Is the Cinepro 3k6SE-Gold $3000 better than the Cinepro 3k6III?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David J Wang, Dec 18, 2001.

  1. David J Wang

    David J Wang Agent

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    I'm looking for a high quality multi-channel amp and I'm sort of set on Cinepro after hearing and reading many favorable reviews. One question I am wondering is the Cinepro 3k6SE-Gold, which is $7500, worth $3000 more than a 3k6III?

    Also, I've combed through home theater magazines and they all seem to give favorable reviews and don't compare them with other similar class amps, but if any of you HTF members could please comment on how the Cinepro 3k6III or 3k6SE Gold stack up against a

    Theta Dreadnaught, Earthquake Cinenova Grande 5 ch, or even a Krell KAV 1500

    Need opinions for this is a huge investment for me. Thanks in advance. Oh... these amps will probably drive a Monitor Audio Gold Reference system... will these amps be overkill ... is there such a thing as overkill?? Probably not in this forum.
     
  2. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    David,

    The SEGold is fighting against the law of diminishing returns -- to get from the 3K6 Series III to the Series III SE Gold level is very expensive.

    The same is true in any other case of diminishing returns.

    Having heard them both, the SE Gold is better, but you alone have to make the value judgement on whether the price difference is worth the $$$$.

    Regards,
     
  3. Dzung Pham

    Dzung Pham Second Unit

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    I haven't tried the Cinepro amps but in my experience, sonic differences between amplifiers is relatively small compared to differences between speakers and even processors. Either amp should have more than enough power to drive your speakers. I would save up the $3k for something else, or at least look for a used 3k6SE-Gold instead.
     
  4. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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  5. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Scott,
    Sure. Now, keep in mind, I've heard them both in the context of my own system, and a dealer friend loaned me the SE Gold for a weekend as a "just for the heck of it" experiment for me. Also, these conclusions are subjective, and I'm not going to sit around and argue for about 10 hours about whether these conclusions are valid or not. Decide for yourself based on the work I've had published or things I've contributed on the various forums :)
    1) The background is quieter. You could hear deeper into fade-ins and fade-outs, and the spaces were quieter as well. This was the most obvious difference between the two.
    2) There was a slight improvement to the way cymbals were reproduced -- on well made SACDs and DVD-A discs, the "shimmer" is a touch more evident.
    3) My "kitchen test" disc had a bit more purity to the tenor sax tone. I put on Steely Dan's "Two Against Nature" from the Two Against Nature DVD-A go into the kitchen and see if I feel compelled to go back into the HT room and stand in front of the Center Channel to hear Chris Potter's tenor solo that plays out over the last several minutes on the closing track West of Hollywood. I've had a couple of components fail the test lately.
    With the exception of item 1, the differences were not night and day, and I was even more pleased with the performance of my 3K6, Series III (the plain jane version) after comparing it with the SE Gold. Would I buy the SE Gold over the regular model? In a heartbeat, but I don't have the $$$.
    I haven't heard the Dreadnaught, the Earthquake or the Krell.
    I still have the BAT VK-6200 kicking around, and I would have a tough time chosing between any of these:
    The BAT VK-6200, the Cinepro 3K6 Series III SE Gold, and a pair of Bel Canto Evo 200.6s strapped into 3 channels per chassis. Of course the cost of entry to these is very, very high ($7500 to $10,000 give or take a few bucks).
    Oh, and you didn't read that part about the Evos [​IMG]
    I hope this helped everyone.
    Regards,
     
  6. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are spending that kind of money and don't at least listen to the Theta Dreadnaught (or BAT) you are doing yourself a rather expensive disservice. Basically it's a matter of muscle (Cinepro) versus finesse (Theta). Not that they aren't both capable of either trait, but the Theta is more musical in my experience. So, it boils down to what priorities you have for your system.
     
  7. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Chris,

    Not having heard the Theta amp, I can't comment on its prowess, but concur with Anthony on underestimating the Cinepro.

    The Cinepros don't have a problem with finesse in my experience. I listen to a range of materials from movies, to DVD-A in surround and stereo,plus CD and SACD in stereo. None of these is lacking finesse.

    Some of it boils down to choices in speakers, and listening preferences as well.

    Anthony,

    Don't underestimate the gains afforded you by having all channels of amplification matched, especially for surround music discs. Many of the popular music discs have quite aggressive use of surrounds, so the multi-channel music mixes becoming more popular (IMO) are actually putting more demands on surrounds than ever before.

    Regards,
     
  8. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Oops, didn't mean to come off as dissing Cinepro. They are fine, fine amps in every regard. You couldn't go wrong with one...unless you heard a Theta after dishing out the cash and decided you liked it better.
     
  9. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Let's be accurate here:

    Cinepro 3K6, Series III (6 channels) US$4495

    Theta Dreadnaught (5 Channels) US$6000

    So there is a bit of a price differential.

    I agree, that the original poster should check them all out, because they are all going to be exceptional amplifiers.

