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Sunfire-Carver Amps

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Keiwana, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. Keiwana

    Keiwana Well-Known Member

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    I am slowly building a "quality" home theater set up and considering several products in this puirsuit. My current set-up consist of the following:

    55" Mits
    Pioneer Elite 37 DVD Player
    pioneer Elite 45tx reciever
    Sony 615 towers speaker (front)
    Athena Technology AS-B1 for center
    DCM Book shelves for rears
    Paradigm PS1200 V.4 Sub

    I know am going to add paradigm studio 40's & 470 center, but I am undecided about the type power amp to use while using my 45tx as a pre pro. (It should be noted that my ultimate goal is to go with seperates)

    I have been researching been researching several amps that include anthem, parasound, adcom, ati, rotel, & sherbourn.

    How does Sunfire Amps compare to those listed above?

    Does anyone have a Sunfire Amp? If so, what type of set up do you have?

    Has anyone had any problems or heard any problem with sunfire amps such as grounding hum or poor build quality?

    THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR ANY AND ALL INFO

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Well-Known Member

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    The Paradigms are a fairly efficient, easy speaker to drive. They will present no obstacle to any of the amps you're currently considering suggesting that other factors such as warranty, service, features, appearance, price, resale value, should be factored in appropriately. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if your existing receiver is capable on its own of having sufficient power to handle your future needs. Nonetheless, if your set on adding an amp, then a 3 channel to handle the fronts and the receiver doing the rest may be a cost effective approach that might even free up a few more dollars to move up in the Paradigm line.
    Myself, I'm not aware of any problems with the Sunfire and ground loop issues are more a function of equipment being at differnt potentials rather than some particular 'quirk' with an amp. Often it's traced to the incoming cable but that's easily rectified with a $10 fix if you don't want to spend the time diagnosing it.
     
  3. David Judah

    David Judah Well-Known Member

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    I ran a Pioneer 45TX with a Sunfire Cinema Grand for awhile and it was a very nice combo. The Sunfire is a very robust amp and with the tracking downconverter it doesn't run hot or require large heatsinks(lots of power and runs cool).

    It also gives you connection flexibilty in that it has both current source outputs and votage source outputs for the front channels. Sunfire recommends biwiring with the current source going to the high frequency terminals and the voltage source going to the low frequency terminals. The current source simulates a tube sound character. I ran my B&W 9NT's that way and was very pleased with the results.

    I read one negative review where it was hinted that top-notch parts weren't used, but I think the reviewer wasn't familiar with the overall layout of the amp. It isn't a traditional design, so judging it by that standard, I think he missed the boat. Every other review I've seen has been quite positive.

    All of the other amps you listed are quite good and I'm sure they would all meet your needs, but another advantage of the Sunfire is that it will truly double wattage(or near so)as impedance is halved, if you have speakers that dip down low at certain frequencies.

    I have a paper written by Bob Carver about the Cinema Grand design if you want me to email it to you.

    Good luck in your amp selection.

    DJ
     
  4. Keiwana

    Keiwana Well-Known Member

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    David,

    Where did you purchase your amp from, and how much?
     
  5. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    Has Sunfire improved on the reliability of their amps? I know and have extensive experience with Carver's and they are a pile of dung as far as reliability.
     
  6. Keiwana

    Keiwana Well-Known Member

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    Shane,

    How are they in terms of power & sound quality?
     
  7. David Judah

    David Judah Well-Known Member

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    Carver is not the same company as Sunfire. The whole reason Bob[Carver] got out of Carver originally(he has now since bought it back I heard)was because it was going mass-market and losing quality control. Bob Carver then started Sunfire. It remains to this day a much smaller operation based out of Snohomish, WA and allows Bob Carver to have much more control of the designs and quality.

    I've heard that Carver(the company)is starting to make a comeback. There has been alot of good buzz about their ZR series digital amps.

    Keiwana,

    At the time, I was working in the consumer electronics industry, so I got the amp directly from Sunfire. As for power, any of the amps you listed should provide plenty of power for your needs. There will be minor differences in the way they sound because of different layouts and parts used.

    I'm not saying the others can't do this, but the Sunfire is well known for having plenty of power regardless of the load. Not that you'll need it, but the Cinema Grand can even run a 2 ohm load on a time limited basis--few HT amps can do that under $3000, if that gives you an idea of what it's capable of.

    With the current source outputs and its accompanying higher output impedance, it provides a warm, musical presentation for the mids and highs, IMO(at least it did with my B&W's). If that doesn't match well with your particular speakers and tastes, then you have the traditional voltage source outputs with its near-zero output impedance. I like the idea of having the flexibilty to tailor the sound to your needs--a choice you don't usually have with amplifiers.

    DJ
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    Power wise: They are decent it seems. Sound Quality they are what you should expect for the cost. My friend has replaced all of his with Brystons and the difference is not subtle at all.

    I have no heard or seen the new Sunfire stuff yet so I can comment if anything has changed.
     
  9. JayF

    JayF Well-Known Member

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    I have three Sunfire amps and have never had a problem with any of them. I use a Cinema Grand Signature to drive a pair of B&W Nautilus 805s and an HTM1 center. The sound is fantastic for audio and home theater, and is never strained. As someone mentioned, they run very cool which is a big plus for me.

    As for Sunfire quality, I've also had a TheaterGrand I and currently have a TheaterGrand III pre/pro, and again have never had a problem. I am very satisfied and would highly recommend you at least audition the Sunfires.
     
  10. David Judah

    David Judah Well-Known Member

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    Keiwana,

    I sent you a PM with the information you asked for.

    DJ
     
  11. Keiwana

    Keiwana Well-Known Member

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    Thanks...David.

    How much did you guys pay for your new sunfire amps?

    I saw a b-stock deal at avalon audio. It was about $950 off of suggested retail. I called Sunfire, I was informed that avalon is an authorized e-dealer.
     
  12. David Judah

    David Judah Well-Known Member

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    I got mine through a dealer accomodation, but check audiogon.com to gauge what they are going for. Last time I checked I think they were in the $1300-1700 range used. New, they are probably around $2000-2500. Obviously, there's going to be some variation.

    I'm thinking about using digital amplification exclusively in my system, so you might be able to talk me into selling mine.[​IMG]

    DJ
     

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