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Sunfire Cinema Grand Repair Options


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My Cinema Grand amp is failing. It’s sending a pop/scrape sound, mostly to the Left Surround channel (but audible on all), even in standby mode. I know Flannery’s Vintage Audio is the go to on repairing these amps, but I’m a couple of months into a 4-5 month waiting list to even send it in. Then a few months after that to actually get it repaired. Does anyone have any suggestions for competent repair shops for these amps? I’ll probably wait, but it’s always good to have options. 
Thanks all. 

 

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I bring my stuff to these guys http://atlantic-systems.com/about-us/  if you're not opposed to shipping. They're not fast (faster than Bill though) but they're honest and good and easy to talk to. I can never get out of there in less than an hour once Paul and I get talking about "the old days" 🤣 They've worked on my Carver and ADCOM amps and I usually get them back in a month or so. They're local to me, sort of. Only an hour away.

 

Give them a call. Maybe you can work something out.

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18 hours ago, Jedster1 said:

I bring my stuff to these guys http://atlantic-systems.com/about-us/  if you're not opposed to shipping. They're not fast (faster than Bill though) but they're honest and good and easy to talk to. I can never get out of there in less than an hour once Paul and I get talking about "the old days" 🤣 They've worked on my Carver and ADCOM amps and I usually get them back in a month or so. They're local to me, sort of. Only an hour away.

 

Give them a call. Maybe you can work something out.

That’s a good recommendation, although they don’t list Sunfire as a brand they work on. But I’ll give them a call. Shipping to Massachusetts would be a bit cheaper than Washington, for me. Maybe even a nice drive to pick it up when it’s done. 

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7 hours ago, M_Klipsches said:

That’s a good recommendation, although they don’t list Sunfire as a brand they work on. But I’ll give them a call. Shipping to Massachusetts would be a bit cheaper than Washington, for me. Maybe even a nice drive to pick it up when it’s done. 

They work on anything, even if it's not on their list. I've seen Mac, Nakamichi, B&O and a host of other brands on carts or on the shelves. They don't care what name is on it, they love vintage stuff, and in actual fact they have one of my Carver M-1.5ts in their possession as I write this, waiting on a PCB for the meters.

 

They also spent hours cleaning and testing my GFA-565 and gave me the diagnosis for only 50 bucks. I'm waiting on Hoppe's Brain to send a populated board to replace the poisoned one they found (a leaky cap fouled it and it can't be resurrected), and I'll be bringing it back to have them get it up and running once I have it in hand.

 

I do know that they're reluctant to work on some Sunfire and Carver stuff depending on the year of manufacture, though, because of the notoriously low-quality heat-sensitive parts used (sub-woofer plate amps in particular), but they're worth a conversation. Great guys, they know their stuff, they're into Harleys, old cars and cool audio gear, and they won't break the bank.

 

Good luck!! And if you're in the neighborhood give me a shout!! I'll show you some of my toys. 😆

Edited by Jedster1
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If I'm a lifer "Cinema Grand" guy I consider taking it to the specialist who has the most experience and can get the most out of the piece. In five years when you are still listening to that amp (people who own them seem to really like them), you won't think much that it took six months instead of three or four to get that done. I looked into buying a Cinema Grand amp for my home theater (ultimately went with McIntosh) but had I bought the Cinema Grand it was probably going to Flannery's for the fullest updates that guy had available.

 

For an amp like that, I go to 'The Go-To". Especially if you like it and want to keep it another 20 years. What's another few months?? Not to mention that five channel HT amps are a dime a dozen out there and a "spare" can usually be found such that you use it, get your Sunfire back then sell it, or just keep it as a "just in case", especially if you bought it just to be a backup and got a good price on it, etc. People seem to talk about these as one of those amps that's a "cut above" and deserving of the total service/rebuild/etc to keep the operational for another couple decades. If this is you and your "angle" you might think further about who you want to do this for the "long haul". That's the sort of scenario where I ask the repairer/restorer for not just a "fix" but a total inspection/internal parts restoration to make that piece the best it can be, or at least discuss that concept, rather than just "fixing stuff as it fails" which can end up a repetitive process repeating visits to the tech. This is how I approach a lot of vintage gear - I don't just want it "fixed" for what's failing I want it ELECTRICALLY RESTORED and that's an angle worth pursuing for the "lifer" owner who really likes the piece.

 

But that said, inquire of any tech about these issues/approaches and learn what your on-hand options really are. Every tech has "their way" of doing this and those points can be of consequence where a 20+ year old amp or other electronics may be concerned.

 

 

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you can figure $500 for the rebuild plus $300 roundtrip shipping is what i paid Bill to do mine years ago. ohio to washington

i'm glad i did it because it was a solid 10 in condition when i bought it

 

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8 hours ago, Audible Nectar said:

If I'm a lifer "Cinema Grand" guy I consider taking it to the specialist who has the most experience and can get the most out of the piece. In five years when you are still listening to that amp (people who own them seem to really like them), you won't think much that it took six months instead of three or four to get that done. I looked into buying a Cinema Grand amp for my home theater (ultimately went with McIntosh) but had I bought the Cinema Grand it was probably going to Flannery's for the fullest updates that guy had available.

