replacing 10 year old Sunfire Ultimate Receiver - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a ten year old Sunfire Ultimate Receiver but my wife and I are getting tired of the lack of audio/video sync. It doesn't have any HDMI inputs so we have to run the HDMI cables directly to our tv and optical audio cables to the Sunfire. We feel like we are missing out on some of the new tech available. However, the challenge (I think) is finding a new AVR that can power our speakers well(see below). I was thinking of going with the Yamaha A3010 or the Denon 3313CI or should I wait for the Denon 4520CI (as I assume that will carry a bigger power supply)? I tend to use the receiver mostly for movies/Tv but occasionally we use it for listening to music. I am leery of the Onkyo's due to hearing about their recent reliability issues. Any suggestions or thoughts would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Main Floorstanding Polk Rti12,
center Polk Csi6
Surrounds: Polk Rti8'
Surround Back: Polk Fxi5
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post #2 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 04:09 PM
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The easiest thing to do is get a decent receiver with pre outs, and add an outboard amp. This will power your speakers better then any receiver, and the next time you want to upgrade you wont have to deal with this situation, as all you would need is another decent receiver with pre outs.

Refurb Denon 3312

http://www.accessories4less.com/make...specifications

Emotiva XPA3

http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/.../products/xpa3
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post #3 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 04:16 PM
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If you care about audio quality and want an HT receiver, there is only one on the market to get; the Cambridge Audio 650R ($1600). It has unmatched power and sound quality and a list of features that is impressive.

It has a power supply that can put out 1400 watts, more than TWICE the size of almost any other receiver sold for less than $3000. It is the only receiver that has the current capability to adequately power large speakers on the extreme peaks of movie soundtracks and dynamic music.

It is the ONLY receiver rated to deliver 100 watts per channel with all 7 channels driven! Try that with any of the Japanese receivers. They can't, they don't, and they won't! It is also the only receiver I know of that can supply the current peaks your RTi12 speakers will require.

Home Theater magazine did an article about it and said it had the best sound quality of any receiver on the market, and they are right about that! You can find that article on their website.

With any Japanese receiver, you do need to set aside an extra $1000-3000 for an external amplifier, because the pathetic under-engineered power supply in those things is marginal for driving most decent speakers. With the Cambridge 650R, the power is there, built-in at the factory, and you don't ever need to add more.

There IS one other receiver that has power and audio quality almost equal to the Cambridge 650R. That is the NAD T-787. It costs $3999. At only $1600, the 650R is an incredible bargain.




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Originally Posted by TARDIS2008 View Post

I have a ten year old Sunfire Ultimate Receiver but my wife and I are getting tired of the lack of audio/video sync. It doesn't have any HDMI inputs so we have to run the HDMI cables directly to our tv and optical audio cables to the Sunfire. We feel like we are missing out on some of the new tech available. However, the challenge (I think) is finding a new AVR that can power our speakers well(see below). I was thinking of going with the Yamaha A3010 or the Denon 3313CI or should I wait for the Denon 4520CI (as I assume that will carry a bigger power supply)? I tend to use the receiver mostly for movies/Tv but occasionally we use it for listening to music. I am leery of the Onkyo's due to hearing about their recent reliability issues. Any suggestions or thoughts would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Main Floorstanding Polk Rti12,
center Polk Csi6
Surrounds: Polk Rti8'
Surround Back: Polk Fxi5

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post #4 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

If you care about audio quality and want an HT receiver, there is only one on the market to get; the Cambridge Audio 650R ($1600). It has unmatched power and sound quality and a list of features that is impressive.

It has a power supply that can put out 1400 watts, more than TWICE the size of almost any other receiver sold for less than $3000. It is the only receiver that has the current capability to adequately power large speakers on the extreme peaks of movie soundtracks and dynamic music.

It is the ONLY receiver rated to deliver 100 watts per channel with all 7 channels driven! Try that with any of the Japanese receivers. They can't, they don't, and they won't! It is also the only receiver I know of that can supply the current peaks your RTi12 speakers will require.

Home Theater magazine did an article about it and said it had the best sound quality of any receiver on the market, and they are right about that! You can find that article on their website.

With any Japanese receiver, you do need to set aside an extra $1000-3000 for an external amplifier, because the pathetic under-engineered power supply in those things is marginal for driving most decent speakers. With the Cambridge 650R, the power is there, built-in at the factory, and you don't ever need to add more.

