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REVIEW: Carver Professional ZR1600 Amplifier (SS)

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Model: ZR1600
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $1100
Description: Tripath semiconductor controlled digital amplifier
Manufacturer URL: Carver Professional
Manufacturer URL: Carver Professional

Review by JCC ( A ) on June 03, 2004 at 10:11:54
IP Address: 216.130.131.66
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for the ZR1600


Some of you might have read my previous reviews and comments on the Carver ZR series amplifiers. Anyway after multiple modifications my system has reached new heights. I recently added a set of Daedalus Audiophile speakers. A review is coming, however, these are the most dynamic speakers that I have ever heard (96 DB efficiency with the ability to take 600 watts 8 ohms per speakers).

But these comments are about one of my Carver ZR1600’s. One has been modified by 8th Nerve. Reference Audio Mods (RAM) recently modified the second. It is the RAM modified Carver that I am writing about.

After a day of listening, I will put my RAM modified ZR up against any amps that you might have, and you will likely go home envious.

Clarity, sound stage, individual instruments nicely spotlighted with natural "natural" tonal color. Woodwind, brass, bowed string, plucked string, voice and so on can now be heard with unbelievable clarity and specificity as distinct entities, not merely homogenized into an aural soup...

No weak spots at any frequency, clarity (double what it used to be), musicality, dynamics the very best, possibly the best that has ever been produced. The noise level is so low, that I can hear quiet passages, that were formerly inaudible. An almost silkiness and musicality throughout the audio range – 20 cycle to 20,000 cycles. It is that good.

When you listen to a symphony orchestra and find realism that was formerly unachievable with electronic reproduction. Unbelievable, almost like being in the concert hall, and the ZR1600 is not even broken-in. Yes you need the dynamics and clarity of the Daedalus or another great speaker system to fully experience it, but now with the newly modified Carver, you can very nearly experience concert hall realism. I'm listening to Mahler Symphony No 2, 1st movement Sinfonte Orchestra Frankfurt on Denon GES-9515. Sound stage, size and depth and clarity formerly unachievable. Or Hyperion SACDA67270 Gustav Holst the Planets by The Halle’ Orchestra – You can actually delineate the orchestral soundstage, even with multiple sections playing together.

So what did RAM do - The list of component modifications includes the following:

Removal / modification of both input and output circuitry.

6 Jensen Electronics 6800uF 100 V Four Pole Radial, Asym Pin Cfg

2 Jensen Electrolytic 10000uF 25V Four Pole Radial, Asym Pin Cfg

2 Harris High Speed Soft Recovery (FRED) Diodes (TO-251) 6A 1200V TRR <65N

1 15V Neg Q-Power Regulator

1 5V Neg Q-Power Regulator

2 4uF 400VAC film & foil, paper-in-oil NOS capcitors

2 Black Gate N 10uF 50V

2 Black Gate NX 0.47uF 50V

3 10W Heatsink for TO-220

2 11Hy Silver/Wood Inductors

30ft Audio Consulting silver wire.

Talk to Kyle Takenaga at RAM for additional specifications. They will be offering the mods commercially.

You might have spent $10 grand or more on your amp, but my new RAM modified Carver ZR is likely a whole lot better. You can see a picture of it on AudioCircle at http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/viewtopic.php?t=10678&highlight=zr1600


Product Weakness: None
Product Strengths: Extremely detailed presentation, sound stage is detailed wide and deep, very low noise level, musicality and warmth


Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Carver Professional ZR1600 RAM Modification
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Sony TA-P9000ES Modified by Stan Warren
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Philips SACD 1000 Modified by Stan Warren
Speakers: Daedalus Audiophile Speakers
Cables/Interconnects: Goertz Alpha
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Classical & Jazz & Popp
Room Size (LxWxH): 15 Ft x 23 Ft x 9 Flt
Time Period/Length of Audition: 2 Weeks
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner




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Topic - REVIEW: Carver Professional ZR1600 Amplifier (SS) - JCC 10:11:54 06/3/04 ( 27)