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  1. #1

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    Default Carver amps vs. Parasound amps?

    Need a little help. I am looking at 2 amps to upgrade my sytem with . One is a local sale for a Carver TFM55x and the other is a Parsound HCA-1500 that would be about the same price.I know the carver haves higher power output. I have not personally listened to a Parasound amps but I see nothing but good reviews . They seem to be somewhat larger and run warmer so I know I would have to give it space. Can anyone give me your 2 cents regarding which one is a better amp? Which would you buy?
    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    What speakers are you going to use with these amp? TFM55x has a lot more power than the HCA1500. Both are good amps. I would choose TFM55x over HCA1500. I have both Parasound amps HCA2205 and Carver Amps (TFM55x).

  3. #3

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    Thanks megasat16, I am currerntly powering my Polk RTI12's with a Carver TFM-25. I would like to power my RTI12's with something a little more powerful to see what they would sound like and maybe use the TFM-25 for my CSI5 center since this is still being powered by by Yamaha RXv2600 avr.Maybe upgrading from a TFM25 to a TFM55x will not make that much differance.(But can you ever go wrong with more power?) These are big towers and it would be interesting to see what they would sound with a little bit better amp.:D

  4. #4

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    Both amps are pretty good,if you like the Carver sound go with the TFM55x-Lots of
    power.
    Linn AV5140 fronts
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  5. #5

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    Not to derail, but what is the going rate for a 55?

  6. #6

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    Alot of people bash the sound quality of carver amps on audiogon. They say that the carver amps made in the past 20 years were not engineered by Bob Carver himself and the quality has gone down hill. On CP I do not hear as much bashing of the Carver amps. I am just getting back into separates again and when I had separates back in the 70's Carver made good stuff. I figure I would ask members here like megasat16 that have owned Carver and other amps and see what their opinions are.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conradicles View Post
    Not to derail, but what is the going rate for a 55?
    55 is not exactly the same as a 55X with the 55X being THX certified. Most of the ones I have seen sell between $450 and $550.

    Ideally you find one that was serviced recently otherwise you might have to have it serviced. Those caps are getting long in the tooth.
    Last edited by thsmith; 08-02-2009 at 05:37 PM.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dekuda View Post
    Alot of people bash the sound quality of carver amps on audiogon. They say that the carver amps made in the past 20 years were not engineered by Bob Carver himself and the quality has gone down hill. On CP I do not hear as much bashing of the Carver amps. I am just getting back into separates again and when I had separates back in the 70's Carver made good stuff. I figure I would ask members here like megasat16 that have owned Carver and other amps and see what their opinions are.
    I have owned tfm-25s, currently own a 55x and a 45. IMO they have a nice warm sound with plenty of power to spare.

    Over at Carveraudio they love them of course.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  9. #9

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    I am a Parasound fanboy so you are going to get a little bias. However, when I was first looking at an amp to go with my LSi9's I was given a laundry list of matching amps and had to go through a lot of Club Polkie's reviews to figure out what I would enjoy, with a budget in mind.

    Carver's are going to give you more bang for you buck in regards to watts per dollar. They are popular among SDA guys because those puppies need every watt possible. Parasound amps are better matched with musical speakers, which is why I chose it over a Carver. I haven't regretted that decision since.

    However, if I owned a pair of RTi12's like yourself, I would lean towards a high power Carver to drive those speakers. RTi12's are more for HT than music, so go with the Carver.
    TV: LG 55LW5600
    Pre: Marantz SR6001
    Front Amp: Parasound HCA-1000A
    Center Amp: Marantz MA500
    Mains: Polk LSi9
    Center: Polk LSiC
    Sub: HSU VTF-3 MK-2
    Games: Xbox360 and PS3

  10. #10

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    I have owned both Carver and Parasound amps and imho Parasound makes a more musical and smoother amp. The Carver I had (M500t) was purchased new back in the day and it performed well, it was my personal favorite of the Carver line-up. I've had two Parasound amps (Halo A23 and Halo A21) the A23 turned me into a Parasound fanboy. If I ever get into mono blocks the JC1's are on my very short list! I admit my bias soooo ymmv.
    2 Channel:
    Amp/Parasound Halo A23
    Pre/Carver C-1
    Tuner/Carver TX-11a
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  11. #11

