Audio Discussion > Equipment Reviews

Carver Research Lightstar Reference 2.0 review



Dual front panel ballistic power meters
Switchable hi/low input gain controls
Balanced/Unbalanced switch
Standby Touchplate
2 sets of speaker terminals


300 Watts RMS - 8ohms
600 Watts RMS - 4ohms
1200 Watts RMS - 2ohms
2400 Watts available for >2000ms

Frequency Response : 20 Hz to 20k Hz(+- 0.5dB)
Full Power Bandwidth : 5 Hz to >20k Hz
CrossTalk >70 dB@1k
Damping factor >200
Output Impedence < 0.4 ohms
Input to Output Phase angle < 6.5 degrees
CCMR : < 50dB@1k
THD : <0.2%
Signal to Noise
low gain : 114dB
high gain : 103 dB
A-Weighted, refenced to rated power
Power Consumption
50W at idle
250W with musical program
1440W nominal continuous
Power Requirements
Display: Dual Analogue Meters(lighted)
0dB=300 watts into 8ohms
Weight 42lbs

The Deal

Carver Research Lightstar Reference 2.0

What can I say? I spent $2275 delivered to my door on my Lightstar Direct Preamp and the Lightstar Reference 2.0 Amplifier. Did I get a deal...damn straight I did, and I couldn't be happier. Everything else I've had at home may as well be 2 dixie cups and a piece of string, there IS that much difference. My reference up to this point was a Carver C-19, 2 bridged TFM-55s, Audio Note AN-9 wires feeding a pair of Carver Amazing Loudspeakers, Silver Edition.

My new reference consists of my Lightstar duo and Bob Carver's Original Amazing Louspeakers. Lightstar takes the Amazings to places like no other amp I've heard. The Bass is solid, tight, deep and very accurate, my TFM-55s can't match it. Fluid, silky, clean and uncoloured are only some of the decriptives I might use to describe the mids but no words can describe what I'm hearing. High frequecies are reproduced without colour, grunge or the edginess sometimes associated with really powerful SS amplifiers. No tube amplifier I've had the occasion to hear can come close to this type of clarity, dynamics and overall musicality.

This amplifier adds nothing to the sound....except volume. I can push both sets of Amazings and my bastardized ALIIIs with aplomb, and it doesn't even get hot. The only amplifier I've seen get even close is TNRabbit's Sunfire 7400 driving CF's wall of sound.

When I evaluate my system I'll listen to programme material not usually considered by the stereorags. Tonight, it was the Steelers/Bronco's game. Football you say...Steelers football, ooohhh yeah  I want to hear my rig reproduce a really great hit, the roar of the crowd and John Madden's gravelly voice with the same grace, and it does. Troy Polomolu hitting John Henry sounded like you were on the field. Fu(king Jason Elam, pisses me off, kicked a field goal with 2 seconds on the clock..bastid.

While the Steelers were playing on ch6 the Cleveland Indians were getting their collective a$$es kicked on ch7. Like football, baseball has dynamic considerations not acknowledged by the audio community. The crack of a big league bat on a baseball has a sound only found at the ballpark. Hearing it for the first time on Lightstar was a real joy. The large signal capabilities of the Carver Amazing Loudspeaker makes the 'crack of the bat' and the whomp of 'tagging the base' believable.

After the games I put the Jeff Healey Band's 'Feel This'. This blind white guy can rock, sing a ballad and he swings the axe really well. On 'Cruel Little Number' I'd have sworn he 'knew' my first wife...heheh. The 4th track of the record is a song Tom Petty penned about some poor lovesick schmuck totally infatuated with a girl and she's not interested in recipricating. Healey's soulful playing makes both of these tunes come alive for me. He's out front, and the bass is to the left and the drums are *behind* him, the effect is so very beleivable. The sound staging is broad, extending outside and behind the speakers, around and behind the listeners.....totally holographic...kewl.

My current fave LP is The Beatles' "Magical Mysterey Tour" I'm in that kind of mood  I have to run it through my C-1s phono stage and out the tape out to Lightstar Direct's tape in. Even so the end result is delightful. This was the first play of the disc, it hadn't been out of the wrapper until now. I took it to CarverFest but there was SO much music there we didn't have time to get to it. DAMN.

I hadn't heard the layers of detail the Fav4 put on their records until now. I'm going to give it a listen again after I listen to the Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' and give a comparison of Lightstar based on some quiet time with the LPs.

Tonight I played 'Collaboration' by George Benson and Earl Klugh.

Damn!! This amplifier ROCKS. I can't get over how absolutely low the bass goes and how spot on accurate it is. Lightstar brings out all the subtleties(sp) you expect from the really high $$ Krell, Levinson, CJ stuff with a real understated Kool. The soundstage is broad and deep extending beyond the speakers. Imaging is steady and detailed. I really like jazz on this unit, all of the low level details of the room are present, almost like you're in the studio with the musicians. These guys do some serious picking on this outing.

Mt. Airy Road a tune written by bassist Marcus Miller is becoming one of my favorites on this rig. Benson's guitar is just to the right side of center and Klugh is to the left. Even when they're playing the sameish notes Lightstar let you hear each like the separate instruments they are.....too kewl  I like hearing their fingers slide up and down the guitar necks, the brushes on the drum heads and the strings spread out in front of me.

right now I've got 'Paul is Live' in the 490t now. Yeah Skip, it's one hell of a CD player. It's old does everything well and nothing bad/wrong!! The crowd is all around me and the band is up on stage. I'm cranking it a bit 'cause the girls are staying at G'mas this evening., time to rock!! I get so few chances to do this. Poured some Crown TNGary and turned it way up. Paul still has it and the supporting cast ain't bad either.

I'll edit this and add more later



Carver Research Lightstar Direct pre, 2 Lightstar Reference 2.0 amplifiers, Carver TX-11 and TX-8 tuners, Carver TD-1200 & 1700 cassette decks, Tascam CC-222mkII CD and Cassette Recorder, Carver C-9, Carver ECS-U, Carver DPL-33, Carver HR-875 and742 recievers, DBX-3BX, DBX-200xg, DBX-120x, 2 sets Carver Original Amazing Loudspeakers, 1 set Carver Silver Amazing Loudspeakers, I set bastardized ALIIIs, 1 set Carver ALV prototypes, handbuilt sub featuring twin 18in drivers.

Geez Ray this Lightstar Equipment sure sounds impressive.

I totally missed that equipment when it came out on the market. My guess is that wasn't produced for very long time at all ?

I guess I was maybe into other things when that obviously phenomenal gear came out :-[ :(

I'm sorry I missed all of it, Ray.--------BILL

I HAD a Lightstar set. That is another story that has not been resolved yet... >:(

So....You're the one. I had heard a VERY sad story recently, but wasn't privy to whom it happened. Sorry to hear it. Has any of the gear resurfaced?


No >:(


[0] Message Index

Go to full version