a grainy,etched quality or a dark,rolled off quality,but the bass is just as hard to get right.
I dont think its a matter of power amplifiers having a problem with low frequency reproduction, its a matter of low impedance fluctuations with lf drivers that are relatively inneficient compared to their hf counterparts. Most full range speakers have impedance dips in the lower octaves combined with low sensitivity which alot of times with an anemic amplifier will sound washed out or blurry,and/or less defined than amplifers that can truely control a hard load. Most hf drivers have very high sensitivity abilities combined with easy to drive reactive loads of a higher impedance. I dunno, I would question any amp that has a smaller power supply than my current CD player. LOL!
Danvetc: Its kind of hard for you to state if you got good lf extension or not since your using a pair of monitors with a seperate powerd sub wouldnt you say?Let alone the band-aid control RDP-1 I see you've got listed(why didnt you just invest the money spent on one of those for better monitors,amp and room treatments?Lot of money that could have been put to better sonic gains in your system if you ask me). Even so those speakers are easy loads to drive. You could get a radioshack amp to sound good with them Im sure in reality.
I have had the Carver Silver 9t amps (550 w/ch) for about 10 years. I have also previously owned amps from companies like Audio Research, McIntosh, B&K, Adcom, Dynaco, Phase Linear, BGW, GAS, Tandberg, Carver, Krell (possibly one of the worse sounding I have had although I'm sure many others will disagree), Crown, Mark Levinson (I'm sure these were the best I ever owned),etc. I can honestly say that for the price, the Carver Silver 9t's are the best sounding amps I have owned. Are they better than the McIntosh, Audio Research or Levinson amps I owned? No!, but then again, I save over $8,000.00 with the Carvers.
If you will note from my prior posts, I also own a pair of Carver Amazing Platinum IV speakers. Coupled to the Carver amps I am sure I obtain better bass performance than most people, even if they are using a subwoofer. I know there are many, many other full range speakers/amp combos out there that can whip the pants off mine, but not at the price I paid for the Carver system.
Measured response in my room is pretty flat from 22Hz to 18kHz (using a Gold-Line analyzer at 1/12 octave in the low frequencies). I'm talking + or - 2dB over that range. Yes I use minimal equalization, but mostly room treatments. It has taken a long, long time to achieve this (I also don't move things around too much in that room) but the sound is really cool.
Sorry, but I just can't agree with Carver amps being so anemic as many of you say. Can they supply the raw longterm output of amps with 75 pound overbuilt power supplies, no! But they hold their own.
'tis true the Harbeth C7's are pretty easy to drive, but they do appreciate power, at least up to 150-200 wpc (not sure what they think of more), and the chief strengths to my thinking of the Carver A series amps are stability into real speaker loads, resulting in a flat, characterless, frequency response. But, as eldartford says above, bass performance isn't that hard.
I know two people who use the A760, Charlie, who posts above, and Robert E Greene, who writes reviews for TAS and uses the amp with his Harbeth M40's, and we know, by email, Jim Croft, who designed the amp. I don't believe for a minute that it has any deficiency in the bass. It does operate in Class H, but extensive testing versus the lower powered Class AB amps from the same family revealed no sonic differences, according to the designer. (I haven't compared it with my lower powered A series amp.)
I wonder why someone would be interested in trashing an amp that has been out of production for so many years?
Want to sell it cheap?
Pro sound amps, which Carver now makes, are serious business, not a hobby, and performance (and price) sells. The current Carver ZR 1600 (PWM digital)is specd both at 1 khz and for 20 to 20KHz, 660 and 600 watts respectively into 4 ohms. Not much difference. "Power Bandwidth" is specd also: 20 to 20KHz. Below 60 watts, where the amp will mostly operate in the home audio application, distortion is comparable to "audiophile" amps, and much better than some. At 600 watts they just say "less than 0.5 percent". The "less than" terminology reflects typical professional conservatism. I have an ancient "outboard" Shure phono preamp specd at "less than 1 percent" but when tested it's good to 0.1 percent just like any other decent preamp circuit.
The ZR 1600 has recieved glowing reports from those who have tried it. Perhaps it's the Spectron without the audiophile hype. At less than $800 a copy it's worth a trial, and I have a set of three on order to drive my array of Magneplanars and subwoofers.
Being a digital amp, efficiency is very high so I will save a few bucks on electricity. And, just like military electronics, they actually quote a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) at 43,824 hours! Can a Krell match that?
Ears...I made a typo.. it is less than $900, but may be down to $800 by the time you order. I was going to order one and give it the listening test. But then I really needed three channels for the Maggies, that meant two Carvers. But that left one unused channel, so why not get one more Carver, and use each one in a mains/subwoofer application. (I have three SW). Please don't get me started on the rear channels!
