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Sunfire Grand Theater Amplifier vs. the PS 700
Topic Rating: +8 Topic Rating: +8 (8 votes) 
May 8, 2017
4:27 pm
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…I’m just wondering if the 700 will be a great improvement over the Sunfire which is a 7 channel amp. giving out 400 watts into 8ohm and 800 watts into 4ohms.  I have the Magnepan 3.8 and new center speakers which demand power, the more the merrier.  I’ve had the Sunfire for so many years that I cannot, for the life of me, remember when I purchased it (used from audiogon.com).  It has to have been something like 15 years ago, but I’m just guessing.

I don’t like the “raspy” sound that I’m getting.  I don’t believe that its the Maggies or the Audioquest cables that I am using.  I am an audiophile and love classical music as well as classic movies and, to some degree, the 4K block busters that are available on disc.  But, I want to hear deep into the music and have the inner details of the orchestra audible in the soft musical passages as well as the full orchestra loud passages.  I don’t believe that I can go any further with the Sunfire which needs a good retirement home (actually, I’m trading it in for six 700’s which I’m eager to receive either at the end of this week or next week).  (I also have the OPPO 205 4k audiophile player in use.)

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks, in advance

May 8, 2017
4:43 pm
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I would imagine so. The Sunfires were good for their price and power – but they always sounded a bit hard and glare-like when pressed hard. At least to me. The M700 is the exact opposite. Once broken in, they are sweet and open even at loud levels.

Co-founder and CEO of PS Audio. Hobbies (other than audio) include cooking, artisan bread baking, writing The Carbon Wars, hiking and inventing stuff. Infinity IRSV, MG Audio Designs and Audioquest cables, five P10 Power Plants, DirectStream DAC, NuWave Phono Converter, Clear Audio Master turntable, Lyra Cartridge, BHK Monos and BHK preamp, LANRover USB Transporter. I live in Boulder Colorado with my wife Terri, both of us are vegetarians for many decades. If you want to see support my first shot at writing a novel go here.

May 8, 2017
5:39 pm
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Paul,

Thank you so much for relieving my stress regarding the Sunfire. I guess, after all the years of Sunfire use, I’ve become so accustomed to the power that I only recently, after getting the Maggie 3.8’s realized the hardness and glare-like sound.  I’m so looking forward for the 700’s that I want them yesterday!  

Thanks again,

May 9, 2017
6:10 am
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Thanks and let us know in these forums or an email to me personally with your impressions when you get the, I would be excited to know.

Co-founder and CEO of PS Audio. Hobbies (other than audio) include cooking, artisan bread baking, writing The Carbon Wars, hiking and inventing stuff. Infinity IRSV, MG Audio Designs and Audioquest cables, five P10 Power Plants, DirectStream DAC, NuWave Phono Converter, Clear Audio Master turntable, Lyra Cartridge, BHK Monos and BHK preamp, LANRover USB Transporter. I live in Boulder Colorado with my wife Terri, both of us are vegetarians for many decades. If you want to see support my first shot at writing a novel go here.

May 9, 2017
8:35 am
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Me too.  Just remember they really do need a lot of break in.  At first the top end has a rather harsh edge to it but give them time.  I’m at about 100 hours of continuous (mostly very low level play–I do have neighbors on one common wall) and things have improved dramatically.

Direct Stream DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 250 amp, P10, NPC, Linn LP12, Wilson Audio Sophia 3 speakers, PSA AC-12 power cables, Belden ICONOCLAST TPC speaker cables and balanced interconnects

May 9, 2017
11:58 am
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I did buy two burn-in discs:

IsoTek High Resolution  Full System Enhancer

Puris Audio Design Luminist System Enchancer

I’ve tried them both on the Sunfire system I have now and I “think” I hear a difference.  However, I was stupid enough to sit through the first of four repeats of the Purist Audio Design (the disc requires four repeats totaling 5 hours) and when I got up after the first go round, I became dizzy and felt like the room was spinning!  (So much for intelligence!) I left the room for the remaining 3 repeats.

The IsoTek only requires one run through.

May 9, 2017
1:21 pm
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I’ve had a couple “demagnetizer” and other “system enhancer” discs but I’m not convinced they make a real difference.  In any event, for equipment burn-in I just put a bunch of albums in the queue, set it on repeat and close the door. You could do the same with your enhancer discs.  Might or might not help but shouldn’t hurt.