There IS one other receiver that has power and audio quality almost equal to the Cambridge 650R. That is the NAD T-787. It costs $3999. At only $1600, the 650R is an incredible bargain.

He would get more power, and more features, for less money with a cheaper receiver and amp combo.
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post #5 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

If you care about audio quality and want an HT receiver, there is only one on the market to get; the Cambridge Audio 650R ($1600). It has unmatched power and sound quality and a list of features that is impressive.

It has a power supply that can put out 1400 watts, more than TWICE the size of almost any other receiver sold for less than $3000. It is the only receiver that has the current capability to adequately power large speakers on the extreme peaks of movie soundtracks and dynamic music.

It is the ONLY receiver rated to deliver 100 watts per channel with all 7 channels driven! Try that with any of the Japanese receivers. They can't, they don't, and they won't! It is also the only receiver I know of that can supply the current peaks your RTi12 speakers will require.

Home Theater magazine did an article about it and said it had the best sound quality of any receiver on the market, and they are right about that! You can find that article on their website.

With any Japanese receiver, you do need to set aside an extra $1000-3000 for an external amplifier, because the pathetic under-engineered power supply in those things is marginal for driving most decent speakers. With the Cambridge 650R, the power is there, built-in at the factory, and you don't ever need to add more.

There IS one other receiver that has power and audio quality almost equal to the Cambridge 650R. That is the NAD T-787. It costs $3999. At only $1600, the 650R is an incredible bargain.

I looked on Amazon but it the HDMI is 1.3. Won't I need 1.4 for 3D to work?
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post #6 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

The easiest thing to do is get a decent receiver with pre outs, and add an outboard amp. This will power your speakers better then any receiver, and the next time you want to upgrade you wont have to deal with this situation, as all you would need is another decent receiver with pre outs.

Refurb Denon 3312

http://www.accessories4less.com/make...specifications

Emotiva XPA3

http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/.../products/xpa3

I have never done that before. Is there a good thread or site about how to hook something like that up?
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post #7 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 05:04 PM
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RCA cable from the receivers pre out to the amp input for each channel. Thats it.
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post #8 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

RCA cable from the receivers pre out to the amp input for each channel. Thats it.

LOL, well I think I can handle that. Thank you
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post #9 of 31 Old 06-03-2012, 06:00 PM
 
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Wasn't that Ultimate Receiver something like 200 wpc? The anemic amp sections in todays avrs are going to leave you cold. You really need a separate amp to drive all channels in my opinion.

You could get a 5 channel and a 2 channel amp from Emotiva. Another option would be a 7 channel amp from Outlaw Audio, the 7200. Both are internet direct companies that give good bang for buck. A retail 7 channel amp with about 200 wpc will otherwise run you 3000 or more.

Denon as a receiver choice is solid, you will find the room correction software feature to be quite impressive.
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post #10 of 31 Old 06-04-2012, 03:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

Wasn't that Ultimate Receiver something like 200 wpc? The anemic amp sections in todays avrs are going to leave you cold. You really need a separate amp to drive all channels in my opinion.

You could get a 5 channel and a 2 channel amp from Emotiva. Another option would be a 7 channel amp from Outlaw Audio, the 7200. Both are internet direct companies that give good bang for buck. A retail 7 channel amp with about 200 wpc will otherwise run you 3000 or more.

Denon as a receiver choice is solid, you will find the room correction software feature to be quite impressive.

Yes, the Sunfire Receiver does 200 WPC @ 8 ohms and 400 WPC @ 4 ohms. I guess now my thread will be turning to which Amp I should purchase. I was looking at the Outlaw Audio and what is the difference between the 7200 and 7700? I know that 7700 adds the word "balanced" in the name of the product but I don't know what that means.

Also, since I am used to Sunfire, would the Sunfire Grand Amplifier - TGA-7401 be a good choice?
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post #11 of 31 Old 06-04-2012, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TARDIS2008 View Post

Also, since I am used to Sunfire, would the Sunfire Grand Amplifier - TGA-7401 be a good choice?

I'm very happy with mine. Quiet, runs cool, and is the smallest footprint for a fanless 400x7 amp I've ever seen.