If you are just involved with 2-channel, the cost to check out this new technology is so low that it is hard to pass up.
Being a prosound unit it has lots of nice bells and whistles, like remote turn-on by 12VDC, with delayed 12vdc ouput so that several amps can be daisy chained with staggered turnon so you don't open a 115vdc breaker.
Danvetc: "typical audiophile bullshit".
Typical audiophile bullshit is in fact a company like Carver. They are almost soley responsible for leading the pack on false advertising,super point markup and "power ratings". When I used to work for Lechmere back in the late 80's we had alot of Carver products for display and sale. We used to get bonus spiffs everytime we were able to sell a Carver product to the tune of an extra 15% on an items retail tag(if we sold a $1000 Carver amp we got an extra $150 in our paycheck). We even had a rep. come in who distributed Bob Carver products to help us sell the stuff. He was doing a demonstration on some of their amplification and pre amp products and told one of the employees to get a Similiary priced Sony(Sony recievers were big into "effects" and "surround modes" at the time, probably still the same way) receiver to show the difference in clean power output between the 2 products. The salesman wouldnt use an Onkyo product though when one of the older salesman offered him to use that. We later found out why when the Rep. left. A small basic no frills Onkyo reciever rated at around 60 watts per channel was able to drive a pair of 4 ohm speakers with a much fuller sound and with much better output than a Carver product that was 4 times the price with an advertisement of 10 times the output power into the same impedance. That Philosophy still holds true today folks. Something I dont buy into. And people here know that I have no problems with amplifiers with "lower price tags" over alot of the Mega Buck Levinson or Rowland equipment. Im the first to admit that pricetag doesnt mean jack and that great sounding amplifiers can be had more minimal money, but Carver isnt one of them. Least not with the Audiophile speakers I have alot of familiarity with. Fast forward 10 years to when I worked with the Tweeter Home Entertainment Group. Our store was the first to get a pair of Sonus Faber Amati Homage speakers in the country. We had just sold off our last floor demo Adcom product, and a B&K amp we had had some serious noise in one of its channels(Typical for B&K)and needed to be sent out. So the Store Manager actually pulled down a Carver amplifier that was up in the luch room to temporarily power it for the evening until we could get a transfer in from another store. The amplifier was rated for around 4-500 watts into 4 ohms. Once hooked up to the speakers, we were more than dissapointed. The amp could barely drive the Amati's to normal room volumes. And it did it with an "out of phase thin sound". Very poor to say the least. I always question a product though when on the back of the unit it states maximum power consumption of about 3-400 watts, then has power ratings of at least twice that per channel in the manual. If something consumes only a few hundred watts of power going into the amp, how does it produce more than twice or 3 times that amount coming out of the amp?? Gotta love Carver......... If Im going to get into Proaudio gear, Ill stick with companies like Ampeg, or Line6. If Im going to stay in hifi audio, Ill keep to my guns and stay away from Bob Carver products.
Put up a similiar priced and "rated" Rotel RB-1090 against ANY current Carver product with similiar designations, I know which I would choose....
Paulwp: I dont think anyone here was trashing it to begin with. But the ORIGINAL THREAD STARTER asked a question about why the amp sounded weak and thin. Myself and a few others who have actual experience with Carver amps gave honest opinions. Or in this case I should say honest facts. First off, its not a true 380 watts per channel amp. Its more like a true 100 watt per channel amp. Lacking bass? Could be depending on the reactive load. If Carver is going to exaggerate its true RMS output, whose to say he isnt going to exxagerate of performance aspects as well?? Then you get a guy who comes onto the thread up in arms about how great the Carver product is, but at the same time that same poster has more money invested in EQ's and sound shaping equipment than proabaly the rest of the BB combined. I dunno bout that.........
Ritteri, with respect, and I'm just trying to give you some information here, you are trashing a product that you apparently know nothing about. The A-760 was rated, after considerable testing, at 380 wpc, rms, both channels driven, into 8 ohms, from 20hz to 20khz, 600 into 4 and 1150 into 2, rms under the same conditions. And the person who headed the design team and was responsible for the rating and marketing of the product is a real straight shooter. There is no basis for your assertion that it is really like a 100 watt amp.
I think your confusion stems from a simple misunderstanding or two. The first is that you seem to believe that Bob Carver had something to do with this amp. He didn't. The second misconception seems to be that the A series amps are similar in design to Bob Carver's designs. They aren't. Bob Carver's earlier amps were high voltage amps that were marketed with unrealistic power ratings. The A series Carver amps were designed after Bob Carver left the company, using the basic high current design concepts first implemented in the Lightstar II. They are robust, good amps.
Charlie ("danvetc") doesn't need and no doubt never uses the power the A760 is capable of delivering. REG recently measured his A760 putting out 175 wpc playing orchestral music at about 94 db through his Harbeth M40's, and has no doubt about the A760's ability to meet its specs.
