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Sunfire True Subwoofer MK-II Subwoofer  Print E-mail
Home Theater Loudspeakers Subwoofers
Written by Kim Wilson   
Thursday, 01 January 1998

Sunfire Background
Bob Carver, the man behind the success of Phase Linear and Carver Corporation is the mastermind behind this subwoofer-that-could. The son of an engineer and concert pianist, Bob Carver was predestined to become one of the major pioneers of the high end audio industry. He introduced the legendary solid-state Phase Linear 700 amplifier in the mid-seventies, one of the first truly high powered consumer amplifiers.

Sunfire Corporation was founded in 1994, Carver's third company, and once again he is breaking new ground. The first product off the blocks was the Sunfire amplifier, which followed in the Carver tradition of big power. The distinctive technical aspect of the Sunfire amplifier is its tracking down converter, or tracking power supply, which monitors the signal, and supplies the necessary power to the output devices as demanded by the signal. According to Carver this design allows the amplifier to deliver more power and current, efficiently.

Incorporating the tracking down converter, the Sunfire True Subwoofer has the distinction of being the smallest, most powerful subwoofer in the market today.

Sunfire True Subwoofer Design
The Sunfire True Subwoofer is housed in an 11" cube, powered by a built-in 2,700 watt amplifier with two 8" drivers on either side of the enclosure. It is rated flat down to 18 Hz, reproducing ultra low bass frequencies at 110 dB SPL.

To have deep bass and lot's of it, you must move a tremendous amount of air. Air movement is measured in cubic inches. The more cubic inches of air that is displaced the more bass you can produce. For wall rattling and floor shaking bass you need to displace at least 135 inches of air. Sunfire's push-pull design allows the Sunfire True Subwoofer to displace 251 cubic inches of air! For comparison, your average fifteen inch woofer only displaces 66 cubic inches of air. The dual driver design also cancels the internal forces of such a powerful amp, preventing it from hopping around the room.

If you want all the details on how the Sunfire True Subwoofer achieves what seems to be the impossible at first glance, take a look at their white paper which can be found at http://www.sunfire.com.

The Sunfire crossover is variable from 40 Hz to 120 Hz with a slope of 36 dB per octave. There is an input level control with continuously adjustable phase and a passive 70 Hz, 6 dB per octave hi-pass line level output for satellite loudspeakers. The input coupling is optical and accepts standard and high level inputs.

Listening Test
Deep solid bass in today's blockbuster movie soundtracks is essential. While there are plenty of subwoofers out there, few are capable of performing like Sunfire's True Subwoofer. Rated at 2,700 watts the Sunfire's can deliver all the way down to 18 Hz!

You want, bone crushing, heart stopping, IMPACT? Than the Sunfire True Subwoofer is for you. During the key sequence at the top of GoldenEye, a lone gunman fires on Bond, and you can feel the vibration of the bullet's release from his weapon. In the following car chase sequence, these subs add some serious bite to the spirited, hip-hop style soundtrack. It's like having movie theater quality and depth with these two Sunfires in my system. Music cues are more dramatic, explosions rattle the floorboards and every little jolt or small noise is clearly, cleanly and naturally heard... and felt.

Listening to music with these Sunfire's is a real joy. On Paula Cole's Tiger from This Fire the extreme low bass tones on this track are reproduced without distortion and the attack of each note is easily and remarkably distinguishable.

Dance clubs would sound a whole lot better with a few of these Sunfires. They can accurately deliver articulate and precise timing of fast tempo mid-bass keyboards common to dance and hip-hop tracks. If you thought dance/pop tracks have just this dull roar down at the low end you'll be surprised and exhilarated by the precision triplets on Electronic's Second Nature from their last CD Raise the Pressure.

If you want to ROCK, put on the less popular track, Ruins, from Melissa Etheridge's Yes I Am CD and Crank it!!! It will never distort, crackle or get muddy at the low end. Drums have that live shotgun blast sound, that hits you right in the stomach and kick you know what.

For those of you who prefer the subtle to the raucous, the combination acoustic and electric guitars on Acoustic Alchemy's upbeat and fast-paced Casino from Arcanum pop with presence and depth. The bass guitar is up front, each note distinct and articulate throughout the entire frequency range of the instrument. Mid-bass is plucky and powerful. Bass notes on Tori Amos' piano in Cornflake Girl from Under the Pink, have that nice long sustain, for a very live and natural tone.

Are you getting my point, yet? Yes, I love these Sunfires and I recommend them highly. No matter what kind of music or movie you enjoy, you'll appreciate it that much more with a Sunfire sub (or two) in your system.

A couple words of advice, set the input level on the back panel on a low setting and turn it up gradually as you start testing it in your system. A little signal goes a long way with these subs. Second, I hope you have a familiarity of subs and how they are patched into a system because the owner's manual doesn't provide any detailed hook-up diagrams or explanations on the various ways a subwoofer can be interfaced into either a stereo or multi-channel sound system.

Publisher's Note:
It is easy to forget how small this sub is when auditioning it. The Sunfire Sub is significant to the world of audio and theater in that it brings low bass to rooms where you physically can not fit a pair of 18 inch monster subs. And for $1250.00 each (US dollars) bravo Sunfire!
-- Jerry Del Colliano
Manufacturer Sunfire
Model True Subwoofer MK-II Subwoofer
Reviewer Kim Wilson





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