How does the Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature get so much power from a pkg that size? - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 36 Old 07-26-2014, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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How does the Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature get so much power from a pkg that size?

I'm looking at the Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature amplifier. It's rated at 405 watts/channel into an 8 ohm load with all channels driven, can drive 4 ohm and even 2 ohm loads on a time limited basis which tells me it should be using some beefy power supplies, yet weighs only 38 pounds. 405 watts/channel X 5 channels seems like more power than a 120 volt, 15 amp amplifier should be able to produce.

How does it do it?
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post #2 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 12:20 AM
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Sunfire uses Bob Carver's amp design which more or less runs directly off the 120V line without a transformer... It is very efficient but it was never that popular. The amp can have ground hum issues and the construction of the early models was pretty cheap.

If it's not a BIG screen, it's not a theater...
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post #3 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 04:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon S View Post
Sunfire uses Bob Carver's amp design which more or less runs directly off the 120V line without a transformer... It is very efficient but it was never that popular. The amp can have ground hum issues and the construction of the early models was pretty cheap.
Thanks After posting the question I read up on it. In my research I've found a lot of fans, but mixed in were the comments about noise coming from the amp when at low volume. Probably at high volume too, but masked by the music.
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post #4 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by orcrone View Post
Thanks After posting the question I read up on it. In my research I've found a lot of fans, but mixed in were the comments about noise coming from the amp when at low volume. Probably at high volume too, but masked by the music.
I have been running this amp along with the 600 watt per side two channel version in my 7.1 Home Theater for well over a decade (running Legacy focus/signature/silver screen/mists). Running balanced cables to my Denon AVPH1HDCI preamp it is dead silent and extremely dynamic.
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post #5 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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There are two items I'm monitoring on eBay; an auction for a 5 channel Brystron 9B-THX ending today. 120 watts/channel with over 7 years of warranty left. The other is the Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature; 5 channels at 405 watts/channel. The unit is about 8 or 9 years old and no warranty. Both seem to be at pretty attractive prices.
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post #6 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orcrone View Post
There are two items I'm monitoring on eBay; an auction for a 5 channel Brystron 9B-THX ending today. 120 watts/channel with over 7 years of warranty left. The other is the Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature; 5 channels at 405 watts/channel. The unit is about 8 or 9 years old and no warranty. Both seem to be at pretty attractive prices.
I used to own a TGA-7401 for a couple of years, ran very cool,dead silent, very dynamic and never ran out of power. It's a class H design so it runs more efficient, I used it in a 5.1 set up based on some Legacy Focus 20/20 system I had at the time. All in all it was a great amp.
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post #7 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjh65@verizon.ne View Post
I used to own a TGA-7401 for a couple of years, ran very cool,dead silent, very dynamic and never ran out of power. It's a class H design so it runs more efficient, I used it in a 5.1 set up based on some Legacy Focus 20/20 system I had at the time. All in all it was a great amp.
What I failed to mention is that while the Bryston auction ends in a couple of hours, the Sunfire auction doesn't end until Saturday. So I will probably bid on the Bryston. In that case the only way I will be bidding on the Sunfire is if I don't get the Bryston. Do you mind if I ask why you're no longer running the Sunfire?
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post #8 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orcrone View Post
What I failed to mention is that while the Bryston auction ends in a couple of hours, the Sunfire auction doesn't end until Saturday. So I will probably bid on the Bryston. In that case the only way I will be bidding on the Sunfire is if I don't get the Bryston. Do you mind if I ask why you're no longer running the Sunfire?
Only reason that i sold it is because I like to try new gear out so i tend to only keep things a couple of years or so before I sell and re-purchase. It was a great amp, i sold an Aragon 8008X5 to get the Sunfire as I got tired of the physical size of that amp as it wouldn't fit into normal sized cabinets, I have since tried Emotiva XPA-1 monos, ClassD audio and now Emotiva XPR-1 monos. I may sell the Emo's and give the D-Sonic monos a try. Truth be told and with good equipment and cables I don't hear a lot of difference between amps.
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post #9 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orcrone View Post
I'm looking at the Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature amplifier. It's rated at 405 watts/channel into an 8 ohm load with all channels driven, can drive 4 ohm and even 2 ohm loads on a time limited basis which tells me it should be using some beefy power supplies, yet weighs only 38 pounds. 405 watts/channel X 5 channels seems like more power than a 120 volt, 15 amp amplifier should be able to produce.

