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Sunfire Cinema Grand Review (5-channel Amp)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 101 59.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 56 32.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 10 5.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 4 2.3%

  • Total voters
    171

Ra1zel

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You don’t even seam to understand what the absolute noise output of this amp is.
How mush noise is this is this amplifier generate? In absolute therms.

And how dose this masking works in your mind. if one (frequency/noise?) is louder you won't here anything else?
I would assume noise adds up... room noise+ amplifier noise is more then just room noise no matter how low the amplifier noise is.
When you add 3 apples to 30 000 apples, can you notice the change by eye?
 

Spkrdctr

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When you add 3 apples to 30 000 apples, can you notice the change by eye?
No, not unless one of the apples is a bad apple. Then the whole 30,000 apples are bad. So, don't let one bad apple spoil them all. Wisdom for the ages.....
 

mdsimon2

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You don’t even seam to understand what the absolute noise output of this amp is.
How mush noise is this is this amplifier generate? In absolute therms.

And how dose this masking works in your mind. if one (frequency/noise?) is louder you won't here anything else?
I would assume noise adds up... room noise+ amplifier noise is more then just room noise no matter how low the amplifier noise is.

To be honest I was initially on your side of the debate but ran a listening test for this specific case and I really don't think it is that audible.

For reference listening chain is Okto dac8 pro in to a Hypex NC252MP, so pretty low noise and I've measured the amplifier output in the past and have no appreciable mains hum. Speakers are LX minis with Dayton RSS315HFA subs.

For the test I treated the signal as a 60 Hz fundamental with harmonics added. First I determined the level of the fundamental to mimic -80 dB at 5 W in to 4 ohm and what I needed to send from my DAC to get this fundamental at the amplifier output.

fundamental at amp output = sqrt (4x5) x 10^(-80/20) = 0.0004472V = 447.2 uV

Amplifier gain is 25.6 dB, converting to DAC output level

fundamental at DAC output = 447.2 x 10^(-25.6/20) = 23.5 uV

I used REW and first tried playing a 60 Hz tone at 23.5 uV and could not hear it at all. I then added harmonics (2-9) at 0 dB from the fundamental and that was clearly audible right next to the speaker and very faintly audible at my listening position. I then tried -5 dB harmonics and this was again audible at the speaker but not audible at the listening position. And finally at -10 dB harmonics it was just barely audible with my ear right next to the speaker.

So for me the conclusion is that mains hum is not particularly audible at this level, harmonics certainly add to audibility but aren't particularly annoying. I contrast this with playing 20-20K white noise at 23.5 uV which is clearly audible and annoying due to tweeter hiss.

Michael
 

pseudoid

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I contrast this with playing 20-20K white noise at 23.5 uV which is clearly audible and annoying due to tweeter hiss.
I am a bit confused about the selection of "white noise".
I am also a bit confused about the levels obtained by measuring 23.5uV.
Was there any use of bandwidth limiting, while such measurements were made and then induced?
White noise (re: pink noise) being equal-energy (power; not just voltage) thru out the frequency spectrum, including in-band and/or beyond the 20kHz audio frequencies.
If I am not totally confused; IMD measurements are evaluating performance of two pure sinewaves and measuring the beat frequency signal results.
This white noise measurement appears to be a wallop of a mixed-signal beyond just 2 sinewaves.
 

pseudoid

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You might want to read the post over again,
Ditto.
My request for clarification (my Qs) still stands about your last sentence whether it occurred yesterday or yesteryear.
10q
 

mdsimon2

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Ditto.
My request for clarification (my Qs) still stands about your last sentence whether it occurred yesterday or yesteryear.
10q

You only asked one question (bandwidth) which was answered in my post. But since you want to do it like this...

I am a bit confused about the selection of "white noise".

Is this a question? I did not select "white noise". The source for this test was REW's signal generator, at the DAC output I played a 60 Hz tone at 23.5 uVrms. Later I added harmonics to simulate the harmonics shown in the dashboard measurement.

I am also a bit confused about the levels obtained by measuring 23.5uV.

