|Sunfire XT Series Cinema Ribbon CRM-2/CRM-2C|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers|
|Written by Ken Taraszka, MD|
|Wednesday, 01 August 2007|
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These are amazing little speakers that are truly capable of holding their own against floor-standers. While the CRM-2s themselves are tiny, they need to be mounted or supported on stands, not only adding cost, but also requiring floor space. Their low-frequency extension is limited, so they require a subwoofer or two, as I used for one of my review systems. This isn’t a big issue, as anyone buying a home theater speaker system should be planning on a subwoofer as well. Subwoofer integration can be problematic. Time, trial and error, as well as some experience, helped me find the best set-up for my rather odd large room, but depending on your experience, you might require professional help in this area. Any authorized Sunfire dealer can get you to the audio promised land with a trip to your house and a few professional tweaks.
The Sunfire Cinema Ribbon speakers diffuse high frequencies widely to the left and right, but need to be placed near ear level to maximize the high-frequency extension they offer. This could pose problems if your speakers must be placed at specific heights, or possibly if you have a large difference in the heights of the people in your home.
I really enjoyed my time with these amazing little speakers. I was pleasantly surprised to find no matter where I placed the CRM-2s, they gave an open and wide soundstage. The sound pressure levels obtainable by them are just insane. They are smooth and accurate and, while they can handle 400 watts per channel, they sounded excellent being fed the 130 watts my Denon receiver output as well, being able to reach ear-splitting levels with ease even from a receiver. They can reproduce wide swings in dynamics and give a smooth midrange and highs not often found for their price. I have bought a lot of high-end audio gear and can truly say that none of it came packed as well as the Sunfire XT Cinema Ribbon speakers, which were packed like the fine gems they are. Their fit and finish is truly first-rate.
When using the CRM-2s for all five speakers, the transitions were as perfect as can be imagined. I am often criticized for recommending the same front and rear speakers in a home theater; my experience with the Cinema Ribbons might have me recommending the same speakers for every channel, as the transitions with five of the CRM-2s in both systems were simply perfect. I found the CRM-2C to be an excellent match for the CRM-2s, but preferred the CRM-2 as a center, as it offered a slightly more open sound. The difference with the CRM-2C center channel wasn’t huge, though, so if your situation requires such a speaker, don’t fret, it does the job well.
Moving the system into my bedroom as I described, I expected a significant drop in sonics, but was surprised to find almost none. I still had the smooth midrange and highs this system afforded me. Using only one of the True Subwoofer Super Juniors in this smaller room still gave me excellent bass response, though the sub was slightly taxed at very high listening levels. Had I used both subs, I would have had no problems.
Bob Carver set out to make a small or, in this case, miniscule speaker capable of sounding like full-sized floor-standers, and I believe he has done this admirably. When properly integrated with a subwoofer, these little gems give full-sized sound at a fraction of the physical dimensions. Carver is famous for thinking outside the box and getting huge performance from tiny pieces of gear. Well, Mr. Carver, you have done it again!