How does it do it?
If you find the sunfire impressive check out a powersoft K20. Obviously not what your application requires (and probably out of the price range), but impressive nonetheless.
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post #10 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjh65@verizon.ne View Post
Only reason that i sold it is because I like to try new gear out so i tend to only keep things a couple of years or so before I sell and re-purchase. It was a great amp, i sold an Aragon 8008X5 to get the Sunfire as I got tired of the physical size of that amp as it wouldn't fit into normal sized cabinets, I have since tried Emotiva XPA-1 monos, ClassD audio and now Emotiva XPR-1 monos. I may sell the Emo's and give the D-Sonic monos a try. Truth be told and with good equipment and cables I don't hear a lot of difference between amps.
You've definitely have auditioned your share of amps!
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post #11 of 36 Old 07-27-2014, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cmryan821 View Post
If you find the sunfire impressive check out a powersoft K20. Obviously not what your application requires (and probably out of the price range), but impressive nonetheless.
If my speakers saw that amp they'd blow themselves out.
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post #12 of 36 Old 07-28-2014, 04:14 AM
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If my speakers saw that amp they'd blow themselves out.
Yeah, I think that would be the case for most speakers.
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post #13 of 36 Old 07-28-2014, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjh65@verizon.ne View Post
Only reason that i sold it is because I like to try new gear out so i tend to only keep things a couple of years or so before I sell and re-purchase. It was a great amp, i sold an Aragon 8008X5 to get the Sunfire as I got tired of the physical size of that amp as it wouldn't fit into normal sized cabinets, I have since tried Emotiva XPA-1 monos, ClassD audio and now Emotiva XPR-1 monos. I may sell the Emo's and give the D-Sonic monos a try. Truth be told and with good equipment and cables I don't hear a lot of difference between amps.

I am quite surprised that you didn't mention Parasound, as one of your previous amplifiers.


I have had a Parasound Halo A52 for over a year now. I definitely hear an improvement versus my previous amps. The other two amps I had used previously were a Marantz MM9000 5x150 watt, and an Emotiva LPA-1, which was 125x7.
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post #14 of 36 Old 07-28-2014, 06:52 PM
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I am quite surprised that you didn't mention Parasound, as one of your previous amplifiers.


I have had a Parasound Halo A52 for over a year now. I definitely hear an improvement versus my previous amps. The other two amps I had used previously were a Marantz MM9000 5x150 watt, and an Emotiva LPA-1, which was 125x7.
Ye sir I have thought about Parasound for quite some time, I have almost pulled the trigger a number of times especially since I can get that line not to far from dealer cost.The only reason I believe I have held back is I have read the Parasound can lean towards sounding like you're seated in the front row and it throws of a ton of heat, my old Aragon 8008X5 sounded like that (plus the same heat issue also) and I prefer a little more further seating distance type of sound. At some point I probably will give them a go anyways just further down the line. It doesn't surprise me that with the previous amps you had you heard a definite difference with the A52, one ofthe most highly respected and best sounding amps available, great choice!
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post #15 of 36 Old 07-28-2014, 07:16 PM
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You've definitely have auditioned your share of amps!
Have some older Rotels that I still have that i use in between amps after being sold had an Adcom GFA-5800 as well, both the Adcom and Rotel's were from the mid to late 90's. Once at a certain level however I couldn't hear to great a difference. I just finished demoing a Crown XLS2500 for a couple of weeks based on some feedback from a professional review and some great feedback from other AVS members, it was a little sterile sounding in my opinion. I was demoing a $3300 pair of speaker cables along with the Crown at the time.
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post #16 of 36 Old 07-28-2014, 08:29 PM
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I'd double check the math. 5 channels at 405 W each is 2025W.

A 110V 15A source only provides 1650W. And no amp is 100% efficient - so the most you can realistically get is 1500 W.