Is this a question? As mentioned above I started with a 60 Hz tone at 23.5 uVrms at the DAC output. After amplifier gain this becomes 23.5 uV x 10^(25.6/20) = 447 uVrms at the amplifier which matches the -80 dB level of the 60 Hz hum shown in the 5 W dashboard measurement.

Was there any use of bandwidth limiting, while such measurements were made and then induced?

I assume this is referring to the white noise comment at the end of my post. For reference in the past I've done similar listening tests to assess the audibility of DAC residual noise. Bandwidth for these tests was 20-20K as mentioned in my original post, REW is able to report integrated noise over a specified bandwidth.

I've done two types of tests, 1) measure integrated residual noise over audible bandwidth at amplifier outputs for a variety of DACs and listen to see if it is audible and 2) fine tune the audibility threshold by taking a low noise DAC and adding white noise in REW's signal generated (which can bandwidth limit the noise so that it is easy to dial in). I used white noise for this fine tuning effort as within the audible band DAC residual noise more closely resembles white noise than pink noise (although there usually is a small amount of amplitude increase at lower frequencies but nowhere close to what you see with pink noise).

For reference a miniDSP 2X4HD has residual noise of about 20.5 uV (20-20K) and is frequently criticized for tweeter hiss.

If I am not totally confused; IMD measurements are evaluating performance of two pure sinewaves and measuring the beat frequency signal results. This white noise measurement appears to be a wallop of a mixed-signal beyond just 2 sinewaves.

Is this a question? As stated above REW is measuring integrated noise over a specified bandwidth.

Michael
 
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Cougar

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Wanted to share what I found out today with my Sunfire Theater Grand Processor Preamp (series1) that I picked up a while back for my home theater setup and when I opened it up. There are quality parts inside Audio grade Elna and Panasonic FC caps. Also all the Brown caps are Elna as well. Beefy looking Power Transformer. So Carver did use good parts. I just wish the Sunfire Cinema Grand 5 Channel amp could have been opened up to take a look inside.

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CDMC

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I ran a Sunfire Stereo for nearly 20 years and it was a great match for multiple sets of large Magnepans. Tons of power and reasonably clean. Like others, I never found the current outputs to be to my liking, just made the speakers sound dead. Likewise, the meter was pretty, but it never moved or did anything useful. I ultimately sold it and moved on to Class D, smaller, has a power switch, and much cleaner.

The Audio Critic did test the Stereo or Stereo signature. It met the power output, including being able double in power down to 1 ohm at which time their test bench went haywire. I recall the SN ratio was not much better than what Amir measured.

Edit: Found the review: https://www.biline.ca/audio_critic/mags/The_Audio_Critic_23_r.pdf

Starts at page 25. There is a commentary about Bob Carver not caring about low distortion,
 
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KEFCarver

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Cool. Please post a link when it's off the ground. Assholes and trolls abound on YouTube and it's frustrating.
OK, I have started my Channel. Sorry for being me being boring, but it will get better, just taken me a while to do it. It is just shy of 10min. I am hoping just to make my hobby more fun by engaging with others:

 

JayGilb

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OK, I have started my Channel. Sorry for being me being boring, but it will get better, just taken me a while to do it. It is just shy of 10min. I am hoping just to make my hobby more fun by engaging with others:

Great first video. I liked your presentation and enjoyed your information break down on the Nikko integrated amp.
 

KEFCarver

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Thanks kindly for the encouragement. I had though about a website, but it is easier to have more interactions on youtube, plus I have not set up a website. I am putting together material for my next video already :facepalm:
 

KEFCarver

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Wanted to share what I found out today with my Sunfire Theater Grand Processor Preamp (series1) that I picked up a while back for my home theater setup and when I opened it up. There are quality parts inside Audio grade Elna and Panasonic FC caps. Also all the Brown caps are Elna as well. Beefy looking Power Transformer. So Carver did use good parts. I just wish the Sunfire Cinema Grand 5 Channel amp could have been opened up to take a look inside.

