Best Amp ever?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MichaelFusick, Sep 27, 2002.

  1. MichaelFusick

    MichaelFusick Second Unit

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    Hello,[​IMG]
    I am looking into purchaseing a new amp for a dedicated home theater, and this amp has my eye.
    [​IMG]
    I am wondering if anyone has any hands on experiences to share, or any good or bad comments.
    Everything I read suggests it is the best amp available for the $$$ spent on it.
    It's a little more than I wanted to spend, even at my sweet price, so I guess I am asking is there anything else I should consider in it's price range that might be better...
    and, are reviews like the one posted below total crap or is it accurate. it seems to good to be true. Since this article has apeared on both Hometheatermag's web site, earthquake website and other places as well, I assume this isn't a copy violation since they have allowed this.
    from http://www.hometheatermag.com/showarchives.cgi?12
    "Earthquake Sound Cinénova Grande Five-Channel Amplifier
    By Clint Walker, June 2000
    A new value-driven benchmark in high-performance theater.
    I've been sitting here at my computer for over an hour without typing a word. I'm showing signs of terminal writer's block, but I wish I were that lucky. In truth, I'm just speechless, and the Cinénova Grande amplifier from Earthquake Sound Corporation is the reason why. Several weeks ago, a massive wooden crate stamped "heavy" arrived at our sound lab in Woodland Hills. I had seen crates like this during my stint in the military—they usually contained Patriot missile warheads. We gathered around it like cavemen observing fire, poking at it and wondering what it might be. Finally, I worked up the nerve to open it up.
    Inside was Earthquake's Cinénova Grande five-channel power amplifier. I'd been hearing rumors about this amp for quite some time and was anxious to give it a listen. Something that has always gotten my goat is when a manufacturer's measurements stray really far from what we actually measure in the lab. When I read the specs for the Cinénova Grande, I shook my head in disappointment, expecting just such an occurrence. Earthquake lists the specifications of the Cinénova Grande as follows: 300 watts by five channels into 8 ohms, with no more than 0.003 percent total harmonic distortion (THD); 600 watts by five channels into 4 ohms, with no more than 0.006 percent THD; and a whopping 1,000 watts by five channels into 2 ohms, with no more than 0.006 percent THD. When I read through the rest of the specifications, I was just as shocked. It's not that specs this good are impossible; they're just unheard of in the realm of home theater, especially for an amp with a price point of $4,000.
    Typically, I listen to gear before I measure it. With the Cinénova Grande, however, I couldn't wait to dissect it. When I opened up the top cover, several things were noticeable right away. One, the Cinénova is a true monaural design with five discrete blocks, each with its own power supply and a 15-ampere capability. Two, it's not made in a sweatshop overseas. Three, it's built to last.
    Each of the amp's five discrete EZXS amplifier boards can be removed and replaced in minutes without completely disassembling the amplifier. This may be irrelevant to anyone using it solely for home theater but is certainly beneficial to anyone using it for professional applications. Keep in mind that the Cinénova earns the Grande in its title by weighing a hefty 125 pounds.
    Each of the five monaural blocks also features a built-in low-pass/high-pass variable filter with a range of 20 hertz to 5 kilohertz. A three-way switch controls the operation of the filter between full-range, high-pass, or low-pass mode. There are binding posts for speaker connectivity, RCA inputs on each board, and a parallel port that houses all five RCA inputs. Many view this as the port of choice for the future.
    The Cinénova Grande measures 9.25 by 18 by 21 inches. The front plate features a rather clean, simple design, with five small LEDs that indicate which channels are active. There are also two large handles on the front, which (in my opinion) aren't nearly large enough for the amount of hands that should be used to move this amp.