JTR Noesis 212HT x 3 (LCR) powered by Lab Gruppen 10000Q amp
CHT SHO-10 x 4 (sides and rear) powered by Denon 4311
JTR S2 x 2
CHT 18.1 x2
Oppo BDP103D bluray player/Sonos/PS3
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post #12 of 31 Old 06-04-2012, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TARDIS2008 View Post

I have a ten year old Sunfire Ultimate Receiver but my wife and I are getting tired of the lack of audio/video sync. It doesn't have any HDMI inputs so we have to run the HDMI cables directly to our tv and optical audio cables to the Sunfire. We feel like we are missing out on some of the new tech available. However, the challenge (I think) is finding a new AVR that can power our speakers well(see below). I was thinking of going with the Yamaha A3010 or the Denon 3313CI or should I wait for the Denon 4520CI (as I assume that will carry a bigger power supply)? I tend to use the receiver mostly for movies/Tv but occasionally we use it for listening to music. I am leery of the Onkyo's due to hearing about their recent reliability issues. Any suggestions or thoughts would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Main Floorstanding Polk Rti12,
center Polk Csi6
Surrounds: Polk Rti8'
Surround Back: Polk Fxi5

What are you having sync issues with? I would just get a blu-ray that offers multi-channel analog inputs, go multi-channel direct into the amp for the best signal path and then you will be able to get all the new hi-res audio from blu-ray. With the HDMI direct to the TV, this is all you'd be missing...?

Seems to be the most cost-effective solution unless you just want a newer piece to run everything with HDMI or room correction/EQ etc.

B.
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post #13 of 31 Old 06-04-2012, 02:30 PM
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I don't think you've mentioned your budget. $2K? $5K? More?

If you can find one at a decent price, a Denon 4311ci might be appropriate. Use its preamp outputs to drive amps if you find that necessary. (I'm guessing you wouldn't.) It includes HDMI 1.4a support for 3D, etc. The 4520 isn't even expected to be announced until this fall, so delivery before Christmas seems unlikely.

The next step up from the 4311 probably would be the Integra DTC 80.3 + external amps.

Cambridge equipment does not yet provide any room equalization, which is another strike against it. Multi-channel analog connections also prevent room equalization, since no cost-effective AVR digitizes those inputs.

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post #14 of 31 Old 06-04-2012, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

I don't think you've mentioned your budget. $2K? $5K? More?

If you can find one at a decent price, a Denon 4311ci might be appropriate. Use its preamp outputs to drive amps if you find that necessary. (I'm guessing you wouldn't.) It includes HDMI 1.4a support for 3D, etc. The 4520 isn't even expected to be announced until this fall, so delivery before Christmas seems unlikely.

The next step up from the 4311 probably would be the Integra DTC 80.3 + external amps.

Cambridge equipment does not yet provide any room equalization, which is another strike against it. Multi-channel analog connections also prevent room equalization, since no cost-effective AVR digitizes those inputs.

I am probably looking around $2500 max for a budget. To make sure I understand you, you are saying that the Denon would be ample enough by itself to power my speakers?

I have a Panasonic blu ray player with multi channel out but I actual prefer the sound via optical cable to the Sunfire over the multi channel connections.
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post #15 of 31 Old 06-04-2012, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post

I'm very happy with mine. Quiet, runs cool, and is the smallest footprint for a fanless 400x7 amp I've ever seen.

Are there any authorized online dealers for Sunfire amps?
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post #16 of 31 Old 06-05-2012, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TARDIS2008 View Post

I am probably looking around $2500 max for a budget. To make sure I understand you, you are saying that the Denon would be ample enough by itself to power my speakers?

Yes: it's essentially their top-of-the-line 9.2 channel AVR, rated at 140W/ch, with a 780Watt power supply. Although it lists at about $2100, authorized dealers often sell it for much less, especially now that the 2012 models are being announced. It has preamp outputs, so (in principle at least) you could even augment its internal amps by the Sunfire's if you decide that's necessary.

Quote:
I have a Panasonic blu ray player with multi channel out but I actual prefer the sound via optical cable to the Sunfire over the multi channel connections.

The 4311 has optical, multichannel analog and HDMI inputs, so you could compare all three if you want.

