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One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

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Dr K

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Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:27 am

Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:18 am

One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Hello everyone! My first time on this site, but a fan of Bob Carver. I would like to start my journey into this build by sharing my experiences with you here.

Several years ago when Bob was selling his Cherry 180s on ebay, I contacted him to build me a pair with some modifications. I had Tubular Joe install V-Cap tin foil teflon output coupling caps, Furutech RCAs, Vampire copper binding posts, and OFCC power cord with Furutech tech termination over the standard "vintage" parts. More importantly, my Cherry 180s have the vintage pie wound transformer. For comparison, I also have pair of the output transformerless (OTL) Atma-Sphere M60 mk3.1 with upgraded copper V-Cap input coupling caps, power supply upgrade, and Caddock resistor package. At the time, the M60s were several thousand dollars more than the Cherry 180s. My speakers are 89 dB efficient 2-way dynamic designs with minimal impedance of 5.8 Ohms over a narrow band. The crossover is built with Dueland CAST copper PIO caps, CAST resistors, and custom 8 gauge scatter wound inductors wired with custom silver ribbon wires. They are one of best 2-way speakers I have ever heard after a 3 year search. I purchased the M60s because my speaker designer feels they are one of the two best amps for my speakers. On the contrary, I found the Cherry 180s to have more dynamics (both micro/macro), much better lower end extension and punch, and better sound staging and imaging. They just sounded more real to me. This may be in part due to the higher power of the Cherry 180s, but I listen to music in the 80 to 85 dB range with dynamic peaks in the low 90 dBs. The M60s 60 watts handles this without problem. The M60s have smoother upper midrange and high frequency extension, possibly due to their OTL design. The Cherry 180s are just as transparent, but compared to the M60s, I found the upper midrange and highs to be a little strident and timbre/tonality slightly less authentic.

However, I see the tremendous potential of the Cherry 180s. If you look inside these amps, you will not find any audiophile brand parts. This is not necessarily good or bad. However, I am convinced using higher quality parts, whether audiophile or non-audiophile parts, could improve the performance to surpass the most highly touted amps in Stereophile or TAS. I approached Bob about building my dream amp based on the Cherry 180s. I decided call it the Carver Silver Signature (CSS). With Bob's blessing and help, this is what I have come up with for the build.

1) Transformer, the heart of any transformer coupled tube amp. This is where the silver comes in. It will be a NICKLE CORE, SILVER WIRE PIE WOUND, POSSIBLY C-CORE transformer. If designed appropriately, silver can sound astonishingly real without the high frequency brightness most associate with this metal. The nickle for higher performance (aka "nickle magic" for those of you who have heard nickle core trannies) without having the transformer weigh a ton. It will be the center piece of the amp and will have clear transformer cover. Who will build them? You'll have to wait, but it will be beautiful.

2) Output coupling caps can make a significant improvement in sound. I have decided on Dueland CAST PIO copper foil caps. I have these in my speakers, and they are hard to beat. I think they are even better than teflon caps as Duelands sound more natural to these ears. The small value signal caps will be polystyrene caps.

3) Power supply caps will be polypropylene film caps. There will be NO electrolytic caps anywhere in this amp. Besides sounding more open, faster, and tighter, film caps will be more reliable and probably outlast me. However, this will increase the size of the power supply several fold. The largest 760 microF/900V caps measure 7.3 (H) x 4.6 (Diameter) inches. The reservoir capacitance will be twice that of the Cherry 180 or Black Beauty. The large value caps will be bypassed with 0.1 microF film caps. To keep the weight reasonable enough to handle by one person, the amps will be a 4 chassis design with separate amplification and power supply chassis for each channel.

4) Resistors will be mostly PRPs (very affordable with clean transparent sound). However, in key low power locations in the input/first amplification stage, I am considering the naked Vishay Z201 Z foil resistors (TX2575). Expensive so I will use them where they count. The resistors for the power tubes will likely be carbon film caps.

5) Chassis design. Other than four chassis, I don't have any more info to give.

6) Remotely controlled stepped attenuator at the input. Either DACT or Goldpoint. IME, this configuration is better than any active or passive preamp between the source and the amp, as long as the impedances are compatible.

I would appreciate your contribution to this build. I am open to any suggestions. Some of you may consider this build excessive in this economy. I do not mean to offend anyone. I have one vice in life, and this is it. I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, gamble,...or frequent strip clubs (well, may be once in a blue moon :wink: ) . So give me some freedom to enjoy my hard earned income.

As many of you may already know, Bob is one of the most cordial, enthusiastic, and giving person I have come across in audio. Over several years, I have come to consider him to be a true friend, although I have never met him in person. He is proverbial unicorn of high end audio.