Perhaps it uses a 20A circuit, which would give it 2200W, or about 2000 W at the speaker terminals.

Or it uses 220V. Either way, you'll need an electrician to run a circuit just for the amp.
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post #17 of 36 Old 07-29-2014, 12:44 PM
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^may depend on the timeframe for the output and capacitance. Simple v,i,r calcs may not account for that.
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post #18 of 36 Old 07-29-2014, 08:41 PM
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405W all channels driven generally means more than a split second - maybe if it was say PMPO or something that could be believable, but there aren't many storage elements that can supply the missing 400W for any reasonable length of time.

And power is conserved. If you want to talk about imaginary power, that power is imaginary - the extra power you take, you do return, but you're also limited by the power handling capacity of the components in-between. As in you could be using 1000W at such a poor power factor that your 15 A circuit is fully loaded during part of the AC cycle, even though you're only paying for 1000W.
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post #19 of 36 Old 07-31-2014, 04:31 PM
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I don't disagree I think the grey area for me is the std of time for "program power". Running sine waves is not of much interest for me but some factor of time that correlates with program material for crest factor is very important.

I just added a dedicated 30amp line (120v service) for my LG10k which is in place for my mains (60-80hz and up). So by that calc it cannot put out 10k watts but we all know it can depending on the time frame. Once in a valley (exponentially less power needed) the payback you refer to is quickly reconciled.
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post #20 of 36 Old 12-29-2014, 11:02 PM
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on eBay:Sunfire Cinema Grand 5 Channel Power Amplifier

opening bid is $700, now my question.
Should I try to get this cheap, or, having the funds, buy another Bryston? I have a 5B ST, and could buy the 9BSST, or 6B SST.


I am thinking about buying the new Bryston processor, which is about 9 grand new; at these prices, I would rather buy new, so I have a physical place to deal with.


I have had the B&K reference, and sold it, as it was a 1998 model and I like all XLR, anthough I know the Sunfire is not internally balanced.


I have an older Krell processer and used to have Infinity speakers, Now, I have ML speakers and have stereo and HT combined, with two frount speakers, the HT ones are B&W.



I have an older Krel
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post #21 of 36 Old 12-29-2014, 11:45 PM
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Sunfire amps have alot of power.. but do tend to hum and are a little noisy , they are picky.. i used to run my Cinema Grand at my old apartment.. hummed alot.. when i moved to my condo and upgraded to better sources.. the hum went away (maybe the sunfire reacts better to better electricity etc? who knows.. it is a sensitive piece of equipment i guess).. still has good power but i started to notice it didnt sound that i liked anymore , i don't know, maybe it just wasnt matched well to my speakers i had at the time.. my old Klipsches..... I moved on.. i now have a Parasound A52/2125 combo along with my Marantz 8801 and it sounds awesome.. best sound i have ever had.. IMO the A52/2125 Parasounds best sounding amps i have ever owned.. Had alot.. At one time i had an ADCOM 5 channel amp.. it sounded like brute force.. but was not that delicate.. could go plenty loud and alot of power.. but harsh sounding....I then had a CHIRO by Kinergetics amp 5 channel for awhile.. ( i was always using Yamaha AVR's as pre/pro's at the time) IT sounded VERY clean.. almost too clean.. which i liked for awhile.. but then got tired of it.. i was going thru a crazy audiophile phase... ! I then moved on to the Cinema Grand.. not overly clean like the CHIRO , but more musical than the ADCOM.. Sunfire can give you alot of power for power hungry speakers.. in hindsight i probably should not have run it on the Klipches.. in fact i still own it.. it is in mint condition.. i did hook it up one day recently to make sure everything still works... I hooked it up to an old pair of Infinity speakers and it sounded real clean..not as musical as my Para, but real good nontheless.. its a decent amp.. still had a little noise.. but no hum... ( actually IMO ADCOM was the worst amp i ever heard.. in fact my Yamaha Receivers had a more musical sound but they were underpowered compared to the ADCOM... the ADCOM just didnt sound good !) And now my Parasound Combo.. i don't feel a need to change amps , i love the sound so much.. if i was ever to "upgrade" , it would be to A51/2250 Combo...!! LOL!! These Parasounds power my Def Tech 7002 , CLR 2500 system to insane levels.. maybe when i get a free-standing home i might upgrade to the bigger Parasounds... maybe.. the A52 is really an impressive amp... ! It sounds like it is putting out way more than 125 watts per channel, its so musical and just sounds right to me...very balanced...