    Once I got the Cinénova Grande on the measuring bench, I was even more astounded—it measured exactly as Earthquake had specified. (Take a look at the chart for yourself.) The harder I pushed the amp, the less distortion I got!
    Moving right along, it was time for the listening evaluation. I began as I do with all my audio reviews—music first. I inserted my Trisha Yearwood Songbook CD. Track 2 of the disc ("The Song Remembers When") is one of the most revealing tracks I've heard. Within the first 13 seconds of the song, there are several very subtle details that only the best amps, preamps, and speakers can uncover. The Cinénova Grande unveiled them all. The soundstage was enormous and equally transparent. At times, I thought I could feel Trisha's breath coming out of my Mirage HDT speakers. After hours of listening enjoyment, I retired the Cinénova and gathered my notes
    Earthquake Sound Cinénova Grande Five-Channel Amplifier: Page 2
    Day two consisted of my theater performance review. I gathered together all my favorite DVDs and prepared my system for a workout with the Cinénova. First, I dropped in Armageddon and listened intently. My Mirage HDTs beat as though they had undergone a triple bypass—I've never heard them sound so good. DVD after DVD, scene after scene, the Cinénova Grande ripped through complex material effortlessly and with absolutely no sign of fatigue. All the while, I kept remembering that $4,000 price tag.
    My Mirage speakers love power, so I decided to push the envelope a little further than usual and drove the volume even higher. Watching the helicopter-crash scene from The Matrix, I was certain I'd hear some signs of clipping or fatigue, but the amp waded through the material with seemingly little effort. If I had pushed it any harder, I would've surely impaired my hearing.
    An amplifier like the Cinénova Grande is the kind of component that other manufacturers fear, neighbors dread, and men lust after. Every one of us has that friend, spouse, or relative who doesn't understand our hobby and the fact that we go out and spend the money we do on our A/V systems. But remember the first time you heard something sound so right, so wonderful, and so magnificent that it made you appreciate music in an entirely different light? Staring at this amp, I wondered how many lives it would have that sort of effect on.
    Just when I thought I had heard it all, the Earthquake Cinénova Grande came along, picked me up, cleaned out my ears, and begged for a listen. This amp brings new meaning to the phrase "gentle giant." The only drawback I can foresee to buying this amplifier is perhaps having to cut the roof off your house and rent a crane to lower it into your theater.
    [​IMG]
    Highlights
    • Unmatched output
    • Exceptional sound quality
    • Unbelievable performance for the price
    [​IMG]
    HT Labs Measures: Earthquake Cinénova Grande Amp
    The above measurement shows that the Grande's left amplifier channel, with two channels driving 8-ohm loads, began clipping at 0.0037% distortion and 245.3 watts. The amp reaches 0.1% distortion at 294.4 watts and 1% distortion at 328.9 watts, as shown above. Into 4 ohms, the amp began clipping at 0.0082% distortion and 478.6 watts and reaches 0.1% distortion at 604.4 watts and 1% distortion at 661.1 watts. The amplifier's frequency response was +0.06 /-0.19 decibels from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The response rose to +0.1 dB at 10 Hz and to -0.78 dB at 50 kHz. THD+N from the amplifier was less than 0.013% at 1 kHz, with 2.8 volts output.—CW "
    Is this total crap or is this too good to be true?
    I doubled check other review sites and came up with more reviews that are basically the same thing.
    Look at this thing:
    [​IMG] Its a monster!!!
    Here is some more links:
    http://www.earthquakesound.com/serv01.htm
    http://www.earthquakesound.com/cineova.htm
    http://www.widescreenreview.com/wsrm...=32776&-search
    Someone out there must have some feedback about this pig....?
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    While I've not auditioned one of these, I've heard many good things about it. Its definitely not total crap, and if you can afford it, by all means get it. I have a feeling its a class performer in its price range, with exceptional power and dynamics. Others to look out for if you desire the massive power it provides, are the Cinepro 3K6SE-Gold and the Sunfire Signature.
     