As far as Charlie's "sound-shaping" equipment is concerned, REG recommended the Z systems digital equalizer preamp to use in eliminating room effects, and if you don't appreciate Charlie's investment in dealing with peaks and nulls created by interaction with the listening room, then I'd recommend doing a little research. For myself, I've used Stereophile test discs and a Radio Shack spl meter and find that I can get reallly accurate response from my speakers (same as Charlie's) without equalization, but my room is larger and the ceiling is much higher.
Paul, a Radioshack SPL meter is a really crude tool at best and is nowhere near a flat reading response. It requires a few mods just to get it to within +/- 3db which is still in my opinion very crude at best.
But to the subject, from many sources from what Ive dug up research on, the 760 cannot physcially output 380 watts continuously full spectrum, 175wpc isnt barely half that, and I bet those are peak measurements at best. THe fact that Charlie "measured" 175wpc on a pair of limited bandwidth monitors means absolutely nothing(plus I would like to know how he actually did measure the output to begin with)at all. Those monitors never drop below 6-7 ohms from my research. Regardless 175wpc is a far cry from 380 or 600wrms for that matter as the claims are. But again IHF ratings are 100% useless and that amp cant put out that type of wattage at any impedance full bandwidth. It doesnt even draw half that power.
As for my comment on the soundshaping equipment, you obviously didnt read my sentence. It all could have been done with diy home treatments.WHy spend $5k(or whatever)on putting more circuits in the signal path to color sound that you cant get right with the current equipment used? Backwards thinking from this perspective. With room treatments I am able to get a natural spectral curve without any type of tonal control, and I dont have any dips or valleys in my speakers spectral output.
Ritteri, I see this is a worthless exercise. Here I am, trying to help you, and you ignore much of what I say. First off, the Carver A760 puts out 380 rms continuous wpc, with both channels driven, from 20 hz to 20khz, regardless of what you believe to be true. You have never used it or tested it, and you have no way of disputing what I just said. I said that REG, Dr. Greene, who writes reviews in TAS, measured the output with his Harbeth Monitor 40's, hardly a "limited bandwidth monitor." You might do a little research on the speakers.
You can't do what the Z sytems preamp does with diy home treatments. And your belief that "more circuits in the signal path" color the sound is just sad - audiophile nonsense.
And, btw, the RS meter is very predicatable, and after correcting for its well documented deviations, is good at plus or minus 1 db. Good enough for me, but the only point was, I don't use the Z systems, but you simply display your ignorance by criticizing someone who does.
If the comment about, "at the same time that same poster has more money invested in EQ's and sound shaping equipment than proabaly the rest of the BB combined" was directed towards me, please note that I never stated what I use or how much I spent on equalization. The fact being (and we should stick to the facts, let's not read into things to make our own point) I use my pre/pro's equalization to correct for the minor problems that I could not fix with room treatment.
Also, the fact is that I spent almost $2,500.00 in room treatments. Not that much considering my room's overall response is so smooth. I hope that you are aware how much room interactions affect the overall sound of your system. I can't imagine that any of the AG forum members have not tried some sort of room treatment. In my opinion, fix the room before you fix the speakers/electronics. I'm sure almost everyone agrees with this however, it is usually too expensive to correct room anomolies and therefore ignored to some extent.
I'm sure my room could improve the sound of many audio systems out there. You should try fixing your room too.
And yes, the Carver amps still sound really good with my Carver speakers.
In response to your email question, I say that I cannot imagine what the DNA 225 would sound like with the Adcom preamp you have. One thing is for sure, the DNA 225 with the preamps I have used, which are as follows:
SUMO ATHENA (class A output stage) sounded jumpy and exciting. The bass was darn fast and powerful, but sometimes a little boomy...but I suspect this to be a problem with the speakers I am using, which produce too much base, as well as with the back
wall interaction(it makes standing waves and sounds, boomy.) Now, I have paired it with a FIRST SOUND PRESENCE DELUXE preamp. This is preamp is tubed and it makes the DNA 225 react when it is called
for. Less exciting then before, but let me say that my system has gained a little COMPOLSURE Not a bad thing. The DNA 225 will out do the PARASOUND soundwise anyday.
