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Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

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Don

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:09 pm

Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

OK guys, here is the Deal. Bought a cheap used Adcom GTP-450 on the Gon to give to Matt for his birthday for use with his Carverfest Monoblocks. When the Adcom came, hooked into Dynaco system downstairs with one of the Carverfest amps. Was using a Harmon Kardon pre-amp. The Adcom sounded really good in this combo. In fact, I preferred it over the Harmon Kardon pre. The Harmon Kardon is a budget pre like the Adcom. Both are probably a decade old.

Next up was to move upstairs to compare on the Big Legacy's.

HTR used for comparision consists of Amp: Sunfire 400 X 7 & Pre-Amp: Using Marantz 7.1 receiver pre-amp outs
VS
Carverfest Tube Amp & Adcom Pre-amp

Some CD Cuts auditioned: Dave Brubeck's Take Five, Marc Cohn's Ghost Train and Perfect Love, SRV's TinPanAlley, Sara K's various cuts and other Chesky recordings.


As some of you are aware, 95% of my listening is watching concerts, which most, if not all are not what I would not consider audiophile recordings. After two days of listening, I have drawn some thoughts:

First, when I substituted the Carverfest tube/Adcom pre combo I noticed a difference in sound. Instruments had a little better separation and a wider soundstage, saxes had a more natural, reedy sound so to speak and transients had a little more attack. Vocals sounded very good with either combo, but maybe a tad more real with this Carverfest tube/Adcom combo. Brushes were more distinct moving from side to side on drum surface on the Adcom/Carverfest tube combo. All of this listening was done at around 85 db. as to not tax the Carverfest tube amp. Legacy Whisper XD's are very efficient, believe 95 db's or so., but didn't want little Carverfest tube amp to run out of headroom. No difference in Bass-will explain why later.

Next was to determine if the Adcom or Marantz HTR was the difference or the Sunfire vs Carverfest tube amp. Took Mtz HTR out of loop and inserted the Adcom with the 400 X 7 Sunfire. There was most of the difference I was hearing. Not night and day, but surely significant. The Adcom pre had a better presentation, more lifelife detail than the MTZ. HTR receiver/pre-amp combo as mentioned in above paragraph.

Comparing the Adcom as a pre with the Sunfire 400X7 vs the Carverfest Tube amp. This was a much tougher comparison. I would say the instruments may have had a little better soundstage and separation with the tube amp. Vocals were a toss up, sounded very good in both scenarios. Bass sounded the same, probably because of built in amps in Legacy's driving the subwoofers. I think I may have preferred the reedy sound of the sax with the tube amp over the Sunfire. Very close in this dept., but believe edge to Carverfest tube. Both amps sound very good and I think it is up to listener preference as to which one would be preferable over the other. Happy with either one. I would love to do this one blind tested.

My Conclusion: There is a significant difference between a dedicated 2 channel pre-amp vs using the Pre-amp of a 7.1 HTR at least in the shy side of $1K to $1.5K range while listening to audiophile recordings.

As a result of this comparison, I have on the way a VTL 2.5 dedicated 2 channel tube pre with a HT bypass. Didn't know they made such an animal until a forum member recommended. Thanks Dan for spending my money. :lol: :lol:
This should be an interesting upgrade based on my experience with the lowly Adcom.

http://www.vtl.com/pages/preamplifiers.html#TL-2.5

I have not considered yet converting to full blown tubes. Still a plug and play guy. However, my research shows tube Pre-amps are pretty darn reliable.

Stay tuned for part 2
Last edited by Don on Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
— Thomas Paine


"Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value" Albert Einstein

"Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them". Charlie Reese

"The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett


"Kindness is a language that the Deaf can hear and the Blind can see." Mark Twain

RIP Bill D.
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kingman

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:21 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Bought a cheap used Adcom GTP-450 on the Gon to give to Matt for his birthday
...
have on the way a VTL 2.5 dedicated 2 channel tube pre with a HT bypass. Didn't know they made such an animal until a forum member recommended. Thanks Dan for spending my money.
...I see where the $$$$ goes...remember, I still have Matt's phone #!!!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
In reality, it only matters what it sounds like to YOU!!!
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jjptkd

