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Bob Carver Cherry 180 and Black Beauty Tube Amplifiers Preview

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Cherry 180 and Black Beauty Tube Amps

Cherry 180 and Black Beauty Tube Amps

Summary

  • Product Name: Cherry 180 and Black Beauty Tube Amps
  • Manufacturer: Bob Carver
  • Review Date: September 10, 2011 11:20
  • MSRP: $7,400 - $12,900
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

Cherry 180 (VTA 180M)

  • Rated Power: 200 watts into 8 ohms, 250 watts into four or two ohms
  • Gain: 30 dB
  • Input impedance: 100 kΩ
  • Frequency response: 2 Hz - 85 kHz without filters
  • Power Bandwidth: 24 Hz - 28 kHz
  • Distortion: Less than 0.5%
  • A weighted noise: -110 dB below rated output
  • Speaker outputs: 2-8-ohms

Black Beauty (VTA 305M)

  • Rated Power: 305 watts into 8 ohms, 420 watts into four ohms, 450 watts into one or two ohms
  • Gain: 30 dB
  • Input impedance: 100 kΩ
  • Frequency response: 2 Hz - 85 kHz without filters
  • Power Bandwidth: 24 Hz - 28 kHz
  • Distortion: Less than 0.5%
  • A weighted noise: -110 dB below rated output
  • Speaker outputs: 1-8-ohms

Executive Overview

Bob Carver has just partnered up with home automation pioneer Bob Farinelli to form Bob Carver LLC this year. Apparently, both men got bored and, after having worked closely together for over 5 years at Sunfire, they came out of retirement to join forces and start this new business. They may have just redefined the term "ambitious", because their first two products are both beautiful and frighteningly expensive. Bob Carver describes the amplifiers as "stand[ing] with a small handful of the world’s great vacuum tube amplifiers.”

'Nuff said, if you're a fan of Bob Carver and have the money. We were hoping the two would have a booth at CEDIA but they are walking around instead this year checking out the competition and serving as audiophile "booth babes" for their partners (hey, those were Farinelli's words, not mine! lol).

Black Beauty Tube Amp

The new series of mono block amplifiers seem to be a perfect blend of form and function, providing beauty and brawn for those looking for ample amounts of both. The Cherry 180 is conservatively rated at 180 Watts RMS into 8 ohms, and the Black Beauty puts out 305 Watts RMS. Both were, as you'd imagine, designed to drive the most demanding (read: "inefficient") speakers and indeed they have the specs, at least, t make good on that promise. Both amplifiers feature a high impedance input, automatic DC restorer circuit, a “set and forget” bias adjustment, and low idle current which greatly increases the life of the output tube. They both utilize ultra-wide bandwidth output transformers with interleaved windings. The design goal was to provide extremely nuanced performance as well as huge peak output capacity. A selectable feedback control gives user control over changing the sound of the amplifier from vintage classical to modern contemporary.

The transformer output impedance is designed to allow the signal to follow the impedance curve of the speaker system, and deliver additional voltage to the loudspeaker at very low frequencies.

Specifications:

Cherry 180 (VTA 180M)

  • Rated Power: 200 watts into 8 ohms, 250 watts into four or two ohms
  • Gain: 30 dB
  • Input impedance: 100 kΩ
  • Frequency response: 2 Hz - 85 kHz without filters
  • Power Bandwidth: 24 Hz - 28 kHz
  • Distortion: Less than 0.5%
  • A weighted noise: -110 dB below rated output
  • Speaker outputs: 2-8-ohms

Black Beauty (VTA 305M)

  • Rated Power: 305 watts into 8 ohms, 420 watts into four ohms, 450 watts into one or two ohms
  • Gain: 30 dB
  • Input impedance: 100 kΩ
  • Frequency response: 2 Hz - 85 kHz without filters
  • Power Bandwidth: 24 Hz - 28 kHz
  • Distortion: Less than 0.5%
  • A weighted noise: -110 dB below rated output
  • Speaker outputs: 1-8-ohms

The VTA180M lists for $7,400, the VTA305M for $12,900 and will ship in October.

For more information please visit www.bobcarver.com or call 859-258-9794.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Haoleb posts on September 10, 2011 21:06
I saw an ad on ebay a couple weeks ago, apparently Bob is selling them on Ebay. Its pretty intersting to read the extensive ad. If I was the kind of person with that sort of money to spend I would give them a try. He is cranking just over 300 wpc out of these beasts…. alas.. I am not.
ratso posts on September 10, 2011 12:47
Adam posts on September 10, 2011 12:26
That cherry one sure is a looker. At those prices, I'll just be window shopping. Well, monitor shopping.
3db posts on September 10, 2011 12:20
But but but thats a tube amp I'm just gob smacked…. Now I have to go read the article.


(5 minutes later)

I read the article….don't know what tto think excpet that they are expensive and look really good visually. I gotta drag myself into an audio shop that sells vacumm tube amps just to hear them. I know tubes aren't as accurate as SS but the sound is something much different and who knows may be appealing.
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