Mr. John Heiler, aka Fritz, could quite possibly be one of the most underrated speaker designers out there today.From what I gather, he is driven by a passion for designing speakers that convey musical emotion and that are in turn fun and engaging to listen to.Like many outstanding products of our era, Fritz’s speakers are envisioned, designed, refined and implemented by a single person.
Fritz has what I would describe as a healthy obsession for knowledge of high end drivers from Seas, Scan Speak, and SB Acoustics just to name a few.I prefer Fritz’s design approach of implementing drivers that play well together with regards to frequency response and impedance curves.Fritz strives to keep the signal path as pure as possible which becomes audibly apparent in the clarity and openness with which the Carrera BE’s serve up.
Which brings me to the Carrera BE.Right from the first song, I was very impressed with the natural and organic music emanating from the 7” Scan Speak Revelators. The Revelator has a nice warm, full bodied, natural and organic sound that digs really deep without ever sounding bloated.Stand up bass, bass guitars and synthetic bass lines are all well delineated and easily defined.The low end has substantial weight and heft with good punch.Pair this warm, natural sounding Revelator with a light, airy and delicate sounding Transducer Labs Beryllium tweeter and the music becomes intoxicating.
I could not detect whatsoever, where the midbass driver handed off duties to the tweeter.Fritz informed me that this is due in large part to the design of his series crossovers.A large part of the appeal of these speakers for me is how cohesive the sound is.In addition, the Carrera BE’s produce a rock solid image with vocals and instruments almost seemingly anchored in place.On a few recordings, vocals were so eerily real, holographic and fleshed out that I was right there with the performer, in their acoustical space.The imaging is spot on with no unnatural artifacts present.The micro detail produced is outstanding, allowing me to easily pick up on ambient and spatial cues.The attack was perhaps slightly rounded which leads itself to an easy, silky smooth listening experience.The decay however, went on for days.I actually can’t explain how the Carreras make decay go on and on,yet at the same time go absolutely silent before the next musical note burts into life.The Carreras sound fantastic at low and medium volume levels.At high volume levels they sound so incredibly delicious and engaging that you may find yourself being swept away and transported to the front row, center seat at your favorite live performances.
I’ve been blessed to have had experienced many great hi fidelity systems over the years and I can honestly say to you that the Carrera BE’s are some of the most musical speakers I have ever heard.Most times I listened to them, they lured me in and took me away on a musical journey.The Carrera BE’s have a comforting, soothing, rich quality to their sound which is extremely satisfying.They convey emotion so well that the music really pulls at your heart strings.It’s addictive to say the least.I spent many nights doing the “just one more song” routine until 2 a.m.
Well recorded songs really shine through on the Carreras.Vocals are well fleshed out and pristine sounding with great detail and absolutely no veil between you and the artist.Drums, acoustic guitar, violin, cello, piano... it all sounded quite real, which is to say tonally rich, textured, and full bodied.The clarity and openness of the Carreras allow you to easily hear the underlying tones and nuances in the music that convey emotion so well.The Carreras pretty much do everything well, some things exceptionally well, all the while doing absolutely nothing offensive in my opinion.
So what then sets the Carreras apart from other great speakers that I’ve heard?I’d have to say that the Carrera BE’shave one of the best combinations of musicality, imaging, warmth, detail, clarity, openness and fun factor that I’ve heard coming from a two way stand mounted speaker.If you are in the market for a high end, high quality stand mounted speaker, I highly recommend the Carrera BE’s.
Excellent review. In a world of mass production, dealer markups, advertising and marketing fluff (which adds plenty to the cost), and overly-precious boutique products, Fritz offers *exceptional* value.
I've been listening to the Carbon 7s and will post some reactions soon. Much of what you've said describes my experience. More to come and thanks for your careful review.
Thank you Erik and Hilde45! Erik, you are the one who got me initially interested in Fritz speakers so I appreciate that you brought him to my attention. Fritz spoke kindly of you when I mentioned to him that you piqued my interest. I’ve been heavily researching speaker kits and top quality drivers due to your recommendations and it gave me a more solid foundation and outlook regarding speakers. When I start doing the math and trying to figure out the cost for me to duplicate the Carreras myself, it just doesn’t make sense. Fritz must be doing this because he’s passionate about it, not because he’s trying to get rich.
@hilde45, I appreciate your comments; Thank You! Its refreshing to see you and Erik regularly contributing positivity to Audiogon with helpful threads, questions, and personal experiences. It makes Audiogon a fun and informative resource with which to apply to our own set-ups to further improve our sound and satisfaction within our own systems.
There were quite a few things that I omitted from my original review in the hopes of not sounding hyperbolic. The Carreras were exceptionally good but you have to be critical of them and try to pick them apart in order to realize their greatness. I was doing my best to touch on points that I think will be shared by many different listeners with modest front ends. I’m almost certain that there was quite a bit of untapped potential that I wasn’t able to unlock because of my modest front end. I would love to hear these Carreras on an entire Jeff Rowland front end, as well as a front end using tube amplifiers, a top quality pre, and vinyl or reel to reel source. But that was part of the appeal of the Carreras; they don’t require you to have $20,000 worth of front end equipment to achieve world class performance like many other high end speakers out there.
