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Carver Raven 350 Review (Tube Amp)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 260 82.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 29 9.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 15 4.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 3.2%

  • Total voters
    314

mhardy6647

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The 'problem' with this stuff from Bob (if Bob even has anything to do with this stuff), is not that it's goofy. His gear always had a little bit of goofy baked in. Customers expected and wanted that. It's that Bob always sold at a reasonable 'blue collar' price. And sold by way of dealers, who then took their cut. So you can guess his margins. Now, he's asking ARC prices for direct sales. I mean, I guess he is actually selling these.
Carver devotees are pretty... umm... devoted.
To the point of what I like to call nonlinearity. I.e., they'll slurp products like this up -- and especially if Dr. Carver signs 'em with a silver (or gold) Sharpie*!
;)

Unless he's sending Miss Hologram to my house for an extended... um... er... hands on listening session, I'm making Audio Research the stop.

I'm sure you meant ears-on -- right?
:cool:


index.php

The little matrix display "1" and "2" really make that AR amp pop.** I guess ARC's got the lock on the IP. Eat your heart out, McIntosh! :D

_______________
* Not to be confused with a Sharpei. :cool:
**
In most of my amplifiers, it's usually a capacitor that makes 'em pop.
:rolleyes:
 
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OP
amirm

amirm

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dougi

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Are you sure that isn't an oven? With those handles, and the metal front with glass window, it looks like something for a trophy kitchen.
A kitchen would be cheaper.
 

dougi

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I think part of the problem is that tube stages don’t have a lot of gain to start with, so the amount of negative feedback (the #1 distortion killer) that can be applied in an amplifier is limited.
Speaking of gain vs feedback, how is it that this Carver seems to have more gain on the high feedback setting compared with the lower feedback one? Isn't that counter to the normal expectation? I assume some peculiarity of how the feedback switching is done.
 

theREALdotnet

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Are you sure that isn't an oven? With those handles, and the metal front with glass window, it looks like something for a trophy kitchen.

Nah, that’s how high-end AV gear is supposed to look. Consider this laser disc player for example:

1661205502994.jpeg
 

Asmodeus2112

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I have not done it with speaker system. But have done with Stax headphone. The amp distortion definitely travelled through the headphone.
Thanks Amir, I'm curious how the "Tube Sound" would show up in speaker tests like the ones you perform. As you show distortion would transfer, and I assume frequency response would be different, could anything else be measured? Maybe a fools errand, but can things like damping effect be measured at the speaker?
 

DonH56

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Damping factor is related to output impedance so low DF will cause greater variation in frequency response into a speaker or other non-flat load. Actually measuring the DF at the speaker, meh, that's essentially measuring the amplifier's output impedance after the speaker cables. The good news is for most tube amps the cables contribute negligibly since the output impedance is so high.
 

Asmodeus2112

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Damping factor is related to output impedance so low DF will cause greater variation in frequency response into a speaker or other non-flat load. Actually measuring the DF at the speaker, meh, that's essentially measuring the amplifier's output impedance after the speaker cables. The good news is for most tube amps the cables contribute negligibly since the output impedance is so high.
Ok, thanks. I do not have the detailed knowledge about all of the details involved here, just wondering overall how much of the amplifier differences could be measured in the air after the speaker.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Ok, thanks. I do not have the detailed knowledge about all of the details involved here, just wondering overall how much of the amplifier differences could be measured in the air after the speaker.
Frequency response difference can indeed be measured. Question is, what speaker do you pick? How would that be representative of your speaker?
 

GXAlan

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Frequency response difference can indeed be measured. Question is, what speaker do you pick? How would that be representative of your speaker?
Different current feedback can be used to adjust damping factor.

Vintage P-20 let you switch between 1, 5, and 50.
They stopped adding that feature after the very first generation. Those are readily available on eBay for about $1000.

Makes me wonder how easy or hard it would be for Topping or other customer focused amplifier company to let users change damping factor in the future.
 

SIY

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Different current feedback can be used to adjust damping factor.

Vintage P-20 let you switch between 1, 5, and 50.
They stopped adding that feature after the very first generation. Those are readily available on eBay for about $1000.

Makes me wonder how easy or hard it would be for Topping or other customer focused amplifier company to let users change damping factor in the future.
You can do it for a 50 cent resistor.
 

Holmz

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I absolutely realize that. But small changes in behavior by many can make positive changes. The alternative is to burn fossil fuels and party like it's 1999, which is fun until oceans rise enough to flood your house. We are already seeing drought caused by climate change in the western US and even in Europe. Partying on like nothing's wrong is foolish and unsustainable. I'm not saying we all have to hug trees, but burning through polluting energy when alternatives are available is too far in the wasteful direction.

Change your avatar to a Class-D amp then, to set a good example for us.

Most people use an amplifier mostly for amplifying music, and many people listen with around 1W of output.
I guess if one is using an amplifier for heating a house, then they should not care with the audio performance is.



