Carver MXR-130

Carver MXR-130

Bob Carver’s first intro into the receiver market around 1980 was his Carver MXR-130 or “The Receiver” as it is sometimes called. Carver equipment has always had a different look to it and this one is no exception. The receiver is basically a combination of Carver’s C-1 pre-amplifier, TX-11 Asymmetrical Charge Coupled Detector F.M. tuner and TFM-25 amplifier. While a solid performer at 130 watts per channel it does have some weaknesses. It’s under sized power resistors mounted too close to the circuit board tend to cause heat related problems over time.  The output relays tend to fail as well.

On the good side it has a great moving magnet phono preamp and great AM and FM tuning sections.

Carver MXR-130 Back

The Carver MXR-130 weighs in at around 30 pounds, had optional rack handles and walnut side panels as well.

Carver MXR-130 Inside

The Carver MXR-130 sells for around $200. One in excellent fully working condition sold for $200.00 on 8-19-2019. If you can pick one up cheap and have some mods done to it you can get yourself one excellent receiver.

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32 thoughts on “Carver MXR-130

  1. some one got into my 130 before I got it and screwed up the AM antenna wireing. Do you hapen to know the color code for the wiring?



        1. Sometimes you can find them on If not, then maybe on eBay. Someone on might have them as well.

  2. Hi Raiko,

    I also have the manual, but it only shows the wires coming from the rod antenna (T101) to the “T” number with no color ID as to witch color( red, yel, blu, blk, wht)goes where.
    My 130 has 5 “T” posts and 5 wires, though the schematic shows only 4.


  3. Thank you Raiko. I pick up my Carver MXR 130 yesterday. It has no sonic holography however I set it up with my Klipsch Heresys. It sounds fantastic.

  4. I have just taken my old Carver receiver out of storage and am experiencing dirty output relay contact problems. Can you tell me where I might buy a couple?
    Thanks, Vic Cano

  5. I just bought one of these receivers last weekend (5/7/17)at a garage sale from the original owner 4 $10 in really nice condition.?

  6. I bought a Carver MRX-130 last year, based in part on your review. Paid $200 CDN. Wow–it’s awesome!!

    So far, I have made the following upgrades: Cardas CCGR-FS Flush Mount Binding Posts, Circuits & Concepts Audiophile Grade Gold Contact Output Relays, KIMBER Varistrand hookup wire, Belden 19364 shielded power cable.


  7. Hello: I have “The Receiver” and need to replace 3 push buttons on the face ( AUX, FM and AM buttons ). Is this easy to do? Has anyone out there done this before? And where can I get replacements. Thank You.

  8. Just replaced the power and one of the small push buttons on mine.They are easy to replace, once you remove the top & bottom covers the front face assembly has only 4 screws holding it on, 2 on top 2 on bottom, after removing them the whole face assembly pulls forward then you just unplug 5/6 connectors going from chassis to circuit board on back of face assem. This will give you easy access to all buttons and knobs. The knobs are frequently on ebay but the buttons are much less so…Good Luck….Vern

  9. Trying to hook spkrs into a Carver MXR130. Got a signal coming out of a BSR MCD8000, but all I get is a power hum out of the amp when hooked up. The display lights are not lit on the front panel. I have checked the 7 amp fuse in the back, and it is good.

  10. I just picked one up with a broken fuse holder on the back next to the power supply. It looks the plastic casing of the fuse assembly was broken apart and the metal part shorted to the metal rear faceplate. I could use a copy of the service manual if anyone has it handy. I’m hoping I can replace the 10a 250v fuse assembly, plug her in and go! Any thoughts about what I should look for before lift off would be greatly appreciated!

  11. I inherited an MXR -130 recently and am looking to hook up some speakers (would like something used). Can you tell me what specks I should be looking for? Nominal impedance…


  12. I got one for free with a bad channel and non-functioning tuner. After cleaning all controls I got sound from both channels, but the tuner would not work. I bought the replacement trimmer capacitor from Circuits and Concepts on eBay and that got the tuner working, except that it locks .1mhz higher than center channel on all stations (i.e. 92.4 vs. 92.3). No amount of tweaking the trimmer solves the problem. Still sounds great and the stereo light pops on. I can flip to manual tune and set stations on center channel. Puzzled as the cause of this symptom. Any ideas are welcome.

