Whats up with Carver/Sunfire?

Why don't I hear more about this guy's stuff on the high end forums? He makes some pretty amazing equipment, to my untutored eyes; the sunfire power amp doubles down all the way to 1 ohm; it is compact and gives off very little heat..and now the "digital" amps are coming out (Rotel 1091 etc.)....I have never heard a sunfire, but why not drive my thiel 2.3's with a Carver + a tube pre? If I'm a duh, I have an excuse...I'm a lawyer.......mb
I'm a Bob Carver fan from way back.
My guess is that he doesn't kiss corporate magazine butt to get his stuff reviewed.
Also, it's well known that he voices his equipment to suite his personal taste rather than shooting for absolute neutrality. This qwest for personal freedom is frowned upon these days.
I'm a happy owner of Sunfire Symphonic reference stack.
The preamp is actually driving two amps in biamp setup. The tube monos are connected to the high-pass output @80hz and above. The Sunfire amp drives bottom. The Symphonic Reference amp easily outperforms matched power Bryston 4B-ST for a fraction of its price and no heat whatsoever arround the amp. However it's not considered to be a digital amplifier. It has a logic circuit that switches the output stage onto the different classes of operation depending on the load.
"Why don't I hear more about this guy's stuff on the high end forums?"

Because his stuff has been here and done that...so to speak. I can think of other component lines from other companies that used to be an almost daily topic here at this and other forums....old news now.

It's kind of a new kid on the block thing...Whats hot, and whats not....flavor of the month.

Also the company has changed. Look up the website. THey are going in some different and not so audiophile directions. They are now Carver/AudioSource/Phoenix Gold. There is nothing wrong with teh other two brands but they are not audiophile grade equipment.
The amp I'm considering is the original Carver Sunfire,vintage 1995, as reviewed in www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_2_1/productr.html
Carver's own talk on the amp is referenced in the article.
Michael, if you can find a pair of Carver Silver 9t monoblocs....get them. They are usually about the same price or less than a Sunfire stereo amp. The Sunfire amps are very good also, but the Silver 9t's are better. I currently own both of these amps. They hold their own against much more expensive amps.

click on the slideshow http://aaudiogon.photosite.com/Betas/

...please, no comments about the mess, I'm going to clean it up today. I was just trying out a few amp, preamp and speaker combinations.
"..please, no comments about the mess, I'm going to clean it up today. I was just trying out a few amp, preamp and speaker combinations."

HeHe....Yes you were! I see you got the new speakers, how do you like them?


Look up member (Sean) and shoot him an e-mail... He knows a lot about Sunfire amps.

Dave,....the speakers really sound great. The thing with them is the scale of the presentation that they bring. It is truly another level of listening. I'm still dialing them in. I have three preamps and I'm trying to decide which one to keep: Audio Research Ref2 Mk2, Pass Labs X.02 or Audio Research LS-10. They all have their strenghths. The Pass preamp hasn't even been fully burned in yet.

The crazy thing about all of this is, there is a pair of Infinity IRS V for sale here on the 'Gon....I may make a bid for those.
Yes, Bob does voice his own stuff, endlessly! Likes broadband approach, constantly improving designs. Which is why I think I would get his latest, or close to it. Of course, those Carver monoblocs would be nice, super powersupplies, which I prefer too, but getting them -- good luck!!
For what its worth, I came up with the super amp idea while Bob and I were living together in Lake City 1965-1966, near Seattle, got the giant parts from where I worked, amp was on three chassis, used 6550s, well over 750 watts when the biggest available at the time was 150 watts. Blew the Macs and Marantz away - Bob and I were the first on earth to actually hear the true sound of a bass drum, hear the slap of the leather, hear the initial attack, instead of the boom of other amps, even the Marantz Model 9s. Bob was then inspired to create company to build them commercially, named it Phase Linear at that time, then, when power transistors became affordable a bit later, built the transistor version the Phase Linear model 700A, which caused a revolution in the theory of how much power was necessary for realism. Think about the 3db rule and you will see that 150 watts runs up against the rule hard - not enough for true realism, not even close. Consider how much accoustic energy a symphony produces. Good luck!
Dave Ladely in Seattle; DaveLadely@aol.com
Just went to the Sunfire site yesterday and found out that they no longer make 2 channel amps and preamps any more. They are pretty much saying that home theater is where it's at nowadays.

I also saw on a Carver users group bulletin board that Sunfire will no longer repair old Carver gear within the next couple of months.
Regarding Carver's 9t monoblocks...what about the famous Carver 4.0t?.
For what I know there's this story about Bob challenging two audio magazines that he could make a Amp sound like any amp they choose. Suposedly one of that amps were the 9t monoblocks and he "copy" their sound in the 4.0t.

I would like to hear personal experiences with it.


Mitch4t -

What they won't repair old Carver stuff, does that include the old Sunfire stuff? Like subs and 2 channel amps made in the last 7 years?
I think Bob sold Carver and then started Sunfire as a completely different company. I have the sunfire ultimate receiver for home theater and it is very nice, 200W of pure guts. Customer service is top notch, very helpful. I once had one of the engineers on the phone with the schematic trying to help me figure out an issue (which was my own issue btw). I have also heard the new 400W sunfire home theater seperates - really nice stuff.
Didn't he sell off Sunfire last year? I don't know if Carver is even associated with Sunfire anymore. I could be wrong... I hope I am.
This is from Sunfire's website, it looks like Bob sold but they've got him on one of the classic "consulting" type arrangements. He is going to trade shows, etc. for them so he is probably working out the rest of his contract.

from the sunfire website"

Last fall, Sunfire announced a collaboration with ELAN, the leading multi-room A/V and home control brand, as a result of Sunfire’s 2005 acquisition by ELAN’s parent company, Nortek. The companies jointly announced that they would leverage and share technologies, wherever synergistic, in order to best serve their dealers and present them with the best in state-of-the-art audio and home theater product offerings.

"Check out our beautiful amplifiers and speakers. They are made by hand with point-to-point wiring, right here in the United States. No circuit boards to burn or integrated circuits to become obsolete, just beautiful and robust workmanship that will ensure your invesment today will provide you with a lifetime of music enjoyment. Enjoy the Music!..."