Jump to content

Bob Carver - The Maverick


Ar9Jim
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is the first page of the Bob Carver chapter from the book shown.  The topic of controversy came up when having our morning meeting with Bob. I mentioned to Bob that I could care less what the on-line hacks think of me, but it can get under my skin when I feel Bobs work is being unfairly represented.

 

Bob reminded me, that he has been under attack his entire career and he gave great advice, as he always does. 

 

I happened to re-read this article. It reminded me just how long Bob has been designing and how long critics have been there. Bob has never followed the crowd. He is a true maverick.

 

 

 

 

IMG_1290.jpg

IMG_1289.jpg

IMG_1286.jpg

Edited by Ar9Jim
  • Thank You 3
  • That Rocks 3
  • Love this! 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a some info that will be posted on the new website and store.

 

Bob wrote this today. The web designer, Ron K, will put his touches on it.

 

Ron is the same guy that has worked with Bob for decades and did the Carver ads back in the 1980s. 

I'll post the final version in a separate post when its finished. 

 

 

 

 

Bob Carver Amplifier Design Philosophy - What Sounds Good?

 

 

Since the early days, after earning my physics degrees, my approach to audio design has created controversy.

 

My unconventional approach has brought both criticism and accolades. World wide recognition for achieving musical excellence for my wonderful fans, while offering a more affordable product, compared to most other brands of comparable products, is a great pursuit. 

 

My amplifiers have often been smaller, lighter and less costly than others, while remaining powerful, musical, and accurate. These designs and their musical performance, compared to others are quite successful.

 

 What Makes An Amplifier Sound good?

 

Dynamic power, low distortion and wide frequency response. My tube amplifiers have high voltage (B+) and the power supplies have ability to ‘bounce' and increase voltage, closely tracking the musical load with very little distortion.This is an important key to a musical performance. 

 

 

Do You Design Amplifiers Using Load Resistors or Speakers?

 

Both. On my bench I start out with resistors, then I use different speakers, with a scope and voltmeter connected, while playing music and measuring the amp and speakers reacting together. The back EMF that is present makes speakers slightly easier to drive. Power response, by design, tapers below 80Hz, yet frequency response goes below 20Hz. 

 

My designs will drive difficult loudspeaker loads, playing music far better than the specifications listed, without clipping, and with lots of headroom available. 

 

These long held design targets have served the industry well. The designs have delivered excellent performing, highly musical products that more people could afford, without sacrificing the powerful and musical performance when powering loudspeakers. 

 

 

Stay tuned for more of my very latest designs and the on-line store coming soon.

 

  

 

 

 

 

  

 

Edited by Ar9Jim
  • Thank You 4
  • That Rocks 7
  • Love this! 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, AndrewJohn said:

 

Agreed.  I'll buy a few copies.  @Ar9Jim knows more. 😉 

Bobs wife Peggy has has accumulated lots of history. I will continue record conversations with Bob often, for the historical reference.  Peggy assembled an audio history based book (shown here). She is cautious to release it, due to other companies mentioned, until sure there are no copyright issues. The audio history of Bob is only 1/2 the story, the man himself is just as interesting. The personal stories from his childhood forward need to be recorded. His going to school in Germany as a child and speaking German, while his parental father, Tom Carver, was an attorney working on the Nuremberg Trails of Nazi war criminals after WWII and much more. Just an amazing life that reads like a Hollywood movie..Here is a picture of the book Peggy wrote. It is on display at the Illinois factory. 

IMG_1288.jpg

Edited by Ar9Jim
  • Thank You 4
  • That Rocks 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are so many examples of Bob's maverick designs that it is hard to believe that anyone could be in any doubt about his innovations.  I have been fortunate enough to have owned a few really excellent examples of Bob's work and each of these examples are designs with truly exceptional abilities and in many ways each pushes the limits of conventional design by a wide margin. 

 

When I bought my Rootbeer 180s from Bob over ten years ago he told me that the idle current on the KT-88s was so low that the tubes would last for decades.  I was a bit skeptical at first but that was in 2009 and now, in 2022, after 13 years of operation I have never had to replace a single power tube and both mono amps continue to operate superbly on the same tubes. Bob has been true to his word!

 

 

RB180.jpg

 

The other example I would like to share involves his CARVER VACUUM TUBE REFERENCE Model-1 Preamp.  I have owned a turntable for many years that has an extremely low-output phono cartridge mounted on it. We are talking about .1 to .2 mv output.  This is the Ortofon MC2000 phono cartridge from the 1980s. It was an excellent performer and was J Gordon Holt's (editor of Stereophile magazine) favorite cartridge back in the day. Well I was never able to use it with ANY preamp on the market because any preamp I tried would either have too low of gain or would have too much hum in the output. Never got it to work with anything. I recently got it out to see if it would work with Bob's VACCUM TUBE REFERENCE preamp and I was surprised and very amazed with how well it sounded and also the fact that I could not hear ANY hum from the output even at full volume!

