Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature Series II Reviewed

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The Signature amp performs better than the previous Sunfire amplifiers I've heard, with more punch and better bass definition. The Sunfire has so much power that it will shake virtually any home theater that's smaller than an auditorium. Whether you have efficient speakers that are easy to power, or more difficult inefficient loudspeakers, you'll probably find that the Sunfire has no problem. On both stereo music material, as well as DVD movie soundtracks, I was blown away by the clarity and depth of the soundstage that I witnessed in my listening sessions. On the new DTS soundtrack of the Superbit DVD release of Desperado, my home theater system sounded incredible. All five speakers sounded full and direct, never flaccid or flat. Gunshots, explosions and car wrecks
sounded just as they looked - loud and full of the intended drama. Dialog is also very pleasing with the Cinema Grand Signature amplifier. Males' vocals sound deep and full, as they should, without ever sounded tinny or wimpy. In short, there's never any wanting for power or refinement with this superb amplifier.

Stereo music was just as pleasing. On well-recorded tracks like Jules Shear's duet with Ron Sexsmith on "It's All Over But the Smoke," from the Jules Shear CD Between Us, the guitar picks were so realistic it was scary. The vocals of this somber song came through as if the singers were right in front of me, with their respective guitars strumming away in a soulful duel. Mated with my reference Definitive Technology PowerMonitor 900s, this was pure audio alchemy at its greatest.

Using this same setup, I listened to a more bass-heavy stereo recording, and it was Peter Gabriel's US. While the bass can be considered overblown on this recording, the Sunfire surely handled it. Many amplifiers sound muddy and distorted on this recording, when played loud, but the Sunfire was certainly up to the task. Again, vocals were smooth, and Tony Levin's electric bass was easy to hear, due to the Cinema Grand's excellent imaging and refined soundstage.

This is easily my new reference amplifier--I just can't say it any clearer than that. Mate this amplifier with Sunfire's Theater Grand III (preamp processor) just released in May and there is no way you can miss. (Its cost is $3,495, and it also measures in at a diminutive 17- inches wide.)

If you're in the market for a multichannel amplifier, do yourself a favor and look at the latest and greatest from Sunfire. It's sure to be a contender, if not the victor of your hard-earned dollars.

Suggested Retail Price

$3, 995


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