Selden
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post #17 of 31 Old 06-05-2012, 04:59 AM
 
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But if you consider that he is replacing a Sunfire Ultimate receiver that does 200 wpc all channels driven, and 400 wpc at 4 ohms, the Denon would be a big step down in sound quality. I doubt the denon can do 100 wpc with all channels driven. Still, it or a 3312 would be great for pre-pro duties.

I don't think Sunfire has any on line dealers, they seem to be pretty exclusive these days. As for the earlier question about a comparison between the Outlaw 7200 and 7700, a balanced design might be superior, but many can't tell any difference in their systems.
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post #18 of 31 Old 06-05-2012, 05:21 AM
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Audio quality would only suffer if volume peaks drive the Denon into distortion. Given the high efficiency of the Polks, this seems unlikely to happen. I've never seen a benchtest of the AVR, so I don't know at what levels distortion starts going up, although the levels at which the Sunfire would start distorting obviously would be higher.

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post #19 of 31 Old 06-06-2012, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

But if you consider that he is replacing a Sunfire Ultimate receiver that does 200 wpc all channels driven, and 400 wpc at 4 ohms, the Denon would be a big step down in sound quality. I doubt the denon can do 100 wpc with all channels driven. Still, it or a 3312 would be great for pre-pro duties.


I don't think Sunfire has any on line dealers, they seem to be pretty exclusive these days. As for the earlier question about a comparison between the Outlaw 7200 and 7700, a balanced design might be superior, but many can't tell any difference in their systems.

Agreed, any sub $2000 rec. will be a step down in SQ. But why use a rec. as a pre/pro anyway? Have a look a the B&K ref. 70 or similair pre/pro, coupled with Emotiva or Outlaw amps mentioned would be a great combo.
cheers
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post #20 of 31 Old 06-06-2012, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Htdude14 View Post

Agreed, any sub $2000 rec. will be a step down in SQ. But why use a rec. as a pre/pro anyway? Have a look a the B&K ref. 70 or similair pre/pro, coupled with Emotiva or Outlaw amps mentioned would be a great combo.
cheers

Please forgive my naivety about all of this but what does B&K stand for?
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post #21 of 31 Old 06-06-2012, 03:21 PM
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B&K Components used to be a well known company in the home entertainment market. They were bought out by Amplifier Technologies Incorporated in late 2010. Their Web site claims great plans, but hasn't been updated since then.

See http://www.bkcomp.com/

Selden
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post #22 of 31 Old 06-06-2012, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

If you care about audio quality and want an HT receiver, there is only one on the market to get; the Cambridge Audio 650R ($1600). It has unmatched power and sound quality and a list of features that is impressive.


It has a power supply that can put out 1400 watts, more than TWICE the size of almost any other receiver sold for less than $3000. It is the only receiver that has the current capability to adequately power large speakers on the extreme peaks of movie soundtracks and dynamic music.


It is the ONLY receiver rated to deliver 100 watts per channel with all 7 channels driven! Try that with any of the Japanese receivers. They can't, they don't, and they won't! It is also the only receiver I know of that can supply the current peaks your RTi12 speakers will require.


Home Theater magazine did an article about it and said it had the best sound quality of any receiver on the market, and they are right about that! You can find that article on their website.


With any Japanese receiver, you do need to set aside an extra $1000-3000 for an external amplifier, because the pathetic under-engineered power supply in those things is marginal for driving most decent speakers. With the Cambridge 650R, the power is there, built-in at the factory, and you don't ever need to add more.


There IS one other receiver that has power and audio quality almost equal to the Cambridge 650R. That is the NAD T-787. It costs $3999. At only $1600, the 650R is an incredible bargain.

Man give it up already! The Cambridge is a freaking joke. It has no features, not impressive but basically not hardly any. I think it is a total rip off. Barely any not enough hdmi input etc.
If you haven't heard it then man stop with the hyping it. Its like you just go from the reviews, but of course I don't kow this.
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post #23 of 31 Old 06-06-2012, 07:40 PM
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Refurb Denon 3312

http://www.accessories4less.com/make...specifications
$656.70 brand newwith the GRANDSLAM coupon code from electronics expo
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post #24 of 31 Old 09-07-2012, 12:47 PM
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Jay1, I was told by sunfire support that the ultimate receiver cannot be hooked up to a pre amp. I have the same situation as started this thread where I have Ultimate Receiver and I have a Denon 3313 which I would like to use as pre-amp and control all my audio video. I have a HT setup but also have 2 ohm magneplanars speakers for music of which the denon is not strong enough to drive. What say you on this? Any input or do I bury the Ultimate machine? BTW support said their new machines are strictly amps without pre-amp unlike ultimate Receiver and they work well to hook up to.
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post #25 of 31 Old 09-07-2012, 01:24 PM
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DocMcc,

Did they give any specific reasons for not connecting another receiver's preamp outputs to the Ultimate's preamp inputs?

