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  1. #1

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    Default Sunfire Classic Tube Preamp- thoughts?

    I have been looking around at some tubed preamps and this "control center" caught my eye. It has the remote and phono, which is what i was hoping for. It is not very local, so is this a good gamble at $1600? I have 2.3tl's and using a Acoustat TNT200(200wpc mosfet) amp. I am not sure if the Sunfire had any upgrades like the PS. It does appear to have an iec socket, instead of a fixed cord, so I can use my own powercords :) I believe the gain in the linestage is 12db? If so that should be low enough. I do not like to be blasted away a 10 oclock . Is this a decent preamp and is the above price good?

  2. #2

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    IMO over priced and in that price range I would think the world is your oyster.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  3. #3

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    Ditto that ^^^

  4. #4

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    In that range I'd look at the ARC SP-16, with phono:

    http://www.arcdb.ws/SP16/SP16.html

    Very nice pre.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  5. #5
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    Good preamp from a good company, but I believe that piece of equipment was $1500 new...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    Good preamp from a good company, but I believe that piece of equipment was $1500 new...
    Zingo, that price is for no phono or remote. With those options, I think it was closer to $2500, maybe less. I thought the Sunfire/Carver gear was well regarded here, but I guess not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by musky1963 View Post
    ...I thought the Sunfire/Carver gear was well regarded here, but I guess not?
    Sunfire/Carver gear is very well-regarded here, but that doesn't mean that this particular piece is priced appropriately.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  8. #8

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    It's an excellent pre, but I agree it is priced too high. If you can find one from $900-$1100 it would be a good buy. I know several folks that have the Sunfire Classic with the phono board and they like it very well. One thing to think about though. Some of them sold Carver C-19 pre's to get the Sunfire thinking it would be a major upgrade only to sell the Sunfire to return to the C-19. You can get a C-19 for $500 - $900 depending on it's condition. If you can find one on the low side and send it in to High Tech Audio in Oregon (the tech that bought all of Carver's parts when the company was sold) for a complete refurb that runs about $300 you would IMO be better off than paying $1500 for the Sunfire in unknown condition.
    Lots of Carver stuff and a pair of LSi9's

  9. #9

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    I don't think the C-19 has the remote option. I am also looking at the Rogue Magnum 99(used to have one) and the Perseus Magnum. I also used to have a Modwright 9.0swlp. Very nice preamp, but seemed more ss sounding than tube to me. My Nikko Beta 40 pre isn't bad, but looking for a change, as usual :) .

  10. #10

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    You are correct, the C-19 doesn't have a remote. What it all boils down to is what suits you best.
    Lots of Carver stuff and a pair of LSi9's

  11. #11

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    May consider a Pre like the Adcom GFP-750 or Anthem Pre 2l and a seperate phono stage.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  12. #12

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    I have this pre with phono and no remote, and I love it. It easily bested the Rogue Audio Perseus with magnum upgrades. It has become the longest serving piece of gear in my stack of stuff. I love the look of the unit, with the soft grow of tubes coming through the front window on the faceplate(actually lamps behind the tubes). MY vinyl was taken to the next level by the phono stage, which is probably one of the better phono stages out there. Mine arrived with a few problems, so it was sent to Bob Carver for some repairs and a few upgrades, including a major reworking of the tube phono stage.

    I am not good at writing reviews, so PM me if you like and I will give you my number so we can talk in person about it. I do agree with the consensus that the one you are looking at is way overpriced, but also feel that for under 2k, the Sunfire is very tought to beat. There is a reason why they are worth as much on the used market as they sold for when new.
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
    Two Channel... Carver Statement 450~1 Vacuum Tube Monoblocks, Dodd Mid-line Tube Linestage with Psvane 12Ax7 tubes, Pioneer Pdd 9Mk II SACD Player, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable with Sumiko BPS EvoIII, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TLs.


    "Everything we have fought for has been lost, and everything we fought against, we have become...."

  13. #13

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  14. #14

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    I bet if Glenn Beck heard it, he would start crying . Sorry, couldn't resist :)

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by musky1963 View Post
    I bet if Glenn Beck heard it, he would start crying . Sorry, couldn't resist :)
    No worries on that... sometimes listening to the right song at the appropriate moment is a religious experience.
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
    Two Channel... Carver Statement 450~1 Vacuum Tube Monoblocks, Dodd Mid-line Tube Linestage with Psvane 12Ax7 tubes, Pioneer Pdd 9Mk II SACD Player, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable with Sumiko BPS EvoIII, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TLs.


    "Everything we have fought for has been lost, and everything we fought against, we have become...."

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    I have this pre with phono and no remote, and I love it. It easily bested the Rogue Audio Perseus with magnum upgrades. It has become the longest serving piece of gear in my stack of stuff. I love the look of the unit, with the soft grow of tubes coming through the front window on the faceplate(actually lamps behind the tubes). MY vinyl was taken to the next level by the phono stage, which is probably one of the better phono stages out there. Mine arrived with a few problems, so it was sent to Bob Carver for some repairs and a few upgrades, including a major reworking of the tube phono stage.

    I am not good at writing reviews, so PM me if you like and I will give you my number so we can talk in person about it. I do agree with the consensus that the one you are looking at is way overpriced, but also feel that for under 2k, the Sunfire is very tought to beat. There is a reason why they are worth as much on the used market as they sold for when new.
    Agree with you all the way. I have one and absolutely love it. Mine is remote, but no phono and I use an external Victor phono preamp. Finding one with both the phono stage and remote is very difficult and when you do, they sell for a premium. His asking price is NOT out of line seeing as I was just shopping these not long ago. The remote is very rare and for all of us, a must have. Not because we are lazy, but because we like to test, tweak, and listen from a certain spot in the room and not move to grab the volume dial. You can always add an external phono stage, but Nooshinjohn indicates this one is excellent, so I'd go for it. Make him an offer he can't refuse! These are very versatile too with XLR out and 2 RCA outs as well. I drive all kinds of power amps from this beast as the heart of my center. Agree, tubes in the window are cool as hell.

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