Bob Carver's custom built tube mono-block amps - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Carver has recently been building and selling these custom built tube amps via eBay. This is the 4th or 5th pair he has built. Each pair has offered increasing output ratings. The last pair sold for just over $10,000.

These are hand built mostly from vintage parts, Bob hand winds the transformers himself. Drool factor: 10/10.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Stereo-Pair-Mono...item2a06c8ed34
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post #2 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 09:38 AM
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Wow, that's purty, and useful wattage for a change for a tube amp. I have one of his HUGE amps, 1.5t, the one that did 350 a side, and up to 1400 for a milisecond into one side.
He's made some groundbreaking designs in the past of amps, tuners, etc.
I wont be buying one but more power to him and the guys that can afford to pay for such gear.
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post #3 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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As high-end monoblock amps go, even $10K/pair is not a bad price. Built to last forever. The first pair he sold went for under $4K and had vintage transformers. When he ran out of old transformers he went to making his own.
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post #4 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 10:37 AM
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Yeah, I know but I'm not even close to that kind of league when buying my gear. I do like to see what the high end is up to though so thanks for that, and glad to see he's still doing cool gear.
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post #5 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 11:57 AM
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50 year lifespan for a tube? Interesting. I wonder if the power supply would last 50 years?

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #6 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 12:04 PM
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I have tubes that date back to the early 20's that are still good in my old collection I started building since the 70's when you needed tubes to fix TV's and things.
If the tube isn't over-driven or looses it vacuum it can run a VERY long time.
The Russians used to use tube gear because they were simple and immune to EMP pulses if we ever went Nuclear.
Plus thanks to them thinking that way and being a bit behind we have brand new Russian tubes to buy for the tube heads out there.
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post #7 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

50 year lifespan for a tube? Interesting. I wonder if the power supply would last 50 years?

I know nothing about tubes. But Carver has been auctioning matched sets of those tubes once in a while and they don't go cheap. My guess is that they are not your average tubes.
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post #8 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 02:08 PM
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There are sought after audiophile grade tubes both new and old that tube guys go nuts for and pay big money for.
I should go through my boxes at this rate and see if I have enough desirable ones to retire on.


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post #9 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartman View Post

There are sought after audiophile grade tubes both new and old that tube guys go nuts for and pay big money for.
I should go through my boxes at this rate and see if I have enough desirable ones to retire on.



Those KT88 look to be going at prices up to $170 each, but there's a whole range depending on where they're made, etc. Here's a set that Bob sold recently:
http://cgi.ebay.com/QUAD-NOS-NIB-PER...item2a0477438b
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post #10 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 04:11 PM
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I'd bet I have a few of that type in the stash, I have a list of what was in the boxes that I wrote on the flaps of the boxes they were in way back when seeing I had more time to do such things. Made it easier to figure out if I had a certain tube rather then digging through boxes all over again to try and find one.
I have several old tube testers as well including very nice military multi box one that can test almost any tube made up to about 1953 when it was made.
They probably wouldn't sell for that high being loose and used but still...
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post #11 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 06:09 PM
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thioe look REALLY sweet. DROOL DROOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Always been a bob carver fan (still have a cm 1090 integrated, tx 12/11b tuner, m 1.5t (waiting to be repaired) and a sunfire cinemagrand sig II)...Seems he can only sit still for so long. I just wonder why he's doing this over ebay?
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post #12 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Denophile View Post

thioe look REALLY sweet. DROOL DROOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Always been a bob carver fan (still have a cm 1090 integrated, tx 12/11b tuner, m 1.5t (waiting to be repaired) and a sunfire cinemagrand sig II)...Seems he can only sit still for so long. I just wonder why he's doing this over ebay?

Why not ebay? No middle man. Perhaps he counts on word of mouth spreading about the auction driving the price up.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #13 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 06:46 PM
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Go Bob. As a past Carver owner and current Sunfire TGII owner, I love his stuff. Wish I could afford his tube amps. What a legend he is!
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post #14 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 06:53 PM
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If I had a lot of spare money, I would buy a set.

I am curious though, why tubes? Carver does not seem to be a zealot about audio, and seems to think amps should amplify and not add to any sonic character. Perhaps he just likes working with tubes.

I assume he embraces using feedback, and these have low distortion. But I did not see any distortion specs posted. Did I miss them?

