Michael Poston - Maryland
Carver Research Lightstar Direct preamp: 9581650006
Carver Research Lightstar Reference amplifier: 95XS040003
These have been together as a pair since birth. I am the third owner and have all original packing materials and manuals. The pair were purchased from Audiogon in October of 2005. Following is the seller's listing:
"Carver Lightstar amp. The original amp, not the later Lightstar 2 which was not as good as the original. The company made a lot of short cuts and cost cutting on the 2.0. The price of the Lightstar 2.0 was almost 1/2 the price of the original Lightstar.
The Carver lightstar amp was a limited production unit. This is one of only 75 of these amplifiers ever made.
It is one of the most powerful amplifiers ever made. The power supply is massive. It easily rivals Krell and Levinson for sonics, build quality and ability to drive difficult loads. It is one of only a handful of amplifiers to be able to drive the most difficult speaker load ever made, the Apogee Diva speaker which has an impedance of 0.5 ohms.
The amplifier is 300 wpc @ 8 ohms and then doubles in power to 0.5 ohms at which time it is delivering a staggering 4800 Watts per channel! The power reserves are unbelievable. It can deliver full power peaks in less than 1 millionth of a second. That means it never runs out of steam.
The Lightstar Reference amplifier utilizes a new concept in power amplifier design that conveys a level of transparency unattainable with conventional amplifier designs.
The key difference between the Lightstar and conventional designs is it's ability to cleanly amplify the signal regardless of the reactive characteristics of the speakers it is driving. The amplifier's effect on the signal is so neutral that it provides nothing but pure gain to the signal presented to its inputs. Virtually no distortion, no coloration, just effortless and undisturbed music as the artists intended to be heard.
The power supply in conventional amplifiers is passive, simply providing a (hopefully) steady DC supply to the amplifier stage so that it can do its job. This makes it susceptible to AC power line variations and spikes which can reduce it's ability to deliver power by up to 50%.
The power supply in the Lightstar is an active system which optimizes the DC voltages so the amplifier stage always has precisely the energy it needs to deliver the loudspeaker at all times. No more. No less. This is the key to its effortless and transparent sound.
It's patented Lighstar Transformer regulates out all AC power line imperfections and compensates for low line voltage to allow delivery of full rated power at all times.
The power supply stores energy at very high voltages, allowing it to deliver full rated power all the way own to below 10Hz. This high- energy power supply combined with the transformer provides exceptional linearity and superior current gain. This allows the power to double as the load impedance is halved. In addition, it allows the amplifier to deliver an enormous amount of peak current to effortlessly reproduce difficult transients.
Other features include a balanced input and a single-ended RCA input for each channel. A switch is provided to increase the gain for CD direct operation or for use with a passive preamplifier. Two pairs of speaker binding posts per channel are provided for ease of connecting and biwire capability. A lighted analog power meter for each channel appears on the front panel along with a touch plate controlled by a unique and sophisticated circuit that places the amplifier into standby mode.
The amplifier was designed and manufactured in the US by a special division of the Carver Corporation. It was not designed by Bob Carver. The original designer was Jim Croft who originally came to the Carver Corporation to design their Amazing speakers. Bob Carver later attempted to compete with the design with the Sunfire Corporation and amplifier. It was a good amp, but not as good as the Carver Lightstar.
The amplifier -is totally dual mono right down to having to separate on off switches at the back of the amplifier and independent Left/ Right speaker relays to eliminate the possibility of transient noise when turned off or on.
-internal muting circuit for over temperatures and short circuit
-has dual analog lighted meters
-gold plated input and output jacks
-elegant touch plate for silent switching to standby power
-Carver digital transformer which provides built-in line conditioning.
You plug the amp into the wall not a power conditioner.
-switchable high-gain inputs for CD direct operation or use with a
300 wpc @ 8ohms
600 wpc @ 4 ohms
1200 wpc @ 2 ohms
2400 wpc @ 1 ohm
4800 wpc @ 0.5 ohms
20 Hz to 20 kHz (+ - 0.5 db)
19" X 17.8" X 6.9"
The amplifier can be operated in fully balanced operation and also single ended. You can switch from low gain to high gain on the fly. For the passive preamp owner or the person that uses the CD direct to the amp, this is the dream come true. Gain is greatly increased with no increase in THD thereby allowing greater dynamics and heft which is normally missing from the picture when using a passive preamp.
You can save money by not requiring line conditioning for the amplifier. You plug the amplifier directly into the wall. Part of the line conditioning is the power cords and you save by not requiring or using after market power cords.