Last edited by mikejedi123; 12-29-2014 at 11:51 PM.
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post #22 of 36 Old 12-29-2014, 11:59 PM
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Also from what i understand.. the poster above is correct.. there is no transformer.. just a "tracking downconverter" Bob Carver speak for getting alot of power out of the wall.. interesting design.. its almost like the Class D design where it runs more efficiently but probably sounds better than alot of the D designs.. more musical etc.. but you can only beat physics so much.. it still doesn't sound as a good as a high bias Halo Parasound or i am sure doesn't beat or even come close to the Bryston's which are heavily biased into something approaching Class A or at the very least the first 20 watts or so are like Class A on the SST 's maybe more.. i have heard them and IMO are very very good sounding with alot of Brute force but with the nice musicality.. I bet the Bryston's would do well on a speaker that needs alot of power.. my Uncle has the Magnaplanar 1.7 from a few years ago and had a Bedini Class A 150 hooked up that finally went completely belly up after like 25 plus years.. and replaced that with the SST 300 watt stereo Amp (current model) and he hasn't missed a beat.. he said he hasn't noticed any loss of fidelity.. that's high praise for the Brystom cause that old Bedini was a monster 150 watt pure class A!!!!!! Also that 405-watt rating , is like yeah.. you are getting 405 watts from Sunfire.. but they aren't the cleanest sounding.. it's like what kind of power do you want? I would take the 300-watt Bryston or even the 150 watt Bryston any day over the Sunfire 405 watt.. unless i suppose if you have really really insensitive speakers , but even then , the Bryston plays so cleanly! Happy hunting on ebay!
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post #23 of 36 Old 12-30-2014, 12:08 AM
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A lot of pro amps have amp ratings that can't be sustained. I thought the old FTC rules called for 5 minutes. I don't think it's done that way anymore.

An interesting question, which I can't answer, is whether a lot of these amps, which exceed circuit breaker rating can sustain power long enough to handle typical peaks in music and/or movies.

They can certainly draw more than rated power for brief periods, and of course their filter caps can hold a lot of energy ( I realized at some point how much current a light bulb could draw when first powered up, and realized the realities of current draw vs. time vs. breakers.)

At some point, such power is overkill for a typical home setup with reasonable SPL levels, so perhaps it's not of much importance that these amps can't put out their power output in sustained fashion. And then there's the crest factor thing, which has already been discussed

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #24 of 36 Old 12-30-2014, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikejedi123 View Post
Also from what i understand.. the poster above is correct.. there is no transformer..
No transformer? That seems impossible to me. You have to feed the filter caps to get smooth DC voltage no matter what the design.

A tracking downconverter sounds just like class G or H, I can't remember which.

Are you 100% sure there's no transformer, because I don't see how you can power an amp from AC power regardless of amp design. You run the AC into a rectifier to get a positive voltage and a negative voltage output, then connect them to caps to get a steady voltage. Even the tracking downconverter must need a steady DC voltage unless it's totally alien design

"But this one goes up to 11"

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post #25 of 36 Old 12-30-2014, 12:17 AM
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I beleive i have the white paper somewhere around here.. and it shows in the diagram that the ac goes into the amp quite differently .. i remember not showing a transformer,. i could be wrong though.. its been awhile sine i looked at it..! But yeah its like a more efficient amplifier with less heat kind of like the same idea of a D but you are right .. more like an actual H class or like that type...
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post #26 of 36 Old 12-30-2014, 12:21 AM
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Here's a photo of a sunfire amp. As expected, a huge transformer

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...signature.html

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #27 of 36 Old 12-30-2014, 12:23 AM
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Looking at those photos, I will take an Outlaw. Much cleaner looking inside

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #28 of 36 Old 12-30-2014, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I forgot about starting this thread until I awoke to an email notification. A couple of weeks ago I found the TGA7401 amp (400 watts per channel, 7 channels) refurbished with full factory warranty and couldn't say no. It's my first time with separates so I don't have much basis for comparison, but so far I'm not regretting my decision.
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post #29 of 36 Old 12-30-2014, 08:11 AM
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Not to take this sideways, but I have a Sunfire TGA 5400.

