Rotel RMB vs. Sunfire Cinema Grand

Hi guys,
After months of searching and reading etc, I have narrowed my selection of amplifiers down to two.
I am very much interested in what a Sunfire Cinema Grand could do in my system. My Infinity Kappa 600s (Front) and 400s(surrounds) are wheezing with the 50-watt Adcoms I have pushing them, and they are bi-wireable, thus the Sunfire, with it's voltage and current source posts for the fronts seems like the logical choice. THey are available here on the 'Gon for around $1,500 used, or less, and $1,699 B-Stock from various dealers such as ATS.
THe Rotel RMB-1075 is not as powerful, nor does it have the flexibility of biwiring, but it would save me roughly $600, and I could buy the Rotel here in town at my dealer, new in box with factory warranty. It would also leave me room to upgrade my interconnects as well.
Can anyone attest to the benefits of said biwiring, and are they worth it as far as musical performance goes? I am a fan of high-rez digital sources, SACD and DVD-A, and of course need the best performance possible in two-channel mode. (The best performance short of Halcro, Theta, VTL, etc!)

Any suggestions would be helpful. I am quite treble sensitive, and many amplifiers sound a bit edgy or bright - maybe a good amplifier will correct the harshness my Kappa's produce at limits of their amps - when auditioned with B&K amplification, they sounded wonderful and wieghty, but were very fatiguing, thus I am not looking at B&K!

Thanks! Happy Listening!

Jon BRown
Damn if I had a worse memory of what I did earlier today I would swear that I wrote that post! haha
Well, I may not be tons of help because I am quite earily in the same predicement as you, but I will try to share what I have learned in the last few days.
I to am in the market for an audiophile grade multi channel amp. I have recently left the ugly days of main stream recievers (Yamaha in my case) for the world of high end (Lexicon). I have always had my Adcom 555 mkII to power my main speakers, but the Yamaha handled the Dolby Digital mixing and the amplification of the center and rears. While this upgrade to the Lexicon brought my two channel world to a vastly better place, it left me without amplification for the center and rears. At first, still low on cash from the Lexicon purchase, I wanted to find a reasonable used 3 channel amp. But as I started to go down this road I realized there aren't tons of 3 channel amps out there. I also began to think that I could upgrade the Adcom at the same time. Upon realizing that I could get into a 5 channel amp and upgrade my sound I imediately thought of my long desire to own the Sunfire CG. The original 200w x5 is sold on Ebay consistanly under $1000 and I was within minutes of buying one...until last night.
There is a high end store up my way (Ensemble Audio). Last weekend I stopped in to see what they had for gear in my price range. They immediately told me Rotel was what I wanted. I took home a 1095 demo unit for a two day audition. What I found is still baffling me. It was DAMN bright in my system (Snell E.5 speakers). The 1095 has awesome speed but it was just too much up high for my tastes. I love a nice dark sound and the Adcom is very dark. The Adcom is also very slow and lacks detail. So eager to run home and bid on that Sunfire CG I asked him how one would do in my system. "It will be BRIGHTER then the Rotel" was the response by both salesmen there. I was shocked! Like you I thought the Sunfire was an overly warm amp but I've yet to listen to one in my home. So, I then spoke to one of them for 3 hours last night and he concluded this:
My Snells, Denon CD, Kimber Hero interconnect, and Monster Cable M2.4 biwire cables are on the bright side, and the Lexicon tends to impart some brightness. YIKES! This is NOT what I want to hear.
So he concludes that my best bet is to go to an older, warmer Rotel (985 for example), get some Transparent Audio cables (notoriously warm/dark), and see how I like it.
Hope that helps...I'm in the same boat as you!
I don't have direct info on the two amps you mentioned. I own the Carver Lightstar Reference which is Bob Carver's precursor to the Sunfire design. I am very pleased with the performance. It has enormous power for driving my low impedance and highly revealing e-stats. My system used to be bright - it is no longer so. Brightness is an artifact of many variables - the room, components, speakers, cabling, power conditioning, etc. All of them need to be addressed. I'm currently dabbling with vibration control and ERS paper. I'm amazed that there is always another tweak to make the music sound even better. My approach to curing brightness was being patient and working on one area at a time as I could afford it. I don't think you can go wrong with the Sunfire as far as quality. If resale value is a concern, then you might want to do some homework of which amp has a better turn around value. Have fun!
I was recently considering upgrading my HT amp, and took the Rotel 1095 home for an audition as well. I have to agree with your accessment, I found it brighter then my current amp (H/K sig 2.0), and despite the much better power ratings (200 watts vs. 100), it wasn't much more powerful. I did notice more detail, which was both good and bad, but overall it certainly was not worth upgrading too. I'd describe the H/K's sound as warm and laid back which is perfect for movies, which tend to be bright. My only real complaint was that it was dull in 2ch. Sometimes you see them here for around $500, but they are getting rare. I have yet to find a musical 5ch amp < $1000 that does well for music. I ended up getting a sim audio integrated for my cds which has HT bypass, and have been happy since.
My cable selection has always tended to the warmer/darker side of things, as has my selection of the particular Infinities I purchased. I am using speaker cables from MIT and Transparent, with great results, and if the Rotel happens to be a bit bright, a few Interconnects could change things a little.
My local Rotel dealer has a floor model of the 1075 that I am going to get a great deal on, so I think that I will go in that direction. If I end up hating the way it sounds, I'll take it back, but considering my strange amalgamation of amplification (say that three times fast!) I think I ll be OK.
H/K AVR 430 - center and multiroom
Mitsubishi DA series amplifier (75w per x2) fronts (which is now dead!!!) replaced by Adcom 5002 for fronts, and when i had to move the Adcom, I had to drag my old 8ohm rated Infinity Entra floorstanders as rears and amp them from the reciever.
I hope my dealer will allow me sufficient audition time. THe amp is a floor model, so break-in time will be negligible. I'm feeding it with a Transparent PowerLink Plus for power, and most likely MIT Terminator 4 or AVT2 IC;s.

