Speakers

Bob Carver, Elan Founder Bob Farinelli Launch New Audio Co.

Exclusive: Audio and home automation legends to market high-performance speakers and vacuum tube amplifiers under Bob Carver brand.


Bob Carver, Elan Founder Bob Farinelli Launch New Audio Co.
Bob Carver and Bob Farinelli, founders of "the vacuum tube amplifier company"
Julie Jacobson · September 2, 2011

Bob Carver can’t stop inventing audio products and Bob Farinelli can’t stop … working. The duo is launching Bob Carver LLC, billed as “the vacuum tube amplifier company.”

Carver is perhaps best known for designing the popular Phase Linear amps in 1972. He then went on to found Carver Corp. and Sunfire, both of which delivered high-performance audio components.

In 2005, Sunfire was acquired by Elan Home Systems, one of the first-ever providers of rich home automation systems. At the time, Elan founder Bob Farinelli was CEO of Elan. Farinelli retired this year, but he could only take so much fishing, he tells CE Pro.

The two Bobs will ship their first products this year, but Carver has been working on them “for a couple of years,” says Farinelli in an exclusive interview with CE Pro.

The first two products, expected to ship in October, are mono block amplifiers that Carver swears “will stand among the few of the greatest amplifiers ever designed.”

The VTA180M ($7,400) and VTA305M ($12,900) provide 180 and 305 watts RMS into 8 Ohms, respectively.

Each amplifier features a high impedance differential input and automatic DC restoration providing set-and-forget” bias adjustment as well as low idle current, according to Carver. The technology, he says, will greatly increase tube life.

Two more tube amps will follow the initial roll-out.

“In general,” Farinelli says, “high-end tube amps are kind of making a comeback.”

Bob Carver LLC also is developing some high-end audiophile-grade loud speakers.

The first is a line-source speaker (about $18,000) featuring a floor-to-ceiling array, which “creates a huge soundstage,” Farinelli says. “When you close your eyes, you swear you’re not listening to two speakers – one on the left and one on the right.”

The one-piece extruded aluminum speakers will feature 13 ribbons up the front and 13 drivers on each of two sides.

At launch, the products will be available online at BobCarver.com, but the company is recruiting dealers as well, says Farinelli: “When you spend this kind of money you want to listen to these.”

He adds that dealers will “always be price protected. The products will be cheaper from a dealer than from our Website.”

Both Carver and Farinelli are engineers with several patents to their name. So who does what in the new organization?

“Bob [Carver] designs, and I do everything else,” Farinelli.

Former Elan sales manager Tony Ferrero also joins the team.

Does Bob Carver still have a name in the audiophile market? “Oh sure!” says Farinelli

Features

In the words of Bob Carver, LLC, which shared news of its tube amps exclusively with CE Pro:

The new series of mono block amplifiers are the perfect blend of form and function and the ideal choice for serious music listeners. The VTA180M is conservatively rated at 180 WRMS into 8 ohms, the VTA305 at 305 WRMS into 8 ohms, but they were designed to drive the most demanding speakers. These two models offer unprecedented performance at their respective price points. Each amplifier features a high impedance differential input and automatic DC restoration providing “set and forget” bias adjustment as well as low idle current (greatly increasing outputs tube life). The ultra-wide bandwidth interleaved winding output transformer has huge peak demand reserve capacity and a selectable feedback control switch allows for classical or contemporary musical preferences.

From a listening perspective, these amplifiers provide a warm, rich sound with a more enveloping sound stage, greater front-to-back depth of field and very tight imaging. The 1.3-ohm output impedance also allows the amplifier to listen to the room via acoustic feedback from the speakers. “The room to speaker to amplifier interaction provides a sense of believable ambience and acoustic space that is thoroughly realistic and quite enjoyable. Additionally, the transformer output impedance allows the signal to follow the impedance curve of the speaker system, delivering more voltage within an octave of its resonant frequency — providing a more satisfying low-end response,” says Carver.

“Today’s discerning audiophiles listen to a wide variety of content and appreciate the warm, rich sound that vacuum tube amplifiers provide. Other products found in this price range simply do not compare in overall performance,” says Farinelli.

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VTA180M Specifications:
Power | More than 180 Watts into 8 ohms
Gain | 30 dB
Input impedance | 100 k ohms
Frequency response | 2 Hz to 85 kHz. Without filters
Full power bandwidth | 24 Hz to 28 kHz. 3%
Distortion   | Less than 0.5%
Hum | - 100 dB below 49 4 Vrms out
A weighted noise | -110 dB below 49.4 Vrms out
Speaker outputs | 2, 4 and 8 ohms
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VTA305M Specifications:
Power | 305 watts, 8 ohms; 450watts, 4 ohms
Gain | 30 dB
Input impedance | 100 k ohms
Frequency response | 5 Hz to 55 kHz. Without filters
Full power bandwidth | 24 Hz to 28 kHz. 3%
Distortion | Less than 0.5%
Hum | 100 dB below 49 4 Vrms out
A weighted noise | 110 dB below 49.4 Vrms out
Speaker outputs | 2, 4 and 8 ohms
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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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  Article Topics


Speakers · Amplifiers · News · Bob Carver · Tube Amplifier · All Topics
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