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TomcatCrew

Carver Preamplifiers - Need Opinions

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Good Morning!,

 

I'm in the process of reverting back to Vintage Gear and have a question.

 

I just picked up he Carver M 500t Amp (in the shop getting MkII Upgrade)  I also have the Carver TL-3300 Pre/ Tuner.

My question is:  Which Pre Amp: Carver C-1, C-4, C-6 or stay with the TL-3300?  Which is the better unit for the Amp I'll be running?

 

I originally had (still have) 2 TFM-25's and used the TL-3300 as my Preamp.

 

Thanks!

 

Tom

 

 

 

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TL-3300 is a CD player...

Any of the C-1, C-4000, C-6 preamps will do a good job. Speaker choice, sources and music tastes might influence that a bit. 

 

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Thanks for the quick reply! 

 

I had to move fast if I wanted the C-1 - I went with it!

Is there information on the site regarding the BillD Mod? and is there a companion Tuner in that Series?

 

Thanks a million for the input - I was leaning that way- just needed a push!

 

Best Regards!

 

Tom

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14 minutes ago, TomcatCrew said:

and is there a companion Tuner in that Series?

Consider a TX-11 or a TX-11a.

27 minutes ago, TomcatCrew said:

Is there information on the site regarding the BillD Mod?

Zumbini (Carverpedia) can point out to a parts list and a thread.

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I've never owned better than a BillD modded C-1/M500t MKII combination, and I've never heard better that wasn't at least 10x the price.

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kve777,

 

That sounds like a fair deal  - I was just about to pull the trigger on a trade with a guy on eBay.  I've got a like new CT-Seven and he has a TX-11a  straight up trade we each cover our own shipping. Any interest?  My CT-Seven is in use now, works and looks like new?

 

Tom

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Tom,

 I need to downsize. CT-7 is worth more than a TX-11a. Do you have the remote?

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Posted (edited)

IMHO Carver's power amp are very (But very very)  good sounding components. There are some other pearls in carver components like the Mash+Tube CD Player 490t or the TX-11 (or also TX-12) tuner.
But for the preamps, none of the carver preamp give outstanding performance. I've try C-1 , C-1 +BillD mod , C-5, C-16 and C-19, and none of this are equal to sound quality of a more modern and similar cost (on used market) preamps like, for example, the Copland 301 MK II. Now in my sistems i've a C-16 (Fully upgraded) and a recapped C-5, but only for "passion for the brand". REPEAT... IMHO.

 

Edited by Casaletti
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3 hours ago, Casaletti said:


But for the preamps, none of the carver preamp give outstanding performance. I've try C-1 , C-1 +BillD mod , C-5, C-16 and C-19, and none of this are equal to sound quality of a more modern and similar cost (on used market) preamps REPEAT... IMHO.

 

 

I would have to strongly disagree with that. I have a Parasound Halo P5 preamp that I bought brand new, and it sounds excellent. It sounded much better than the McIntosh and Musical Fidelity preamps that it replaced, and those preamps were a lot more $$$ when new than the Halo P5 brand new. 

 

I then get the BillD C-1, and that preamp totally ran circles around the Halo P5. And now my recently modded 4000t runs circles around the BillD C-1. Like you, that's just my opinion, but others who have compared a BillD C-1 against much higher priced, modern preamps have come to the same conclusion as I. 

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13 hours ago, TomcatCrew said:

...Is there information on the site regarding the BillD Mod?...

 

Lots! Here are a few threads to get you started:

 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Chops said:

 

I would have to strongly disagree with that. I have a Parasound Halo P5 preamp that I bought brand new, and it sounds excellent. It sounded much better than the McIntosh and Musical Fidelity preamps that it replaced, and those preamps were a lot more $$$ when new than the Halo P5 brand new. 

 

I then get the BillD C-1, and that preamp totally ran circles around the Halo P5. And now my recently modded 4000t runs circles around the BillD C-1. Like you, that's just my opinion, but others who have compared a BillD C-1 against much higher priced, modern preamps have come to the same conclusion as I. 

 

BillD C-1 it's very different in sound from the original Carver C-1. Also my C-16 sound very better than original C-16.
But belive me , there are a lot of difference from the sound that come out from discrete components or tubes in a good designed preamp than the one come out from a design that use multi stage opamps like XR4136 or TL072, 5% resistors in opamp feedback, electrolytics caps in signal path etc.. IMHO.

Edited by Casaletti

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4 hours ago, Casaletti said:

But belive me , there are a lot of difference from the sound that come out from discrete components or tubes in a good designed preamp

 

Some of the Audio Research hybrid or pure Tube designs are excellent preamplifiers. A Nelson Pass FET10 also has an excellent sound. 

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I hesitate to give opinions because they are opinions and that is perception. I'm not prepared or able to gather measurements and invest the time, but oh well, I throw my experiences out there. 

 

The  C1 is an excellent value and is a high end preamp. It can be bought for a fair price and restored or modified to perform very well. Although using opamps in its design it performs very well.