I used to use the amps built into receivers with no problem to drive my JBL's.

When I moved to Martin Logan panels, I started using a separate amp to power my speakers.

First was a Sherbourn 7/2100. It was rated at 200/300 wpc at 8/4 ohm's to drive my system and I was happy with it for years. Then I started to read about amps that double down in power when the ohm's drop. I also heard/read that Sunfire plays well with ML's.

So I found a used TGA5400 400/800 wpc and put it into the system and my ML Vista's really came to life. I felt it was a much better sounding solution than my Sherbourn (which I promptly sold). I was extremely happy and sure that the extra power was the difference.

Years later, I upgraded my ML Vistas to ML Montis and went with a pre-pro instead of a receiver. The Sunfire sounded excellent, never got too hot and made my Montis speakers really sing. I was still extremely happy with the sound of my setup.

Now I am currently going through some new upgrades (processor/surrounds/center) and my dealer suggested I try a good two channel amp for my Montis. He suggested a Moon Simaudio 330A. It is rated 125/250 wpc. I was really concerned about the drop in power as compared to the Sunfire so to say I was skeptical about this would be an understatement. We are talking about a huge drop in rated wpc.

I get the Moon home this past Friday. I immediately noticed how much louder and more authoritative the Montis were with the Moon as compared to the Sunfire. I am still not sure how or why this is (this will take more reading). It was especially noticeable when running the Audyssey setup for the first time. The test tones coming from the Moon were almost double in volume as compared to the Sunfire. I mean, it is day and night.

I really love my Sunfire and still think it is a great amp, but it does not compare to the Moon amp and the Moon has less than 1/2 the power of the Sunfire.

Needless to say, I am now considering a more powerful stereo Moon amp or even Moon mono blocks to drive my mains as I want more of this Moon type of power/sound.

I will keep the Sunfire for the time being to drive everything else. I still love it and think it is a wonderful amp. I definitely prefer it to the Sherbourn. It still plays loud and clear, just not as loud and clear as this Moon amp which on paper is less than 1/2 the power of the Sunfire.

Go figure.

Speakers: Martin Logan Montis, Stage X, Dual Depth I Subs, Vanquish in ceiling (surrounds) | Processor: Marantz AV7702 | Amp: Three Moon Simaudio 400m monoblocks,One Moon Simaudio 330a | Sources: DirecTV HR34, HTPC, Mac Mini, Oppo BDP-103, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Wii U | Television: Panasonic 65VT50 | Remote: Logitech Harmony Ultimate
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post #30 of 36 Old 12-30-2014, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liltalkm View Post
Not to take this sideways, but I have a Sunfire TGA 5400.

I get the Moon home this past Friday. I immediately noticed how much louder and more authoritative the Montis were with the Moon as compared to the Sunfire. I am still not sure how or why this is (this will take more reading). It was especially noticeable when running the Audyssey setup for the first time. The test tones coming from the Moon were almost double in volume as compared to the Sunfire. I mean, it is day and night.

Go figure.
I'm definitely no expert but could it be the difference in input sensitivity? Sunfire is rated at 0.95V rms and 1.9V rms to give full output for balanced and unbalanced inputs, respectively. Moon just lists its sensitivity as 0.8V rms. I don't know if that's for the balanced or unbalanced inputs. Regardless, if I understand sensitivity correctly (not sure if I do) the Sunfire needs either a larger (0.95V vs. 0.8V) or much larger (1.9V vs. 0.8V) input signal to reach rated output. So could it perhaps be that you need to turn up the volume control on your preamp more with the Sunfire than the Moon to deliver the same output?
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