I am the second owner of this superb amplifier. If you go to audio review, you can read write ups comparing this amp to Levinson's in sonics and my write up years ago. I can vouch for the sonics.
I have been downsizing so the Lightstar's are regretably going. They are about the last to go. I have the matching preamp and if you purchase both, I will provide silver balanced cabling for them.
These are superb units. Well constructed and superb sonics. As I noted before very few were made. They were an ultra limited production unit. They were a separate entity from the normal Carver corporation and produced some of the best products ever made. This amp is mint in condition. 110-120 volt model. It works and looks as new. Original double box and manual is included.
Carver Lightstar Direct Passive/ Active preamplifier with Remote Control in very good condition. Works as new. Second owner. Unit was designed in conjunction with the Carver Research Lightstar amplifier. Carver Research was Carver Corporation's platform for the introduction of new leading- edge technologies in their most advanced form.
It was designed by Jim Croft and the design team, not Bob Carver. The Research division was a large step up from the normal Carver products and designs.
The Lightstar Direct is an audio Preamplifier/ control cener designed for the ultimate quality stereo reproduction. To assure absolute signal purity and zero distortion, the Lightstar Direct operates in true passive balanced mode, using a computer controlled stepped attenuator to set volume and balance with unmatched precision. In this mode or operation, the audio signal traverses a minimal and "silicon-free" path from source to destination.
Audio Equipment using unbalanced connections are also accommodated with high-quality interface circuitry. Thus the benefits of the Lightstar Direct desgin philosophy are universally available regardless of the interface used by associated pieces.
The Lightstar Direct Preamplifier was designed as a companion piece for the Lightstar Reference Power Amplifier, although it can be used with any amplifier.
All preamplifier functions are controlled with the hand-held Infrared Remote Control. There are no controls or switches on the front panel; only indicators that let you know the current status of the preamplifier. The Remote Control's ergonomic design makes it easy to use, even in subdued lighting.
The Lightstar Direct has three balanced inputs, three unbalanced inputs, and balanced and unbalanced outputs. When the balanced inputs and outputs are used, the Lightstar Direct provides a passive path for the audio signal. No semiconductor devices are used (silicon free_ only resistors to attenuate the signal and relays to switch the signal path as required. This provides a distortion- free path for the audio signal, neither adding to or subtracting from the signal.
An advanced Motorola microcontroller is used to supervise all internal preamplifier activites. Great care was taken to isolate the digital control signals from the analog audio signals to maintain the purity of the original signal.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
- SIX INPUTS - 3 balanced 3 single ended
- Balanced and single ended outputs
- tape output connections
- balanced signal path operates in true passive balanced mode
- unbalanced inputs are intefaced with high quality analog devices "Butler" amplifiers at the input and a precision Burr-Brown instrumentation amplifier at the output
- gold plated connectors throughout
- selected input appears at both balanced and unbalanced ouputs
- unbalanced operation can be adjusted to passive mode with a quick change of a clip (user adjustable) creating passive operation
- computer-controlled stepped attenuator to adjust volume and balance, using quality Holco resistors and recision relays with bifurcated gold- over silver plated contacts
- all switching functions are controlled by a sophisticated Motorola microprocessor
- RC5 remote control bus
- Toroidal power trnasformer for low EMI radiation (low hum)
- Five separate power supply regulators for max. efficiency and solid regulation
- complete isolation of audio signal path from digital display and control signals
- selectable aboslute polarity inversion
- mute switch
0 to > 100 kHz balanced
10 Hz to 100 kHz unbalanced
SIGNAL TO NOISE
unbalanced -92 db
balanced -118 db
balanaced 600 OHMS
unbalanced >100 k ohms
600 ohms balanced and unbalanced
0 to -63 db
20 db unbalanced only. internal jumper changes to 0 db
This was a long time Stereophile A rated preamp. It was considered the best $2500 preamp ever built. It still is considered the best balanced/ passive unit ever designed/ produced."
Last edited by BlueMDPicker
on Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:11 am, edited 4 times in total.
Carver 2CH: Rega Planet 2000 CDP | MMF-5SE | Seduction Phono | Lightstar Direct | Lightstar Reference | A-500X | Marchand XM44 Xover | Innersound Isis MK3.5
Main 2CH: Wadia 301 | PSA GCP-200, GCA-250, GCPH | Revel LE-1 | Revel Ultima Gems | Revel Sub-15