If I had to classify from the lowest to the highest in the quality of sound....CARVER=sub
1K amp sound, mediocre at best, harsh sounding and pathetically weak in contrast to its high wattage designation...my amp produces 200 watts, but they are more powerful than even the 1000 watts that showed in the M 4.0 t Carver's led scale. What does that tell you about really watts? PARASOUNDS go between 1-2K range easily. They might compete with the likes of ADCOM, ARAGON, ROTEL? I have heard the 3500 has transformer humming issues....too big of a transformer, that is one of the trade backs. It supposedly produces oddles of current. The McCormack, even besides the DNA 225, which is priced a little above the 2K mark, takes the quality of sound
to levels between 2-5K (Like the SF Power 2 I had) is will give you a great sound, maybe you will not crave for upgrades anymore. Many AUDIOGONERS have McCormack
moded models as their reference, but can I say that they have PARASOUNDs or even CARVERS in the same rank? Never. The person you spoke to, he is simply trying
to defend whatever he happened to have experienced or owned. I cannot believe that anyone would keep a Carver especially the M whatever designations as their standard reference, if money was not in question.
I sold my M 4.0 t for $100 3 years ago. There is someone selling the same model for up to $400 in some sites. What a rip of an amp. I would rather run a pair of car
amps home than a Carver.
Regardless of what people defend, one needs to understand that it is all subjective. Some people favor BANG for the BUCK, and to those, a Carver might seem fine, especially if they see the wattage vs dollar ratio. Forget about Odyssey amps claiming the whole interesting article about weight/wattage/dollar calculation. Carver was at it way before....what about those Class A amps, like the Clayton that weight substantially and yet produce just 40 watts, but man, what type of 40 watts are those watts?
Having not too much money to spend, I would still skip Carvers anyday...rather fall into debt and get me something real. Never heard of the A series, but I know that thos transfer function amps were useless designs for real world purposes. Back in 1989, when I had a pair of Kappa 9, I have had the Carver M 4.0ts running monoblock, you needed to see how the Infinities ate them up for lunch. The lights would go to clipping and bang, nasty sound. Carver amps of those days were not well designed...thank God I got rid of those junkers, without damaging the speakers. Back then I did not know any better.
Guys, stop fighting over this amp, some designers are absolutely second class, older Carver corp amps are such designs that do not deserve another neuron and carpatunnel nerve injured for them.
Hope it helps.
Sorry to start such a heated dispute over Carver amps.I can still say without a shadow of doubt,and all my friends who have heard my Parasound HCA-3500/Adcom GFP-750/Paradigm Reference Studio/100v.2 system agree that the Parasound sounds less compressed at high volumes,more extended top-end,and much better bass extension, bass control, bass tightness, and bass power and punch than the Carver A-760X amp that I owned for years!
Paul I don't own either but it seems like your defending your own amps and the amount you spent on them LOL!!!!
Why can't the Parasound or Carver be a reference or did you write the book on that too! Sorry I just find it funny you put hope it helps at the end of all that ranting.Not everyone on this forum has to spend $6000 on amplifiers to achieve sonic bliss.I bet some of these dealers would love to see you coming!
Relax and Enjoy the Music!
Well, no dealers would like to see me coming, because I have not bought from a brick and mortar dealer, nor have I paid full price for everything that I have owned or still do....I agree with you, Gmood, I am unabashedly defending the gear I have spent money on!>:) Regardless, Carvers in general BLOW. I cannot even believe that I had said good things about Carver in some posts before, blame it on my youth and my sheer ignorance.
Gmoodl, I agree with you 100%. It's all about the music, not the electronics.
As far as Carver being a 'second class designer', I hate to bring this up, but Bob Carver has probably come up with more inovative designs than any of the high end audio designers. Any engineer, or anyone that can apreciate engineering can tell you that many 'high end' amps use principals and basic designs that have been around since the early 20th century. Carver has been an inovative and leader in the circuit design arena as pertaining to audio. I'm sure that if he wanted to, he could design an amplifier that could compete even the most highly regarded amps of today. Check out his modestly priced Sunfire series.
As a matter of fact, I remember that he designed a tube amp many years ago that sold for $20,000.00, and even the Carver skeptics had to concede to the sonic qualities of the amplifier.
Another thing, what is this continual reference to a watt from tube amps being 'greater' than a watt from a solid state amp; or that a watt from a Carver amp is less than a watt from any other amp. Sounds like voodoo is working it's magic here.
If I had to do it all over again, I would not have replaced my Levinsons or my Mac's. I think they are some of the best designed and sounding amps available. But that is in the past. Oh well.
Paulwp: Actually, your the one not listening. That amplifier has already been tested. And it didnt put out anywhere near its rated output of 380 wpc. Here is how Carver them selves rates the amp: "Two channel power amplifier; THX Certified; 380 watts rms/ch into 8 Ohms, both channels driven, 20 Hz - 20 kHz; 600 watts rms/ch into 4 Ohms; 1,150 watts/ch into 2 Ohms - IHF dynamic power" Now gentleman look at the last 3 words, "IHF dynamic power" . IHF Dynamic power basically means that an amp can for a split instant hit dynamic peaks of X amount of wattage. It could mean anything too, whether it be a 1khz test tone(which is how Carver rates their amplifiers)or a full spectrum burst(pink noise from 20hz to 20khz)or just a basic random musical passage.