Direct Stream DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 250 amp, P10, NPC, Linn LP12, Wilson Audio Sophia 3 speakers, PSA AC-12 power cables, Belden ICONOCLAST TPC speaker cables and balanced interconnects

May 9, 2017
2:03 pm
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…well…since I do have these discs, I’ll give them a spin…I don’t have the luxury of playing discs on end for a great period of time…I live alone and it would drive me crazy!…so,  I’ll do my best.

Thanks

May 9, 2017
7:14 pm
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My burn in go-to is beach / ocean waves recordings. They sound a lot like the Hagerman Frybaby burn in signal generator. This makes for soothing background / ambience sound and burn in media. I use that and whatever music strikes the mood at the time.

I am ever so slowly learning to not dismiss out of hand various audiophile tweaks but there are some things that just peg the BS meter. It is likely to take an act of god for me to believe that sticking some fingernail sized blue (or whatever color) dots on the wall could possibly make ANY, much less noticeable difference in the sound quality. On the other hand, I have by multiple experiences been forced to accept that burn in is real, and have little difficulty imagining that the signal being processed can have some effect. While I do think that the particular signal can have some effect on the results, I question any claims that some specific, special waveform is likely to have any significant long term effect. I don’t buy burn in discs.

J.P.

May 9, 2017
8:09 pm
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 wingsounds13,

I don’t know what it is but, aside from the Magnepan 3.8 speakers being so revealing of everything, I do hear a “bit” of more detail to the CD’s I’m listening to…call it my imagination..or whatever, but…the reality of my situation is that the Sunfire amp, as Paul indicated above, does reflect glare in reproducing sound…and, because I’ve had them for almost a life time (sort of)…I can’t really stand to listen to it much…my 700’s are supposedly coming, probably, next week and I just can’t wait! 

May 9, 2017
9:03 pm
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Hi Edward – Duncan here from PS Sales dept. I just wanted to give you an update – because you ordered six at once, we want to match them closely and burn them in a little for you. I promise it will be worth the wait! Woody tells me they will be at my desk soon.

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May 9, 2017
9:53 pm
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Duncan Taylor said

Hi Edward – Duncan here from PS Sales dept. I just wanted to give you an update – because you ordered six at once, we want to match them closely and burn them in a little for you. I promise it will be worth the wait! Woody tells me they will be at my desk soon.  

Hi Duncan,

I’m very great full that you want to do this for me.  I have a 6.0 surround system with an Anthem Statement D2v3d processor and matching and burning in the 700’s would be such a great help.  The L/F/R speakers are Magnepan’s, the two surround and one back are Sunfire bi-directional (if that’s the correct term). I also have two Magnepan woofers: they are not sub woofers but, rather bring out the lowest frequencies from the 3.8 L/R towers.  I really am looking forward for the wait!

Thank you so much.

Ed 

May 10, 2017
8:02 am
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Now that’s customer service.

Should be a great system Ed. Let us know how it comes out.

Direct Stream DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 250 amp, P10, NPC, Linn LP12, Wilson Audio Sophia 3 speakers, PSA AC-12 power cables, Belden ICONOCLAST TPC speaker cables and balanced interconnects

May 10, 2017
8:44 am
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sevem2,

…will do…thanks

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May 16, 2017
1:44 pm
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Burn baby, burn! Edward – here’s a shot of your M700s burning in before we ship them to you. They’ve enjoyed 24 hours of Derrick Hodge’s recent solo album The Second. Today they’re jamming to John Mayer’s new one on repeat, and tomorrow I think I’ll expose them to some Gary Burton. 

Then, I’ll pack them up and send them your way!Image Enlarger

May 16, 2017
3:15 pm
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Duncan,

Thank you very much…I’ve been wondering how far along you were…the units look great and I can’t wait for them!

Thanks, again.  REQUEST:  can they be sent in three boxes, two amps in each plus the Dectet Power Conditioner?  I’d appreciate it…I don’t have the strength to have two boxes sent.

Ed

May 16, 2017
9:04 pm
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My pair of M700s came in two boxes.  You’ll probably get 6 or 7, depending on what they do with the Dectet.

