Home Theater Brand


Bob Carver is one of the five most influential people in the history of audio and his second company – Carver – was one of his biggest successes. Carver boomed in the 1970’s and even into the 1980’s but when Bob left the company, the brand lost its way. Bob started Sunfire which became a big success in the 1990’s and into the 2000’s but ultimately Bob had to sell to the conglomerate Nortek to stay competitive. Nortek now owns the brand Carver and services the legacy products.There is a rather lengthy Wikipedia entry about Bob Carver.From that article:”Carver caused a stir in the industry in the mid-1980s when he challenged two high-end audio magazines to give him any audio amplifier at any price, and he’d duplicate its sound in one of his lower cost (and usually much more powerful) designs. Two magazines took him up on the challenge.First, The Audio Critic chose a Mark Levinson ML-2 which Bob acoustically copied (transfer function duplication) and sold as his M1.5t amplifier (the “t” stood for transfer function modified).In 1985, Stereophile magazine challenged Bob to copy a Conrad-Johnson Premier Five (the make and model was not named in the challenge but revealed later) amplifier at their offices in New Mexico within 48 hours. The Conrad Johnson amplifier was one of the most highly regarded amplifiers of its day, costing in excess of $12,000.

Of note that in both cases, the challenging amplifier could only be treated as a “black box” and could not even have its lid removed. Nevertheless, Carver, using null difference testing, successfully copied the sound of the target amplifier and won the challenge. The Stereophile employees failed to pass a single blind test with their own equipment, and in their own listening room. He marketed “t” versions of his amplifiers incorporating the sound of the Mark Levinson and Conrad Johnson designs which caused him some criticism by those who failed to understand the true nature of the challenge — that it was possible to duplicate an audio amplifier’s sound in two completely dissimilar designs. In light of this criticism, Bob Carver went on to design the Silver Seven, the most expensive and esoteric conventional amplifier up to that time and duplicated its sound in his M 4.0t and later models which sold for some 1/40th the price (around $600-$1500).

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