CARVER, Always wanted to put my ears to these..

Toolfan66
Toolfan66 Posts: 14,603
edited February 8 in Speakers
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Comments

  • Toolfan66
    Toolfan66 Posts: 14,603
    F1nut wrote: »
    I've got nothing good to say about them.

    I’ve heard good and bad, for some reason I thought you liked them..

    I would still like to hear them at least one time, I just don’t have the room for them, and can’t move my 1.2tl’s out of the way anytime soon after my surgery..

  • honestaquarian
    honestaquarian Posts: 2,973
    edited February 8
    These are amazing when set up properly and you have LARGE AMOUNTS OF POWER to drive them. These are the original Amazing’s with two ribbons per panel. The later models (the Silver and the Platinum-which were two different sizes. Platinum being the same size as these and the silver being smaller) had one long ribbon in each panel. The originals were the most power hungry of all of the Amazings. Like all planar loudspeakers they require you to arrange your room around THEM and NOT the other way around. You would want to make sure the ribbons aren’t messed up and the foam surround on each of the four woofers per panel is still intact.
    Just like any other planar loudspeaker if you can meet the above conditions/requirements then they will sing heavenly music to you. If not then you will hate them.
    They were known for solving one of the biggest issues with planar loudspeakers. That being the bass.
    Hence the four 12” dynamic woofers per panel. The woofers have small magnets 🧲 which causes the bass to have a rising frequency response that cancels out the natural roll off caused by them firing out the front and back and having no enclosure.
    They can do DEEP and POWERFUL BASS again when you have the power. No issues with low impedance. They’re just straight up power hungry. We’re talking Krell and Sunfire and Mark Levinson kind of power here.
  • daddyjt
    daddyjt Posts: 1,433
    I enjoy Carver amps and preamps a great deal (so not a Carver hater by any stretch). I have owned both the AL III and the original AL speakers by Carver, and I could not fall in love with them. Additionally, the ribbons are prone to degradation and very difficult to repair/replace. If the woofers are truly in “never touched” condition, they will need refoaming as well. In short, they are money pits.

    Listen to them if you can though - maybe you’ll love them - many do.

    “Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • honestaquarian
    honestaquarian Posts: 2,973
    @daddyjt The ALIII’s were FAR AND AWAY easier to set up than these. I wanted a pair of the ALIII’s. Catch was the maintenance issues that you mentioned and power and set up.
  • Toolfan66
    Toolfan66 Posts: 14,603
    For the record I don’t want them, I would just like to hear them, I don’t have the time for them, and you don’t see them come up very often around here. Hell you don’t really see SDA’s come up very often around here like you did a few years ago..
  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 18,546
    Agree colorado was SDA central few yrs back.
  • daddyjt
    daddyjt Posts: 1,433
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Agree colorado was SDA central few yrs back.

    That’s where I got mine:-)

    Thanks again, @Nightfall

    “Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • pitdogg2
    pitdogg2 Posts: 18,546
    I remember seeing once or twice a week on the old forum sda's for sale out in Colorado I was jealous. None that I wanted was ever around me I had to make a 6-hour drive to get mine.
  • honestaquarian
    honestaquarian Posts: 2,973
    Even though the SDA’s require you to arrange your room around them and not the other way around like planars. They are still far and away easier to set up than the average planar loudspeakers.
    Period
    Point blank
    End of story
  • Jstas
    Jstas Posts: 14,277
    OK, so I have a set of those I got from Bob McG. He gave me the ClubPolk price which was less than half of the $1800 that guy is asking.

    If they were in perfect shape, I'd still only say $1200-$1500 max. The Platinums with the single 60" ribbon are more desirable and will command a couple grand in the more natural wood finishes. Original Amazings, though, guy's a bit cheeky on that price.

    But, like what's been said, they like BIG power. The original Amazings have a 2400 watt RMS rating and will handle a 4800 watt peak. I was driving mine with a pair of Silver 7t's which were about 750 watts each and that was about as low as I would go. Honestly, the 7t's have this MASSIVE toroidal transformer in them which gives them a surprising amount of overhead so they had no problem running the Amazings, they just weren't going to push them hard.

    I had mine in a 13 foot by 16 foot room with 8 foot ceilings and they could easily overpower that space. They were a colossal pain to set up and they must be perfectly symmetrical in placement to each other due to the dipole nature of the ribbons. Otherwise, the canted trapezoidal design will work against each other as the wavelength timing is going to be off if they are just a single degree off alignment with each other. They can be placed near a wall but you will need some damping on the wall behind them. A simple tapestry is usually enough. Otherwise, they gotta be at least a foot away from the wall. I had mine at about 18 inches and was able to get away with it because there was a large entertainment center between them which helped tame reflections. Otherwise, 2-3 feet from any wall in any direction at a minimum. So setup is a pain in the rear and costly in the real estate department. George had his set up in one half of a garage that was finished off and he had heavy curtains hanging behind them and to the sides and his listening chair was dead center and like 9 feet away with the speakers sitting about 3 and a half feet from the back wall and as far from the sides as he could get with considerable toe in. He also had foam panels behind the curtains on the sides.