In principle, I would expect it to work fine, although you would have to be careful to set the Ultimate's volume to a high but fixed value (before running the Denon's Audyssey calibration) and make sure it doesn't get changed after the Denon receiver's Audyssey calibration has been done.

Selden
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post #26 of 31 Old 09-07-2012, 04:16 PM
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OP,
I think the most important feature you should go after in this hunt is Audyssey XT32. With your budget that is certainly attainable. A lot has been made of the amp, but realize the difference between 100 watts and 200 watts is 3db. That is just noticeable as being louder.

Recommend either the Denon 4311 or Onkyo 818 as I believe they are the most value in an XT32 capable receiver today. I have the latter. Both have pre-amp outputs as well. I'd say try the new AVR and if you want more volume then add an AMP. I use an Emotiva XPA-3 across my front three nicer speakers (uniform soundstage up front) and let the AVR drive the rears. The difference with the amp is only noticeable for me at close to reference listening levels and higher (aka very high listening levels).

I too do not understand why you cannot use the Sunfire Ultimate as an amp. If it has the preamp inputs... why wouldn't that work? If you try the AVR first and want to test it out give it a shot. If it's not loud enough and the ultimate won't let you just tap the amps for some strange reason, then look into external amps.

Hope this helps

EDIT: both the 4311 and 818 have threads going in the great found deals section
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post #27 of 31 Old 02-07-2013, 11:01 AM
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I'm in the same situation as the poster. I sent Sunfire an email about using the Ultimate Receiver as strictly an amp and connecting a pre/pro to it over the 8-ch line level inputs. They said it would work fine but that it might be a bit awkward in finding the right volume to set the Sunfire at to achieve the proper signal to noise ratio. It would just take some trial and error.

I'm very much considering this route and matching the Ultimate up with an Integra DHC-40.2. My budget for this stuff isn't what it was when I bought the Sunfire and I hate to downgrade in "sound quality" only because I'm after support for the new HD sound formats. Do I have a valid concern? Or, would I not notice a difference if I went with, say, an Integra DTR-40.3?
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post #28 of 31 Old 07-08-2013, 05:31 AM
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Hello,
I would like to buy a Sunfire ultimate receiver in good condition.
As a reference, last used one from UK was offered for 400 GBP (without remote) and did not sell.

I'm located in Malaga, Spain and would pay with Paypal.
I have good reputation on ebay (user despinosaduran).
Anyone interested in selling a nice one please contact me on despinos(at)yahoo.com

Thanks and regards

david espinosa
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post #29 of 31 Old 11-04-2013, 06:17 PM
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Doc/Tardi,
Did either of you come up with a solution? I also have a Sunfire Ultimate receiver and received a support e-mail from Sunfire also stating that I could buy a receiver with preamp outs that would handle all the switching while using the 200 wt/chan of the Sunfire. So I just ordered the Onkyo TX717 receiver from Crutchfield for only $499. I should have this receiver tomorrow and look forward to getting everything set up.

Thanks,

David V
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post #30 of 31 Old 11-05-2013, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C56spd View Post

Doc/Tardi,
Did either of you come up with a solution? I also have a Sunfire Ultimate receiver and received a support e-mail from Sunfire also stating that I could buy a receiver with preamp outs that would handle all the switching while using the 200 wt/chan of the Sunfire. So I just ordered the Onkyo TX717 receiver from Crutchfield for only $499. I should have this receiver tomorrow and look forward to getting everything set up.

Thanks,

David V

HI David,

I actually have ended up keeping my Sunfire and I purchased a OPPO 103 last year. I began using the legacy outputs and inputs on the OPPO and Sunfire and have been amazed how good it sounded with the "new" surround sound formats. I have been doing some work to my house this year so unless the Sunfire dies on me, I won't be spending any $$ to get a new receiver anytime soon. I would love to hear about your experience with the Onkyo though.

Rich
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