Sunfire Cinema Grand

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Standefer, Jul 10, 2001.

  1. Robert Standefer

    Robert Standefer Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,
    I just bought a pair of MartinLogan Aerius i electrostats for my mains. My Sony TA-N9000ES just doesn't cut the muster when it comes to powering these bad boys. So I'm in the market for a new amp.
    The Sunfire Cinema Grand looks great on paper. 400wpc at 4ohms. The other amps I'm considering are the Proceed AMP 5 and the Classe CAV-150, but I'm leaning toward the Sunfire because I can get it for $1700 used. Another plus, if you can consider it one, is that I really like the Sunfire Theater Grand II pre/pro and I like stuff to match. But that's not important.
    Are there any MartinLogan owners who drive their speakers with the Sunfire Cinema Grand? Should I look elsewhere?
    I'm using a Sony TA-E9000ES pre/pro and BetterCables speaker cables.
    Thanks in advance.
    Rob
    [Edited last by Robert Standefer on July 10, 2001 at 10:31 PM]
     
  2. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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    Well I have a TA-E9000ES pre/pro and Acoustat ESL panels. I wouldn't even think of running them with a Sunfire amp. For an interesting review (point/counterpoint) checkout the current Audio Critic. The amps use very cheap internal devices.
    I'd suggest an Aragon power amp, these are frequently available on Audiogon. They are ROCK stable driving the difficult loads ESL's present to the amp. They deliver tons of power and they sound extremely good.
     
  3. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

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    If you hang in there for a day or two, Miles will respond. He's driving four ML's with a Cinema Grand ... I'll drop him an e-mail.
    Larry
    ------------------
    Upgrading: 'What if this is as good as it gets?'
     
  4. Miles_W

    Miles_W Second Unit

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    Miles responding....
    Okay heres the scoop (YMMV) I am delighted with the Cinema Grand driving my logans... are there better amps out there? sure! are there better values out there? sure!(not that many though) but it is about synergy. I had my CG driving Sequel II's a logos and a pair of Aerius for surrounds... no sweat! then I upgraded my mains to CLS IIz's a sure fire way to send many an amp into early retirement. No problems...
    Will I upgrade my amp! yeah just as soon as it starts raining money (kidding) I am looking for a more powerful amp but it is desire not need that drives this decision (plus like you I want an amp that matches my pre-pro Cal ssp 2500)
    As long as the amp is in good shape with will handle the load with no problems. (Plus it is easy to bi-wire the Aerius i using the CG)
    good luck and let us know how you make out!
    Miles
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    Miles
    ************************
    DarkSide Member since(93)
    [Edited last by Miles_W on July 11, 2001 at 06:25 AM]
     
  5. Scott_Sylke

    Scott_Sylke Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Sunfire Theater Grandd II and a Sunfire Cinema Grand. I have recently upgraded my speakers to a Martin Logan System myself and couldn't be happier. I have Aerious I's for the front, a Cinema center, and Script's for the rears. I am very pleased with the performance of the Cinema Grand!! I can't see myself upgrading for a long time.
    ------------------
    Scott
    a.k.a. KCWolfPck
    See my Home Theater Page .
     
  6. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    Just for the heck of it, did you try the TA-N in BTL mode? It still may not be up to the task, but in BTL 2+1 mode it's a whole different piece from 5 channel mode.
    What the heck, if it works, a 2nd TA-N would be relatively cheap to fill out a 5 ch. setup, and you'd get to keep the Control A1 feature.
    That's what I'm doing, with my mains on separate TA-Ns and my center passively biamped with the "+1" channels. It's working out great for me, but my main speakers (N805s)probably aren't as demanding as panel speaks.
    Just a thought.
     