THanks y'all.

Jon Brown
Anybody that tells you that a Rotel amp is "warmer & smoother" than a Sunfire is either a bold-faced liar or speaking out of lack of experience with both product lines. The Sunfire is specifically voiced to sound slightly soft in the upper mids / lower treble region. Bob Carver was not shy about admitting this and it has been commented on in several different reviews of these amps. Sean
Sean -
From what I've heard, I have absolutely no doubt that, due to the voltage & current source connections on the Sunfires, they are smoother than the Rotels. My audition this evening of the Rotel RMB 1075, driving B&W 704s, yielded a very smooth, very laid-back sound. I was altogether pleased with the sound of the amp, which is why I ordered one, to be picked up Monday.
I saved some money, and like I said, if I don't like it, then I'll either put it elsewhere or sell it and get the Sunfire!

THanks all,
Happy Listening!

Jon BRown
Do you know what cables the B&Ws were being fed with?
I'm interested in your 1075 experience as it is a fair priced amp that may be a bit better then the older 985. I'll audition the 985 this week and hopefully be the owner by early next week. I'm not holding my breath though, I'm picky! haha
Those two amps are going to sound quite different, as noted above, so system synergy is going to be the key, here. Personally, I tend to prefer the sound of Rotel amps to Sunfire, but in the right system, I could see myself going for the Sunfire. If you are considering other brands, and if you can find a deal on one, the Theta Digital Intrepid is incredibly good for the money, and far more powerful than its 5x100w ratings would make you believe. I have one for my center and surrounds, but for a time, it powered my mains (Thiel CS3.6) as well, and those 3.6's are a bear to drive! But the Intrepid sounded incredibly good. I now have Enterprises on my 3.6's, FWIW.

The Rotel sounds like the best bang for the buck option. Once you start looking at the Sunfire's price range, you could probably step up to the Theta.

Good luck, Tom.
That particular setup was as follows, straight from the sales guy:

Rotel 1072 CD Player
Rotel 1068 Pre/Pro
Rotel 1075 amplifier
B&W 704's FL/FR
B&W 705's SR/SL
B&W LCR 60 Center
Velodyne DD-12 Subwoofer / Monster MB1000 Sub IC
Digital Cables : Monster M1000D
Analog Cables: Monster M550
Speaker Cables: Monster Z2 Reference
Power Delivery: Monster HTPS 3500 (I think, I didnt ask him about that)

I referenced the new Dave Matthews Live at the Gorge CD, and although the space was smaller than most listening rooms in homes, the soundstage was quite wide, relatively deep, and imaging was very specific, although muddied a bit by the Dolby PL II processing I used to listen to all five speakers.
THe subwoofer was much to loud and I didnt mess about with it, but the overall presentation was good enough to have me produce the 50% deposit to order one from the factory.

I will update this hopefully by Monday, when I should be able to take delivery of the amplifier.

I did not hear ANY edginess or brightness from this amp personally, and it slightly reminded me of the sound produced by a McIntosh 402 driving Nautilus 803s. Very laid back and mellow, but still very detailed and lush. Just not quite so much as the Mac rig...

MOre later..

IN reference to the THeta -
I want nothing more than a THeta system. I have auditioned the whole lot, from the Miles and DaViD players, the Gen VIII DAC, the Casablanca Pre/Pro, and the Dreadnaught I and Citadel Monoblocks.
If any of the Theta amps were in my price range, no question they would be at the top of my list.
I also agree with the system synergy. I just hope the Rotel drives my Infinities as well as it drove those B&W's!
If ya ever want to sell that Intrepid to move up to the Dreadnaught II, hit me up! I might sell my Rover, the poor girl is falling apart anyway!

Jon Brown,