Direct Stream DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 250 amp, P10, NPC, Linn LP12, Wilson Audio Sophia 3 speakers, PSA AC-12 power cables, Belden ICONOCLAST TPC speaker cables and balanced interconnects

May 16, 2017
9:19 pm
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stevem2 said

My pair of M700s came in two boxes.  You’ll probably get 6 or 7, depending on what they do with the Dectet.  

stevem2,

…PS Audio sales informed me that each 700 would come in it’s own package (meaning six packages) plus the extra package for the Dectet Power Center.  I don’t mind receiving seven packages.  It will be much easier to open each one apart from the others while installing it in my system.

The one question I have is, after their burning in the six amps for a period of 72 hours, will I still need to devote more time in my system for additional burn in.

…thanks

May 17, 2017
8:21 am
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I think it depends on what you mean by “need to.”  The amps will benefit from additional burn-in so they will continue to improve for a while but you should be able to enjoy using them in the meantime. The 72-hour burn-in should take most of the initial high-frequency edge off. If you can conveniently leave them playing while you are not around I would suggest doing so but you shouldn’t worry about it too much.

Direct Stream DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 250 amp, P10, NPC, Linn LP12, Wilson Audio Sophia 3 speakers, PSA AC-12 power cables, Belden ICONOCLAST TPC speaker cables and balanced interconnects

May 17, 2017
8:38 am
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stevem2 said

I think it depends on what you mean by “need to.”  The amps will benefit from additional burn-in so they will continue to improve for a while but you should be able to enjoy using them in the meantime. The 72-hour burn-in should take most of the initial high-frequency edge off. If you can conveniently leave them playing while you are not around I would suggest doing so but you shouldn’t worry about it too much.  

…thanks, stevem2…

Update:  PS Audio will keep the 700’s to burn-in and ship them on Monday which will have had a total of over 200 hours break-in time.

I’m very greatful to the company team to go that extra mile for me.  It’s a rare company which would do such a thing.

May 17, 2017
2:25 pm
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Wow! That is above and beyond the call.  200 hours should pretty much take care of burn-in, although they suggest up to 300 hours.  Improvements beyond the 200 hour mark are likely pretty subtle but let us know your experience.

I’d be curious as to what they are playing to–speakers, dummy loads?  Looks like speakers in the photo, although I only see one.  Also have been wondering if it matters how loudly they are played for burn-in purposes–I have had mine going almost non-stop for two weeks but mostly playing at very low volume so as not to disturb other people (wife, neighbors on a common wall, etc.).

Direct Stream DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 250 amp, P10, NPC, Linn LP12, Wilson Audio Sophia 3 speakers, PSA AC-12 power cables, Belden ICONOCLAST TPC speaker cables and balanced interconnects

May 17, 2017
5:13 pm
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stevem2,

…well…I believe we are both lucky to have or look forward to having the 700’s…I believe all Paul’s statements about the sound qualities and have no doubt that they will be a revelation for me considering that I’ve been using the Carver Sunfire 7 channel amp for almost a lifetime.

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May 17, 2017
7:40 pm
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hey stevem2- these things are perfectly happy to have no load at all. Darren can explain in better detail about that. We’re trying to determine whether just having them on, with the voltage on the caps being steady, or giving them an AC input is best for the burn. Darren suspects the latter, so we’re going with that.

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May 17, 2017
8:57 pm
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Great to know. Makes the burn-in process much simpler. Thanks Duncan!

Direct Stream DAC, BHK Preamp, BHK 250 amp, P10, NPC, Linn LP12, Wilson Audio Sophia 3 speakers, PSA AC-12 power cables, Belden ICONOCLAST TPC speaker cables and balanced interconnects

November 4, 2017
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I have had the 700’s for several months now and all I can say is…”WOW!”  Even after the burn in period at PS Audio, that was not the end of the burn in process. It’s taken a few more months and I don’t even know now if they will continue to do this.  However, I can’t tell you enough of what these amps have done for me in terms of detail and no compression of sound in loud passages of music/film. For me, they are a revelation! It’s only been  in the last month or so that actors, orchestras, soloists have exited the speakers and are in my home theater room! The Maggies are so much more in richness and dynamics that I really can’t believe it! I had a gut feeling prior to purchasing them that I was in for something very special and that’s putting it mildly! I’ve received Paul’s emails over the years and actually this was a blind purchase but the price was certainly right for each of the six amps and the trade in of my Carver 7 channel amp was financially sufficient enough that the value given me would cover one and a half of the 700’s!