  7. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    The specs are indeed impressive with the Cinema Grand. The power doubles as the impedance is halved and it is capable of time limited 2 ohm handling. It has withstood the test of time with much scrutiny over the last 5 or 6 years, lest you think the published specs are not to be believed.
    Specs aside and into the real world, we have run an ML surround set-up at work(Ascents, Aerius', and the center)using Sunfire, Adcom, and the Sony TAN9000ES. All of them handled the MLs all day long, but the Adcom and Sony were very hot to the touch at the end of the day while the Sunfire was barely warm.
    We could discuss the subjective quality of the output, but any well designed amp could handle the MLs, it would just be a matter of how hard they have to work to do it.
    (disclaimer:just like MSNBC always mentions they are part owned by Microsoft when they are reporting a story on them, I have to report that I am a Cinema Grand owner) [​IMG]
    DJ
    [Edited last by David Judah on July 11, 2001 at 11:20 AM]
     
  8. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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    Quote from The Audio Critic Issue #27, commentating is David Rich, the magazines resident engineer/tester
     
  9. john fairchild

    john fairchild Auditioning

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    I would agree that the Aragon would do a much better job.I owned 2 Sunfires and find them adequate at best.The fact that they run cool does not make a contributing factor in how it sounds.Very light on the low end in my opinion.Any of your other choices would be better.
     
  10. Scott_Sylke

    Scott_Sylke Stunt Coordinator

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    I've read a few different places that there are a lot of nay-sayers about Sunfire technology not being accepted. I've never actually seen that until this thread. I find the Sunfire System I have to be outstanding in comparison from what I've owned in the past, but I must admit that this is my first system made of seperates. I wonder why Sunfire always seems to get such great reviews, yet people still slam Sunfire products? I guess all that matters to me is that I am happy with my system.
    ------------------
    Scott
    a.k.a. KCWolfPck
    See my Home Theater Page .
     
  11. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    The design is unique to be sure and some have a hard time believing that a 30lb. amp with no large external heat sinks or cooling fans can deliver as much high, usable current under a variety of loads as the 60-80lb. tanks we are used to seeing and remain cool in the process.
    Add to that it's relatively low cost and variety of wiring options with two sets of outputs(current and voltage sources)and I think you have a great value.
    Good luck, Robert, in deciding which way to go.
    DJ
     
  12. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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    quote: I wonder why Sunfire always seems to get such great reviews, yet people still slam Sunfire products? I guess all that matters to me is that I am happy with my system. [/quote]
    Having spent an evening dining/talking with Bob Carver, I can see why many people find his quirky ways charming. But he's just a just little too much like P.T. Barnum, and the products he designs are a mix of genius and fool.
    [Edited last by ThomasW on July 12, 2001 at 10:27 AM]
     
  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  14. Robert A. Willis Jr.

    Robert A. Willis Jr. Second Unit

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    When using a switching power supply huge and heavy transformers are not required. Sometimes they are called Class D power supplies and sometimes (erroneously) called Digital Power Amp.
    These amps are generally less expensive than amps of similar quality. Rowland uses this type of power supply (they are expensive but somewhat less that similar powered Mark Levinson and Krell) and they are relatively very light. Tact and Spectron claim to make true digital amps.... Spectron's 6 channel with similar power is $6995. Their two channels are very good values and some folks swear that they are the best sounding amps ever made.
    Carver makes excellent gear (especially for the price) but his equipment can sound awful when not used within some limits. I don't know what those limits would be for the CGS. The limits for the Subwoofers appear to be a crossover somewhere around 80 hertz or less. The lower the better.
    Buy from a dealer that has a 30 day return policy and if you don't like them return them for something more to your liking.
    One positive sign is that you don't see many CGS's on the used amp market. I know because I've been looking.
    rw
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  15. DanH

    DanH Auditioning

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    I'd like to restart this thread if you don't mind. I'm looking at a Cinema Grand Signature to drive my Kef Reference 3 (L/R) and 200C (centers, 4 ohm speakers, using my current Denon AVR 5700 as a preamp for now. What does that technical criticism in the Audio Critic mean in the real world? I read conflicting reviews--some say this amp is great for bass, but others say not.
    I'm attraced to the SCGS by the reasonable price, lack of heat and ability to handle the Kefs with ease. Comments anyone?
    Dan
     
  16. Robert Houghton

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    I'm attraced to the SCGS by the reasonable price, lack of heat and ability to handle the Kefs with ease.
    You just answered your own questions. I've had the amplifier for almost 2 years, I've never been disappointed in its performance or lack of heat.
    Bob H.
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  17. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Dan,
    I have an 8 page paper written by Bob Carver as a Word 2000 file where he explains some of the design details of the amp. I can send it to you, if you like. Email me if you want it.
    DJ
     

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