Rattlin' Them Bones...
by Les Enser
waited with baited breath for two months for Bob Carver's little Sub wonder
to arrive - and now we can finally stop holding our breath. What a relief!
It's nice to breathe oxygen again.
ultimate question that comes to mind now, however, is: was it worth the
wait? Read on.
the little 12 inch cube-shaped box arrived we couldn't contain ourselves.
How could something this small be referred to as the "True Subwoofer?"
When the delivery person handed the box over to me my unsuspecting arms
and legs almost buckled from the weight of the liffle guy, all 50 pounds
of it. As we eagerly uncrated the sub we were truly amazed at its 11"
high x 11" wide x 11" deep dimensions. Sporting two 8"
push pull drivers with adjustable crossover controls from 40Hz to 120Hz,
along with continuously adjustable Phase control from 0 degrees to 180
degrees this beast really does push the envelope. The "push pull"
arrangement is so designed that the drivers are mounted opposite from
one another in the cabinet. This is similar to the bipolar designs that
are becoming increasingly popular. This design also cancels any inertial
forces that may cause the cabinet to vibrate.
Carver also wisely added a phase switch to his design. This is handy for
that perfect match to the rest of one's speaker system, and we realized
at that point that the little Titan definitely means business (Carver
and the subwoofer!).
featured are line level inputs and outputs (low level) along with speaker
level in (high level). Unfortunately, we could only take advantage of
the line level in and could not route the line level output back to our
reference receiver, since it did not have a preamp input. As it turned
out, the results were overwhelming anyway.
the box a 2700 watt servo amplifier is nestled
to provide the power. As it turns out, that much power is needed to produce
the right sound levels from such a tiny box. The drivers or speakers are
as flat as pancakes and boast 7 1/2" magnets! I should mention that
the drivers themselves are fully exposed, with the absence of grills.
The drivers are quite dense, and are made from a very rigid aluminum clad
material. All in all, a handsome unit. It is said that this design is
able to move about 192 cubic inches of air, in comparison to a 15"
subwoofer with one inch travel which displaces about 140 cubic inches.
for the listening test:
took us a little time to find the best spot for the subwoofer, but we
finally decided to place it next to our reference speaker, on the left
side about 12" away to the left. We found the Sunfire Subwoofer played
havoc with our Sony XBR television when placed too close to it! This indicates
that there is no video shielding. We used various test tones from our
Video Essentials Laserdisc to set up the subwoofer. We ended up setting
the crossover at 65Hz and the phase at 90 degrees, utilizing the low level
line input. The first disc we used was the laserdisc of "Mission
Impossible," the scene where the fish tank is blown up. The Sunfire
showed its muscle with good, solid, reinforced bass without the boominess
that most subs exhibit. In the Vault scene, where the big, heavy door
is being closed, the Sunfire again produced the sound with authority and
without any ringing or coloration. We felt the
bass as opposed to just hearing it. In "True Lies," where Arnold
is about to show his "invitation" to the security guard near
the beginning of the movie, again the Sunfire showed its finesse with
a smooth and realistic explosion.
impression this subwoofer has given us is that it produces deep bass only
when required by the source, otherwise it is pleasantly silent until asked
to do the job.
may argue that the Sunfire is "too clean," but we can honestly
say that this "True Subwoofer" is a pleasure to listen to and
does not cause the listener to become fatigued with the constant "boom
boom boom" of some other subs on the market. Our only regret was
the short term of exposure we had with the Sunfire (we had to give it
back!) and the relatively high cost in Canadian dollars, at $2000.00,
as opposed to U.S. retail of $1100.00. Even with the exchange this seems
if I had that amount to spend on a subwoofer I would seriously consider
the "New Sunfire True Subwoofer". It would be a fine addition
to any audio system.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think