    1. If you are still looking for an answer to this, many FM stations broadcast digital signals approximately 100 kHz. Above and below the analog signal. This is known as “HD” (with the HD being for marketing purposes). These digital signals are between 10% and 1% of the analog signal level. My guess is that the MXR-130 tuner scan is locking on to the digital signal instead of the main analog signal. I’m a broadcast engineer and MXR-130 owner since 1982.


    1. I don’t have one. Not sure which chip it is. I’ve seen one on eBay HERE but not sure if that is the right one either. Even if it is you’d have to find someone to solder it onto the board.

  14. What do I need to fix the static and speakers cutting out on lower volumes? I also get a loud pop when I turn the Receiver off and on. Bought this receiver new in 1983 but quit using it for almost 10 years due to this problem. Was supposedly repaired many years ago but the static shorts came back a short time later. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  15. Just rediscovered this amp. I’ve had one around for years and used it occasionally, but never fully appreciated it before. I was looking for something in its power range to power a system with original Thiel SCS (4 ohm) speakers, which are awesome, and a Thorens TD 160 turntable with a Signet TK5E cart. Ah the joy of high wattage!! I figure I must be getting about 200 into the 4 ohm speakers. The system sounds terrific, very underrated receiver, IMHO, and I’m pretty picky. I must say though, I am a pretty hard core rock n’ roll type. I do like radio, as well, and really like the FM on this one. Anybody have any specs on what this amp puts out into 4 ohms? Also, if you’d like, I’d really like to hear the setups people are using with their MXR-130, speakers, turntables, cd players, etc. Also if people are using either just its’ preamp or amp section in conjunction with something else, what would those be. Cheers, R

    1. I have the original Carver MXR-130 purchased when they first came out. I cleaned up the pots on the knobs with contact cleaner and denatured alcohol for the inputs. A bit of compressed air for the interior boards. I upgraded my DCM time windows for a pair of the Focal Chora 826’s. This beast can rattle the windows at only the twelve o’clock position! Nothing like old school raw power.

  16. For people looking for repair components, I recommend looking at the parts that seller CircuitsandConcepts sells on Ebay. I’ve purchased and installed a few of his sets of parts. He also made some repairs on my unit before I decided to do some of my own at a later date using his part kits. His kits focus on the main areas that the MXR-130 has with time. Keep in mind some of these components are 35-40 years old and resistors will tend to dry out with age or many simply not fail, but perform poorly. The seller’s name is Les and I first did business with him via Ebay in 2013. He’s an electrical engineer and has spec’d the proper replacement parts to be of equal or superior quality to the originals. In a few cases, he actually designed replacement parts and had them made. He especially loves the MXR-130 OR MXR-150 units. He even has replacement knobs for sale that are made to be exact replicas. If you love your unit as I do, I would recommend looking at his parts.
    I am an original owner of my unit and have not been willing to give up on it because I love the performance and sound quality. It has tons of power because of the way Bob Carver designed the unit. It does not have massive transformers, it uses the technology that Carver created, the Magnetic Field Power Amplification, which apparently pulls it’s power directly from the electrical circuit rather that storing it in a large coil waiting for the demand, rather, it delivers the power on demand.
    As for my Carver, I use a Technics SHEG-70 graphic equalizer through the tape loop input/output. To replicate what I’ve done, on the front of the unit there at two knobs under the section labeled “TAPE”. Set the Dubbing in the middle position, and then set the Monitor knob to 1. Now, your equalizer will work on any input of your choosing. The “TONE” button should be disengaged “not depressed”. The tone button turns off the dials on the front of the unit for “Bass”, “Mid”, and “Treble”. I use those to mildly accent the over sound of the unit, but I recommend only slight adjustments if using an equalizer as I described above. Once you have everything balanced to your liking, you can optionally use the Loudness button, but that will only be necessary at low volume levels. If you start kicking up the volume, turn Loudness off because this unit may deliver more power to your woofers that they can handle.

    1. Most use compressed air, a vacuum, and a toothbrush/paintbrush. I use those but I also cover the tuning mechanism so that dust doesn’t get blown into it. Once most of the dust is gone I use a damp toothbrush or paint brush to get the boards clean. Just make sure the receiver is unplugged before you do any work on it.

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