It's time for me to jump in. I have to warn you that I'm rather upset. I've been accused of being overly sensitive but it's primarily because of so much incorrect mythology about my partner; I find myself defending him far too often and it's always false. For clarity, I'm Frank Malitz, Bob's partner and close friend, and I'm the chief executive officer. Bobby's the president. We own the company and have a junior partner named Jordon Gerber who has been drafted by Philips Medical. Both Bob and Jordon are engineers, degreed physicists, with a background in physiology as well (all products are designed around the ear-brain interface). We are based out of Washington state, the product is handmade there but I run things out of Chicago. Bob only designs. With Jordon preoccupied, I'm left with the task of running the company alone.Of course I have a staff, but I always dumped anything I didn't want to do on young Jordon! It seemed there was nothing he could not do and nothing he did not know. He was Bob's apprentice for 10 years. Jordon's contributions cannot be minimized. He remains, thankfully, a part-time principal. Here we go:
1) Everyone is entitled to an opinion. It's one of the great things about this country. It's also educational and fun to talk about these things--especially when we disagree. Certainly, I might feel bad if someone says something negative about my company or our products, but if it's an opinion, that's too damn bad for me. I have to accept it and move on. But when someone makes the following statement: "Amplifiers designed, manufactured, and marketed by Bob Carver have started so many fires that probably the company is in a settlement agreements (sic) with insurance companies to be responsive to reports of equipment malfunction." That's a statement-- not an opinion. It's also a bald-faced lie. Then again, it's only my opinion and the law is even more arcane than designing amps (maybe not preamps or speakers :-)) so I'm forwarding his statement over to our attorneys-- Arnstein and Lehr in Chicago. We will be prosecuting clearthink to the full extent of the law unless he prints a retraction in the next 10 days. Conversely, he may choose to present solid evidence to back up his absurd and false claim, and make no mistake: whatever evidence he offers up will be examined in a court of law. I will keep you guys posted unless my lawyer tells me not to. If my lawyer says he's entitled to this as an opinion, I will accept it and apologize. It's still a lie.
2) Bob has sold only one company in his entire life-- Sunfire. The rest is a lie. He was fired by the Board of Directors at Phase Linear which was becoming a car audio company and he disagreed. He was fired by the Carver Board of Directors because they wanted to go down-market and he wanted to build the best products he knew how. Bob can be stubborn, never backs down, and they fired him. The thing with the Emotiva was stillborn. No one got fired and no business entity was sold; they just gave up-- quickly. Bob was not running that business; he was only designing but it lasted barely a few months. He sold Sunfire based on an offer of millions of dollars (who wouldn't?) and the purchaser went bankrupt on part of the debt. During the ensuing years, Marantz had seven owners. In this difficult industry, we find ourselves with only three major receiver suppliers left-- Sound United, Sony and Yamaha (If you guys are unfamiliar with the recent situation, let me know and I will provide more detail). Ironically, the remaining small receiver suppliers-- Bel Canto, Arcam, Anthem, Rotel and NAD-- position themselves as a high-performance alternative to the major brands but their numbers are far smaller. We're still here! I have no idea what the future holds but I can tell you that any manufacturer building inferior products will suffer in the marketplace. We are not suffering we've grown exponentially and have experienced shortages from the very first day and even now, there's a waiting list on most models. Our product owners seem very happy. We must be doing something right. Incidentally, when Bob bought the Carver name back, so we could build Carver branded products at Sunfire, he covered the warranties on all Carver products despite not being legally obligated to do so. He felt with his name on the product, he owed it to the people who supported him.
3) I competed against Phase Linear in the early 70s and we called it, "flames linear" but the truth is, it was only the first production run that was unreliable with a very high failure rate. We have a little axiom which is somewhat exaggerated. We claim that no two amplifiers built by Bob are identical. None of you have any idea how many upgrades have been instituted through the years on every brand and every model. It drives technicians nuts because the schematic diagrams may be out of date because of the many revisions. He kept it quiet so existing owners would not feel cheated, but with Sunfire, at least, he called these units Mark II or some such. He even did the same at Carver by adding the "T" to the units designed for the Carver challenge. I run the only Bob Carver service center that does anything Bob has ever designed, with or without a schematic diagram, and in the last five years, we've only seen three Phase Linear products. We see the Sunfire subwoofers weekly! When I was the senior manager at Onkyo, and we were doing $30 million, Bob was doing $65 million at Carver and those products likewise rarely come in for service. Only lately, are we seeing more because of the age of the capacitors. The product was amazingly reliable. Phase Linear was good enough for the Grateful Dead to bet their livelihood on the brand in their concert set up and the photographs of the stacked Phase Linear amplifiers is something we cherish.
4) to the best of my knowledge, and to the best of my memory, I can only think of one 350 series failure since we started this company about four years ago. But the 350 is based on earlier designs that were equally reliable. Music Direct said they never had a failure even back then. The Sound Lab distributor in Connecticut had a 350 with a bad capacitor. We don't make capacitors but we managed to repair it over the telephone! We have no service department. We have no failures.
5) I respond to inquiries seven days a week. My phone number is published in multiple places including our website; it's my personal phone number. Here it is again: 847-668-4519. Try calling the CEO of McIntosh or Audio Research!
Bob is essentially retired, hopefully continuing to design for me, but if he sees a real problem, he too will respond seven days a week. He loves you guys. He loves his heroes-- Arnie Nudel, Harry Olson, Stu Hegeman, and so many others. He always gives them credit when we speak. I don't know what else we can do.
Please forgive me for the length of this statement and forgive the tone if you found it to be excessively negative or inappropriate. I've worked very hard on this endeavor for several years and yes, I suppose I'm a bit too sensitive. My apologies to all.