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #15 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

50 year lifespan for a tube? Interesting. I wonder if the power supply would last 50 years?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartman View Post

I have tubes that date back to the early 20's that are still good in my old collection I started building since the 70's when you needed tubes to fix TV's and things.
If the tube isn't over-driven or looses it vacuum it can run a VERY long time.
The Russians used to use tube gear because they were simple and immune to EMF pulses if we ever went Nuclear.
Plus thanks to then thinking that way and being a bit behind we have brand new Russian tube to buy for the tube heads out there.

The Russian MiG-25 Foxbat fighter aircraft, one of the fastest fighters ever built operated with vacuum tubes for avionics and radar.

http://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/mig-25_foxbat.pl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25
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post #16 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 07:09 PM
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My understanding was that was to reduce the possible effects of EMP.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #17 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

If I had a lot of spare money, I would buy a set.

I am curious though, why tubes? Carver does not seem to be a zealot about audio, and seems to think amps should amplify and not add to any sonic character. Perhaps he just likes working with tubes.

I assume he embraces using feedback, and these have low distortion. But I did not see any distortion specs posted. Did I miss them?

Carver has contributed more than the average bear to audio. He has in fact designed solid state amplifiers that could approximate the sonic characteristics of a tube amp with the flick of a switch.
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post #18 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 07:15 PM
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Yes, I know a bit about him. As I say, it's my knowledge about him which made me wonder, why tubes. Maybe he felt he had done all he could with solid state, and wanted a change of pace.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #19 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

My understanding was that was to reduce the possible effects of EMP.

Their, Russian, solid state was not necessarily as advanced or readily available at the time. EMP resistance was a plus byproduct.

Non the less, proof that tubes are quite robust for more demanding applications than powering an amplifier for an extended period of time.
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post #20 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Yes, I know a bit about him. As I say, it's my knowledge about him which made me wonder, why tubes. Maybe he felt he had done all he could with solid state, and wanted a change of pace.

From his write up on e-bay, he seems to state it was and exercise and his desire to solve the problem of "shifting DC operating points."

"...I had to invent a DC restorer circuit using a 6AL5 / 5726 tube; it eliminated every last vestige of DC shift...
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post #21 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Yes, I know a bit about him. As I say, it's my knowledge about him which made me wonder, why tubes. Maybe he felt he had done all he could with solid state, and wanted a change of pace.

I assumed that he just felt like playing with all the old parts he has sitting around. Why not tubes? He's gone about as far as anyone could with SS amps.
Also he's planning a museum for amps and realized he didn't need all the old parts he had. Look closely at those photos in the listing, he's in a warehouse full of parts.
Quote:
I assume he embraces using feedback, and these have low distortion. But I did not see any distortion specs posted. Did I miss them?

"The transformers are MASSIVE vintage iron; each mono-block amp weighs in at 42 pounds, 84 lbs in all. Power is an easy 240 watts rms with a power bandwidth from 18 Hz to 47 kHz, frequency response 2 Hz to 85 kHz, and distortion less than 0.15 % at 240 watts out. "
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post #22 of 71 Old 05-03-2010, 08:44 PM
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Ah thanks. I had missed that part.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #23 of 71 Old 05-12-2010, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Sold for a reasonable price compared to the last pair.
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post #24 of 71 Old 05-12-2010, 06:05 PM
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If you call 7500 for 250x2 Watts, yep Surprised they went so low. Isn't Wolverine made from Adam Antium? That stuff must be REALLY expensive

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #25 of 71 Old 05-12-2010, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

If you call 7500 for 250x2 Watts, yep Surprised they went so low.

People routinely spend a lot more for a lot less. My guess is that in some years they will be worth a whole lot more.
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post #26 of 71 Old 05-12-2010, 07:13 PM
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"As I say, it's my knowledge about him which made me wonder, why tubes. Maybe he felt he had done all he could with solid state, and wanted a change of pace."

He has done tubes before....



Shawn
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post #27 of 71 Old 05-12-2010, 07:39 PM
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People routinely spend a lot more for a lot less. My guess is that in some years they will be worth a whole lot more.

I have no doubt on that

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #28 of 71 Old 05-12-2010, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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He has done tubes before....

Shawn

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post #29 of 71 Old 05-14-2010, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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post #30 of 71 Old 05-14-2010, 09:41 AM
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Wow. At some point I have to think you can go too far with engineering

"But this one goes up to 11"
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