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advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

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lawdog10231

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Post Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:27 pm

advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

This is a cut and paste of my introductory post. It's lengthy but I hope it's sufficiently interesting that someone will read it and help me with a potential problem--should my ribbon start spitting once more!

Newbie to the board here. I am a retired lawyer and an obsessive compulsive high end audio tweak. And I love classical music, jazz (and some rock from the 60s and 70s to celebrate my long lost youth.)

I used to have Infinity Betas and mega expensive amplifiers to drive them but they didn't survive a divorce about 10 years ago. I found an original pair of Carver Amazing Loudspeakers--the ones with honeycombed woofers and two 30" ribbons per for $500 on Craig's List. I still had two original Sunfire amps so I vertically bi-amped the speakers after buying a second pair of crossovers on Ebay.

I swapped out all the electrolytics and bypass caps on the boards with real expensive polypropylenes from Spain some of which are so huge and heavy that they took a couple of weeks to fully charge and sound right. I also rewired the speakers with seven strands of audiophile cable 4 strands from Kimber 8TC anf three from an obscure audiophile interconnect manufacturer who uses three wires of pure gold, silver and copper.

For the woofers to the crossover I wound each wire back into the mass of wire counterclockwise and made seven winds-no matter how long the actual wire run was. For the ribbons, I twisted two sets of two Kimber copper strands and wove them together with the three gold,silver and copper strands which were already woven together.

I never could have accomplished this if I hadn't stumbled onto one of Carver's right hand men from the 80s who now owns a small manufacturing company that makes circuit boards in Arlington, Wa., who was willing to help since he helped design the Amazings way back when and he had a solder pot and was curious. He was a terrific person!

The rest of the system: Monster AVS 2000 and 5100 mk II which were aligned with each other at the factory, the two Sunfire Amps--one amp dedicated to each speaker with one channel of each dedicated to the ribbons using the high current taps and the other channel of each dedicated to the woofers through the voltage taps. I use the Audio Research LS-2 mk II pre amp, Marantz SA 8001 SACD/CD upsampling cd player, Denon DVD 3910 which is dedicated to DVD-Audio dvds, Revox B-77 two track 15 ips/ 7.5ips open reel, Revox A-77 mk IV 4 track 7.5 ips/3 3/4 ips open reel, Alesis Master Link 24/96 digital recorder and a Sony TC-K717ES cassette deck.

I also use Audioquest interconnects with the 36 volt batteries connected to to skins and top of the line Zu speaker cable.

Needless to say, the sound is the best I ever heard-- surpassing even what I thought might be possible in the heavenly realm.

It's like having the music of the spheres in my living room. It did take over 8 weeks for the speaker wire to break in. For the first week or two it sounded like an am radio that was very weak as well. Now, well, all I can say is if you haven't vertically bi-amped your Carver speakers you don't know what you are missing.

I have a slight problem with one of the ribbons (top right). It's intermittent. But occasionally there is a muffled spitting sound at a particular high frequency. This only occurs when the system has been playing music for at least an hour and it doesn't always happen on the same recording. It first surfaced about a week after a friend cranked the system up while I was fetching a couple of brewskies in the kitchen.

Even then, since I'd run back into the listening room and turned the system down after about 5 seconds of very loud jazz (of all things) I hoped and prayed there was no damage (and there appeared to be no problem until about a week later.)

I took a hospital grade q-tip and very gently flattened the area of the ribbon with a little bit of Tweak connecter cleaner and the problem seems to have gone away completely but I worry it will return. With the vertical array of Sunfires I figure I'm running 2400 watts per channel into a two ohm load.

Anybody have experience like that? Am I going to have to replace that ribbon and if so, will I just need to replace the one, or the complete set in one speaker? Anybody know where I can find used or new replacement ribbons. Also, at some point I'll likely have to recone the woofers although they still work fine at the moment? Anybody know a source for that?

