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Sunfire True Subwoofer Signature Subwoofer Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 August 1998
Sunfire Signature Subwoofer
Image The Sunfire Signature Subwoofer is the big brother to the trend-setting Sunfire True Subwoofer. The Signature Subwoofer is just a few inches larger than the tiny True subwoofer and is powered by the same 2700 watt amplifier. The Signature Sub is designed with two proprietary 10 inch woofers to reproduce low frequency content from 16 to 100 Hz. The new Signature woofer is priced at $1895 and is currently shipping to dealers.

Does Size Matter?
The Sunfire Signature Subwoofer is by no means a large sub, however its bass is awe-inspiring. So in this case, a little more size does matter. With the True Sub, under extreme conditions, you could bottom out the drivers. I have two True Subwoofers (MK II) in my theater system and can count on one hand how many times I have heard the woofers reach their end. But with Bob Carver's new design, it is even more difficult to find the end of the Signature Subwoofer's low frequency performance.

The Sunfire Signature Sub in a High End Music System
I used the Sunfire Signature Subwoofers in my reference music system fed by a Mark Levinson No. 380s preamp and EQed by a Z-Systems RDP-1. My loudspeakers are Wilson Watt Puppy System 5.1s which provide excellent bass down to around 33 Hz. I tried all sorts of placements and angles to ascertain where the best position was for the Signature subs, but it wasn't until I recruited Bob Hodas, a highly respected professional acoustician, to analyze my room, that I found the ideal spot for my woofers. While playing the Sunfire Subs along with my Wilson Puppies, Bob--using his SIMS computer--was able to measure the phase shift and room anomalies found in my room. He used all four bands of EQ on my Z-Systems RDP-1 to make my system come to life; it made all of the difference in the world. The bass tightened up at least 25 percent. This is not to suggest that you need professional setup to enjoy Sunfire woofers, but do pay careful attention to placement as both phase and placement make a huge difference in any loudspeaker system's performance.
The Listening Test
On Prince's "7" from the Symbol album (Warner Bros.) the low end on the acoustic drum was noticeably deeper than the already devastatingly deep bass I normally hear on this cut. On "Solar" from Bill Evans' Sunday Night at the Village Vanguard (JVC XRCD) Scott LaFaro's stand up, acoustic bass was pleasantly resonant and rich with overtones, providing the surprising effect of clearing up higher frequencies for a more convincing reproduction of an amazing performance. The closer was "Go Deep" from Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope (Virgin) which reproduced unprecedented bass, to depths never before heard in my room. On this cut the low end was never bloated or boomy as you would expect at a night club. The low end was taut and always in control.

The Downside
To pick fault with the Signature Sub, I would have to look at the absence of appropriate spikes and the lack of a more glossy finish. Yet, for $1895 one would be asking a lot to find a fit and finish at the level of say a Wilson WHOW ($11,000).

The Sunfire True Subwoofer was named The Audio Revolution Product Of The Year for 1997 and the Signature woofer is a significant improvement on an industry leading product. With a performance in the class of loudspeakers costing ten times its price, the Signature Sub is truly an exceptional, and remarkable, high end value.

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