View Full Version : Ebay Carver TFM 35 - help me out here
11-18-2006, 12:11 AM
Plugged in the Carver TFM 35 and calibrated today. First, huge improvement in soundstage, width, depth and punch. Really like the warm sound. However, the left channel is a couple of dbs down, the gauge not as active, and I might be hearing distortion from that side as well (got an ear infection, so it could be me). I've got it balanced so it's very workable, but wondering if I should 1) find an easy tweak, 2)send it back to the seller and fight ebay ("as is"), 3)bite the big one and have it checked over and possibly repaired. The amp is in excellent shape cosmetically and has a couple of recent tags on it from an amp shop (Oct.06).
Also, the distortion sounds like it might be a tweet which I was going to replace anyway, but it wasn't apparent being powered by the Audiosource. Perhaps it wasn't getting enough juice to highlight the fault.
Any ideas or suggestions?
PS. Looks like it's definitly the left channel...whether it's the amp or the speaker I don't know. Plugging the Audiosource amp in seems to take care of the problem, but it's maxed out where the distortion occurs...
Please give me an idea. I can cover this with a SquareTrade warranty if I decide the amps the culprit.
11-18-2006, 12:37 AM
TFM-35's in nice shape are not hard to find. If they didn't mention any problems with the amp and hide behind an "as is no returns" policy, I would think you have a case.
A common thing I have ran into on TFM-35's are the RCA connectors breaking loose from the circuit board. That can cause no or distorted sound from a channel.
11-18-2006, 12:43 AM
That's what seems to be happening...I've plugged the Audiosource back and and get no distortion. As soon as I switch back, I hear it.
Is the RCA connection a fairly easy fix. I just sent a semi threatening email back to seller, but I'm not sure if I'm in the right or not.
11-18-2006, 12:48 AM
IIRC, the RCA connectors are in plastic blocks attached to the rear panel. Small connector pins extend into a small circuit board. If someone gets too physical with IC's, they can pop the solder joint or break a pin.
I think I posted a pic of a TFM-35 innards in the "show me your guts" thread. I'll try and find it.
11-18-2006, 12:48 AM
There's no comparison with the amps...even broken, the Carver is just awesome vs. the Audiosource.
11-18-2006, 12:50 AM
I had a pair Carver TFM-35's when I had SDA's. They are great amps. If you want an even warmer, more powerful Carver, try a TFM-45. The 45 is based on the earlier Carver amp designs.
11-18-2006, 12:55 AM
Here is the pic I posted (http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=17953&d=1153065406) but due to the angle you can't see the small board they are attached too. You can try and gently wiggle the IC's and see if it gets better/worse.
11-18-2006, 01:05 AM
I'm sure you're already aware of it, but the TFM-35 has a gain control on the front panel and there's an inner and outer ring on the knob to adjust the left/right channels. You might double check that, if you haven't already.
11-18-2006, 03:02 AM
SComp - thanks, have tried wiggling...have to pop the top to see if there's any evidence of a poor connection.
jcaut - yes, noticed immediately, though even bumping the inner ring doesn't seem to effect the left channel output per the guage. Adjusting the reciever trim equalizes the signal, but as I said...distortion on the left.
It's primarily noticable during 2 channel playback, MC and HT masks the problem.
I think I'm going to go with the Square Trade 2 year warranty. I'll have to wait 60 days prior to a claim, but for $30.00 it's liveable. I can alway switch amps for 2 channel, though as I said, the Carver smokes the Audiosource.
11-18-2006, 08:36 AM
There is now a repair service for Carver, HERE (http://www.carverservice.com/). If you have any problems you can't rectify, you could send it to them and KNOW it's fixed right.
11-18-2006, 01:45 PM
I sent them a message.
During playback last night, moderately loud (-18 to -13), meters registering ~ 1/2, I had a couple of cut outs. Not sure if it's the amps protection circuits or the SDA polys. Play resumed as soon as I reduced the volume.
Seller got back to me with a qualified "See what Carver says and we'll take it from there" statment. So he may work with me.
11-18-2006, 01:50 PM
CarverService is not accepting my email. This may have been shutdown if it's the same repair service the Sunfire was keeping open. I know there's another company doing the work up in the Portland area. I'll check it out.
11-18-2006, 03:41 PM
No, it's a different company made up of the employees who worked at Carver/Sunfire Service. It is Saturday, they may not be in. Give it a couple of days.
The other company is also good, the guy's name is Roland. I have used Roland's service before, too. He may be a little pricier.
Given a choice, I'd go with #1. They are the folks who made it...
11-18-2006, 07:33 PM
Unfortunately, there is no number to call, just their email address, which is getting bounced back. Maybe they changed webhosts.
I'll try again Monday.
It's definitely the amp...I swapped speakers, ICs, amps and I have distortion at certain freqs on the left side which gets more apparent with volume. It's a shame, but ebay is all about "buyer beware".
11-18-2006, 08:12 PM
Try this email : firstname.lastname@example.org
11-19-2006, 03:04 AM
Thanks I'll try it...Rolland called me tonight. My only option with him is to send him the amp for a rebuild...~ $300 with shipping...nearly what I paid for the amp.
Anyone know anything about the Square Trade warranties offered on ebay. It's $35.00 for 2 years, sounds good, but I can't put in a claim for 60 days. Still, if it's on the up and up, makes sense.
As always, all advice appreciated.
11-19-2006, 08:14 AM
Just as a last effort, try cleaning the gain control , bridge and power switches with Caig's deoxit.
11-19-2006, 07:45 PM
Just as a last effort, try cleaning the gain control , bridge and power switches with Caig's deoxit.Please explain the process...along the outside or pop the top using a quetip.
