Sunfire was founded by legendary audio designer Bob Carver, and took the high end audio and home theater industry by storm with its truly groundbreaking True Subwoofer. Featuring an enormous woofer driver with a rubber surround, driven by a 2700-watt amplifier with a patented "tracking downconverter" power supply, all within an box measuring 11" cubed, the True Subwoofer merged its incredible absolute performance with the budding custom installation industry's aesthetic demands to create one of the most successful high-end audio products in history.
Sunfire then built out its product line with more innovative designs from Mr. Carver, such as two-channel and multi-channel amplifiers, preamplifier/processors, and ribbon and dynamic loudspeakers. Eventually sold to Nortek but with Mr. Carver still at the helm, Sunfire has retained its premier status in the marketplace, and continues to builds on its stellar reputation.
The Sunfire Amplifier, A White Paper
Introduction: Bob Carver may be high end audio's most famous (or infamous) enfant terrible. Praised by many as an inventive genius, damned by others -- especially the high end trade press -- as a charlatan, he is someone who cannot be ignored. Carver's biggest sin is probably that of being an original thinker. For the high end orthodoxy, such radical thinkers are best burned at the media stake. (Bob Carver as Giordano Bruno? Perhaps.) Carver has struck once again, with his groundbreaking Sunfire amplifier. Herewith, 21st/Tone begins a new series of white papers on audio innovations. This Bob Carver article describes how he went about creating the new Sunfire. -- Ed
This amplifier had its beginning over fifteen years ago. After I sold Phase Linear, which I founded in the early 70's, and decided to start Carver Corporation, I wanted to come out with a new amplifier that would be light years ahead of anything currently available. I began work on a signal tracking power supply. Successfully implemented, an amplifier that incorporated such a power supply would be able to deliver lots of power, would run stone cold, would be incredibly efficient; all of the input power would become output power, it would be able to deliver massive amounts of current and would drive almost any impedance down to I ohm and below. It would have the potential of ultra reliability because it would be running cold, would not require heat sinks, and because it would be so efficient the power supply could be much smaller for the equivalent output power. (In a conventional amplifier only 20% to 30% of the input power actually appears at the output of the amplifier as usable audio power.) I toiled over a year trying to make this into a reality but couldn't get it to work. And so, after a year of working until two in the morning, I finally gave up and instead developed a different power supply called the Magnetic Field power supply. That power supply and its power amplifier became the original Carver "Cube." I used that to start Carver Corporation.
A little over two years ago, while still at Carver Corporation, I decided to have another go at it. I pulled out my notes from years ago, including the old patent; this time I succeeded, and succeeded in spades. The resulting amplifier was able to deliver massive power and humongous current, it could operate down to I ohm and it didn't get hot. In short, it fulfilled the original dreams I had years ago. I called that amplifier the Lightstar, and on December 17, 1992, I turned over the design to my engineering department for packaging (having completed about 95% of the work), and went on a sabbatical with the intention of final tweaking and voicing when I got back. Upon my return, I had a falling out with Carver Corporation and early last year left Carver to form Sunfire Corporation. At first it was Zeus Audio, named after my puppy, but I received a letter from an attorney who said, "No, you can't name it Zeus because we represent an amplifier company and we have names like Hercules, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Zeus." I renamed the company Silvermane, and promptly got a letter from another attorney who wrote, "No, I represent the Marvel Comics Group and we have a Superhero called Silvermane." Silvermane was out. Enter Sunfire.