Thanks to PS Audio for your remarkable work! 

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November 5, 2017
5:37 am
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And thanks to you, Edward. We appreciate the time you spend writing this and sharing with others. The 700s are indeed one of the more remarkable amplifiers out there. The more people we can convince to move off their duffs and replace that aging power amplifier the better systems will sound. It’s tough on amps. They just sit there and work and we rarely think of them. DACs and other new toys are much more interesting to update.

Co-founder and CEO of PS Audio. Hobbies (other than audio) include cooking, artisan bread baking, writing The Carbon Wars, hiking and inventing stuff. Infinity IRSV, MG Audio Designs and Audioquest cables, five P10 Power Plants, DirectStream DAC, NuWave Phono Converter, Clear Audio Master turntable, Lyra Cartridge, BHK Monos and BHK preamp, LANRover USB Transporter. I live in Boulder Colorado with my wife Terri, both of us are vegetarians for many decades. If you want to see support my first shot at writing a novel go here.

November 5, 2017
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Duncan and/or Paul. I’m considering three M700s for the front and center channels and a S300 for the rears to replace my McIntosh MC205 5 channel SS amp with 200 wpc. How much of an upgrade are we talking about here? I use my system mainly for 2 channel but we do have the occasional family movie night to consider. If it’s a significant upgrade from this solid (IMHO) Mcintosh amp, I might take the plunge. Thanks!

Adam

Music lover, amateur musician, physician, bulldog lover, and audiophile. PS Audio is integral in my system starting with P10 with PSA AC12 cable, a Directstream DAC, three separate M700 monoblocks and an S300 powering a hybrid 2 channel/HT setup, NuWave Phono converter, and LANRover. System also includes an Anthem AVM60, Mac Mini with Roon, B&W 804 D3 speakers, dual JL Audio Fathom subs, Fern & Roby Montrose turntable with Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC Star cartridge, and Gold Note PH-10 phono stage. Oh, and let's not forget about various and sundry ridiculously priced interconnects, USB, and power cables. 

November 6, 2017
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While the McIntosh are fine amplifiers, I have every confidence the M700s will be noticeably better – not just because of the increased headroom they provide – but because we’ve really tailored their sound to be as close the BHK 300 as possible within the price constraints. Further, the McIntosh is a 5-channel sharing a power supply and the M700s enjoy separate regulated supplies for every channel. I think you’re going to be blown away at the difference and never look back.

Co-founder and CEO of PS Audio. Hobbies (other than audio) include cooking, artisan bread baking, writing The Carbon Wars, hiking and inventing stuff. Infinity IRSV, MG Audio Designs and Audioquest cables, five P10 Power Plants, DirectStream DAC, NuWave Phono Converter, Clear Audio Master turntable, Lyra Cartridge, BHK Monos and BHK preamp, LANRover USB Transporter. I live in Boulder Colorado with my wife Terri, both of us are vegetarians for many decades. If you want to see support my first shot at writing a novel go here.

November 6, 2017
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Thanks Paul. That’s exactly what I was afraid of!! Does anyone need a lightly used 5 channel McIntosh amp? 4_gif

Music lover, amateur musician, physician, bulldog lover, and audiophile. PS Audio is integral in my system starting with P10 with PSA AC12 cable, a Directstream DAC, three separate M700 monoblocks and an S300 powering a hybrid 2 channel/HT setup, NuWave Phono converter, and LANRover. System also includes an Anthem AVM60, Mac Mini with Roon, B&W 804 D3 speakers, dual JL Audio Fathom subs, Fern & Roby Montrose turntable with Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC Star cartridge, and Gold Note PH-10 phono stage. Oh, and let's not forget about various and sundry ridiculously priced interconnects, USB, and power cables. 

November 7, 2017
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Trade it in! We’ll give you full retail for it depending on what you buy from us.

Co-founder and CEO of PS Audio. Hobbies (other than audio) include cooking, artisan bread baking, writing The Carbon Wars, hiking and inventing stuff. Infinity IRSV, MG Audio Designs and Audioquest cables, five P10 Power Plants, DirectStream DAC, NuWave Phono Converter, Clear Audio Master turntable, Lyra Cartridge, BHK Monos and BHK preamp, LANRover USB Transporter. I live in Boulder Colorado with my wife Terri, both of us are vegetarians for many decades. If you want to see support my first shot at writing a novel go here.

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