 

Here is a picture of the perfect match up of that SOTA turntable, Souther linear arm with the very finicky Ortofon MC2000 cartridge.  Now, after many years of frustration, I can actually put this excellent cartridge to work. 

 

These are but two examples and I'm sure members have many more stories to tell about Bob innovations. Although I have talked with Bob over the phone many times I have never met him in person....but I am really looking forward to finally meeting him at CARVERFEST this year. 

 

Have to agree with Ar9Jim...CARVER designs are truly exceptional!

 

Preamp and Ortofon MC2000.jpg

Edited by straylight
  • Thank You 5
  • That Rocks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/25/2022 at 10:49 AM, weitrhino said:

Someone needs to get H.W. Brands or Walter Isaacson on the case. Both men knows how to write a compelling biography.

 

This is an interesting and important thing..., putting authors like Isaacson and Brands on the case.

 

And, what a perfect, opportunity for "experts" to put the true research of a lifelong endeavor (still going on today) to produce audio technology that focuses on "how it sounds" over "how it measures resistors" out there to debunk the self-proclaimed "do-gooders." focused on numbers, and not sound.

 

What incredible Irony.  And, such authors, with credibility, and the following of the Carver (and carver-like) masses, could document a last-stake defense in the heart of the monsters.   To really put "truth" over the "narcissistic con" that these purveyors of "resistor measurement" (a la ASR, Bottleneck, and their blind lemming-like followers) have injected into, resulting in such horrid damage to, this hobby.

 

Bob always took the high road, his entire life.  Connecting these dots, the interface between physics and understanding the yin and yang, or the balance of what makes "good sound," would be such a wonderful read.  The life's story, the path, the decisions, the ability to stay above the fray, not engage with the pundits..., almost a life's lesson book - intertwined with Audio engineering for "how it sounds."

 

Maybe it would even make a NYT Best Seller!

 

As I think about it, and after just reading "The Perfect Sound," by Garrett Hongo, (as an example) I think there may be room for more than one biography, and life's path, book around this good vs. evil story of the Audio Hobby.

Edited by AndrewJohn
  • Thank You 3
  • That Rocks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another important innovation of Bob's that turned out to be a very significant step forward in modern vacuum tube amplifier design is the incorporation of the 6AL5 tube in the circuit or the 'DC restorer' as Bob referred to it at the time of invention.  This tube is found in all his 180 vacuum tube amps and includes even the higher power Cherry and Black vacuum tube amp versions.

 

I went back to the original auction page he used when he held the amp auctions on ebay (circa 2008-2009) and in Bob's own words here is how he describes the function of this innovative circuit, which keeps the grids of the KT-88 power tubes from going into non-linear operation and restores stability during dynamic music passages. The end result is much cleaner sound even at high volume levels :

 

"Every vacuum tube amp in the world suffers from shifting DC operating points and this unfortunately has remained a functional limitation and maddening sore point for amplifiers designers ever since the very beginning of vacuum tubes. Consequently I had to invent a DC restorer circuit using an 6AL5 / 5726 tube; it eliminates every last vestige of DC shift, while simultaneously reducing distortion three-fold and vacuum tube idle power by the same."  

 

 Whoever writes his book I hope they include this picture of Bob.

 

782300956_BobandhisAmps.jpg.1b2a232f0b28b3f7d5cdf9af60fe9425.jpg

 

Although Bob is a very humble individual I think he should be recognized for his many outstanding accomplishments that have changed the direction of audio design in the USA and around the world! 

 

If there can be an embodiment of the "humble maverick" I think Bob is it...

 

Edited by straylight
  • Love this! 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, straylight said:

VACCUM TUBE REFERENCE preamp

I definately don't want to hijack the direction of this thread, but i'm unfamiliar with the VACCUM TUBE REFERENCE preamp. 

 

I'll start another thread but I'd like to find out more about it.

 

Thx!

  • Thank You 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

The amount of work Bob has done in his career is impressive. Not only do we have Bobs black book of most recent designs in the factory vault, there are volumes of notebooks detailing his experiments over decades of research. Bob has literally worn the numbers off his favorite model, of at least one HP Scientific Calculator and was given an NOS model, found by a customer, to replace the worn out unit. 

 

Here is a small sample of the notes Bob has taken.

 

IMG_0287.jpg

fullsizeoutput_66.jpeg

Edited by Ar9Jim
  • Thank You 3
  • That Rocks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Note the old school distortion analyzer on Bob's bench in the picture of him holding the M400 in one hand.

Here is Bob's analyzer that is at the factory today. It looks about the same, although Carver Corp and Sunfire had many I'm sure. He knows these tools extremely well. The scope and voltmeter with the blue tape are Bob's. He has gear at his lab in Snohomish and gear at the factory in Illinois. Either location he is at, the gear he is super proficient with is on hand.  

 

 

IMG_0289.jpg

Edited by Ar9Jim
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...