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    To those of you that own these Parasounds. How hot do they run? I downloaded the user's manual of the HCA- 1500 and HCA -2003 and they claim you need to give these monsters 6 inches of ventilation on top and the sides...man,I may not have room for that. Maybe a couple inches on top and 6 inches on side might do? More bang for your buck per wattage on the carvers but the Parasounds appear to provide higher current per channel (60 amps peak/channel) and more headroom(2db on the HCA 2003) If I step up and pay more for a HCA-2003 I could drive my fronts and center but the thing is big. Anyone know how much a used HCA-2003 would go for. Still considering the Carver.

  12. #12

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    They run pretty hot, so I would deff. give it the proper ventilation. Personally, my HCA1000A gets about 7-8 inches of ventilation.

    With your RTi's the Carver would be the proper match.
    TV: LG 55LW5600
    Pre: Marantz SR6001
    Front Amp: Parasound HCA-1000A
    Center Amp: Marantz MA500
    Mains: Polk LSi9
    Center: Polk LSiC
    Sub: HSU VTF-3 MK-2
    Games: Xbox360 and PS3

  13. #13

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    I have a new A21 with limited space for the amp....I mean it barely fits in the spot. I also purchased Parasound's zBreeze and placeD it on top of the A21. The A21 barely gets warm, with the zBreeze on its medium setting. I like Parasound as well. I have had or still have Outlaw Audio and B & K gear.
    Anthem D2v
    NAD M50 Music Server
    B & K Reference 200.5
    Parasound A21
    B & W 804 (Mains)
    B & W HTM1 (Center)
    Polk Rti4 (Surrounds)
    PS3
    Seaton Submersive HP
    Pioneer PDP 6010FD Kuro

  14. #14

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    They say that the carver amps made in the past 20 years were not engineered by Bob Carver himself and the quality has gone down hill.
    That would be kinda hard seeing as Carver has been out of business for quite some time.



    Don't be fooled, wattage.....or should I say wattage ratings, don't tell the whole story.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by dekuda View Post
    To those of you that own these Parasounds. How hot do they run? I downloaded the user's manual of the HCA- 1500 and HCA -2003 and they claim you need to give these monsters 6 inches of ventilation on top and the sides...man,I may not have room for that. Maybe a couple inches on top and 6 inches on side might do? More bang for your buck per wattage on the carvers but the Parasounds appear to provide higher current per channel (60 amps peak/channel) and more headroom(2db on the HCA 2003) If I step up and pay more for a HCA-2003 I could drive my fronts and center but the thing is big. Anyone know how much a used HCA-2003 would go for. Still considering the Carver.
    Some (not all) Parasound amps are known to run from WARMER than WARM to most Class AB amp due to High Biasing transistors even though they are effectively Class AB amps. Some Parasound amps can run a first few watts in Class A and then become full Class AB. I don't know the whole legacy Parasound Series but I know John Curl Designed Amps HCA-2200 and HCA-3500 and HCA-2205 in the older series are High Bias Class AB amps and they are Warmer than Warm. These amps would be sonically more preferable for watts to watts to older Carver Amps. But speakers play a Huge Role in choosing amps. Since you are using RTi12, I think Carver TFM55x would be more suited as others has suggested.

    Newer A21, A23, A51, A53 and JC1 Amps are also John Curl Designed High Biased Class AB amps and very nice sounding amps.

    If you decide to buy TFM55x, you can send it in to Bob's and Rita Repair shop for tune up and bringing up to SPEC so they will sound as they left the factory in the 1st day.
    Trying out Different Audio Cables is a Religious Affair. You don't discuss it with anyone.

  16. #16

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    Default That would be kinda hard seeing as Carver has been out of business for quite some tim

    Well,they may have been but the tfm series from the early 90's carry the carver name and then you had the then you had tfmx series after that up till the late 90's an also the A-400x,a-500x,a-700x ect. And in the 80's were not the 500-t ,1.0t,1.5t and others , Also know of alot of the pm series for muical instruments were being made back then. I know they went out of business but there have been alot of amps carrying the carver name. Maybe it is true and Bob carver was not involved in the designs. But looks like with Sunfire he's back in and from what I hear on a thread on here they are repairing these amps.Go to carveraudio.com and select repair.

