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Carver C-9

Sonic Hologram Generator

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Carver C-9

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Reviewed Dec 20th, 2016 by tomez2

Although this is an active process, it essentialy feeds out of phase L and R signals to the opposite channel in an effort to keep the left and right channels from being heard by the opposite ear. Think of a wall straight out from your face perfectly separating the left and right channels with no crosstalk to the opposite ear, thus eliminating the smearing effect caused by your brain hearing L R locational sound being heard in the wrong ear. Carver Hologram generators basically do this electronically. The concept is a sound one, but hard to implement perfectly. Sonic Holography requires extreme care in speaker setup and a perfectly placed listening position, otherwise it does not work well and I think the biggest reason (poor setup) why the unit is unfairly criticized. BUT, when dialed in correctly, it can be overwhelming as to how well it presents the space in a recording; especially the reverb, decay, and ambiance in well done recordings. It also can throw audio all over the room emulating multi speaker setups. Sound can appear to come from outside, behind, or in front of the speakers..... and even from behind the listener depending on the recording. Sometimes it can mimic being in the middle of a studio surrounded by the musicians. This is dependent on the particular recording. Spacey trippy music such as Pink Floyd's Dark side of the Moon is a blast when all the clocks go off a once! If the Hologram generator sounds bad on a particular recording, it can be simply switched out. Problem solved.

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Reviewed Dec 19th, 2016 by RTM

Several things that I've noticed about these things. I've owned two versions. The ones integrated into Carver's preamps did not strike me as innovative in performance as the same circuit packaged in the outboard versions. It's much more subtle than other products of its time (passive surround formats that were its chief competitors, for example). It is an electronic application of similar efforts made by Polk (in their SDA speakers) with regards to phase cancellation of unwanted signals in each channel's counterpart. It's interesting and Musical. On minimalist (true stereo) recordings you can get some very pleasant effects. It's not essential, it's just a nice alternative to have at your disposal. Mine didn't have spurious noise (with the circuit out) but the processing isn't totally silent. I use it for fun. Nothing wrong with fun, but it might not be the last word in unvarnished truth either.

 

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