“People who are familiar with Carver’s design work over the years will realize that Bob doesn’t try just to make the same products as everyone else, only adding marginal improvements. Rather, he is an original thinker who reconsiders the philosophical underpinnings of every type of component he produces.”
Robert E. Greene, The Absolute Sound Magazine
Bob intended to become a physicist.
To pay the bills during college, he repaired television sets.
Most TV sets had tubes in them at that time; he learned their capabilities and limitations through practical experience…when he wasn’t studying for his physics degree.
This on-the-job introduction to electronics began his lifelong romance with vacuum tubes. Dare we say, "He warmed to them" ?
In 1969, while pursuing his Masters Degree, he built a 700-watt amplifier prototype housed in a coffee can. Phase Linear corporation, founded by Bob and Steve Johnston, was created to build and marketing this product. With 350 watts per channel it soon became the standard amplifier used in recording studios, sound
reinforcement companies, professional musicians and audiophiles.
It was followed by the Phase Linear 400 with 200 watts per channel, 4000 Series Auto-correlation Pre-Amplifier and Andromeda loudspeakers. For a detailed history, visit
In 1979, Bob sold his interest in Phase Linear and founded Carver. Fifteen years of innovative products followed including Magnetic Field Amplifiers, FM tuners and receivers with Asymmetrical Charge-Coupled Detection, and preamplifiers and receivers employing his Sonic Holography processing. Many are still regarded as sought-after classics as a quick search on E-Bay will reveal.
Bob doubled-down on loudspeaker design with The Amazing Loudspeakers, a ribbon and multiple cone transducer design that ultimately led (after countless iterations) to the Amazing Line Source decades later.
Bob never lost his fascination for tubes during his Carver years. He worked one into the output stage of his SD/A-390t CD P (still highly sought after) and created the first iteration of his money-is-no-object Silver Seven tube power amplifier, an advanced version of which we offer today.
In 1994, Bob moved on to create Sunfire™ Corporation. In Bob’s words, “When I first started Sunfire, I realized the dealers were shifting gears, in terms of what they sold. Surround sound and Dolby® had taken off. Sunfire was one of the first U.S.-based companies to come out with a surround-sound processor with Dolby.”
At Sunfire, Bob expanded into high-back-EMF subwoofers and ribbon cinema loudspeakers, while still producing impressive power amplifiers, A/V receivers and processors (yes, there were tubes in many of the output stages!).
Sunfire is alive and well today, although Bob sold it to Core Brands, LLC., a subsidiary of Nortek™, Inc. in 2011. Bob Carver Corporation uses a highly-capable SubRosa Sunfire subwoofer as part of our Amazing Line Source speaker system. Why re-invent the wheel?
Pages from the 2004 Sunfire Brochure
That brings us to the present. Bob’s laboratory is just as jammed with gear as ever, although it’s now grown considerably into multiple labs and listening rooms. Several product line additions are coming soon. Sign up for our very-occasional newsletter and we’ll keep you appraised of developments.