I can't believe my good fortune in finding this board. I'm located in Lake Stevens about 15 miles from Carver's Sunfire factory in the state of Washington. If there are any posters in the Puget Sound area who would like to get together once in a while and compare notes and listen together--I'm open for such a gathering or a group.

Love these keen smilies! A picture's worth a thousand words--and I better end this if I want anyone to actually read it! Thanks for putting a resource like this on the internet for Carver-lovers like me!
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brit01

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Post Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:43 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

I also use Audioquest interconnects with the 36 volt batteries connected to to skins and top of the line Zu speaker cable


Hi lawdog,

welcome to the forum. I´m looking forward to the day I have enough time on my hands to tweak the system as you have done. Just another 25 years until retirement :?

You´ve have done some pretty impressive mods there and I´m sure you´ll get a lot of response from the audio fanatics here or as my other half says "audio geeks" :?

I´d like to know more about the battery mod you´ve done with the interconnects and cables. Never heard of that and intrigued to hear more about it.

Cheers
TFM-55, CT-3, Klipsch F-1, Rotel RCD 930AX
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lawdog10231

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Post Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:17 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

The audioquest batteries come with their newer interconnects. I think the newest interconnects sport 72 volt batteries but I bought mine a couple of years ago and they were just using 36 volts at the time. I'm not sure they do that much since they just effect the outer casing of the interconnect--but they sound a lot better than conventional interconnects, for whatever reason, and can be had fairly reasonably from Audiogon or ebay which is where I bought mine.

A better magnetic mod involve magnetic pucks to actually set the equipment on in the racks. They are spring loaded and come down to a single point that is suspended when applied properly and the puck itself creates a magnetic field around the equipment. You use various strengths of magnetism based on weight and the type of equipment you are setting up inside the magnetic field on three or four suspended points. The Cable Company sells them. I bought them at a deep discount when they were clearing stock that hadn't sold real well about a year ago.

Also, if you use a bulk tape eraser to demagnitize a cd, sacd or dvd-a before playing, it will sound much better. I also use that Auric Illuminator fluid and a black sharpie on the edge of the disc. And if you take three old 5 1/4 floppy discs for the old pcs glue them together and then cut them so they fit on top of the disc you will play with a hole in the center--the black top and magnetif field in the floppies make a bigger sonic improvement than using one of those $100 green/black discs. And they won't fly out of the cd well into the innerds of your disc playback machine. You can buy the old 5 1/4 floppies on ebay for about 10 bucks for a box of 10.
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tomstat

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Post Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:56 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

Howdy!
ImageImage
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stevewithrow

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Location: Great NorthWest.....Carver Country..

Post Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:40 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

Toymaker or Dave should chime in soon....they are the ribbon guys...there busy at CF right now...
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lawdog10231

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Post Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:09 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

I've found one suggestion while perusing the vast content of this web site that might hold the answer. Dave suggested to someone with a hum in a ribbon to gently tighten the screw directly behind the source of the hum. When I checked the screw directly behind the area that spits I discovered someone who owned the speakers prior to me took them apart because that particular screw is buggered and doesn't make contact with the steel frame which is supposed to hold it in place. #-o

I'm guessing I should just get a bigger sized screw that is self tapping and hope it does the trick? :shock:

Rita told me Dave sells or repairs ribbons and I think I saw something somewhere on the website that indicates one 30" ribbon is repaired or sold for about $215 or so. Anybody have more info on actuslly repairing or replacing. Also, I'll eventually have to repair the surrounds on the honeycomb woofers--or replace them altogether. Someone indicated Dynavox had replacements for $35 @, but I went to their site and they indicated they didn't have any parts anymore.

The sound of music in my living room has been so good with the Carvers vertically bi-amped that I'm becoming paranoid about losing this when the drivers eventually wear out. I think the ribbon is more of an immediate problem waiting to happen--but I won't rest until I know where to look for the ultimate replacement drivers. It's too bad I can't just run down to Carver's Sunfire plant and pick them up. He's just about 10 miles away but they don't appreciate having tweak freaks like me hanging around the office.