Also, Fritz is a genuinely nice, caring, thoughtful and humble person. Paul Laudati kept coming to mind while I was conversing with Fritz, and that is in my book very high praise indeed.
Lastly, after spending so much time and effort trying to get out a solid, informative review, I totally blew the spelling in my title. “Fitz” should read “Fritz”. Perhaps it was a Freudian slip because I’m going to be throwing “Fitz” when I have to pack these speakers up so they can go to their new, permanent home.
If anyone wants to see pictures of the Carreras that I had in for review, heres the link!
@roxy54 , It was just a review. I would have bought them if the funds were available to do so, but unfortunately it’s not a viable option right now. The plan is for me to review a new model that Fritz is currently working on, possibly called the Carbon 6. If they have a similar sound signature to the Carreras, I will do my best to purchase those!
Here’s the link to the “virtual system” and you can find all of my associated equipment there, including pictures placement and room details!
https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8625 I should add that I spent quite a few hours listening to them with all types of music. Classical, Jazz, String Quartets, Rock, Electronic, lots of Female Vocals, strings and percussions...
Every single time I sat down and tried writing the review while listening to them, I couldn’t. It’s hard to have them on as just background music because they just reel you in to the music. I’m almost always trying to pick apart the sound while listening to my stereo, to my detriment I’m sure, but with the Carreras, you go down your checklist and they do it all, so you just end up getting immersed in the music.
Many times, I’d start a listening session saying to myself “they couldn’t have really been as good as I thought they were yesterday” and after 5 minutes it was “yep, they’re that good”.
@jtcf thanks for the positive remarks! They’re pretty awesome speakers. I would not hesitate to purchase them if you are in a position to do so and if f you like a warm, full bodied sound with excellent detail and sparkle on the top end. They also have a very open nature to them with excellent ambient cues and detail retrieval. The decay was something that really stood out as well, probably due to the aforementioned qualities of the speakers!
I really started missing the Carreras tonight. I knew how special they were while they were in my possession but now that they are gone, I’m really missing them. Thank God the Carbon 6’s will be here in 3 days! I have this gut feeling though that the Carreras ruined me and I’m not going to be fully satisfied with anything less. Once you get a real feel for the Carreras, it’s hard to not lust after them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Fritz really is an audio wizard and that the Carbon 6’s will get me most of the way there to the Carreras. Stay tuned!
I just received them yesterday and am running them in as I type this. They have around 4 hours on them at moderate volume levels and about 10 hours on them at low volumes (mozart all night lastnight).
They are opening up nicely! All of my concerns about not being totally satisfied with them are gone. I’ll write up a review on them in about a month, when I have a better grasp on them, and when the honeymoon period has worn off!
Thanks b_limo. Last time I talked to him on the phone he mentioned doing something with their drivers but didn't know he had gotten around to it yet. Which tweeter did he use. Same cabinet size I assume.
@b_limo sorry buddy ! The Carrera is stay with me after all the trouble of fedex back and forth from Colorado back to fritz in Cali and to me in Georgia , Took 2 weeks to get to me while I was waiting for the Carrera arrive I was jump on a deal on focal 1008 be , here my take on Carrera be vs focal 1008 Be in my room in my system , the focal was good on ss but not tube friendly some of the song was too bright compare to Carrera everything was so smooth and easy to listened to , I think Carrera is less picky in room and gear than the focal , Carrera sound is balance and organic , focal is kinda more bass and more of the high , if you are music lover then Carrera is your pick if you are bass head and like disco , dance , edm then you take on focal but to my ear Carrera is the speaker I can easy to lived with for a long time !
No worries Alt4love! I’m happy to know that you are enjoying the Carreras! They are phenomenal speakers and I wholeheartedly agree with you that they are an easy speaker to drive. They sounded absolutely fantastic with my modest set-up 😁
I would also agree that if you love music, the Carreras are the way to go, hands down! If you prefer bling, the Focals are a good choice. The Carreras do in deed have a very natural tone. I’m not really a bass head so to speak but electronic music is my favorite style of music and I couldn’t believe how great the Carreras made my favorite tracks sound. I truly have never heard my favorite electronic music sound so good; I’m surprised that you felt different with regards to that! Much of the electronic music I prefer though was produced well.
Anyhow, nothing to worry about! Fritz offered me a great deal on the pair you have, when you had mentioned to him that you were sending them back, and when you decided to keep them (good choice by the way) he kept his word and honored his original deal on a new pair of Carreras! I can’t begin to tell what a good guy Fritz is. The more I get to know him, the more highly I think of him. He’s a really good guy and he builds some really great speakers!
If you are in the market for a pair of high quality, totally unique pair of stand mounts in the $2,000-$3,500 range you might want to think about giving Fritz a call to discuss your options with him. He builds a variety of different sounding speakers so no matter your tastes, Fritz can build you a pair that will perfectly align with your expectations. If for some reason they don’t, he’ll tweak them so they do or he’ll offer you your money back, no love lost, no pressure. I am a little biased towards the Carreras though and think that everyone should have a pair of them. The world sure would be a happier and more musical place!
On a side note, I have a pair of his new model, the Carbon 6’s, and will be submitting a review on them in the upcoming week!
Anyhow, enjoy the new speakers Alt4love! I wouldn’t be surprised to see a for sale ad for those Focals in the next month or two.