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:28 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Great review! =D> =D> I found the same thing switching from an HK receiver to the Sunfire Pre's, almost unbelievable night and day difference. :D
Sunfire TGP-III
Sunfire 600x2
PS Audio DL-III DAC
Klipsch "mini" Chorus II's
Klipsch RSW 15
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Don

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:30 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

kingman wrote:
Bought a cheap used Adcom GTP-450 on the Gon to give to Matt for his birthday
...
have on the way a VTL 2.5 dedicated 2 channel tube pre with a HT bypass. Didn't know they made such an animal until a forum member recommended. Thanks Dan for spending my money.
...I see where the $$$$ goes...remember, I still have Matt's phone #!!!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:



Look who is calling the Kettle black! :lol: :lol: :lol:
To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
— Thomas Paine


"Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value" Albert Einstein

"Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them". Charlie Reese

"The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett


"Kindness is a language that the Deaf can hear and the Blind can see." Mark Twain

RIP Bill D.
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tinpan

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

I really, REALLY like live music played on a tubed set up. I don't know why but it just seems to shine
Tinpan

HT - Sunfire TG IV, Sunfire Cinema Grand Sig. 400 x 5, Oppo 93, Klipsch LaScala (3), Cornwalls (2), SW-12, Sony 60" LCD

2 channel - AN L2 Pre-amp, AN Interstage Mono Blocks 300b PSE, AN 2.1 DAC, Oppo DV-981HD, Lowther PM4a/Azurahorn/SentryIV

2 channel - AN L3 Signature Line stage, AN Interstage Mono Blocks 300b PSE, AN Sig. DAC 3.1 , AN Sig. Phono Stage, Sota Comet TT, Altec A5's

2 channel - empty, Klipschorns

2 channel - Audio Note Kit 1 300b SET, Audio Note DAC 2.1, Altec A4's
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jjptkd

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:40 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

I've only had a few cheapy integrateds but found the same thing, live or acoustic music sound pretty frickin' amazing! :D
Sunfire TGP-III
Sunfire 600x2
PS Audio DL-III DAC
Klipsch "mini" Chorus II's
Klipsch RSW 15
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TNRabbit

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Post Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:17 am

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Don wrote:Stay tuned for part 2



SO......Don; were you able to conduct part 2 or does your back have you out of commission?
TNRabbit
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From FrankieD's lips to your ears: Sunfire - a quiet box of endless power.

Sunfire TG-IV/400~7 Amp
Carver SD/A-360 CDP
Benchmark DAC-1
Sony SACD/DVD-A
Active bi-amp: Ashly XR-1001 & 2 Rane PEQ-15s
Main: HotRodded AL-IIIs
Sub: Klipsch RT-12d
Center: Sunfire CRS-3c
Surround: Sunfire CRS-3 (x 2)

OconeeOrange wrote:"Gary likes to play it 'loud' as do I. His system begs you turn it up until you die"

RIP WIlliam B. Dibble, 1948-2012. I'll miss you my friend.
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Don

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Post Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:05 am

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Gary,

Have not moved seriously into Part 2 of the equation. First rotator cuff surgery, then dealing with Terri's Mom declining health and resultant passing, now down on my back since Father's Day. :( Italy vacation canceled as a result. It has been one continual issue after the other. Audio has taken a back seat. Heck, not even in the automobile currently.

Inserted the VTL 2.5 pre into the mix a while back and did get to spend a little time before all of these issues completely consumed our lives. Serious upgrade over the Mtrz. Receiver pre-outs and the Adcom 450 pre to say the least. The Adcom pre was an upgrade over the Mtzr. receiver pre-outs and the VTL 2.5 kicks it up another notch for sure. The sound stage depth and width expanded considerably with the VTL. I have a C-9 that I use occasionally while listening to a few jazz cuts. On more than 1 occasion, I got up to check to see if I had it in the loop or not using the VTL. The sound stage was that wide on a couple of particular cuts.

I do not have my 4 Carverfest tube amps currently. (you know story on that) Although not physically able to swap out, even if I did have on hand. However, when back gets better, will continue to evaluate and update listening results. Lots of different combos to try from a snergy standpoint also.