In the meantime, anybody who's going to be around the Puget Sound area who hasn't heard a vertical bi-amped system (2400 watts into 2 ohms) is welcome to drop by and hear mine. I'm about 35 miles from northern Seattle.

Thanks folks! Just knowing this board exists and that I've found it gives me peace of mind.
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BillD

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Post Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

If you e-mail Dynavox, they'll fix you up with the woofers. You can get the part numbers here by searching. You'll have to talk to Dave about ribbons, especially that b0rked up machine screw.
It should sound like it isn't there!
There is a difference between hearing and listening...
Making life enjoyable through expensive electronics.
_________________
Carver: C-4000 & C-1 preamps, PSC-60 preamp/tuner, TX-11a tuner, M-400 (2), C-500, M-500, M-500t, M-500t Mk.II, A-500x, AL-III loudspeakers (2 pr.)
Sunfire:Theater Grand III processor, Ultimate Receiver, Cinema Grand Signature 400 ~ seven, True Subwoofer Mk. II, D-10 Subwoofer
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stevewithrow

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Location: Great NorthWest.....Carver Country..

Post Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:02 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

ribbon repair link....follow link and click on repair....

http://www.carveraudio.com/index2.htm
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OBI56

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Post Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:47 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

BillD wrote:If you e-mail Dynavox, they'll fix you up with the woofers. You can get the part numbers here by searching. You'll have to talk to Dave about ribbons, especially that b0rked up machine screw.

Actually BillD, that is the Orevox division of Dynavox; Dynavox themselves do not have anythign to do with those woofers anymore.
Why let facts or common sense get in the way of your opinions.
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lawdog10231

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Post Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:59 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

Thanks for all the help you guys. It sounds like I can get 8 replacement woofers at $35@ through Orevoz. I found the phone number by searching through the other threads. At that price I almost can't afford not to get 8 matching drivers just to have them when I'll undoubtedly need them in the future. I even found a service manual on this site. I actually bought one before modding the cross overs and have misplaced it.

It's taken me most of the day and I've only read a small percentage of the threaded material here. This is really a great website. I can't believe how well you guys take care of fellow obsessive-compulsive-Carver-collectors such as myself. Again, mucho thanks! I am confident that soon I'll have all my driver worries resolved and I can just sit back and enjoy the incredible music Bob Carver has made possible. And it won't cost me an arm and leg to get it all working properly once more--if that borked screw can be fixed. I may just have to send the whole ribbon to Dave and let him rebuild it.
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docadillac

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Location: The wet coast of Canada

Post Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:36 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

Welcome to the forum!! Dave does a great job of rebuilding the ribbons. It's good to know he's doing that work as there are plenty of folks out there that need that service. It was really too bad that Carver closed and stopped making new parts. I live just on the other side of the border in B.C. and could have made the trip to the factory.
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lawdog10231

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Post Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:00 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

We live close to each other Docadillac. Vancouver is a little over an hour up I-5. We live off exit 194 which runs parallel to Everett. Carver's Sunfire operation is located in Snohomish which is literally 10 miles south of Lake Stevens on hwy 9. I could ride a bicycle to his office but he's never there.

Ruth and I were planning to drive up to Vancouver a time or two before the rains return. Maybe we could get together for a drink and discuss this "huge hole in the ocean into which I throw money" known as high end audio and how we ended up with Carver equipment.

If you and yours are planning to be in the area I'd hope you might want to drop by for refreshments and a little listening. If you're planning to go to Seattle we're 30 miles north and have an extra room and could save you some money on hotels by putting you up.
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lawdog10231

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Post Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:36 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

I just noticed that Stevewithrow is located in Tacoma which is about an hours drive south from where Ruth and I live in Lake Stevens right down I-5. I'd like to extend similar invitation to get together with him as well should we ever be in each other's neighborhood.

