|Why 200 watts per channel? Does the remarkable Carver M-400t put one more power than you ever considered necessary for accurate music reproduction at normal listening levels? The surprising fact is, you need every watt of the power provided by this remarkable little ten-pound cube. Here’s why. Music is full of surprises such as quick transients, combinant crests of demand created by multiple music waveforms and the explosive levels that some well-recorded instruments can instantly attain. We hear all this in live music; indeed, this is what makes music live. But we don’t hear these incredibly intense bursts of sound as being loud – they are too short in duration – just live! Nonetheless these lightening-fast, high-intensity peaks MUST be reproduced to make recorded music feel real. And that’s up to the power amplifier. If the amplifier can not provide the instantaneous power to surmount these rigorous musical peaks, it makes a sound of its own devising, literally an electronic squeal of anguish. It may be an inoffensive ‘click’ at low levels, a sound you’ve come to accept as part of the music – or it may be an annoying ‘snap’ which we call clipping, an ominous sign the amplifier’s reserves are being drained with each waveform. That sound is proof of the audible degradation of your system sound when adequate power is lacking. Prove it exists, compare the M-400t and any lower-powered amplifier with the same signal chain and speakers. One sound crisp and fresh. The other vaguely muddled, even at low volumes. Manufacturers of underpowered electronics have helped foster several myths we’d like to address after you’ve convinced your ears that 201 watts/channel is musically refreshing. MYTH 1. Power means loudness. The point of more power is to have much of it in reserve, not to blast the neighbors. We don’t expect for you to play your music any louder than you did when you under-powered your system without an M-400t. MYTH 2. High power kill speakers. Actually, Low power destroys many more speakers. Yes, illogical it may seem, the lowly 40-watt receiver can ‘kill’ a speaker far faster than the M-400t. When an amplifier can’t put out what a speaker demands, it sends a nasty spike of high frequency sound out of the speaker, which is routed to the easy-to-burn-out tweeter, which often does. The less power your system has, the more chance there is these clipping spikes will occur when you play music with lots of bass, compact discs, or turn up your volume to very loud levels. MYTH 3. High power means heat and weight. The M-400t weights less than most preamps and yet packs more muscle than power amps weighting five times as much. How? After all, no cooling fans vent it, no extruded fins protrude and the unit runs barely warm to the touch! The M-400t vs convention. In a traditional amplifier, the power supply only has two chances during each AC line voltage cycle to recharge and store power. To meet musical demands in between it must maintain a reservoir of power. This means that as conventional amplifiers grow more powerful, their transformers and supply capacitors must grow proportionally larger and court meltdown by converting up to 60% of their energy into heat. The M-400t transforms fully 80% of its energy intake into useable audio energy with a patented power supply engineered to be directly responsive to the moment-to-moment power requirements of your music. This is no simple feet, however, and requires a special Triac commutator and Magnetic Field Coil which actually spend most of their time steeping UP line voltage values and are only called upon to handle maximum line voltages at times of maximum demand. Sophisticated protection of your system. The M-400t dutifully responds to musical input and will transmit those demands to your speakers … which will get quite a work-out. To prevent damage, the M-400t has an elaborate logic-controlled protection system, and to prevent clipping and over driving. The system simply shuts down output for several seconds before resumption, testing output demand before continuing. Should the problem be a short or other massive malfunction, no damage can occur. Physically the M-400t is simplicity itself. Only a matched set of power LED’s accent its front. Volume is controlled by the input signal eliminating the need for gain controls. The M-400t’s back utilities are spare and to-the-point: speaker terminals and input sockets. The most important test. Hardware buzzwords and specmanship aside, your final decision should be made by the sound of an amplifier. Compare the Carver M-400t to any 200-250 watt/channel conventional power amplifier around, Class A, B, H, G, Z, Q or otherwise. The class that stands out will be the superb colorless sound of the cool, unruffled, light-heavy weight M-400t. Powerful, Musical, Accurate and above all, affordable.