Also taken from Danvetc little review he posts in his system thread was taken this: "Using pink noise, an oscilloscope, and digital voltmeter, we measured 22.59 Volts and 3.79 Amperes just below clipping, left channel driven into one Carver Platinum. Keep in mind that this real world test takes into account the back EMF that is produced by the speakers. Back EMF counteracts the power delivered by the amplifier. The measurement corresponded with a readout of 180 watts on the A-760x analog meter. Wow. Even in the test review they only get half of the rated output, and we dont even know the impedance! It could be at 8,6, or 4 ohms for all we know, but regardless 180 watts per channel is ALOT less than what they rate. If you look up above even closer youll see that they only test one channel! The test should have been done with both channels driven, and on this amplifier, both channels driven would probably have meant another 2-3 db less of clean output. So my estimate from the parts used, size of the ps,capacitance and the review even conclude that the amp is realistically putting out about 100 watts of true rms power. 180 watts if one channel is driven is what the reviewer got. Im about as close to dead nuts as your going to get from a quick estimate/guestimate.
BTW Im not a big fan of TAS or Stereophile, alot of their own testing methods are flawed at best, especially "The Aboslute Sound". At least Stereophile gives a true rundown with complete analysis of the products they test and post it using proper equipment. Not just a but of hyped opinion, but still regardless its not what I base my decisions on.
Now telling me that room treatments can naturally contour the curve of the sound is just ludicrous!
There are 3 types of sound treatments.
A. The kind that absord (soft wall panels)
B. The kind that diffuse (room lenses so to speak)
C. The kind that reflect (Sonus tubes)
Just by strategically placing all of the above 3 in different combos you can absorb,diffuse and reflect sound reflections from the walls ceiling and floor. You can actually gain or lose up to 12db of different frequencies by the type of material used. Telling me that contouring the reflections naturally in the room is impossible tells me how much you really know about "hifi".
Do this simple test. Go up to a bare wall and shout over and over again "I am a silly boy". Now put up on that wall a thick blanket. DO it over and over again. Notice a difference?? I bet your voice sounds muffled talking direct into the blanket. You've effectively blocked out about 6db worth of frequencies ranging from about 400hz and up. Just a simple example of how room treatments are extremely important. Go to the Sydney Opera house in Austrailia on your next vacation. Check it out, come back and tell me what you learned.
As for the RS meter. Its physically impossible to get an RS meter with the current mic to be +/- 1db with an analogue guage. With the mods you can get it to within +/- 3db at best. Still a potential for a 6db swing. Step up to the plate and get an digital RTA meter with a properly tuned mic. The RS meter is good though for ball parking along with some setup disks from Stereophile and other sources no doubt, I have used it myself in the past with good results. But in the end, the only one showing his ignorance is you. Its not by any means or coincidence that myself, the threadstarter and many others have stated the same thing about Carver products.
What is very typical of this thread is the level of ignorance. Gmgood, I agree about Bemopti's long message above - I was going to respond simply "LOL." I explained above that any experience with Carver products designed by Bob Carver and marketed by Carver Corporation when he was there is irrelevant when considering the products designed amd sold after he left, from the Lightstar II through the A series amps. He didn't have anything to do with what happened after he wasn't there anymore. Is that so hard to understand?
Nevertheless, he is a capable designer, as Errivera says, and his Sunfire products are very good, even though designed with a frequency contour rather than strictly accurate.
Errivera: Wasnt actually ever reffering to you. My posts were towards Paulwp and Danvetc. Just a heads up.
Dalton: SO you went with the Parasound eh? Was I dead nuts on describing it accurately sonically and physically? Enjoy it, and make sure it stays on 24/7 for thermal stability. Shoot me an email if you want details on how to internally upgrade it to JC-1 sound quality potential. Take off the top plate when you get a chance too. Lots of quality parts and craftsmanship under the hood of that beast.
There has been lots of innuendo about individuals qualifications to making claims or statements that are ludicrous and ignorant. Just for the record I am interested in the background of some of the individuals making such critical comments. I will state my own background as I also know that there are some of you who are Physicists, Engineers, Electonics Engineers, etc.
BS in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (currently Polytechnic University), minor in Comp. Sci..
MS in Electrical Engineering from the same as above.
I have taken many courses in acoustics being that audio has been a passion of mine since I was a child.
