I believe I can pass on valuable information regarding my experience with the Bob Carver Crimson 275. Before I begin, some background is in order.
I’m not a novice, initiating my hobby way back in the 70s sticking with the better products of the day— Acoustic Research, Dahlquist, Ohm and many others. More recently, I moved over to Paradigms, B&W’s and Triangles. I have a technical background having worked in service for Panasonic and JVC. I’ve also worked in hi-fi sales having been the factory territory sales rep representing JVC, Sony, TEAC, KLH and others.
After hearing the debut of the Crimson 275 at the 2019 Tampa Florida Audio Expo impressively driving KEF Blade IIs, I spent the next two years researching and finally pulled the trigger and picked a 275.
I’ve been putting my Bob Carver Crimson 275 through the ringer with a significant amount of various music genres,(Note: I’m unbiased and listen to everything when it comes to music),supplied through various sources, (Vinyl, Streaming, CD’s & Compressed), let me assure you the 275 sounds absolutely great. The way it reproduces and pronounces sound at times can feel like a near religious experience-- absolutely amazing.
For those of you who are new to tubes and fear the thought of bias adjustment, adjusting the 275’s bias is simple and effectively achieved through a set screw located on the unit’s rear panel and so simple it’s really a nonissue for those who may fear attempting bias adjustments. I found my sweet spot, with a perfect sound stage and precise stereo image just shy of 80 mA on the units meter which is located on the 275’s front panel. As an added bonus, this meter also doubles as a tube tester as well, but as of yet have tried out that feature.
Unlike my previous tube amp,a surprisingly well made Aiqin EL34B that the 275 replaced, there’s absolutely NO noise or hiss from the 275, guess that explains why Klipsch dealers push it so hard, especially with the big sensitive horn systems that reproduce hiss from almost all solid-state units. When nothing is playing, my loudspeakers are totally silent. The product is extremely revealing despite being non-fatiguing, I really have to make myself stop listening. I am able to easily hear the difference between vinyl, streaming, and compact discs and hear the superiority of my favorite LPs vs CD versions. What I feel is a bonus with the Crimson 275 should I decide to change loudspeakers at some point, is I’ll be able to match the amplifier’s basic character to that of the new loudspeakers to a degree using the bias control—100 milliamps or more if the speakers needed a bit more detail or, drop it to 80, for a larger soundstage with great depth.
Concerned about the unit’s lack of weight, I called Frank Malitz, Bob Carver’s partner, and who is the current owner of the Bob Carver Corporation, he explained the light weight is due to the proprietary output transformers which actually had a better signal-to-noise ratio due to the nature of the winds, he advised adding more heft was destructive to the soundstage. The other reason he mentioned its lighter weight revolves around the power transformers, all three use a special steel, high-efficiency alloy, due to “magnetostriction”, which forces changes to steel’s molecular structure, which is common in transformers, requiring more sophisticated materials if the transformers are intended for high-performance audio use. Frank also explained Bob claims his specifications for the alloy and the winds are unique to this brand resulting in a high-efficiency yet lighter design.
Mr. Malitz claims 90W x 2 within specification, and 130 W at 3% THD which David Manley, founder of VTL, Manley Laboratories,claims is not audible in a tube circuit, but Frank mentioned you can contact him through the Bob Carver website and he’ll send you a white paper on the topic.
The build quality seems quite solid and it’s my understanding, despite having a circuit board, every solder joint is done by hand, (in their own California factory). It certainly looks good with a beautiful finish.
I’ve never worried about tube heat, you truly can touch the tops of the KT 120s and not be burned; just don’t touch the sides. But if you or your kids brush against the tubes by accident you won’t be visiting the emergency room. Frank told me to expect a temperature of 98° on the nose if you measure the chassis temperature immediately in front of the output tubes. Apparently, it’s one of the reasons why they’re able to offer a five-year warranty on the amp, including tubes. It’s the coolest running tube amp in my experience.
To sum it up I’ve experienced nothing but pure top-to-bottom sonic and visual joy from this unit but I would be remiss if I did not send kudos to Frank Malitz, who patiently answered all of my questions, staying on the phone with me for quite some time.
I purchased the unit from Jim Clark of Jim Clark Stereo, who I highly recommend, he’ll walk you through technical issues and advise you on set up if you need help (which I did not), but it was obvious he cared and has the technical chops to handle any question. He’s an incredibly nice person and was a delight to do business with. But most of all, along with the best customer service from both Frank & Jim, I must thank Bob Carver for continuing to provide us with a most compelling musical experience, he’s sill got it with the Crimson 275, and if this is any indication of how the other Bob Carver products preform, you can have it too. Thanks Bob!
Bob Carver crimson 275 amp
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