Differences between Sunfire I and series II and 7?


I'm really interested in getting a sunfire amp second hand/used and there are obviously several choices, ranging from the original series I grand to the series II grands (and signatures), to the new 7 channel amp.

The signature versions clearly have double the power per channel, but what are the important differences between say an original series I grand (200 WPC), and the new 7 channel amp (200 WPC + 2 more channels)? Or is the extra 25 WPC the only difference between the series I and II?

In other words, what is the difference in price getting me beyond the 2 channels or 25 WPC in the cases above?

Jotter: I just spoke to Robert Levy at Sunfire the other day about this. The funny thing is, many of the suggestions that i had made to Sunfire technical staff in the past that they had stated "won't do a thing for the amp" are now incorporated into the newer designs. While i doubt that my suggestions are directly related to the improvements, it's good to see that they are paying attention and taking steps to improve these products in a real world manner.

First of all, the "Architectural Series" make use of a larger transformer and increased power supply reserve / filtration ( bigger capacitors ). Since the power supply is the heart of any electrical device, they started off by improving something that will benefit the entire unit right off the bat.

Bass impact has been improved, which was one of the biggest flaws that i had found in these units. Bass wasn't weak or sloppy, it just lacked the "slam" that i'm used to on some of my bigger amps. The noise floor has also been reduced, which could be directly related to power supply improvements. This is also a "problem" that i had noticed with the earlier models, as they didn't have as "black of a background" as i am used to. So far, so good.

The circuitry has also been altered / improved on these units. Sunfire was able to look at the earlier designs and see how they ran over time. By reviewing what end users had to say and documenting parts failure / circuit anomalies in units sent in for repair, they were able to improve both performance and reliability of the product. Obviously, this is more good news.

As far as i can tell, these "upgrades" are only present in the Architectural Series though. I don't know if they apply to the receivers or not. I do know that there are factory upgrades that Sunfire does to their 2 channel amps that improve low impedance / low frequency performance on very tough loads that are not applicable to their multi-channel amps. I've had what is referred to as the "Apogee mod" performed to my Sunfire Signature that is running my mains and it did make a noticeable difference.

If you are really serious about these products, call up Sunfire Technical support and talk to the folks there. Any of them will be able to help you out, but Robert is the most technically advanced as far as i'm concerned. Sean

Thanks for the answer - a lot more comprehensive than I hoped for!

Could you clarify what you mean by the "architectural series". The cinema grand I and II (as well as the theater grands) all come in two versions, the 19" wide standard and the 17" wide architectural. Are you saying the the 17" versions could actually be superior over the 19" because of difference electronics rather than a different form factor? If I'm mis-understanding what you mean by "architectural series" I'd appreciate a pointer - or actually any actual model numbers that have these better qualities (e.g. is it the signatures which are better vs the standard models, or is it the series II which are much better etc.)

As for contacting sunfire, I'd feel a bit uneasy since my questions are all about older vs. new models for deciding what second hand unit to go for. But thanks for the contact suggestion anyway!

From what i understand, and i could be wrong, the 17" versions actually have slightly different circuitry than what the 19" versions do. I don't know why, but that's what i've been led to believe. I'm curious myself, so i'll try to find out more info and let you know. Sean