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ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

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indyaudio

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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:52 pm

Location: Carmel, Indiana

Post Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:38 am

ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

My packages arrived yesterday, just like Xmas again, but even better! I purchased a Sunfire 300~2 amp; Sunfire Tube preamp; Carver M4.0t; a Monster power center and some XLR interconnects from a nice gentleman in Florida (thanks for the CL posting here, score!)

As a baseline, my ALs were just updated with the Infinity Reference Kappa 10.1s (thanks for the posts Gary). They sounded remarkable, but were draining my pair of TFM25s (one on the woofs, one on the ribbons). I use a Linn Karik and Carver SDA360 carousel CD players; a CT17 for the Hologram effect; and a McIntosh C28 preamp to send signal to these and other McIntosh amps/speakers in the main system. Also use a Rega P2 turntable.

After unpacking 2 big boxes and rolling up a mile of bubble wrap for outbound shipments, I put the M4.0t in the existing system, swapping it out with the TFM25 running the woofers. Best bass I've heard yet from these bad boys! As I crank them up, the LEDs are flickering at the top and the meters are hitting the max on the 25. Incredible sound, very pleased.

Next, I tear down the existing system. Unwire most of it, move racks a few inches and build the new 3 shelf Salamander.

I hooked up the Sunfire amp and preamp and biwired as recommended in the manual, voltage and current. I was very unimpressed with the sound. Bass was thin, no punch and the gain control needed to be cranked to nearly max to get the level of sound I am used to hearing....what's up?! I checked and all connections were proper.

I realized with this configuration, I didn't have Holography and it makes a big difference in overall sound quality, but not to point of whimpy bass. So, I wired the CT17 back in for Holography and put the Carver M4.0t back in line to power the woofers, leaving the Sunfire solo on the ribbons. Now we are talking! Great bass again and the gain issue seemed to resolve. I'm not sure why, other than 2 volume controls on both units and somehow the signal seemed stronger with plenty of power left on tap to really crank it up.

That took me to well after midnight last night. Put my pair of TFM25s and other Mc amps in the new Salamander, got speaker cables run for various combos of amp and speaker swapping and hit the sack. More tweaking today and I'll post some pictures.

Overall Impressions:
>Big WOW for the 4.0t! A pair of these and/or combo of 1.5/4.0 would do these justice for sure ( I haven't tried just the 4.0 solo)
>Sunfire amp was a BIG disappointment run biwired, very surprised at weak bass. Seems good feeding the ribbons only.
>Love the Tube Preamp with the volume control remote:) Tubes look cool through the window.

I'll continue playing today and will post some pics. Any thoughts on the Sunfire letdown, pls chime in, thanks!
Main Room System(s):
Speakers - Polk SRS 1.2TL; Carver ALiii; KEF 101, 104/2; Pioneer HPM150; JBL S7R Sovereign, L112, 4312, 43111
McIntosh - C28, C26, C24 preamps; MC30 monoblocks, MC2205, MC2120 amps
Carver - M4.0t amp; CT17 preamp; C9 Holography; Digital Time Lens; SDA360 CD
Sunfire 300~2 (2) & Dynaco ST-70 tube (2) amps
Jolida tube & Linn Karik CD; Rega P2 & Marantz 6300 Turntables
Arcam rDAC
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jjptkd

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Post Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:08 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

The M-4.0t is a great amp with lots of power but the Sunfire should have no problem outperforming it. I suspect that if you ran the 300x2 in place of the m-4.0 on just the woofers there would be no comparison between the two. Believe it or not, the ribbons will actually suck more power then the woofers and expecting the 300x2 to run both (woofers and ribbons) and sound better then the m-4.0 on just the woofers is unrealistic. Glad to hear everything arrived safely. Lots of new toys to play with, fun stuff! \:D/ \:D/
Sunfire TGP-III
Sunfire 225x5
PS Audio DL-III DAC
Klipsch KP 250 II (2 Pairs)
Klipsch RSW 15
(2) 18" Klipsch KP 480 Subs
Samson SX3200 (750x2 Sub Amp)
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TNRabbit

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Post Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:13 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

Try the Sunfire on the woofers & the M4.0 on the ribbons....