What is the dinosaur equivalent of an ad hominem attack?
Ad deinós ?
 

DonH56

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Ok, thanks. I do not have the detailed knowledge about all of the details involved here, just wondering overall how much of the amplifier differences could be measured in the air after the speaker.
Here is a thread about damping factor (output impedance) and how it can change the frequency response of your speakers. At the terminals usually translates to in the air.


HTH - Don
 

Spocko

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One issue with DBT, whether technocrat or audiophool is that of perception or expectation bias. An audiophool may believe that everything makes a difference but a DBT causes too much stress, and anyway, it's an artificial way that's removed from the normal listening experience, so no point in taking a DBT, as I'll fail.

A 'Technocrat' (like me!) assumes that there is no difference unless the measurements indicate there should be, so my expectation bias is that I won't hear a difference, so I don't. Consequently, any DBT I take will come out as no more than guessing, as that's exactly what I would do.

A DBT works with a believer that's sufficiently open minded!

S.
And the best part of this audio gear journey is quite simply: your ears adapt so well that if 2 pieces of equipment are similar in a DBT that even if you could barely tell the difference 7 of 10 times, this is more than close enough that your ears really don't care so just buy the one that you'd be happy owning.
 

Mnyb

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Regarding high sensitivity speakers, the use case is somewhat of an oxymoron to me ? Let me explain .
In many cases high sensitivity speakers have a very ragged fr response and a bunch of other issues ( Klipsch, zu ?)
Distortion from your tube amp will be the least of your problems ?

I’ve read tread here where DIY projects seems to have high sensitivity speakers who mitigated those issues but they unsurprisingly includes active overs eq and possibly also class-D or solid state amps ?

The typical hifi speaker has not been developed with sensitivity as an priority for several decades ? When they where it was out of necessity .

You may like these speakers for sounding “dynamic” or “alive” and “interesting” I’ve heard some, but in the end prefered “normal” speakers.
 

Rottmannash

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Should be about the same. All these high power pentode tube amps were meant to be distortion generators so as to give them mellow character while being able to power most speaker loads. This is the classic kind of amp TAS reviewers (esp HP) went gaga over. The names roll off the tongue: VTL, CJ, Audio Research, Jadis, Line Magnetics, Mesa Boogie, Cary, Carver, Manley, and Convergent Audio Technology. Anything putting out over 200 WPC into 8 ohms and costing less than $10k was considered a bargain. I sincerely doubt even one of them could attain a SINAD over 60 which is something even my $160 Behringer A500 can handily surpass.

I made the plunge into tubes in the mid-late 80s in a smaller way, buying a CJ MV 50 to power my LS3/5as at the time. For a while I enjoyed it, but I began to notice it overlaid everything with a kind of honey like glaze while blurring details. In short, it made everything sound homogenized and sweeter than live which to me is the very definition of a colored component. I found my Hafler DH 200 was actually far more transparent. So eventually I traded in the CJ and haven't looked back since. Generally, I think, people who want their music to sound a certain way (and I literally mean all their music) might find a tube amp appealing. So if you're the kind of guy who wants Johnny Rotten to sound like Tony Bennett, Keith Richards to sound like Chet Atkins, Stravinsky to sound like Brahms, and Wendy O Williams to sound like Linda Ronstadt, then tubes may just be for you.
I know Carlos made Mesa Boogie guitar amps semi-famous but didn't know they made audio amps.
 

Jimster480

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I'm using this as the defacto statement on measurements versus pleasure !
Definitely makes sense since it is pleasure oriented.
That makes no sense whatever. And it gets worse from there.
Well a higher slew rate on the op-amp chips does tend to lead to better performance overall. However there is obviously a cap!
 

traderitch

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The planets must have aligned perfectly….
My plan was to revisit the review of the AIYIMA A07.
My unit was put to good use in my son’s dorm room last year and now resides in his sister’s dorm room at a different university.

…..Then I noticed this review and discussion.
I have zero interest in debating the “regulars” here and hope they can refrain from personal attacks this time…
I have been LISTENING to a pair of the Crimsons for several years.
The measurements are what they are…
It could be years of being exposed to the sound of my drum kits or dialing in the scope on my Weatherby 300 Mag…but these sound wonderful to me… just different than my MC275 VI, CF275 and the Proton D1200 I just restored….
 
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DonR

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The planets must have aligned perfectly….
My plan was to revisit the review of the AIYIMA A07.
My unit was put to good use in my son’s dorm room last year and now resides in his sister’s dorm room at a different university.

…..Then I noticed this review and discussion.
I have zero interest in debating the “regulars” here and hope they can refrain from personal attacks this time…
I have been LISTENING to a pair of the Crimsons for several years.
The measurements are what they are…
It could be years of being exposed to the sound of my drum kits or dialing in the scope on my Weatherby 300 Mag…but these sound wonderful to me… just different than my MC275 VI, CF275 and the Proton D1200 I just restored….
The Pope thinks that a god exists that listens to his prayers.
 
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