    But, you get your setup and gear right for them, they really are Amazing!

    That said, they're not for everybody. They are very finicky and while the Platinums have a tamer sound to appeal to more folks, the Originals are pretty raw in their presentation. They can be bright and crisp and have an impressive amount of low end extension but, they can make you feel like you are swimming in the sound stage as it tends to be all over the place. This is an artifact of the full-range ribbon speakers and why they have these large foam blocks secured to the back of the ribbons. That tames the midrange hump they have and helps focus the sound stage.

    The sound stage can be incredibly deep, though. It really shines with live recordings of stuff like orchestras or live concerts where there's layers and depth of recording microphones. But, something like a jazz singer in a club gets weird. They should be front and center on the sound stage but the Amazings can make the placement seem counter intuitive. That has to do with the two 30" ribbons, one high, one low. It's essentially a reverse of an MTM arrangement where the mids are replaced with full range and tweeter is replaced with woofer. The woofers aren't as localized 'cause, well, it's a wall of woofers. So the ribbons draw the sound stage. Given the canting of the speakers when standing on the floor, you get the center of information kinda beamed at the top of your head. This creates reflections off the ceiling and back wall that get noticeable outside the sweet spot because of the time alignment issues that causes. The 30" ribbons exacerbate that because you have two centers of information and one sits farther back than the other and while it's hard to nail down, that voicing alignment causes a timing at an off-axis response to seem almost like a slight echo. That's because center mass of the top ribbon is about 2-3 inches behind center mass of the bottom ribbon and there's no alignment circuitry to compensate for it. If you have a Carver pre-amp with the Sonic Holography circuitry, it helps with that but it's still there.

    The Platinums with the single 60" ribbon don't really have that problem because of the single ribbon.

    Now, problems they are prone to.

    Originals, they have the piston style woofer. It's a great idea because you get a good deal of pressurization from the woofer without needing a ton of travel. So they end up being real easy to drive. Which is why there's 8 of them in the pair. But, the foam surrounds can wear out as what was said. I have run into another problem, though. The piston is attached to the voice coil former via a treated paper cone that has a flat flange on it. That flat flange is glued to the back of the piston. With their age now, that glue is deteriorating. I had one fail on me and I managed to get it glued back together when it became apparent that replacement woofers with similar specs were impossible to come by. But, within a year of that first failure, 4 more woofers failed on me through just normal use. No catastrophic damage, just those flanges slowly separating and causing buzzing and rattling. The glue was obviously old, oxidized, brittle and deteriorating and it wasn't like the speakers weren't cared for.

    The other thing I had happen is the ribbons are situated in a magnetic sandwich. They mylar ribbons sit on a frame that is sandwiched between the two metal panels, front and back. On those metal panels are glue a series of magnetic bars. They are aligned so that the poles create a congruent field the length of the ribbon. One day I was listening to some Pink Floyd on vinyl and the right speaker had a loud crack, some dust popped out of the bottom of the ribbon and the right channel amp burned out it's protection fuse. What happened was one of those magnets broke loose from it's moorings and stuck itself to an adjacent magnet. I took the ribbon out, took it apart and separated the bar. I got yelled at by curmudgeons all over the internet about how I shouldn't have done that, an expert needs to do it and so on and so forth. All those people had businesses built around repairing these. Anyway, they told me I had to get a specific glue for them and it was like $26 bucks for a quarter ounce. When I did some research, I found out that it was just cyanoacrylate....Crazy Glue.

    Anyway, I got my magnent glued back in to place and was looking over the bond when I noticed that about 1/3rd of my other magnet bars were cracked. It's apparently a common occurrence. You have two options, find a replacement...good luck with that or, pack them up and ship them to a rebuilder. Unless you want to go to the effort of stripping them down, cleaning them up and sourcing new magnets and go through tedious process of rebuilding them yourself.

    Currently mine are in storage and in need of assistance. I was going to sell them to somebody who could use them a few years ago since my new house doesn't have adequate space for them but with the condition of the repairs that need to be done, that's a futile effort. So I'll work on getting them straightened out later.