Not sure why you'd have a weak bass issue. Not something I've encountered with Sunfire amps. Same speaker cables to both woofer & ribbon? it's not a BI-WIRE cable, is it? If so, mixing the voltage/current outputs into one wire might be a bad thing... :shock:

As far as using most the Sunfire pre volume, you get the best from both amp & pre when you have a match where the pre is running out of gas the same time the amp does. If you get loud volume at say, 9 o'clock on one pre, it's not matched, output-wise, with the amp. I know there's a better way to put that, but can't come up with it right now.

Incidentally, I find I prefer the Voltage output for the ribbon over the Current output.
TNRabbit
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angelod307

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Post Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:15 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

yeah, the sunfire should whoop up on it.
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67ih4x4x4

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Post Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:02 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

Interesting , have you tried just the 4.0 yet?
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jjptkd

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Post Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:14 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

I've actually compared a TFM-45 (same as m-4.0t) to a 300x2 on my old AL-IIIs and there was no comparison. The 300x2 was easily twice as loud.
Sunfire TGP-III
Sunfire 225x5
PS Audio DL-III DAC
Klipsch KP 250 II (2 Pairs)
Klipsch RSW 15
(2) 18" Klipsch KP 480 Subs
Samson SX3200 (750x2 Sub Amp)
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indyaudio

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Location: Carmel, Indiana

Post Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:12 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

Thanks for the posts guys. I've had some time to tweak and it's all good. I'm running my CD players into my CT17 (and my Rega TT) to get the Holographic effect (my C9 hasn't arrived yet) and the CT17 to the Sunfire preamp CD Aux input and for some reason this seems to have significantly boosted the signal so the gain issue I was experiencing is gone. With volume turned to 3 o'clock on the CT17, the Sunfire Preamp gain hardly has to move from starting point to get the juice going and the sound output needed. Odd that with my Linn CD plugged directly into the Sunfire preamp, the signal appeared very weak and the gain needed to be cranked up with very weak bass response. Cables are all good and I haven't changed any of them to achieve this result. All quality RCA and the XLRs between the Sunfire pair.

I've now configured several different ways to the ALiiis and they all sounded great. M4.0 has run the ribbons, the woofers and alone on both with the jumpers inserted. Same with the Sunfire amp, both voltage and current and alone, sounded great. The bass punch is there.

Since I have both amps and really like the 4.0t LEDs, I've running the ribbons on it and the woofers on the Sunfire. Sound quality is outstanding with a whole host of music.

With any luck, when the C9 arrives, I"ll reconfig cabling and hope this all works as it should with the CT17 pulled out of the system.
Main Room System(s):
Speakers - Polk SRS 1.2TL; Carver ALiii; KEF 101, 104/2; Pioneer HPM150; JBL S7R Sovereign, L112, 4312, 43111
McIntosh - C28, C26, C24 preamps; MC30 monoblocks, MC2205, MC2120 amps
Carver - M4.0t amp; CT17 preamp; C9 Holography; Digital Time Lens; SDA360 CD
Sunfire 300~2 (2) & Dynaco ST-70 tube (2) amps
Jolida tube & Linn Karik CD; Rega P2 & Marantz 6300 Turntables
Arcam rDAC
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F1nut

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Post Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:10 am

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

Am I understanding correctly that you're running a pre amp into another pre amp thru the aux inputs?

Odd that with my Linn CD plugged directly into the Sunfire preamp, the signal appeared very weak and the gain needed to be cranked up with very weak bass response.


It's called an impedance mismatch. Gary alluded to it using a pre amp and amp as an example,
As far as using most the Sunfire pre volume, you get the best from both amp & pre when you have a match where the pre is running out of gas the same time the amp does. If you get loud volume at say, 9 o'clock on one pre, it's not matched, output-wise, with the amp. I know there's a better way to put that, but can't come up with it right now.

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In a recent press conference, President Obama remarked, "If I had a city, it would look just like Detroit."
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indyaudio

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Location: Carmel, Indiana

Post Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:41 am

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

Yep, CD to Carver CT17 pre, to Sunfire pre and it's working fine. When I connected the CD directly to the Sunfire pre I had a problem.
Main Room System(s):
Speakers - Polk SRS 1.2TL; Carver ALiii; KEF 101, 104/2; Pioneer HPM150; JBL S7R Sovereign, L112, 4312, 43111
McIntosh - C28, C26, C24 preamps; MC30 monoblocks, MC2205, MC2120 amps
Carver - M4.0t amp; CT17 preamp; C9 Holography; Digital Time Lens; SDA360 CD
Sunfire 300~2 (2) & Dynaco ST-70 tube (2) amps
Jolida tube & Linn Karik CD; Rega P2 & Marantz 6300 Turntables
Arcam rDAC
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F1nut

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Post Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:01 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

Do you have the same gain issue with the Carver CDP when connected to the Sunfire pre amp?
Political Correctness...defined

A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.



