Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ £1695

1st Mar 2005 | 00:00

A domestic subwoofer with an incredible power to size ratio

TechRadar rating:

4.5 stars

A massively powerful and enjoyable sub

Like:

<p>Looks</p><p>Astonishingly loud output</p>

Dislike:

<p>Ultimate low-end extension is limited for the cash</p>

It takes a lot of excitement to get the hairs on my arms to stand up. For I am a privileged person who has enjoyed some astonishing low frequency experiences, from the Volcanic eruption imitator at the Vulcanology study centre in Lanzarote, to the 15ft-wide roaring municipal steam vent in the hills near Reykjavik, (130dB@

But this Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ Signature made my nipples harden with sheer excitement.

Forget about any concepts of small subwoofers you may have. There are plenty of excellent brands competing with small subs at around a price zone of £300 to £700. But this tiny dense lump of dark matter not only weighs in at a heavy 22kg, it costs the thick end of two grand and wants to eat your lounge!

Box of tricks

So, what can you cram into a 13in cube that adds up to £1,695? For a start, the box is a superbly finished deep black. The cabinet is as small as any sub I have seen.

The underside has four small rubber studs and there are four slightly heavier duty 2cm rubber studs in the packaging, in case the fitted ones are insufficient to prevent floor migration.

You also get two injection-moulded plastic trim rings - all there is by way of speaker grilles. This is because the top roll surround of each of the two opposing 10in drivers is huge. The front part of the speaker is not a cone, but rather a flat pistonic membrane.

I was told they have oversize magnets and most insanely of all, that this cube (which has barely any unfilled cubic space inside, what with all the huge drivers) actually houses an amplifier, using Bob Carver's patented Tracking Downconverter power supply technology, rated to drop 2,700W into the 3.3O load these driver's voice coils offer up. Incredibly, the power amp does not require cooling fins on the outside.

The back panel is moderately complex but this shouldn't prove a problem as the manual that comes with this product is both clear and lucid. The controls amount to a volume dial, crossover dial (30Hz- 100Hz) and sweepable phase control. There are sockets for inputs and outputs on phono as well as inputs via speaker level screw-down connections.

There is also a balanced XLR input socket and a choice of two sorts of connectors to take advantage of the 12V trigger feature. A single 'Go' button and a dial to allow from 100 per cent influence to Off, are used to operate the four band autoequalising system. You even get a small microphone on a stand to use with the EQ facility. It is the simplest self-EQ system around and a cinch to use.

I connected the tiny spud to my LFE feed, and set about lining it up to my reference Energy Veritas speakers. Despite my reference system being large, the Sunfire True loved them. Oddly enough, it is neither bipolar nor dipolar in radiation pattern, since both drivers do different things according to the internal control electronics.

Thus you get an astonishing torque-twisting effect on the whole box. Should you wish, the Sunfire can be mounted on 1.5in spikes, which 'will impart a substantial house and floor shaking sensation.'

The sound has a monstrous, almost unstoppable power, with real grip as the huge amplifier kicks in. The depth of cut off is incredible but interestingly, it still doesn't go as low as better-known rivals such as the REL Strata or Stampede, evidenced by its thin output to the Telarc Mars disc which is notable 15Hz throb. As far as SPL (Sound Pressure Level) is concerned though, this box can raise the roof.

Despite its diminutive size, the Sunfire True is a massively powerful and enjoyable sub. Quart in a pint pot? More like a gallon in an egg cup. If you want to pressure load a room without taking up floor space and aggravating your partner, it can be considered great value. Audition, enjoy - and then buy two.

Home cinema Speakers Hi-Fi/audio
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