    They are an odd speaker and require a ton of effort and time to sound good but once you get them there they are a very rewarding experience to listen to.
    Expert Moron Extraordinaire

    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 578
    They are no apogee, my friend has a pair of them and his apogee's are way better in the same room with the same gear.
  • honestaquarian
    honestaquarian Posts: 2,973
    invalid wrote: »
    They are no apogee, my friend has a pair of them and his apogee's are way better in the same room with the same gear.

    True
    The catch is though despite the power requirements they are far easier to drive than the average Apogee and far less expensive. That was their whole reason for existing. Remember Carver wanted to bring the high end to the masses.
  • invalid
    invalid Posts: 578
    Apogee's were not that expensive new, if you bought the duetta or anything below. They aren't that hard to drive, unless you have the scintilla's or full range.
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 45,744
    Toolfan66 wrote: »
    F1nut wrote: »
    I've got nothing good to say about them.

    I’ve heard good and bad, for some reason I thought you liked them..

    I would still like to hear them at least one time, I just don’t have the room for them, and can’t move my 1.2tl’s out of the way anytime soon after my surgery..

    I couldn't get rid of them fast enough. Bass? Despite all those woofers there isn't any. I've heard multiple pairs on a multitude of gear, they were all a huge let down. Not to mention the crappy construction, cheap crossover components, ultra thin chassis wire, fragile ribbons, binding posts that you can't insert a banana plug into more than halfway (just falls out) and binding post plates that crack by just touching them.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • motorstereo
    motorstereo Posts: 1,595
    Several years ago I picked up a Carver TFM45 and the seller had it hooked up to a pair of the big amazings which were also for sale. At the time I had a pair of Polk 2.3s and I was always looking to upgrade something. Even though those Amazings were only $600 they did not come home with me and I never regretted that decision. But the TFM 45 that left with me turned out to be a significant upgrade over the QSC 2450hd it replaced.
  • mantis
    mantis Posts: 16,226
    We had them in our Store many times. When I worked for Audiolab, we had Yearly Swap Sales. These always showed up and we had them connected and playing . I sat in front of many pairs of them and I think they are goofy looking but good sounding speakers.

    I don't like them enough to build a system around them , take up all that floor space , fool with their hard to play placement etc but many people love these speakers and rightfully so. They are pretty remarkable and hold up to most things today.

    Bob is one crazy freaky dude.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • TroyD
    TroyD Posts: 12,447
    edited February 12
    THOSE Amazings? Nope. I wouldn't pay more than 500 for those.

    The original Amazing, with the 30" ribbons is an absolute pig to drive. You can't afford enough amp to drive those things.

    Now, the later versions are MUCH easier to drive but still require a hefty amp. Are they perfect? Absolutely not. But, damn, if there isn't something about them (and for me, it may be largely sentimental) that is just inherently musical. They are finicky AF. More than any other speaker, one day they sound like hammered dog ****. Next day, same rig, same music and they got you abusing yourself like a red **** monkey. The published bass response I think is nonsense. 4 12" free air woofers aren't getting to 20hz without some serious room reinforcement.....and, the quality....eh. It's pretty flabby. I MUCH prefer the bass of an a acoustic suspension speaker. The AR9's, for example, SOUNDLY trounce the Carvers in bass. Heck, my Thiel 3.6's I think produce better bass. The upper midrange and treble on the Amazings have a thickness about them that you normally wouldn't associate with a ribbon. The tone and definition are top notch but lack the air and sparkle that you might expect from a ribbon. Where they excel? Scale and dynamics, baby. No speaker I've had can recreate the scale and impact of an orchestra like an Amazing. Ask me how I know this. I had the frigging Cincinnati Pops playing the William Tell Overature in my living room. Right up to where I blew the ribbon. It was the best 3 minutes of my life I've ever had fully clothed.

    F1's quibbles about build quality are absolutely spot on. These things are Rube Goldberg / Ron Popeil specials. The ribbons are nearly irreplaceable. The bass? It's there but the devil is in the details.....namely, you have to integrate them into your room and, each one the size of a medium size barn door, that's easier said than done.

    I, for one, think they are a speaker that everyone should experience......

    BDT

    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 22,908
    Were it not for Bob needing an amplifier capable of driving the Amazings, the Silver Seven Tube Amps might have never come to be...
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with Pass Labs Xono Phono Preamp, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Goldfinger Statement V2 cartridge and Origin Conqueror Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X0.2 three chassis preamp, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Pioneer Elite SC-LX701, Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds.

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • TroyD
    TroyD Posts: 12,447
    I'm not so sure of that. Bob gave an interview in which he basically said the Silver Seven tube amps were basically an FU to Stereophile after the Carver Challenge....where he tweaked his M1.0 amp to sound, to their ears, indistinguishable to a pair of CJ Premier 5 tube amps.......