    Other considerations not discussed, but of merit:

    Cinepro 3K6 Series III 75lbs

    Theta Dreadnaught (5 channels) 100lbs

    BAT VK-6200 (5 channels) 180lbs.

    Serious weight involved as you move up the price ladder :)

    Regards,
     
  10. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    "Let's be accurate here:

    Cinepro 3K6, Series III (6 channels) US$4495

    Theta Dreadnaught (5 Channels) US$6000"

    I'm all for accuracy, but I fail to see the relevance of your comment - after all, he did ask about said amplifier and if I am not mistaken, he is interested in how the Theta, BAT stack up against the Cinepro Gold which is $1500 more than the Theta. Anyways, this information is available at the touch of a button to anyone with net access.
     
  11. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Chris,

    The point was showing how rapidly the price ascends at this level to get smaller and smaller returns, sorry I wasn't clear in my line of thought.

    Regards,
     
  12. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    John,

    Thank you very much for your qualitative comments about the two Cinepro amps. That's exactly the kind of info I was hoping to receive. Those are interesting comments, and I have no intention of starting a debate over their accuracy as they are purely your opinions (and by definition, they're 100% accurate for you). I don't have a lot of experience listening to various amps at this point but I know you do and that's why I was curious to hear what you thought.

    I've been eyeing the Cinepro amps for a few months now but when I get a little more serious about demo'ing amps, I'll look at others in a similar price range, as well.

    My only non-performance issue with Cinepro at this point is I wish they'd put out a 7-ch. amplifier for HT use, as that would be my primary use for the amp. If I want to have a 7-channel configuration, I have to purchase one of their 2-channel stereo amps to complement the 6-gun (unless they have a monoblock which I didn't see on their website).

    Thanks again!
     
  13. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    I lived with a Cinepro 3K6II for about a month and I simply loved the sound. It was very neutral like my current amps but without the upper frequency grain that I can occasionally hear on my amps. I would have bought at least one of these except for two things...
    - the prices are fixed and therefore no deals can be had
    and
    - the fan was just too dang loud for me.
    I understand that the newer 3Ks use a quieter fan but that still leaves an amp on which there is no good old American price competition on... IMO, at $3500, it is overpriced by about $800-1000.
    And, I can never even think about buying a Dreadnaught which apparently costs as much as a decent used car....[​IMG]
     
  14. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Scott,

    Cinepro showed the prototype of an X-7 modular amplifier with from 5 to 7 channels at CEDIA 2001 in Indy in September. I get the feeling it'll be formally unveiled at CES in January.

    Regards,
     
  15. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    John,

    Thanks, that's good news! Ask, and you shall receive...
     
  16. Adam

    Adam Stunt Coordinator

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    Have you considered the Integra research RDA-7? This is a 7-channel amp designed for Integra by BAT. It even has a BAT designation on it. Although I haven't heard it myself, it has gotten excellent reviews. This amp is a beast, and it is pretty pricey.

    Regards,

    Adam
     
  17. Jack Smith

    Jack Smith Agent

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    I recently purchased one of Cinepro's closeout specials on the 3k6SEII (375x6) for $3200.00. The unit belonged to Eric Abraham, the president of Cinepro and he took very good care of it, in short, it sounds great! In fact I am so happy with it, that I just ordered a "closeout" 2k5II (250x5) to power my four surrounds, thus making my Denon 5800 strictly the pre-pro, while bridging the 3k6SEII to power my front three speakers only. Look at purchasing one of the closeout units and you will save a third to half, and the units come with a 3-year warranty. The word "used" makes me nervous, but my experience with the Cinepros has been all positive. Anyway, where else can you call and speak with the company president about his products???

    Equipment list:

    -Boltz cabinet

    -Cinepro 3k6SEII amp (375x6)

    -Cinepro 2k5II amp for surrounds (250x5)

    -Klipsch RF7's up front

    -Klipsch RC7 center

    -Klipsch RS7 surrounds

    -Klipsch RF3 center surrounds (pair)

    -Denon 5800 as pre-pro

    -Sony S7700 DVD

    -Pioneer 606 dts/AC3 LD player

    -SVS 16/46 subs (pair)

    -Samson sub amp

    -Directv/Microsoft (with NFL package of course)

    -Proscan 60-inch rptv

    -Monster 3500 line conditioner

    -Monster Z2 series speaker cables

    -Monster Z series interconnects

    -Monster M-series interconnects

    -Monster M-series sub cables

    we are the borg...
     
  18. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Jack,
    You're bridging a 3K6 into a speaker with 102dB sensitivity?
    Let's see, that's about 1kW or 30dB of gain. Max volume of [email protected]@1m assuming there's no dynamic compression of the speaker.
    How often are the police over at your house [​IMG]
    I have to "make do" with the 3K6 Series-III running in 6 channel configuration, and even on my comparatively low sensitivity mains (89dB) I have all the volume I could ever handle.
    Ah well, no worries about clipping for you, eh?
    Regards,
     
  19. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    I would say that Jack does HomeTheater the right way!
    Way to go Jack..[​IMG]
     
  20. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    Just like Tim Allen would say..."more power!"
     

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