Sunfire TGA-7401 user review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-06-2010, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, watched Avatar and listened to a couple good multi-channel SACD's on my new Sunfire TGA-7401. There are very few reviews on this amp, professionally or in this forum, so I thought I would post my impressions. As well, I got a lot of mixed feedback when talking to audiophiles regarding Sunfire amps, particularly in combination with my speakers - Paradigm Signatures. Love/hate relationship for many with Sunfire amps it seems. So I was hesitant to make the leap since it was a non-returnable special order from my dealer. But I am SO glad I did since I am 100% satisfied.

First, this amp is dead SILENT. I had to return an outlaw 200x7 amp I had in the past because it had hum issues. My Onkyo 875 receiver is dead silent and that is what I want from any amp I put in my system. Music simply comes out of silence at all volumes, awesome. I don't think I can stress how much that means to immersion when listening in a VERY quiet environment. It runs fairly cool, but got pretty warm to the touch after several hours of Avatar at reference volume. It is, however, in a small space with no side clearance, about an inch clearance across the top, and closed in the back aside from a slit in the bottom for the cables. I don't believe there is another class AB amp on the planet that could survive there. Even so, I plan on adding some vent holes to the back to give it at least some ventilation.

All I will say is there is nothing like amplifier headroom My speakers are finally at their full potential. I can drive my speakers into audible distress with this amp, but of course I immediately back off. I have a little learning curve before I figure out what my speakers can handle without distress. It is, however, a different stress than what I heard from my receiver. With the receiver, the speakers got harsh from distortion long before my speakers were at their limits. With this amp the sound is absolutely smooth, right up until my speakers cry uncle. Avatar at reference volume was just awesome! My Onkyo 875 simply could not deliver those kinds of dynamics. I attribute this to the headroom of the amp. I have very revealing speakers and Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon sacd 5.1 mix blew me away. The soundstage is awesome and the clarity is incredible. By far the best I've ever heard it. I liked that sacd before, but until now I was not blown away by it. Lets just say I'll be listening to that one more often now.

I'm of the camp that believes that amongst quality built amps, they will all basically sound the same when not driven to clipping. So avoidance of clipping is the holy grail I seek. For my speakers, I think a found the holy grail. I rate this amp as exceptional.

400x7 class AB channels in a compact enclosure. Reasonably priced. Quiet. Excellent dynamic headroom....I'm a very happy camper.

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post #2 of 19 Old 06-06-2010, 11:43 PM
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Nicley put,i agree,I've never been impressed as i am with the 7401,I hear they also start sounding better with time.Glad to hear you like it.
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-07-2010, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post

400x7 class AB channels in a compact enclosure.

From my understanding they are a class H amp and not a true AB.
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post #4 of 19 Old 06-07-2010, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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You are correct. The output stage is, however, class AB and so will produce AB type output. It is the swithed mode power supply that classifies it as a class H, which has the effect of increasing THD compared to a traditional AB design.

It is IMHO that this increase in THD, in this amp, is inaudible. At least to my ears.

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post #5 of 19 Old 06-07-2010, 07:46 AM
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Have you tried the current vs. voltage sources? Just curious if you notice a difference and what you like better.
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-07-2010, 07:54 AM
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-07-2010, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patgilm View Post

Have you tried the current vs. voltage sources? Just curious if you notice a difference and what you like better.

Not yet. I'm Going to wait a bit to try current source until I've spent some time with the amp. I'm still "exploring" the voltage outputs

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post #8 of 19 Old 06-08-2010, 06:10 AM
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I bi-wired my speakers with the current source going to the highs,and the bottom end wired to the voltage.the highs are a little silkier and less harshness overall.I originaly had the voltage wired to the whole speaker and the presence of the highs were alot more noticeable,and a little harsher.also had the whole speaker wired to the current source and liked the sound of that.I'm going back to that hook up since the amp has more than enough power to deal with the loss on the current output.
The current source is supposed to sound great with a ribbon speaker and i'm curious to try a set.I know the question was directed to Goodoc,just thought i would chime in.
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-08-2010, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting Barry. Having thought about it, I don't think I'm interested in intentionally changing the amplified signal. I bought my speakers because they are exceptionally flat (at least down to 70Hz or so) and I want as accurate a representation of the source as possible. The current source outputs just seems a bit antithetical to that goal. I will likely eventually hook it up just to hear how it sounds, but I won't keep it that way. I'm not a fan of "adjusting to taste", I just want as close as I can get to faithful reproduction although I know that is not entirely possible. I'm curious, what speakers do you have? Are they a horn speaker?

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post #10 of 19 Old 06-08-2010, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patgilm View Post

From my understanding they are a class H amp and not a true AB.

A class H amplifier is like a class B amplifier, but with a variable voltage supply (which you probably know, but I am clarifying the situation.)

Nice thing about the class H, is it's efficiency, and probably why it runs so cool.

From the explanation of the amp's placement though, I think more ventilation is a good idea.

If I had the money, I would not mind a Sunfire amp. I like the concept.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #11 of 19 Old 06-08-2010, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

A class H amplifier is like a class B amplifier, but with a variable voltage supply (which you probably know, but I am clarifying the situation.)

Nice thing about the class H, is it's efficiency, and probably why it runs so cool.

From the explanation of the amp's placement though, I think more ventilation is a good idea..

