Carver Power Amps

Even though the Carver A-760x magnified current power amplifier was rated at 380 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 600 watts per channel into 4 ohms and lab tested at 500 w/ch at 8 ohms at clipping and 725 w/ch at clipping by Audio Magazine in 1997, it sounds gutless, especially in the bass, compared to a Parasound HCA-3500,etc!
Any opinions on why this is so?
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.
'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?
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.
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?