11-19-2006, 09:48 PM
Pop the top, squirt or drip a little cleaner inside pot and switch and work em. repeat, clean up , reassemble. Do it with the power unplugged. While your at it, clean the RCA plugs, too.
11-22-2006, 01:14 PM
Finally got a response from the old Carver folks, including Laura Carver (Bob's daughter), Rita, Mylinda and Ron. I guess they are just setting up shop. Anyway, I've decided this is the way to go for repair as soon as the seller front's me the repair cost.
Thanks amulford...I'm sure Rolland was good, but he is a bit pricey and I'm sure they are excellent.
12-10-2006, 09:00 AM
Ron, Just wondering how you finally make out with the amp? (Can you give us an up-date?)
12-10-2006, 02:26 PM
Hi Kahuna, welcome to CP...
It's been up at Classic Carver for several days. I think Rita works on these units on the weekends, so hopefully, I'll know the damage tomorrow, get it fixed and returned over the next week. I've had several conversations with Mylinda and Ron (ponyboy) Kratzke about the Carver days, their new business, etc...nice folks.
When it gets back, hopefully it will sound even better...I'll let everyone here and over on the Carver site know what's what.
12-11-2006, 03:42 PM
Well the amp had more than a mild case of the flu. Both channels had to be rebuilt, the resisters replaced, but it's up to factory spec now:D . I'm sending them a check today, hopefully, have the amp back by Friday or Monday.
12-11-2006, 03:57 PM
Just a few questions as I own a couple Carver pieces. . . how did the process work? You just shipped the item to them with notes on the problems and asked for diagnosis, an estimate, then approved the repair?
How much did they charge for the rebuild and resistor replacement? Was it a flat repair price, or did they charge individually of parts, labor, etc.
Just curious. . . my two carver amps work really well, but I'd be nice to know there's a good repair shop if I ever needed some maintenance done.
12-11-2006, 04:16 PM
Since Anthony pointed me to these folks, I joined carveraudio.com. Several polkies hang out there and there's some good info about these folks. They are just still getting setup as Classic Carver Repair. I've corresponded by email and several phone calls. They've still got issues with their site, so I recommend both.
They charge a $75.00 minimum for diagnostic credited to the repair. Charges will range between $75 and a flat $169.00 which will cover nearly every case. If they feel it can't be fixed for that, it's probably not worth repairing.
My case was the full $169.00 which I feel is a bargain for a rebuilt unit. They warrant the parts with a liberal 90 day warranty. Mylinda and Rita claim that had I taken my amp to a non-Carver tech, most likely it wasn't going to be fixable or just a bandaid with another failure down the road.
12-11-2006, 04:16 PM
I'd be interested on a follow up as well. My 500x has an rca plug that likes to come with the IC's. It plays fine, but if it leads to other issues, a repair shop would be nice to know about.
12-11-2006, 04:23 PM
Here's the thread with their contact information.
It's best to use both email and phone. This is not their main business, so expect minor delays in response. Rita still works at Sunfire.
12-11-2006, 04:24 PM
Cool, thanks for the info. I thought I had an issue with one of my TFM-6CBs when I first got it. It wouldn't play out of one channel, then would kick into action when enough volume was sent its way.
I joined Carveraudio and some other site, found out the relays were on the contacts, cleaned with some 600 grain sandpaper and/or Deoxit, and haven't had any problems since then.
If I hadn't researched it, I would've either assumed it to be broken and trashed it, or ruined it trying to repair it in some other way, or. . . who knows.
This is great news. If I find a piece of carver gear for a good deal, I know worst case would be to buy and pay $75 - $169 to get her workin. Don't steal my gameplan anyone . . .
12-11-2006, 05:35 PM
Just sent them payment and now I'm juiced. The amp sounded great even with issues. I'm hoping this re-built amp will be even better.
12-11-2006, 06:31 PM
Oh, it will...;)
Good to hear everything worked out. I used Roland once, but I probably won't be doing it again.
You know, a few months ago I was getting some information from them at Sunfire and I heard they were going to discontinue the Carver service department. I suggested they start their own business. I wonder...
12-11-2006, 06:47 PM
I've had several long conversations with Mylinda and Ron, her husband, and have heard most of the story (from their side). Don't know if you inspired them or not, but I think they are going to hurt Rolland's business. The turn around time, at least now, is another plus. They got my amp last Weds. and it was re-built Saturday, burned in Sunday and ready to go today.
I appreciate everyone's help on this and the other ebay thread. Everything worked out with the seller and the repair. Couldn't be happier so far.
12-20-2006, 06:46 PM
Recieved the amp back today, calibrated and gave it a listen. The SDA effect is here in spades now, no distortion, a ton of headroom. Lots of listening goodness coming up.
My only complaint is that Classic Carver used popcorn on the return pack. Got all over the house :mad: .
nice amp i use a carver tfm-35x to push my sda srs 1.2 tls and my ears give up long before the amp does. not sure what he diffrence is if any between the tfm-35 and 35x versions are. i seen the pic that was posted looked like mine. REGARDS SNOW
12-21-2006, 12:38 PM
not sure what he diffrence is if any between the tfm-35 and 35x versions are. You've got that fancy THX logo ;) . From some of the guys from here that post over there...there's either no difference or there is in that the (X) amp was unmodded for the tube-like sound to meet THX specs. I don't know which. Either way...nice amps.
12-21-2006, 01:01 PM
Anyone on a budget should consider carver amps.Good value all around and won't cost an arm and a leg to fix if something were to happen.Enjoy!!
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