 

Opamps generally (generally) result in increased noise levels, but reduce the cost of a producing the product instead of the generally quieter/higher performance discrete design. For the cost of a C1 plus upgrade, depending on if you can DIY or have to pay labor, can be a great performance for the money, a real value especially if you enjoy Sonic Holography. If you pay full price for a used unit and then pay a tech to mod it, then you have to ask yourself if the total cost is still the best value. Thats too many variables and is individual choice.

 

Are there better sounding preamps for more money? Absolutely. I have a few examples here at Jim Clark Stereo - A Bob Carver Showcase. If anyone is near Northern IL. over the summer, I would be happy to demonstrate a variety of vintage and new preamp and you can hear for yourself. While you are at it you can hear the latest products from Bob Carver. No sales pressure at all,  but if you are a long time fan of Bob Carver, you owe it to yourself to hear his latest products. Bob is doing the greatest work of his life and every fan should experience it. It would be my pleasure to share Bobs work with you.

 

While being opinions, I'm happy to demo different design types so you can compare for yourself and develop an opinion of your own, without buying anything.

 

We could go from 1960s Dynaco Pass3X to C1, C1 BillD, C11, 4000T, Threshold FET 10 up to a new $6000 PS Audio BHK preamp.. About a 55 year time span of preamp designs that could be seen and heard in one location. Almost like a slice or sliver of audio history while visiting a dealer of the new products.

 

Someone asked if showing off the vintage Carver products would create competition for the new Bob Carver products, because the vintage gear is such a great value for the performance it offers. That is a good question. The answer is no I'm not.. The new Bob Carver products are that good. Absolutely Amazing! Don't take my word for it, come hear for yourself. Your opinion is the only important one and this is the best help I can give.

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Jim.....

 

Blatant self promotion bud?

 

" I have a few examples here at Jim Clark Stereo - A Bob Carver Showcase. If anyone is near Northern IL. over the summer, I would be happy to ...."

 

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Back to the OP’s question - you need to ask yourself what you are looking for in a pre...?  My personal wants from a pre have changed over the years, to where now all I want a pre to do is select my source and control my volume. To that end, the C1 is overkill. BUT, the BillD C1 is DEAD QUIET, completely transparent in the signal path, and quite flexible. In my opinion, that’s all a pre should do. Further, in my opinion, if your pre has a specific “sound”, then it’s doing something it shouldn’t - adding or subtracting from the source. 

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My recent experience indicates to me that there are lots of choices and to some extent it will depend on your preference and what you like to hear.

All of the comments below are using Carver power amps (m4.0t and m500t unmodified.)

I have an Emotiva UMC-1 multi-channel preamp/DAC that was a step up from a previous model Emotiva in playing stereo music (and HT).

Listening to the praise here for the C-1, when I saw one for sale locally, I bought it immediately.

It was a significant improvement in sound to my ears over the sound of the Emotiva for stereo. 

A few weeks later I compared it to a Hafler 101 preamp and found the Hafler just a bit sweeter sounding, but in a very close race with the C-1.

Then I started listening to tube preamps and comparing them with the C-1 and Hafler.

There is a world of difference.  For my tastes and preferences of music, tube preamps can be much more pleasant and enjoyable than either the C-1 or the Hafler 101.

They tend to be easy to listen to for hours without fatigue and just sound more lifelike and what I have heard called "musical."

However, I have also heard one tube preamp that was extremely revealing, but, to me, too harsh to enjoy. 

Circuit design and specific components used are crucial to the results.

 

The approach best for me is to enjoy this hobby and to listen and compare lots of different gear with many different types of music. And enjoy the process :D

 

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In the end, it's all about synergy and what you like best. I happen to be fortunate enough that not only does the 4000t perform better in my current system than any other preamp I've owned, it also looks great. 

 

And whether you believe in cables or not, choosing the right ones can and do improve the performance of the entire system. 

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4 hours ago, Rod H said:

Jim.....

 

Blatant self promotion bud?

 

" I have a few examples here at Jim Clark Stereo - A Bob Carver Showcase. If anyone is near Northern IL. over the summer, I would be happy to ...."

 

Sorry. That was not the intent. Was just offering to demo so the OP could draw his own opinions, since sharing opinions is also an issue. 

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On 4/9/2018 at 3:27 PM, Chops said:

In the end, it's all about synergy and what you like best. I happen to be fortunate enough that not only does the 4000t perform better in my current system than any other preamp I've owned, it also looks great. 

 

And whether you believe in cables or not, choosing the right ones can and do improve the performance of the entire system. 

Thanks for the steer - I ended up getting the 4000t - nice looking component!  Do I need the Mod & who does them? 

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So now you have a C-1 and a 4000t? LOL

 

For the 4000t upgrades/mods, contact Bonzoro (Perry). He did the excellent work on my 4000t and well as a C-4000 for 4krow (Greg). He knows how to get these big ole' preamps singing. 

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