I have worked and retired (kind of forced after 24 years) as an EE from Bell Labs (currently Lucent) and also did work part-time (many years ago) as a design engineer for a then well-to-do amplifier company. I left because the owners were apparently halucinating. They kept hearing things that just were not there. Many adjectives were made up to describe sound that was basically added distortion (just like the tube gearheads do nowadays, no offense). Don't get me wrong, I know that certain types of distortion can sound pleasant. As a matter of fact, many of these distortions are present in the natural world, such as the pluck of a guitar string. And worse of all, not everyone's hearing is identical, especially some of us somewhat older folks. I marvell when I play test tones and my children clearly hear up to 20kHz clearly and I don't hear it as loud, if at all. All of the above I have accomplished at the ripe young age of 45. I have been into audio since the age of 8. Thanks to my father, who actually allowed me to purchase (with his money) speakers, amps, decks, etc. for our family enjoyment. Incredible hobby for a child at such a young age. My first real audio system was Fisher 500C receiver with AR(?) speakers. We had this system until it was replaced by Rectilinear III speakers (how many of you remember these?) an Ampex reel to reel with a Dynaco ST120 (I think). There have been many, many systems in between.
Finally, yes, room design, and concert hall design, does take into account room dimensions, shape and reflection/absorbtion/diffusion properties. These things can be controlled to some extent to obtain a smooth frequency response. Unfortunately, most of us have been dealt our cards. We have no control over the room dimensions or shape therefore, we work to correct the problems that already exist without having introduced any sound equipment at all. Not always a simple task.
Please forgive me if some of the years don't match up. I'm going from memory and I'm sure the timeframe might be a little off.
All right, it's your turn.
I stand to my OPINION. Carver are rubbish. The amps that B Carver tried to sell in the mid to early 90s, before being pushed out of his company, were mostly sold more due to a careful commercial campaign than due to their audio merits, as someone already pointed out. Perhaps Sunfire amps actually have some brawns now, but these are not the same designs that I am thinking about.
ERRIVERA: Give anyone 20K to sell you a pair of amps.....back in the days(especially in 1989 when I was 17), in economic terms, a top flight Acura cost just about $40,000....Now, see how much the same model can easily cost, $57,000+....20K for a pair of tube amps in 1989 was a lot of money then and in today's dollar terms would be almost 30K+ or more....The fact that a designer can make a great sounding amp for 20K in that time is not necessarily proof that he is a genius. Returning to today, what is the price of a seriously REFERENCE class tube or SS amp, be it stereo or MONO? I cannot think about amps that cost more than the HALCROS for close to 20k or more....No tube amps, except those ridiculously priced Audio Note ONGAKUS come to mind, at 100k.
Come on, there are very talented designers that can make reference class amps at prices nowhere NEAR what those Carver Silver whatever Bob made back in the 1980s. This is not to say that they did sound really GOOD. I think when he took those amps to production, he was not seriously thinking about making money selling those amps....I think there were PART of his COMMERCIAL stategy...."Let me show you an amp that is less than xx lbs, and produces XXX watts per channel and by the way, it has The TUBE TRANSFER FUNCTION of those 20K amps..." If you look at the M amps of then, they had that logo printed on them SILVER 7 or 9 Tube TRANSFER FUNCTION.
I stand by my judgement, I have lived through the barrage of propaganda from the Carver Corporation when BCarver was there....his amps were rubbish to me back then and still are rubbish, in my vivid mind.
To Dalton: As someone else already pointed out, the P HC 3500 you have were the precursors to the JC 1 monos and thus have potential. The same amp, moded by CTC were the precursors to the raved REFERENCE monoblocks, at 5K. By the way ERRIVERA, I would rather keep 15k and have those JC 1 monos now than ever buy the Carver tubed beasts of back then(I do love tube amps.)
Want more proof that the Carver A-760x is over-rated?
I have a stereo receiver in my bedroom, a very good one, a Harman-Kardon HK-3470.A high current model rated at 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 130 watts per channel into 4 ohms. I brought it into my living room and hooked it and the Carver A-760x up so that I could compare them head-to-head into my main stereo system.I also used a SPL meter from Radio Shack.I was shocked to say the least!Sure the Carver was more open,had better imaging, and a little better transparency than the Kardon.But, the Harman/Kardon had better top-end extension,the bass was dead-even!The mids sounded very similar,and they both sounded flat and lifeless at low volume levels.They both started audibly clipping at the same level on the SPL meter!They both started sounding compressed and harsh at levels the Parasound HCA-3500 took in stride!Head-to-head the Parasound handily beat them in almost every category,especially the bass, image depth, smoothness, detail, and top-end extension.I am so happy that I bought the Parasound.A great amp! A brute of an amp!
