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?
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.
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.

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.