I will post pictures and comments as this build proceeds. Thank you for reading my post.
Last edited by Dr K on Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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kingman

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(pair of) SILVER-7 TUBE AMPs

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Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:38 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

WOW!!! Welcome Dr. K!!! =D> Keep us posted on the build.
In reality, it only matters what it sounds like to YOU!!!
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skip

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Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:40 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Sounds like you're going to have a great set of blocks. What output wattage are you going for? What tubes are you planning on using? And welcome to the forum, I'll look forward to your reports on the build process.
Sasquatch
TnRabbit's Assistant Official OCCD Enabler.

How long a minute is, depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on.
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Snoop65

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Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:02 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Welcome!!!! Sounds very exciting!
CARVER LIGHTSTAR REFERENCE+SUNFIRE CLASSIC TUBE PREAMPLIFIER+JBL XPL200+MUSIC HALL MMF-9.1+GRADO REFERENCE MASTER 1+CARVER SD/A 390t=WOW!!!!!!
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Dr K

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Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:55 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Thanks for the welcome, Snoop, skip, and kingman.

The output power is going to depend on the final transformer, which I believe will be able to handle at least 300 watts. Bob tells me because I have doubled the power supply capacitance, I can parallel another pair of KT88s or KT120s per amp, so each mono block will have 8 output tubes. So I'm confident the output power will be higher than the Black Beauty. But the ultimate power is not that important to me. This build is about refinement taken to its ultimate level as I imagine it.
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MRHP

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Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:14 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

WELCOME!! \:D/ =D> \:D/ =D>

Awesome first post!!
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OK ERIC, LET GO OF THE MOUSE AND BACK AWAY FROM YOUR PC WITH YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR. NOW SLOWLY LAY FACE DOWN ON THE FLOOR!!!! - Snoop65
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TNRabbit

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Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:18 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Welcome & best of luck on your build! You need to talk to nooshinjohn as he just finished a tube amp based on the 180 & it sounds very similar to your project,
TNRabbit
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rah

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Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:23 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Welcome. I'll be looking forward to your posts.
My office (and only) system:
Sunfire Ultimate Receiver (thanks jjptkd!)
Sunfire Theater Grand Processor (with original remote!)
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Klipsch Chorus II's
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nooshinjohn

SILVER-7t

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Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:54 pm

Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:17 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Welcome aboard. I will also follow you build with great interest. My project followed a more or less stock schematic with upgrades to the power caps and cosmetic improvements to give the amps a more "Carever-like" feel to them. I am inperested in doing a similar build as yours however. Perhaps we could work together and make two sets...
Carver Statement Reference Monoblocks!!!The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier.[/size]
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Dr K

Newbie 50+

Posts: 58

Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:27 am

Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:10 pm

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Thank you everyone for your kindness.

Nooshinjohn, thanks for the offer. However, this project has been overwhelming with all the different international sources involved for the parts and searching for reliable professionals to work on the custom chassis, painting, plating, and chroming during the little time I have between my work schedule. And this is just the beginning. I am following the stock schematic to some extent, but there will be significant modifications which I plan to reveal later. I am on a long due hiatus from work for a short time, so I have time to post and work on this project. I apologize but I don't think I can deal with producing another set of these. The partial parts cost alone so far is about $8k and will go higher. Add in labor :-& . If I screw up big time, it will be only me who will suffer the consequence and not another poor soul who decided to take this journey with me. And making two sets means CSS will not be "one-of-a-kind" anymore :-k :wink:. You are definately welcome to ask any questions about my sources and tips as this project unfolds. Do you have pics or links to your project?
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nooshinjohn

SILVER-7t

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Post Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:58 pm

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Carver Statement Reference Monoblocks!!!The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier.[/size]
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Dr K

Newbie 50+

Posts: 58

Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:27 am

Post Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:05 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Hi John, thank you for the link. I read the entire thread. The chassis work deserves a standing ovation =D> . I do not have the skill nor patience to create something like that on my own. My lack of skill forces me to have someone custom build mine to my specification and design.
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nooshinjohn

SILVER-7t

Posts: 1719

Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:54 pm

Post Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:08 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Dr K wrote:Hi John, thank you for the link. I read the entire thread. The chassis work deserves a standing ovation =D> . I do not have the skill nor patience to create something like that on my own. My lack of skill forces me to have someone custom build mine to my specification and design.



Thanks for that man. They were a labor of love for sure, and everybody here was as supportive as could be. Without the encouragement and support of these guys, I would have given up as soon as I saw the schematics. Having a heavyweight like Bob in your corner doesn't hurt either. He would call from time to time just to see how they were coming along. Hat's off to this place. You have come to the right place Dr K.

Again, welcome aboard. =D>
Carver Statement Reference Monoblocks!!!The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier.[/size]
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Dr K

Newbie 50+

Posts: 58

Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:27 am

Post Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:58 am

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

Thanks. I hope my chassis will turn out as good as yours.
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Dr K

Newbie 50+

Posts: 58

Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:27 am

Post Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:27 pm

Re: One-of-a-kind Carver Silver Signature build

How do I upload some pics I've taken to this thread?
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