Dalton, though Im glad to see your excited, I do have to say that just cranking the volume isnt a sure fire way to say ones better than the next, though Im sure its good for your own experimentation, others may find it a bit lacking! =) Did you know that it only takes 1 db for a change in perception between equipment comparisons?To do real fair comparisons you need a tuned mic that can allow you to level match equipment properly for true comparisons. In fairness to everyone else(like folks who do own and enjoy their Carver products)just having an amp with more wattage doesnt necessarliy make it better. Gobs of power is great for quick, full dynamics, or if your running really inneficient speakers(like low impedance speakers with low sensitivity etc)they are great too. But for speakers like Paradigm Reference speakers which are an easy load to drive and relatively efficient, your going to find that your only putting through 25-50 watts at "normal" listening volumes in reality. There are alot of great amps that put out relatively low wattage and have great sound potential too. Some people even argue that lower powered amps using less parts sound superior too(along with a million other arguments in this stressful hobby! LOL!). Even your room will dictate how much power is needed. If your in a bedroom though with those speakers and amplifier, youll be running less than 25 watts I bet. Which is a good thing anyway. That Parasound amp sounds best when its biased in class A operation, just so your aware.
Danvetc: I just wanted to add one thing towards you. I just feel that you shouldnt have interjected and defended the equipment in question when you yourself dont run the same piece full bandwidth. SOmeone who uses small monitors that dont have bass to begin with, shouldnt defend a product he may not have had complete familiarity with(hey maybe you do, but I am also familiar with that Carver amp and too many others unfortunately). You get your bass from your powered subwoofers, which in effect means your amplifier is now running limited bandwidth. I bet it does sound good with your setup too btw(even though I dont agree with the EQ), but again it proves my point further on the amplifier. You yourself actually tuned out its weakness running dedicated subs and allowing it to juice the upper frequencies. And btw, Im sure your system does sound great. Alot of hifi also has to do with equipment matching. In fact in many ways it can be the most important thing. And you dont need to spend a ton of money to get $40k sound (like me =P ). I can name a few systems Ive owned in the past where I spent a small fraction of the cost of my current system, and I still got 95% of the performance I have presently(but damn Fleetwood Mac and Tracy Chapman have never sounded better!)and had alot of fun putting them together too.
Warnerwh, I did not know that the 20k amps were not of BCarver's design. All the worse. From the commercials it seemed as if he was claiming the fame for them. I did not even know that Hafler had anything to do with Tube amp designs. The things people learn at Audiogon. Interesting. Daltonlanny, it is a proven fact that Carvers are beyond overrated....someone stated that Onkyo's were not allowed into a demo test to workers at a electronic retail outlet, all for a reason. Add concrete to its insides and use it as an isolation device.>=)
Ps: doesn't my dislike for Carver designs show clearly and brightly?
For those of you that still feel that Bob Carver is just another Joe as far as audio design goes, well here it is, from one of the most famous amplifier designers of all time, James Bongiorno:
A few words about the designer, James Bongiorno, and his creation:
"Twenty-Seven years ago James wrote a brochure describing the "Ultimate Amplifier" while at SAE. Of course, every engineer believes that their current work is the ultimate machine. However, it should be understood that this "Ultimate" design could only be as of the moment. The truth is that there never has been nor will there ever be an absolute "ultimate" perfect amplifier. Hard as we try, we get closer and closer but in reality, well never approach perfection. Therein lies the enigma. Who defines what is perfect? What are the rules, the conditions, the standards, etc. The original Ampzilla set a standard, which has been copied, in topological form, for almost the last 30 years. Obviously something must have been right about it in the first place. Subsequently, the Sumo balanced topology has also been copied for the last 10 or 15 years. As we are now entering the new millennium, it is time for another breakthrough in the original tradition defined by the first Ampzilla.
The new Ampzilla 2000 is a radical departure in amplifier topology. Not many designers can make a claim like this. The only other designer capable of true innovation is Bob Carver although his application of technology and marketing go in different directions. Needless to say, James has created something truly new and innovative. All that can be said is, "Its about time."
The new Ampzilla 2000 uses a completely new variation of the Forward Gain topology to achieve unprecedented improvements in linearity. As a matter of fact, the new circuit is so smooth, that it can be actually listened to OPEN LOOP, WITH NO FEEDBACK. Of course, we arent going to make it that way. The PROPER use of feedback is necessary in order to tie down all of the operating points so there will be no variations in performance from unit to unit. The new Ampzilla 2000 uses 12 250-watt output devices per monobloc. This is 3 times more devices than the original Ampzilla. In addition, since it is a monobloc, there is a separate 2500VA transformer for each. In addition, the amount of heat sink radiating area is 3 times greater than the original meaning that there is NO fan. Also, the B+ and B- supply fuses are EXTERNAL. Also, The entire circuit is totally balanced from input to output although there is a totally and uniquely new un-balanced to balanced converter for single ended inputs. Each monobloc has 100,000 ufd of power supply filtering with dual rectification as pioneered in the original Sumo's."