  3. RichardMA

    RichardMA Second Unit

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    Was that a post, or an ad?
     
  4. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Michael

    If you can get that new for 2K, go for it. I didn't read the review, but it seems that amps with this much output capability need a dedicated 30 amp line to take advantage of all the output they are capable of.

    The few on this forum who own this amp seem to love it.

    For dedicated HT use, the sound quality doesn't have to be the same as a 3 watt single ended (tube) triode. Even so, I think it would sound great for music listening.

    Artie
     
  5. Paul Gere

    Paul Gere Second Unit

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    No kidding!
    It would appear that the author of this thread is simply looking for someone to walk up with the mere feather it'll take to push him into a purchase decision.
    Gentle ribbing aside...
    Michael, you've clearly done your homework. If you can afford this amp, buy it. It's a great and well-reviewed piece of equipment.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Chris Purvis

    Chris Purvis Stunt Coordinator

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    yeah, man. for 2k I'd go for it.
     
  7. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    The price you quote is around "dealer" and I would caution you that there are many "unauthorized" scammers out there who will sell you the amp that is not warranted.

    If in doubt call Earthquake. As an Earthquake dealer I would suggest that if someone can afford to sell for that price somthing is a little fishy. (unless it is used)

    If I ever offer a price like that, it is stipulated that it is a private price or a "package" price which does not disclose the actual purchase price.

    If you found this deal via the internet then the warrantee is probably not good. As an "authorized dealer" I had to sign an internet agreement that said we could not "advertise or auction" equipment on the internet for less than the list price.

    If you have any questions e-mail me.

    One thing for sure is every amp I place is warranted.

    On the other hand, regarding the amp, it is actually very incredible and it is a bargain even at full list.

    Obviously Earthquake dealers have some lattitude in "private pricing" situations and at a reduced or package price it is astounding. I have ABd it with several high end amps and been astounded at the performance.

    John
     
  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Michael,
    I have a couple of problems with this.
    One, you are basing your inclincation on Home Theater Magazine, probably the least qualified audio magazine on the planet.
    Two, in your price range many better high end manufactured amps are available.
    Here are some good suggestions from Stereophile Guide to Home Theater...
    a. Proceed AMP5 for $4995
    b. Proceed BPA3 for $3395
    c. B&K Reference 7250 for $2498
    d. New offerings from Theta, not able to confirm price yet.
    Three, Earthquake is not a company that has been in business long and that represents real risk to your service policy and continued enjoyment. There are also relatively few dealers which may limit long-term viability.
    A couple of things also bother me on this point. They do a lot of business in car audio which is known for over-emphasized bass to the detriment of sound. Also, none of their products where found in several recommended products listings I had in house. I would at least audition the component in your own system before you purchase it.
    Four, this is no where near the best amp available for either HT or two channel sound. That will likely be when Halcro finishes their multichannel amplifiers.
    Hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  9. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  10. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  11. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  12. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    I agree Lee. Any measurement no matter how impressive, is no guarantee for a good sound. I have found that usually the best sounding amps from Levinson, Krell and Pass have much higher distortion than this amp and yet.....
     
  13. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    Earthquake Sound hasn't been getting a lot of attention from big magazines probably because its not well established, and its not expensive enough. Earthquake Sound does make car audio stuff, but their home audio stuff is really great too. Their Supernova subwoofers have been widely acclaimed, and some claim best even the SVS subwoofers and other like the Velodyne HGS-18 and Paradigm Servo-15. A lot of pro audio manufacturers aren't getting the respect they deserve, and IMHO Earthquake Sound is one of them. Another one is Cinepro, whose 3K6SE-Gold has been favorably compared to the Theta Dreadnaught and BAT VK-6200.
     
  14. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    Hi Lee,

    Although I don't totally disagree with much of what your saying I have a few questions and comments.

     
  15. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  16. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Myself, i'll not speak to whether this is a good amp or not. The specs are impressive and if accurate certainly suggest you should have no problems driving any set of speakers out there. Now I don't know what price you've been able to obtain for this however factors one should keep in mind are
    how does one obtain service under warranty? If this is done by shipping, then likely shipping costs are going to be substantial.
    if the unit were to arrive DOA or with issues upon arrival, what are your costs likely to be under that scenario.
    btw, care to share the full price including s/h for this? also, what's the warranty?
     
  17. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It's good to keep in mind that certain amps such as the Thetas intentionally or unintentionally have audibly high levels of even order distortion which some attribute to that warm, musical sound. For some the coloration is pleasurable for others, well who knows.
     
  19. MichaelFusick

    MichaelFusick Second Unit

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    Hey guys thanks for the replies...
    RichardMA said: "Was that a post, or an ad?"
    It was indeed a post... Sorry if I seemed too excited. You don't get excited over this stuff?
     
  20. MichaelFusick

    MichaelFusick Second Unit

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    I named the thread that to get alot of hits.... I don't consider it to really be the best amp ever. My intent was for people to read it and respond with good comment and insight. If I called it EARTHQUAKE or CINENOVA somthing or other it would get half as many hits and reads.
     

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