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Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II Architectural Multi-channel Power Amplifier Print E-mail
Monday, 01 July 2002
Article Index
Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II Architectural Multi-channel Power Amplifier
Page 2

The Downside
Despite design changes to make the amp more quiet relative to a signal to noise ratio, I still find the Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II to be noisy in comparison to amps that don't employ the Tracking Downconverter concept. If you want the power and the finesse at this price without the heat in a small package, you have to sacrifice something and that compromise is a tiny fraction more noise than you will hear on a Proceed AMP5 or other amps in the Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II’s class. For home theater applications, I don’t think this amount of noise is much of an issue, but for extremely critical musical listening, especially on more sparse productions like some jazz and small-scale classical albums, audiophiles might object to the ever-so-slight hiss.

In an industry where there haven’t been too many innovations in the past 50 years, Bob Carver is still coming up with unique solutions to age-old design problems. He reinvented the subwoofer and his Tracking Downconverter amp design now allows music or movie enthusiasts the ability to get tremendous power from a two-rack, high-power amp without excessive heat and/or a ridiculous cost. The laid-back, tube-like sound of the Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II will appeal to those who are looking for an amp that is musical, engaging and fun. If you are looking for an uptight, serious audiophile amp, look elsewhere.

For the price, the Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II is a serious contender even for systems with the most demanding speakers. For those with smaller systems or speakers with greater efficiency, try out a Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II for the effect of having a hugely powerful amp, even when you don’t always need the power. The result is the kind of increased finesse and control that you will never hear from a receiver or a moderately-priced home theater amp. Unless you can buck up for super-high-end power amps from the likes of Mark Levinson and Krell for all five channels, you might want to audition a Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II. Even if you already have a bad-boy stereo power amp, you may find that the Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II is a suitable amplifier to use for center, rear and side channel applications in conjunction with a monster stereo amp. With its rack-mountability, you can hide it out of the way in a system where it isn’t playing the starring role. One way or another, the Sunfire Cinema Grand Series II is one hell of an amp for value and performance.

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