I agree and I've already opened up the entire back of the cabinet the amp is in. The amp is described as having "virtually no heat production". It's close, but not entirely without heat production. But considered it is pushing up to 400W into 7 channels it is, quite simply, a remarkable design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

If I had the money, I would not mind a Sunfire amp. I like the concept.

I initially thought sunfire amps were digital and when I first realized it was AB and learned of the Downtracker power supply I immediately thought it was gimmicky. Once I educated myself on the design I realized it was ingenious and a legitimate major advancement in amplifier tech. IMO at least. I marvel at the fact that 400Wx7 channels are stuffed into a remarkably small -unvented- enclosure. I didn't appreciate how small this amp was until I actually handled it, I mean it's only a bit more than half as tall as my 875 - a receiver I know you're pretty familiar with.

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post #12 of 19 Old 06-08-2010, 09:06 PM
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Class D also seems like a good way to implement a high power cool running amp.

I wish someone would make a 5x200 watt class D amp for $600 or so. I would buy it.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #13 of 19 Old 06-09-2010, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I looked very hard at class D amps prior to my purchase and although most all user reports they are outstanding amps, I still am not crazy about the current design limitations, at least as far as I understand them, particularly the measured roll-off of upper frequencies. As far as I can tell this limitation is apparently not audible to most people, so it is more superstition on my part than something I would likely hear. But all amps have their particular design issues. I suspect I would have been very satisfied with one of the ICE module amps I was looking at. I think at $600.00 for 200Wx5 the Class D amps would be in short supply due to demand

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post #14 of 19 Old 06-09-2010, 06:12 AM
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I have Polk audio Lsi 15's as the mains,Lsi 9's as the surrounds,2 Sunfire hrs 12's as subs.I found the highs very bright with the 15's.I am very happy with the 9s they have a different tone than the towers.If you have any opinions on the fronts i would gladly check them out.You seem to have a solid direction on what is good,and you views would be valued.Thanks.
Ps. when you try the current source i wouldn't mind your views on the sound of it,I find it to be a very subtle and smooth change.
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post #15 of 19 Old 06-09-2010, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Speakers are one of those things that you just have to listen to make a choice. When I was in the market for a speaker I first looked at good reviews that actually measure the speakers response to make sure it measures very flat, and then I went to listen. I've never heard the Polk's, but one person's "bright" is another person's "perfection". By far, speakers are the largest variable to the sound of your system and, IMO, need to be listened to if you want to make a good decision.

And I would be remiss if I didn't point out that your polks likely sound "bright" due to room acoustics, an area that most folks ignore completely. Room acoustics probably account for at least 50% of the sound you're hearing from your speakers. Do you have a room correction system on your receiver? This can help tremendously to tame the room acoustics in lieu of physical traps and absorbers. If it is a room issue causing the Polk's to sound "bright", there is a good chance most speakers will sound bright when placed into your room.

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post #16 of 19 Old 05-28-2012, 01:16 AM
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I just bought the new Sunfire tga 7401 a few days ago. I use my Onkyo TX-NR 3007 as a preamp that connected to this sunfire 7401 via RCA. However, the Automatic Turn-On position doesn't get a signal or turn on the amp. I have to turn the switch to On position to get the signal get through to fire up the speakers.
I did the same wired to my old Sunfire cinema grand, and it is work fine. It is automatic turn on/ off when it get a signal from the onkyo.
So, I wonder it is normal to a new Tga 7401, or there is something wrong to the Automatic Turn-On control ?
Thanks for some advice.
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post #17 of 19 Old 12-11-2012, 09:42 AM
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Just to resurrect this thread -- one of my measures on amplifier quality is its weight. And I do not trust an 400W x 7 amplifier which only weighs 50 pounds like the Sunfire TGA 7401 even if it is a class H amp and runs cooler.
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post #18 of 19 Old 02-06-2013, 10:57 AM
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BKDC,

I, like yourself always felt the same way. A heavy amp denoted quality parts. Large heat sinks, premium transformer/s, lots of big electrolytic capacitors meant lots of current with deep endless bass etc. etc. etc. And, if the designer went to the trouble of using premium parts, that 75-100 pound amplifier was typically designed correctly. I know the high end had a good chance of being sweet and smooth, with a great sound stage etc. I was from a generation where the name Carver meant crummy cheap solid state sound, period. I used to sell "Magic Bricks" to place on the top of Carver Magnetic Field amps to help smooth out the top end. But let me tell you, that was then and this is now. Bob, (one of the last great geniuses in the industry) figured our why his designs sounded like poop and made the necessary corrections to his designs and I will tell you, his amps sound great. Alas, Bob is no longer working for Sunfire, but his ideas live on and his designs are massaged and the proof is in the TGA-7401. This 400 x 7 power house is not only a real beast, but it is a great sounding amp that is as green as they come thanks to Bob's power supply technology.

You owe yourself the time to find out more about these products, they may change your mind on how a high end high power amp needs to be designed and work. I have a 7401 in my system and I love the sound not to mention the small impact it has on my electric bill!

Regards,

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post #19 of 19 Old 02-06-2013, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdc View Post

Just to resurrect this thread -- one of my measures on amplifier quality is its weight. And I do not trust an 400W x 7 amplifier which only weighs 50 pounds like the Sunfire TGA 7401 even if it is a class H amp and runs cooler.

So if they melted an anvil and poured it into the base, you would love it smile.gif

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