Are there others close to Seattle and/or Vancouver who post here as well? I'm just a newbie but this place already has the feel of extended family the way you guys take care of each other and others like myself who are lucky enough to stumble onto the website. It says a lot about Carver's genius that a group like this could come together over just one thing they have in common--a major Carver Equipment Obsession.

I am retired and have a lot of time on my hands at the moment anyway. Circumstances might require me to find some kind of part time employment to supplement our retirement income thanks to a major remodel of the house Ruth just completed. But now I'm content to listen to my collection of classical and jazz on vertically bi-amped Amazings.

Without really meaning to, I've become a raving maniac about vertical bi-amping Carver Amazings with Bob's Sunfire Amps. I think I read about how to set up such a configuration right here many years ago after finding the Amazings on Craig's List when I needed replacement speakers for the Infinity Betas. But since I had the two Sunfire stereo amps already and was in love with the sound I was getting from just one Sunfire amp driving the Amazings--I really had no choice but to acquire another set of cross overs, rewire and set up the vertical bi-amped system... :-k

In any event, I could go on forever about how blown away I was by the sound once the system warmed up and broke in properly. I never thought I'd say I heard an economical (by comparison) system that made the Infinity Betas sound like a cheap boom box--but that's what the bi-amped Carvers sound like. It's as if Carver designed the Sunfires with the Original Amazings in mind. I imagine the 1 1/2 ohm load was popping amps all over the world and made it necessary to modify the speakers to provide a more realistic, real world load. But to have seperate taps for high current (ribbons) and high voltage (woofers) that can be usewd simultaneously, and an amp which delivers 300 watts into 8 ohms--but is capable of driving a 1 1/2 ohm load without burning the house down. That's the perfect combination for the original Amazings. I'm able to drive the speakers with a two ohm load at 2400 watts per channel perfectly optimized for both driver types. I can continue to listen when the load slips down to less than 2 ohms without fear of a major explosion in the listening room. I imagine when that happens I'm probably getting at least 3000 watts per channel.

And the sound is pure heaven! Until you've heard it you can't begin to imagine the heights and depths you can achieve. The incredible, palapable imaging. The perfect soundstage. Vocals that sound like disembodied spirits singing to you perfectly placed in the room.

Anybody else have the same fanatic zeal for Carver amps/speakers vertically bi-amped? I don't think there is any cure for this disease once contracted by someone infected with high end audio fever to begin with. :shock:

Anybody out there who hasn't heard what this system sounds like--you've got to hear it for yourself! I've literally found audiophile heaven!
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BillD

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Post Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:15 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

I bi-amp my Carver AL-IIIs. I use a Rane AC-22 active crossover between my preamp and my Sunfire 400 ~ seven. I use four of the seven channels to drive the AL-IIIs.

If you have two identical "power steering" amps, I think vertical bi-amping is the way to go. If your amps are not identical, horizontal bi-amping is necessary. The nice thing about vertical is that you can "borrow" power when the woofs need a big bump. In some classical (and jazz too, I guess), you'll get lots of music coming from one channel or the other during different passages (kettle drums are located to the left, for instance). In this case, horizontal bi-amping may be better. Have you ever thought about diagonal bi-amping? One amp powers the left top and the right bottom — and vice versa.
It should sound like it isn't there!
There is a difference between hearing and listening...
Making life enjoyable through expensive electronics.
_________________
Carver: C-4000 & C-1 preamps, PSC-60 preamp/tuner, TX-11a tuner, M-400 (2), C-500, M-500, M-500t, M-500t Mk.II, A-500x, AL-III loudspeakers (2 pr.)
Sunfire:Theater Grand III processor, Ultimate Receiver, Cinema Grand Signature 400 ~ seven, True Subwoofer Mk. II, D-10 Subwoofer
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OBI56

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Post Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:18 pm

Re: advice for tweaking a ribbon that spits? My system.

Lawdog, you live in the area of the highest concentration of Carver owners that I know of! Give it a few more days and more of them will log in
Why let facts or common sense get in the way of your opinions.
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