    BDT

    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • nooshinjohn
    nooshinjohn Posts: 22,908
    I have heard multiple variations over the years...
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with Pass Labs Xono Phono Preamp, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Goldfinger Statement V2 cartridge and Origin Conqueror Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X0.2 three chassis preamp, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Pioneer Elite SC-LX701, Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB800 "in-wall" surrounds.

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right” — George Orwell

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • TroyD
    TroyD Posts: 12,447
    The interview with Bob that I'm referencing is in the same issue of Stereophile as the review of either the Silver 7t's or the Amazings. I can't remember which.....I've got it at home, I'll see if I can post it later.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • I remember he also wanted an amp to transfer function match his solid state amps to that HE made instead of someone else's. He made the TFM series amps because of the Amazings. His M series amps did not have the thermal capacity to drive the Amazings.

    I remember driving a pair of bridged M1.0t amps (1,000 watts per channel) into Clipping on a pair of original Amazings! :o:#
  • VR3
    VR3 Posts: 24,484
    @TroyD you just have a way with words man, I think you should be a reviewer
    - Not Tom

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • TroyD
    TroyD Posts: 12,447
    edited February 14
    I beg to differ. The Transfer function amps were intended to mimic the sound of much more expensive amps(I had the m1.5t that was supposed to have the transfer function of Mark Levinson’s ML-2, the m1.0t was the CJ premiere 5 clone, the m4.0t was the Silver 7 clone).....but Bob was producing and selling shitloads of high powered, affordable amps before he embarked on building speakers....so, I don’t know that it’s accurate to say those amps were built specifically to drive his speakers.

    That said. I never cared for the m1.5 It had a very sterile sound. The m1.0t had a wicked thump when you shut it off....I was always petrified it was going to destroy my speakers. The m4.0t / TFM 42/45 were the best of the bunch. I bagged a pair of TFM 45’s for like 90 bucks, shipped, from a pawn shop online site years ago. I bridged them to run the Original Amazings and they struggled at high volumes. It’s been said that the TFM amps were beefier because of the Amazing....I don’t know if that’s true or not. It may well be but I think they were the same specs as the magnetic field series amps.


    LOL, thanks Sid!
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut
  • daddyjt
    daddyjt Posts: 1,433
    TroyD wrote: »
    ...The m1.0t had a wicked thump when you shut it off....I was always petrified it was going to destroy my speakers...

    This is addressed and easily fixed in about 15 minutes with service bulletin #4, issued 11/01/89.

    “Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • EndersShadow
    EndersShadow Posts: 17,216
    daddyjt wrote: »
    TroyD wrote: »
    ...The m1.0t had a wicked thump when you shut it off....I was always petrified it was going to destroy my speakers...

    This is addressed and easily fixed in about 15 minutes with service bulletin #4, issued 11/01/89.

    I REEALLLY wish I had the time to learn how to upgrade the M1.0ts.

    One of my favorite looking amps, especially when upgraded with WHITE (not those bleh blue) LEDs.

    It’s also the easiest to find Carver M series. The M.05t is like a unicorn and tends to cost as much as the M1.0t. And both it and the 1.5t can’t be upgraded.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • daddyjt
    daddyjt Posts: 1,433
    daddyjt wrote: »
    TroyD wrote: »
    ...The m1.0t had a wicked thump when you shut it off....I was always petrified it was going to destroy my speakers...

    This is addressed and easily fixed in about 15 minutes with service bulletin #4, issued 11/01/89.

    I REEALLLY wish I had the time to learn how to upgrade the M1.0ts.

    One of my favorite looking amps, especially when upgraded with WHITE (not those bleh blue) LEDs.

    It’s also the easiest to find Carver M series. The M.05t is like a unicorn and tends to cost as much as the M1.0t. And both it and the 1.5t can’t be upgraded.

    @EndersShadow check this out - https://thecarversite.com/topic/23111-carver-m15t-mkii-now-available-from-nelion-audio/

    “Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
    ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • @TroyD I said the M series amps did not have the thermal capacity to drive the amazings. Also the M series with the “t” at the end we’re transfer function modified to sound like much more expensive amps like you said.

    Howevah
    They weren’t made by Carver.

    The TFM series were transfer function modified to sound like the Carver Silver Seven tube amp.
    I had a pair of TFM-45’s bridged into my old SDA-1C’s for a short while. That thousand watts per channel was sublime. Didn’t last though because of problems with my C-19 vacuum tube preamp. After the system was down for a year I took the plunge into home theater, bought a third TFM-45 and used the three to power the six channels.
  • F1nut
    F1nut Posts: 45,744
    The TFM series were transfer function modified to sound like the Carver Silver Seven tube amp.

    They didn't sound anything like the Silver Six, Seven or Nine tube amps.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

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