Please note the remark of this world renound amplifier designer regarding Bob Carver. If you are interested in reading the article, here's the link:
I remember when Carver introduced the Phase Linear 300. "Three Hundred watts! You must be crazy!" is what they said.
But Bob Carver's inventiveness is, I think, best exemplified, not by power amps (although his were certainly different) but by his preamp, particularly the Autocorrelator, which was also available as an outboard unit. I had two (for quadraphonic use). The Autocorrelator was a dynamic multiband filter designed to surpress the noise characteristic of LPs. What made it different from other dynamic filters was the way that the filter gains were controlled. Bob realized that above some surprising low frequency (I seem to remember 2000 Hz) there are no music fundamentals: just harmonics. The frequency bands that will have harmonics are predictable from the signal content in the range of fundamentals. So, in the Autocorrelator, a filter required two things to be opened (gain increased). (1) Signal in that frequency range. (2) Proper harmonic relationship to signal in the fundamental range.
The unit worked quite well for conventional stereo, but for quad, where the inherently inferior L-R signal of LPs (vertical groove modulation) was amplified and broadcast by the rear speakers, the Autocorrelator in the rear channels made a very big improvement. It also had a dynamic rumble filter operating below the frequency range used for gain control, and a Peak Unlimiter (to counteract what recording engineers need to do to stop your stylus from hopping out of the groove).
WOW! Most of these reviews are comparing the Carver A-760X to amplifiers costing twice as much or more. No wonder it's getting bad reviews. For the original price tag of 1500.00 (new), I would say this is a kickass amp in this price range. As a matter of fact nothing compares to it in the 1500.00 dollar price range so maybe that's why it's being compared to amps costing twice as much or more. I own this amp, picked it up here on Audiogon as a showroom demo in mint condition for 800.00 dollars a couple years ago and I can't say anything bad about it. This amp can knock windows out driving a pair of vintage Speakerlab Korner Horns.
I had a Carver Amp around 1990. Every time the base hit, the lights in the room would dim. (The amp and the lights were all on the same circuit.) So I ran a dedicated power line (10 ga) to the amp and experienced a big improvement in the bass response- much stronger and tighter. I moved on to a different amp in the mid-90s but, since then I have always had a dedicated circuit for my Stereo.
The Carver Lightstar Reference series amps that retailed for $4k each were the real deal. They were A/B'd in Stereophile against a Threshold T200, which was a Stereophile A rated amp at the time. Carver corp made 77 hand built true dual mono amps with separate power supplies per chassis that were so good, and expensive, they pulled the plug on the project because it was too costly to continue. I owned both a Lightstar Reference (1 of 77) amp and the Stereophile A rated Carver Lightstar passive preamp some 12 years back. You don't see either one of those components surface on the used market EVER. Is that indicative of the fact that they've found very happy owners perhaps?
This thread is ancient, but DanVetC had it right. I’ve owned one new (since 1998) and it runs some VERY difficult to drive Stereo Integrity 15" D2’s (a pair of them) and the in room (on just those two subs) is 14Hz, minus 3dB. People who don’t like Carver’s amps have never heard Carver’s amps. The voltage rail difference between the Lightstar and the A-series is correct and completely irrelevant, because of the way it’s designed. Two rails work just fine. The A-xxxX series were mostly "Lightstar" DNA and they sound like it. Mine’s still going STRONG for nineteen years. I understand that it ticks off the "price glory" contingent, and I sympathize. I’ve owned Macs (current limiting, but good return on investment because of the small numbers made and sold), Adcoms and Parasounds and they either went back to the retailer or (in the case of the Adcoms) are in my garage system now. All of the Carver and Phase amps are part of a genetic lineage. That lineage shows evolution. This amp was actually a bit MORE overbuilt than the standard Sunfire. (Even though its power supply rails stayed at 6 volts above demand, if I remember correctly.) It is about whatever floats your boat. That’s why there are different brands out there. I’m a retired professional Musician (Classical and Jazz, with enough R&B/Rock to satisfy my curiosity about it) and Teacher, and the current and voltage they put out (at ANY frequency) just doesn’t support the claims made in the early "flame war" parts of this thread. One of the few I’ve seen here. That’s unfortunate. Some of the mag amps were under heat sinked (I’ve owned all of them) and there could be a bit of hum if you held your ear to the chassis. (That went away over time as well. It was pretty much gone by the time the A-series hit the streets, as short lived as its reign was.) But if you get an amp (any brand) that has an issue like that the FIRST thing to try is to tighten the transformer bolts. They’ve probably vibrated loose. I’ve had to do it with any number of amps (including the ones discussed) and it’s a fixable (and small) problem. I’ll keep ’em (probably) for the rest of my life. They’re among the best overall amps I’ve ever heard. (And that includes the three Sunfire Sigs in my main Multichannel system.)