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...ver+amp+repair

  17. #17

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    best bang for the buck would be carver,imho. can send to ritas vintage repair to tune it upalso. don't know how much a tune up on a parasuond would be,chances are it would be more.if you can take your speakers and audtion them that would be best,if not buy both amps ,see which one you like best and resale the other :)
    Last edited by mewisemagic; 08-04-2009 at 10:53 AM.

  18. #18

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    I have owned a fair bit of Carver and only tried out Parasound on long terms loan (0ne of the HCA’s) I would take Parasound in heartbeat. Most of my Carver gear was un-reliable and from my perspective over rated. Not that I thought it was bad, only that there is much better out there for the money.

  19. #19

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    This is what I have ben finding out that the people that have Parasound amps love them. It is kinda of like,yeh, Carver is okay or good bit there are alot of Parasound fanboys out there.Alot of people say carver is overated. I believe if I get a Parasound amp rated at 220 watts /channel it will be a significant improvement over my Carver tfm-25. Not that I have any problem with this carver but having the big Polk RTI12's I am interested in seeing how a better current amp would make them sound. Anybody have any feedback on the Parasound HCA-2003 which is a 3 channel amp 220/ch. This would accomplish getting power to my RTI12's and my center(CSI5).:D

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by lakesailor View Post
    I have owned a fair bit of Carver and only tried out Parasound on long terms loan (0ne of the HCA’s) I would take Parasound in heartbeat. Most of my Carver gear was un-reliable and from my perspective over rated. Not that I thought it was bad, only that there is much better out there for the money.
    then you sir have bad luck... evrey piece of Carver/Sunfire I have ever had has been able to more than hold it's own, and do so with utmost strength and reliablilty. Clean,Clear,Precise, and above all, MUSICAL. Parasound will be my choice for a pre as soon as HDMI 1.3 is affordable from them(read used)... lol good luck with your choice.:) Enjoy the music!!!
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
    Two Channel... Carver Statement 450~1 Vacuum Tube Monoblocks, Dodd Mid-line Tube Linestage with Psvane 12Ax7 tubes, Pioneer Pdd 9Mk II SACD Player, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable with Sumiko BPS EvoIII, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TLs.


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  21. #21

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    The equipment that you use should be matched to your listening habits. If you like to blast "Smoke on the Water" or some classic Zeppelin at 107dB, the Carver is probably the best choice for you.

    If you listen to jazz, classical and female vocalists at reasonable volume levels, the Parasound is for you. Parasound has a deep, detailed sound stage, and a smooth presentation, maybe a little laid back. Many users find this the ideal sound for jazz, classical, etc. played at reasonable sound levels

    Loud rock music played at sonic levels will collapse the sound stage depth and detail, resulting in overloading the room with sound with a loss of detail. I am not down playing this genre or musical preference. Hell, I get a kick out of an ear splitting jam once in a while, but you may want to use the equipment that fits your listening style. Loud rock music that sounds forward without the detailed image is better served by the Carver amp.

    The Parasound is much smoother in presentation better suited for use with LSi speakers, jazz, classical, etc. Listen to both and decide what's better suited for your taste.
    Carl

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    Go with the SOUND you like....don't get wrapped up in the wpc ratings. The difference between 100wpc and 200wpc, with reasonably efficient speakers (like Polks) in negligable at BEST.

    I've run SDA's to volumes that would drive you out of the house on 50wpc (or less)

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  23. #23

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    I appreciate all of the replies. If I knew how a Parasound or a Nad amplifier would sound on my RTI12's I would be able to make the decision. What I love about CP is that there are so many differant setups out there so I am trying to draw upon everyone's experience. I have been offered a reasonable price now on a NAD 218THX. I have no idea how that will sound on my Polks untill I buy it and see. The good thing about the NAD amp is that the seller will let me try them out and if I do not like it I can send it back. He is that certain that I will notice a improvement! By the way,how many of you with the big amps leave them on all the time? I take it that it is best for the life of the amp and recommended to leave the amp on even when not in use ?

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