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Jim Coash

Bob Carver groupies: My favorite customers!

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Greetings:  Those of you who have read my previous forum articles already have read about some of the people who were Carver groupies.  Mike, Mark, Randy and my brother all owned and still own, as far as I know, Carver systems I sold them. Some of the people I sold Carver to wanted badly to meet Bob and I invited a few who attended at least one of the meetings Bob held at my store.  They were suitably impressed with Bob and he was very gracious to them.  Bob always was willing to talk to people who had his products in their homes and he answered their questions thoughtfully.  Everyone who had that opportunity had friends who became Carver customers too.  A few of my friends found a way to attend CES and some of them found there way to the Carver room despite it being away from the main floor of McCormick in Chicago or The Convention Center in Las Vegas.  Their systems grew and evolved and many would up with very impressive home sound set-ups.  This is my "spares" rack made from Salamander bridge shelves and some threaded hardware.
20140305075011674.jpg From top to bottom you can see ADS 710 speakers, Yamaha NS-500 speakers, Caver C-6 & TFM-55 (with my "Flying Saucer" nightlight on top.)  That pair of Aiwa speakers are what I use when I am concerned about something causing damage to a speaker.  I plug those in, just in case.  So far, no damage.  On the first shelf is a Marantz Pro series rack mount auto-reverse cassette deck that has been to many gigs. I have another in the party barn.  Then there is a Sony VHS/DVD copy unit.  I have two just like this one and a Toshiba unit that does the same thing in my office system (next to me right now) so I can make copies while I work on the computer.  The next shelf has 3 Tascam units on it, a DVD-01U single space DVD player and two slightly different CD burners, one with a few more goodies on it than the other.  On the bottom is an NAD integrated amp, NAD 6100 cassette deck and Kenwood double well cassette.  To the left, top to bottom are two 13" TVs, a Proton and an NAD MR-13.  Below them is my pair of E/V S-1503 speakers.  In front an Ampeg box with an E/V 15G that works for either guitar or bass.  The KLH Model 11 is the gray suitcase and the wood cabinet is the KLH Model 20 is just out of sight.
For me, the audio business was all about finding a way to show people how good a sound system could be.  Many people would say  that I was over their budget, even when I showed them something under $1000.  When the MXR-900 came out I could sell them a Carver system for not much more than that.  If I could get them to listen, most of the time I could show them why a Carver was actually a better buy.  Spending so little on a sound system that you don't enjoy listening to it is the real waste of money.  Owning something that you listen to all the time is the real buy.  A pair of good bookshelf speakers, a simple single play CD machine and a Carver receiver was always one of our best selling systems.  You could easily suggest that in a year or two, a new pair of speakers would be a big improvement and the small ones could go in a different room.
I had a couple come in in the mid eighties and they told me a friend had Carver and they loved it but they did not see how they could afford it.  Both of them were musicians who played for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra so they knew good sound. They also had two kids, a boy and a girl who loved music and played in the high school band.  After talking a while I could tell they had seen a large Carver system in the home of one of my customers.  I suspected it was Mark's C-4000, M-1.5t, TX-11a and KEF 107 speakers.  They told me they wanted that kind of sound but they knew how much Mark had spent and they might be able to spend half of that.  So I had an idea.  I moved the KEF 104.2 speakers to the place where I had an MXR-150 set up and let them hear that.  They were very impressed, especially when I told them that they could have that system for less than half of what Mark had in his system.  Once they understood that Mark wanted the ability to play his system very loud, something they did not need, the sound quality using the smaller receiver wasn't noticeably different when playing the KEFs. When they came back the next day, with the kids, they brought a selection of their favorite records and I set up a Luxman PX-101 with a Grace F9-E and let them have the room to themselves.  When they came back to me they were ready, but they decided they could afford the KEF 107s after all.  I delivered and set up that system in their home and they never had any trouble.  Several members of the orchestra came in to see me once they heard that system.
I took a pair of shoes in to a little shop in the mall across the street.  Rita and Steve were the owners and sole employees. Both were very skilled at what they did.  They could repair just about anything made of leather from shoes, purses, coats, belts all the way to golf bags.  They recognized me and told me that some day they were going to buy a stereo but they wanted to get something nice that would last.  A month later they carefully shopped and they loved the Holography demo with the Carver Receiver and DCM Time Windows.  Over the next 5 years they continued to upgrade until I sold them Carver Amazing Loudspeakers to finish their system.  They had ultimately spent almost $20K with me and they became good friends to this day.  Their system still sounds wonderful after almost 20 years.
The man who sold me the Western Snowplow for my 1987 Ford Bronco bought a nice system with Carver receiver and KEF speakers.  His son came in too and bought something a little smaller but still Carver.  Every year at Christmas, Jack came in and I knew what he wanted.  All year long he would stop in to talk and see what was new.  When the holidays drew close I had a pretty good idea of what was on his list for the current year and I was ready.  Usually he came in the week before Christmas Eve and I would deliver his new item during the week.  One year I was surprised that it was Christmas Eve and he hadn't been in.  He showed up at almost 4:00 PM and "apologized" to me for what he was asking.  He had decided that after the best year his company had ever had that he wanted "all new" and he had me write up the best Carver system I had with all the goodies, Carver ALS III speakers, a 36" Hitachi TV and asked if I would deliver it immediately.
I called my wife and explained.  She wasn't very happy but she knew who Jack was and I had to go.  When I did get home almost 3 hours later than she expected my Bronco was full of Jack's old equipment.  Some had gone to his son but then his son gave me his "old" stuff.  Jack also gave me a box tied up with ribbon and said it was for my wife.  Martha and I opened it up to find a beautiful card, thanking me for all my help and service.  He apologized for making me late.  There was a check for $300, a spiral sliced honey ham, chocolates, nice coffee, several bottles of top shelf liquor and a tray of fancy nuts from a local store famous for that.  I estimate that I had over $5000 worth of equipment in the truck too.  It was a very Merry Christmas!
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I took a pair of shoes in to a little shop in the mall across the street.  Rita and Steve were the owners and sole employees. Both were very skilled at what they did.  They could repair just about anything made of leather from shoes, purses, coats, belts all the way to golf bags. 
Good one, Jim! happy0009.gif
Thanks for this story. With all those perks, I don't see how your wife could complain about your salesmanship! 

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Another great story.


It is good hearing stories of you and your customers particularly those customers that share the obsession with audio that most of the members here are afflicted with!!


I am also glad that there is another ADS fan out there on this forum.


I have used ADS 300 speakers for my non-critical listening areas (except the one pair I use for the surround speakers in my home theater system) since the 1980s. More recently they have been paired up with a Sonos Zone player.


I have re-foamed three pairs, including a very early production pair in silver I purchased on Ebay. In all I have three metal pairs t,wo black and the silver pair and three walnut pairs. Again for non-critical listening they have a great sound and look for their size.

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