Sunfire Classic Vaccum Tube Preamp Preamplifiers

4.78/5 (18 Reviews) MSRP : $1495.00


Product Description

Line stage preamp with optional phono stage


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Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Grafcld a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 19, 2011

Bottom Line:   
Great preamplifier BUT really only with right tubes.
Infact it is really prone to noise, so only Siemens E188cc or RCA 7308 are the cure.
With these tubes it sounds really fantastic, with great detail, huge holographic stage and a little lack in bass extension.
For the money (in used market) it can't REALLY beat!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by djordan a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: December 12, 2008

Bottom Line:   
Bought this while I was selling hifi about 10 years ago...Received some special special pricing from Sunfire...

Initial impression were very favorable...sound nothing like solid state...Everything was just larger, sweeter, more "true to life" with a seductive midrange. But then over the years, the magic seemed to fade...And in recent months, I couldn't help but hear the preamp sounding rolled-off, congested and dry.

Well duh! I hadn't replaced the tubes...ever. So first I opened up the unit to pull out the original Sovtek 6922 - only to learn, upon researching tubes, that this is really a pretty mediocre tube (ok...it did sound pretty damn good when new, but it was really sounding lousy as it got used up).

So I found two pages that describe the sound character of the entire compatible tube family. See these links
http://home.att.net/~chimeraone/6dj8sound.html
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=joes+tube+lore&aq=f&oq=

And then I found some Amperex 6DJ8/ECC88 on ebay (orange globe logo, made in holland, steel pins); and I replaced only the three tubes in the line section. WOW! Amazing difference in sound quality. Terrific transparency, detail, openness while preserving that huge soundstage and palpable midrange presence. I've owned and heard so much equipment over the years and although aural memory isn't very reliable, I have to say that I just can't recall being more impressed with the sound quality of a preamp that I am of this now ten year old unit with a decent set of tubes.

And the tubes I'm using are not even the very best. Some suggest that the Amperex PQ are even better or that the superspec 7308 tubes are the ultimate. Nonetheless, this preamp sounds fantastic.

A few notes not really relevent to sound quality. First What the heck is in this preamp that makes it so good? A look in the box reveals a lot more empty space than you would expect. And then there is the mirror box and gimmicky lights surrounding the tubes - it's almost as if Bob Carver thought his brilliant and seemingly simple preamp design wouldn't be enough so he threw in some visual embellishment to bolster the package.

Hard to figure, in the end, this is truly a unique product that is very musical and a joy to listen to.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Sound Center



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by 94fxsts a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 29, 2005

Bottom Line:   
My first tube pre-amp.
It took me 3 years to finally go tube's.
Iv'e been a solid state man for 35 years.
Man I should have done it sooner.
The optional phone section will make you albums sing.
This thing is sweet!!!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   E-Bay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sturmey a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 29, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I bought this used a few years ago to augment an all Aerial Accoustics 7.1 surround sound system. I use the Sunfire pre for all two channel analog connections as a front end to my heavily modified Jolida JD1000, into the famous Aerial 10t speakers. I also run the front channel signals of my Lexicon DC-1 surround sound controller through the Sunfire to sweeten up the sound, making the Lex another analog 2 channnel source for all digital applications. In short, I love my Sunfire tube amp. This Pre can give you an enormous soundstage, particularlly vertically, and that magical illusion of reality, as opposed to the more common sound quality of high-end hi-fi. I've found that it will accept and improve the sound of everything from sattelite, to my Shanling cd/SACD player, and my Camelot Roundtable MKII CD/DVD unit. Upgrade tubes are a must, as others have stated. My amps are all integrated, so I can really speak for the difference the Sunfire makes in my system, and the quality addition it makes is just enormous. Several of my other components are much more expensive than the Sunfire, but I wouldn't exchange it for anything. The balance controls are particularly well executed, and take nothing away from the music, but give you ultimate control of the balance between bass and treble. The remote control for a tube preamp is a wonderful addition. It's also a gorgeous machine; the most beautiful piece of stereo equipment I've ever owned.

I bought mine originally without the remote control, and sent it to Sunfire in 2002 for that addition. It was back to me in less than a week, and believe it or not they had upgreaded just about everything in the box to bring it up to thier latest engineering level. The entire power supply and circuitry had been replaced, along with a list of other electronic items too long to detail. This was a big surprise, and there was no charge for either the engineering changes or the shipment back to me! I called to thank them, and got through to the tech guy who actually did the work. He took plenty of time to explain how Bob Carver had voiced the preamp, and how proud he was of the way it integrates the best of both old and new technology, at a very low price point.

If you are looking for an analog centerpiece for a very high quality musical system I'd highly reccomend the Sunfire Classic Tube Preamp. You can spend a whole lot more, and not even come close to the sound, build quality, feature set, and outright beauty of this preamp. It's also an item you can buy for a lifetime; it's built to that ultimate standard of quality, like a McIntosh, only more classy.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Stereo Unlimited



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by DcnBlu a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2003

Bottom Line:   
The job of a preamplifier is to direct a musical signal from source to amplifier without getting in the way or adding/subtracting from the source signal. The Sunfire does just that. Its nearly transparent, and by that I mean it adds a warmness to the music that is not unpleasing or undesirable. I like to think of it as a gentle giant. It will, without prejudice reveal imperfections in any source. To that I say Bravo! Connected to its partner; a Sunfire Amplifier, its a complete musical masterpiece.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1650.00

Purchased At:   Bjorns Audio San Ant




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