Bottom line-Make no mistake, there is a very significant difference in Pre-amps!
To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
— Thomas Paine


"Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value" Albert Einstein

"Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them". Charlie Reese

"The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett


"Kindness is a language that the Deaf can hear and the Blind can see." Mark Twain

RIP Bill D.
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engtaz

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Post Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:24 am

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Hope you feel better Don. Prayers sent for you and Terri.
engtaz


Carver M4.0T in front channels to Caver AL VI's in SACD & 2 Channel setup
C 16, PT 2400, Slim Device, Carver TX-8, 490T and Rega TT w Grado Gold cart in the 2 channel setup
Bogen SRB20 is computer amp
Carver PM-350 donated for youth church use
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Chauss

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Post Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:22 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Hey Don! Get yer a$$ out of bed already, a 1 1/2 month nap is just too much rest!!! :D
Hope you feel better soon buddy- thoughts and prayers your way!

Wait till you see what I have lined up NEXT for you to buy! WooHoo!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
http://www.vtl.com/pages/Amplifiers/Siegfried/
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Good sound—like good music, good wine and good fellowship—is meant to be shared.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits" Albert Einstein
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Don

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Post Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:02 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Chauss wrote:Hey Don! Get yer a$$ out of bed already, a 1 1/2 month nap is just too much rest!!! :D
Hope you feel better soon buddy- thoughts and prayers your way!

Wait till you see what I have lined up NEXT for you to buy! WooHoo!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
http://www.vtl.com/pages/Amplifiers/Siegfried/



Dan,

I have a better idea. [-X You purchase and we will road show at my pad to see if the snergy is there while we put them through their paces. \:D/ The size of those monoblocks would be a little difficult to hide from Terri! :rolleyes:
To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
— Thomas Paine


"Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value" Albert Einstein

"Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them". Charlie Reese

"The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett


"Kindness is a language that the Deaf can hear and the Blind can see." Mark Twain

RIP Bill D.
<<

Chauss

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(pair of) SILVER-7t's

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Post Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:09 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Don wrote:
Chauss wrote:Hey Don! Get yer a$$ out of bed already, a 1 1/2 month nap is just too much rest!!! :D
Hope you feel better soon buddy- thoughts and prayers your way!

Wait till you see what I have lined up NEXT for you to buy! WooHoo!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
http://www.vtl.com/pages/Amplifiers/Siegfried/



Dan,

I have a better idea. [-X You purchase and we will road show at my pad to see if the snergy is there while we put them through their paces. \:D/ The size of those monoblocks would be a little difficult to hide from Terri! :rolleyes:


Wish I could! Becky said I am done with audio purchases for a good while. :( .....BUT -here is an idea for ya- O:)
They would hide nicely behind a 2-3' tall potted silk plant!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Image
Good sound—like good music, good wine and good fellowship—is meant to be shared.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits" Albert Einstein
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TNRabbit

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Post Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:00 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

TNRabbit wrote:
Don wrote:Stay tuned for part 2



SO......Don; were you able to conduct part 2 or does your back have you out of commission?


Going on 2 years later....any update, Don?
TNRabbit
Image

From FrankieD's lips to your ears: Sunfire - a quiet box of endless power.

Sunfire TG-IV/400~7 Amp
Carver SD/A-360 CDP
Benchmark DAC-1
Sony SACD/DVD-A
Active bi-amp: Ashly XR-1001 & 2 Rane PEQ-15s
Main: HotRodded AL-IIIs
Sub: Klipsch RT-12d
Center: Sunfire CRS-3c
Surround: Sunfire CRS-3 (x 2)

OconeeOrange wrote:"Gary likes to play it 'loud' as do I. His system begs you turn it up until you die"

RIP WIlliam B. Dibble, 1948-2012. I'll miss you my friend.
<<

Snoop65

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Post Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:40 pm

Re: Sunfire 400X7 & Mtz Rec/pre vs Crvft.Tube & Adcom Pre

Come on Don, let's get with it! UPDATE!!!! UPDATE!!!!! :D
CARVER LIGHTSTAR REFERENCE+SUNFIRE CLASSIC TUBE PREAMPLIFIER+JBL XPL200+MUSIC HALL MMF-9.1+GRADO REFERENCE MASTER 1+CARVER SD/A 390t=WOW!!!!!!

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