I was in Pittsburgh weekend before last dropping off several pieces of gear for Tom to repair. While there I acquired my first set of Klipsch Loudspeakers, a nice set of Fortes to run with my 20watt CarverFest amplifiers and Tom turned me on to a pristine though what I guess is a heavily modded C-11 to fullfill preamp duties in this new rig while I build and tweek a 5687 based pre.
Well guess what? It sounds great. The C-11 has performed flawlessly. I've had the 'Remote Control' by The Tubes, Sinatra's greatest hits, Hell Freezes Over by the Eagles, Mahogany Rush IV, Mark's CarverFest disc and Frankie Ds 2008 disc in and haven't been able to find anything this rig does wrong. I've played some fresh 'Stones' vinyl and the phono section performs perfectly. The soundstage is broad and deep. It extends beyond and behind the Fortes. Imaging is spot on. On the Texas Tornados I could identify each one of the artists and where they were standing. Several of the Eagles tracks left me in awe, I could place each one of them while they ALL sang harmony. WOW!!!!
Black is black is black.
The background noise/shafing/grung present in alot of other gear doesn't exist in Tom's C-11. The background is quiet quiet quiet. Did I say it's quiet. One of my turntables has an old Empire cart that is a little noisy but the background was alot less grainy on this pre, and I found that very surprising. I heard quite a bit more low level detail I hadn't heard before on a couple of recordings...IMPRESSIVE says mr vader. All of the switching performed flawlessly. I plugged everything I could into it and listened to varying program material.
I've engaged the Sonic Hologram on some different program material and really like what it does with certain albums. I really liked it on The Brian Seltzer Orchestra. The benefit here was palpable and real. SH broadened the soundstage and sharpened the imaging a bit. On Van Halens' 'Women and Children First'......not so much. I tried SuperTramps' 'Paris' better but not as good as Brian Seltzer. Source material dependent. This seems to be better than my C-1, but that was a while ago and a different rig.
The following observation was made after I completed my (for a deaf guy) 'critical' listening: I really don't care if the purists out there like it or not but
Some source material can benefit from the use of some 'contour'. I haven't had tone controls in my house for several years and right now I've found how much I miss them. Just a couple of dB make a huge difference. I like the judicious use of 'contour' and 'for me' it can do wonders for some of the Cds and albums I listen to. These one work very well.
Call Tom at Vintage HiFi!!!! Owners of the C-1s and C-11s will be Amazed!
Carver Home Audio (Stereo) Discussions and Questions
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