Carver amps have been the symbol of audio power since the 1970’s. The Phase Linear 700, dating back all the way to 1972. At the time it was the most powerful audio equipment ever produced for consumer use, going up to 350 W per each channel. Since then the quality and quantity of audio equipment have constantly been on a rise, making Carver amps the go-to professional equipment for stage performances, concerts, outdoor events and others.
It all started back in the 1970’s with Bob Carver. He was a physicist and an engineer who always found an inclination for audio equipment. He first hit the industry with the aforementioned Phase Linear amplifiers but it was his two magazine challenges in the 1980’s that really won him worldwide attention and respect. Bob Carver had raised the challenge that he could duplicate the sound of any expensive, high end amplifier with his own equipment and for a much lower cost without diminishing the quality of the sound. The rule was that the amplifier he was to emulate would be looked on as a “black box”, meaning he could not tinker around with the content to see how they work and how the sound was produced. All he could do was to listen to the sounds at different levels and then work from there to create his own Carver amps that could reproduce that exact same sound. Two had met the challenge and two had utterly failed.
Carver Amps Meet the Challenges
The first magazine to accept his challenge was The Audio Critic. They asked him to reproduce the sound of a Mark Levinson amplifier, the ML-2. He was able to do this with almost immediately and then marketed his end product under Carver Amplifiers as the M1.5t where the t representing transfer function modified. The Audio Critic was not the last to take up his challenge. The second that came up to him was the Stereophile magazine, in 1985. They challenged him to reproduce the quality of a Premium-Five, a Conrad-Johnson amplifier. At the time, this amplifier was regarded as one of the most prestigious and highly respected optimal-performance audio equipment in the market and was sold at an incredibly high price of $12,000. Nevertheless he was able to create his own amplifier within 48 hours. Not a single audio testing employee from Stereophile had been able to distinguish his amplifier from their own Conrad-Johnson amplifier during blind tests that were conducted in their own audio room utilizing their own equipment. Bob Carver and his amplifiers won hands down.
Critics bombed his success though since he marketed his amplifiers as transfer function amplifiers yet they failed to see the true purpose of the challenge; that any amplifier’s sound and quality could be replicated, given the right time and equipment. To prove his point he moved away from his M-series and produced the Silver Seven. This amplifier was the most expensive unit in his lineup of marketed consumer products and it was a commercial reproduction of all the audio qualities of his t-marketed amplifiers. Since then he went on to create the TFM amplifiers. The TFM amplifiers, such as the highly regarded TFM 55-x, were created not just for outdoor uses but also for home theater purposes and for optimal indoor audio experiences that other audio equipment could not replicate. In the market, only Carver Amplifiers took the concept of audio enhancement and introduced it to all sorts of entertainment medium.
After introducing the TFM series Carver amps met a new lineup with the new Lightstar series. The first iteration only had a hundred units produced and is now considered a collector’s item. The Lightstar Reference is a reproduction of this and is now referred to as the baseline unit for the Lightstar units. A second lineup, the Lightstar 2.0, was later introduced to the market. It had the exact same audio quality of the prior unit but its new design and mechanical adjustments made it cost efficient and energy efficient, enabling the company to take off $1,800 from the price tag, making it highly accessible to the public.
The Ideal of Carver Amps
Bob Carver had one main point that he wanted to prove to the world: that any amplifier, no matter how expensive, no matter how unique and no matter how complicated the equipment and audio quality could be it could be duplicated and with at a much lower cost. As mentioned above he had been able to take on the challenge to duplicate the sound of a popular, market-raving amplifier that cost $12,000 and was able to market his duplicate model at less than $1,500. His sole motto was that he could duplicate any amplifier without even cracking it open and sell the new duplicated unit for a fraction of the original’s price tag. So far he has yet to fail.
Stereophile and Carver Amps would go on to have legal debates against each other. Stereophile would go on to sue Bob Carver over copyrighted material and Carver Amplifiers to sue Stereophile for bias concerning Carver Amplifiers products. In the end the cases were settled in court with neither of the two camps winning over any form of damages done.
Even his most expensive units like the Sunfire Signature unit won’t go above the $2,000 price mark. You can find numerous Carver amplifiers for sale on eBay and other shopping sites all over the web and never find an expensive amplifier. While other commercial amplifiers march all the way up past $5,000 and beyond, Carver amplifiers stay below the $2,000 price tag yet they do not compromise quality and efficiency by any means. If you were to look for the best audio equipment in the entire world but you didn’t want to shell out more than what was reasonable then do not fret. There is no need to look up for the most expensive gear because you can now get the best audio quality with a low price that sounds just as great as any other audio amplifier marketed today. With an affordable price but equally amazing quality you can do the best and more with Carver amps.