View attachment 189636View attachment 189637View attachment 189638View attachment 189639
I like that they put some sort of thread locking material (paint?) over the fasteners!
 

dartinbout

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I've 2 of the Cinema Grande 5\2002 I use for various bi-amp "recipes". I also just ordered a

Nord Three 1ET400A ST Stereo Amplifier. It seemed a cost effective way to compare and contrast but ends of the ASR Sinad "rainbow". I have no testing equipment beyond 3 different DAC. I promise nothing but subjective blarney and sophomoric EMO poetry in my descriptions of my experience

 

Spkrdctr

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Yes, an objective chart like that deserves some objective explanation of why the left is better than the right. At what point do veils come off?
I think the veils come off differently for each person. So, depending on your wallet thickness, you can have the veils off earlier or later. If you are really an audiophile, you just go into debt until you wake mornings in a sweat wondering how long you have till bankruptcy, then you know all the veils are off for sure.
 

Cougar

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I think the veils come off differently for each person. So, depending on your wallet thickness, you can have the veils off earlier or later. If you are really an audiophile, you just go into debt until you wake mornings in a sweat wondering how long you have till bankruptcy, then you know all the veils are off for sure.
When I was younger and less experienced in "Hi End" audio, I was going down this rabbit hole thinking the more it cost the better it was...wel up to a point maybe. I originally started out with Kenwood KA-801 integrated amp, Technics SL-1600MKII turntable, and Altec Model 9 series 2 speakers. I then heard a very nice sounding SAE system, so I bought a SAE integrated amp the A140. I enjoyed it for a few yes and then step up to SUMO Athena Preamp and Andromeda Power amp III. I really enjoyed this system until I noticed that at times on certain bass heavy note the amp would hit its limits. Looking back, I should have just upgraded the power supply capacitors to some slight bigger in value and this probably would have taken care of the running out of gas part.

I then upgrade my speakers to Vandersteen 2ce's and shortly after upgraded to the Vandersteen 3A's. I then started to experiment with different amps and preamps Thanks to my buddy allowing to try gear before I bought. I then got a Sonic Frontier SFL-1 signature which I regret getting rid of til this day. Ran this for a while then tried a Classe Audio CP-50 preamp. Very nicely built preamp and heavy and it was really nice sounding. Still think the SFL-1 was slightly better but I wanted Balanced outputs.

Then I went on a serious merry go round with trying amps. I tried ML, Gamut, Class CA-400, Krell 300i, Classe M700 (They were one of the best sounding monobloc amps I have had in my system) but weighed a ton or I would have kept them really good deal. Then I tried an unknown amp my friend ask to see it was good before he would put it up for sale in his audio store. It was a Edge M8 and when I got it home and put in the system, it was a match made in heaven and my search was over.

Getting back to my point, at that time before I had got the Edge amp. My system's value was up over 20K include all accessories, cables, and stands. I had a dedicated AV system with Paradigm speakers with Sherwood New Castle AV receiver and Sony DVD player. The Big system was hardly being used not due not sound good but just was watching TV more at the time.

So little by little sold off the "Hi End" gear except the Edge M8. Bought some tube gear kits and built my own power amp Latino VTA-120 and working on the Transcendent Sound Masterpiece preamp. As of right now I have Clearfield Continental by Counterpoint. I have a Schitt Audio Saga plus preamp and (Don't laugh) Crown XLS 1502 power amp. I'm really enjoying this setup more than my systems in the past and didn't cost me an arm and a leg. I got the Continental speakers on a very good deal here where I live and that was the key to the whole system. Some knock the Crown XLS amps but I did notice when first put into the system how it wasn't very good sounding and transparent. So I let it run for over 100hr and the sound improved greatly and have left it in my system ever since. I did try it against the VTA-120 even though to my ears the VTA-120 was slightly better in some areas, I really like the Crown better how it handle the music and lower end and have been enjoying this ever since. One thing the Crown does do is show bad records and shines on good recording, doesn't mask or hide anything

Now days, I just enjoy the music!
 

RichB

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Measured power into 8 Ohms is 199 watts, measured power into 4 Ohms 454 watts.
It is load invariant.

To be fair, I would not describe it as without headroom.
There are many A/B amps that have 1.5 power and with 1% headroom still do not reach 2x power.

- Rich
 
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