Vintage Asylum: REVIEW: Carver MXR-130 Receiver by FRG7SWL
Classic gear from yesteryear; vintage audio standing the test of time.
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Model: MXR-130 Category: Receiver Suggested Retail Price: $150 used Description: Combination of Carver TX-11 tuner, C-1 pre-amp, & TFM-25 amplifier Manufacturer URL: Carver
Review by FRG7SWL on November 28, 2010 at 12:52:14
IP Address: 22.214.171.124
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Carver's MXR-130 has retained its' value in vintage circles as Bob Carver's first receiver; for incorporating his C-1 pre-amplifier, TX-11 Asymmetrical Charge Coupled Detector F.M. tuner, & TFM-25 amplifier. Since its' heyday, Carver gear has found favour beyond curiosity factor amongst modders who enjoy unleashing a myriad of aural wonders from within. As with Bob's Phase Linear gear, MXR-130s had under-sized power resistors which unfortunately re-incarnated their Flame Linear heritage. Merrylander, methinketh, discovered replacing power resistors R111, R112, R113, & R114 on tuner board, & R655, R656, R657, & R658 on amp board with 5 watt metal oxides extended a 130's lifespan(with all resistors being slightly raised, to keep from further scorching printed circuit boards). Another leap forward in performance is to remove stock Main In amp wiring, then shorten & direct wire Pre Out feed wire to amp board feed posts(braver souls with sharper vision may want to replace stock with wiring of choice). You'll be rewarded with an amazing clarity increase; a proverbial sonic veil removal scenario. Mayhap it was designed that way(like Jessica Rabbit), but 130s sound wickedly delightful with tone controls dimed! Bypassing those tone controls with 3,300 uf capacitors @ 63 volts creates instant Brown Sound! Modern solid-state instrument amps use 3,300uf caps in their signal chain; so what better way for vintage guitar geeks to obtain harmonic heaven than via this mid-80s topological trail? Especially for lateral-MOSFET fans who always desired a bit more oomph from their Marantz 2226Bs and/or Pioneer SX-450s(amongst others). So that's what a 'roided lateral-MOSFET amp sounds like(wonder if it has anything to do with that Magnetic Field Amplifier's variac?)! Tonal versatility can be added via outboard pre-amp or eq through tape monitor. Have seen a few 130s on Craigs List which stated amp worked fine, but tuner section didn't. Removing that ribbon cable to tone control board cured an intermittent tuner channel drop-out on moi's 130(discovered whilst bypassing tone control). YRMV, however. And, just like with other vintage gear, Carvers are finding their way into home theatre duty. Wouldn't be surprised someone direct-wired interconnects of choice into 130 amp board(bypassing on-board pre-amp, natch), & used direct feed from pre-amp of choice. A 130's Magnetic Field Amp's soundstage is both expansive-n-expressive, & excels in Hafler surround mode. Might be just this unit, but was surprised to see amp output utilize common, rather than floating, ground. Clarity-n-clout thru efficient speakers with nary a hint of strain. Plus tonal textures bordering on vintage hi-end's periphery. ... Outta the box, 130's were engineering marvels. F.M. reception designed for dxers, as that A.C.C.D. lowered propogation hiss whilst retaining a decent stereo signal. In today's digital r.f.i.-plagued airwaves, modding to a 150 khz ceramic i.f. filtering helps selectivity immensely. A.M. reception is a reminder of a long gone era where fidelity reigned supreme. Long wire affords commendable sensitivity, but selectivity is compromised by local HD transmitters. Moving magnet phono pre-amp was exemplary, at least with Shure V15 Type IV cartridges. On this particular unit, auxiliary source needs separate ground wire. Another oddity, A.M. Filter acts like high frequency filter in all modes. Star of the show, though, is that variac-driven Magnetic Field Amplifier. 'Roided lateral-MOSFET liquidity oozing Brown Sound mids for daze, surrounded by tonally tight frequency extremes! Soak Tape Dubbing & Monitor controls in Fader Lube, otherwise the intermittent distractions are severe enough to encourage penal code infractions. ... Carver's MXR-130 Receiver came from an era when metal meant Marshall JCM-800s, newbie eMpTyV actually played music videos, & Michael Jackson really was pop's king(though Prince was looking over his shoulder)! Quad stereo had failed, but video home theatre was on the horizon. 130s had the mis-fortune of arriving towards the end of those receiver power wars. But, for those of sufficient coin & bereft of W.A.F. concerns, they were brutish tone monsters for sizzlin' guitar geek boomers! They still deliver those goods, amongst its' mod-friendly polyphonic palette. Congers up E.V.H. more so than J.G.H.! But then again, there just might be a mod that ...!!!
Product Weakness: Needs extensive modding to be all it can be, along with spot re-soldering; flimsy Tape Dubbing & Monitor controls, which need intensive Fader Lubing, too; AM Filter acts like high frequency filter in all modes; auxiliary input may need separate ground wire! Product Strengths: Exemplary moving magnet phono pre-amp, as well as A.M. & F.M. tuning sections; 130 watts-per-channel of Magnetic Field Coil 'roided lateral-MOSFET Brown Sound!!!
Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Sansui 9090, Sony STR-6800SD Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Mitsubishi DA-C20 Sources (CDP/Turntable): Denon DCM-450 CD Player; Yamaha P-07 turntable; Akai GX-4000D reel-to-reel tape deck; Marantz Model 5020 cassette tape deck; Sony XDR-F1HD tuner; ICOM R-75 receiver; Sony ICF-2010 receiver; Yaesu FRG-7 receiver; Panasonic PV-V4525S; Samsung DTB-H260F; Sony RDR-GX330; Sony DVP-SR200P Speakers: Hemp-reconed Celestion Vintage 30s; hemp-reconed Mesa/Boogie MC-90 Black Shadows; 12%22 Electro-Voice Forces; Utility Advents; ESS Model 10s Cables/Interconnects: Ratio Shaq Monsters Music Used (Genre/Selections): Blues, Boogie, Classical, Folk, Funk, Jazz, Reggae, Rock, R&B, R&R Auldies, Soul Room Size (LxWxH): 15 x 15 x 13 Time Period/Length of Audition: Nearly Three Years Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Belkin & Ratio Shaq power conditioners Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner
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Topic - REVIEW: Carver MXR-130 Receiver - FRG7SWL 12:52:14 11/28/10 ( 0)