In a recent press conference, President Obama remarked, "If I had a city, it would look just like Detroit."
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indyaudio

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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:52 pm

Location: Carmel, Indiana

Post Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:20 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

Yes, I do. I have connected both the Carver and Linn CD Players directly and the gain is very low by comparison. To get it to suitable levels, the Sunfire volume knob is well past 1 o'clock.
Main Room System(s):
Speakers - Polk SRS 1.2TL; Carver ALiii; KEF 101, 104/2; Pioneer HPM150; JBL S7R Sovereign, L112, 4312, 43111
McIntosh - C28, C26, C24 preamps; MC30 monoblocks, MC2205, MC2120 amps
Carver - M4.0t amp; CT17 preamp; C9 Holography; Digital Time Lens; SDA360 CD
Sunfire 300~2 (2) & Dynaco ST-70 tube (2) amps
Jolida tube & Linn Karik CD; Rega P2 & Marantz 6300 Turntables
Arcam rDAC
<<

F1nut

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Post Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:25 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

In that case, I have to change my mind about the impedance mismatch being the issue. You've got a problem with the Sunfire pre amp and should have it serviced.

By running two pre amps you are introducing a lot of extra noise into the signal....not good.
Political Correctness...defined

A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.



In a recent press conference, President Obama remarked, "If I had a city, it would look just like Detroit."
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mbskeam

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Post Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:53 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

To get it to suitable levels, the Sunfire volume knob is well past 1 o'clock.


sounds about right with this pre.

volume wise what used to be 10/11 oclock on old pre is now 1/2 oclock on the sunfre.

there is a whole lot more left of the volume control,
it kinda took me by surprise also, both my sunfire pre's act the same volume wise.
Mbskeam


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kingman

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Post Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:57 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

I would agree with Mike. The Sunfire pre is a straight wire pre and induces little gain to the signal( Eddie and I discussed this just the other day).
In reality, it only matters what it sounds like to YOU!!!
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indyaudio

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Location: Carmel, Indiana

Post Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: ALiiis - Equipment Impressions

Looks like with your help, I've figured it out - I'm loosing signal through the XLR cables. When I connect regular RCA cables between the Sunfire preamp and the Sunfire power amp, the bass is there like it should be and the gain is greatly improved. Now at 12 o'clock, the ALiii speakers are rocking!

All along, this has been the case with the other amps I'm running out of the Carver preamp with RCA cables - they've all been fine, good gain position, plenty of volume, punchy bass, etc. I was using the XLRs between the Sunfires only and RCAs with splitters to power 4 more amps - McIntosh MC2205, 2105, MC250, Carver TFM25 and running various speakers, all of which are much more efficient than the ALs.

I'm very surprised - first experience with XLR cables and they look to be good quality. Silver Serpent pair stamped BetterCables.com that are 7' long. I thought you could use longer runs with XLR and not loose signal? Anyway, problem is solved (thanks for suggesting this Gary). I wish I had another set of XLRs to swap in and try again.

Couple pics of the audio/home theater room attached....time to relax this evening and take in some good music and maybe a movie. Happy New Year guys!
Attachments
DSCN5089.JPG
DSCN5098.JPG
Main Room System(s):
Speakers - Polk SRS 1.2TL; Carver ALiii; KEF 101, 104/2; Pioneer HPM150; JBL S7R Sovereign, L112, 4312, 43111
McIntosh - C28, C26, C24 preamps; MC30 monoblocks, MC2205, MC2120 amps
Carver - M4.0t amp; CT17 preamp; C9 Holography; Digital Time Lens; SDA360 CD
Sunfire 300~2 (2) & Dynaco ST-70 tube (2) amps
Jolida tube & Linn Karik CD; Rega P2 & Marantz 6300 Turntables
Arcam rDAC
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