 

For an amp like that, I go to 'The Go-To". Especially if you like it and want to keep it another 20 years. What's another few months?? Not to mention that five channel HT amps are a dime a dozen out there and a "spare" can usually be found such that you use it, get your Sunfire back then sell it, or just keep it as a "just in case", especially if you bought it just to be a backup and got a good price on it, etc. People seem to talk about these as one of those amps that's a "cut above" and deserving of the total service/rebuild/etc to keep the operational for another couple decades. If this is you and your "angle" you might think further about who you want to do this for the "long haul". That's the sort of scenario where I ask the repairer/restorer for not just a "fix" but a total inspection/internal parts restoration to make that piece the best it can be, or at least discuss that concept, rather than just "fixing stuff as it fails" which can end up a repetitive process repeating visits to the tech. This is how I approach a lot of vintage gear - I don't just want it "fixed" for what's failing

 

8 hours ago, Audible Nectar said:

That’s really where I started, and is still my mindset. I actually had another Sunfire Cinema Grand albeit a “lesser” model before I got my current “Signature” model, I sold it to justify the cost of the Signature. The thing is, honestly the 400 watt Signature sounds exactly like the 225 Watt unit that it replaced. Oh well, I’ll wait it out a bit longer, if the repair gets  me another 20 years or so I’ll call it good. 

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8 hours ago, Budman said:

you can figure $500 for the rebuild plus $300 roundtrip shipping is what i paid Bill to do mine years ago. ohio to washington

i'm glad i did it because it was a solid 10 in condition when i bought it

 

It looks a bit closer to $1,000, but everything is pricier now. My concern is, given the changing economy, how much it might cost later this summer.  Oh well, so it goes. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, billybob said:

Guess it stands to reason that a decent used one for a grand would be wishful thinking.

There's one on eBay right now in decent shape for 1995.00. https://www.ebay.com/itm/134091546644?hash=item1f387aa014:g:xr4AAOSwktViXyds

 

I have an Outlaw 770 and 950 driving five DefTech Mythos IIs that have been making happy noises for me for over twenty years in my HT along with a pair of DefTech 10/10 in-wall subs that aren't actually in the walls but in custom steam-punk cabinets (that  I built) driven by either a Carver A500x or the M-1.5t that I'm having refreshed, so 5-channel stuff isn't on my radar at the moment.

 

All my other various pre-amps and amps do 2or 3-channel duty in the garage or shop or the bedrooms and I'm always in the market for something new to play with.

 

I have Bose stuff, Klipsch stuff (I'm building custom cabinets for some old Heresy drivers and crossovers at present), Sunfire and Carver, Soundcrafstman, Outlaw, Adcom . . . . . . I don't actually know how many I have!! It won't all fit in one room, that's for sure.  I have better equipment in my garage than most have in their homes. 🤣

 

But to the point of this whole thread . . . . the guys at Atlantic are aces. I interviewed a lot of techs, including the so-called "specialists", before I chose them. They're the quiet, capable pros that don't engage in any of the "look at us!!" bullsh!t but do outstanding work at a very reasonable price because they love the gear. If the OP doesn't want to wait forever to get his gear serviced there are reputable, capable options out there. 😊

 

It doesn't really matter to me one way or the other. I have no dog in this fight and there's nothing in it for me but the satisfaction that I've been helpful to a fellow audiophile.

 

On with the show!! 

Edited by Jedster1
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12 hours ago, Jedster1 said:

There's one on eBay right now in decent shape for 1995.00. https://www.ebay.com/itm/134091546644?hash=item1f387aa014:g:xr4AAOSwktViXyds

 

I have an Outlaw 770 and 950 driving five DefTech Mythos IIs that have been making happy noises for me for over twenty years in my HT along with a pair of DefTech 10/10 in-wall subs that aren't actually in the walls but in custom steam-punk cabinets (that  I built) driven by either a Carver A500x or the M-1.5t that I'm having refreshed, so 5-channel stuff isn't on my radar at the moment.

 

All my other various pre-amps and amps do 2or 3-channel duty in the garage or shop or the bedrooms and I'm always in the market for something new to play with.

 

I have Bose stuff, Klipsch stuff (I'm building custom cabinets for some old Heresy drivers and crossovers at present), Sunfire and Carver, Soundcrafstman, Outlaw, Adcom . . . . . . I don't actually know how many I have!! It won't all fit in one room, that's for sure.  I have better equipment in my garage than most have in their homes. 🤣

 

But to the point of this whole thread . . . . the guys at Atlantic are aces. I interviewed a lot of techs, including the so-called "specialists", before I chose them. They're the quiet, capable pros that don't engage in any of the "look at us!!" bullsh!t but do outstanding work at a very reasonable price because they love the gear. If the OP doesn't want to wait forever to get his gear serviced there are reputable, capable options out there. 😊

 

It doesn't really matter to me one way or the other. I have no dog in this fight and there's nothing in it for me but the satisfaction that I've been helpful to a fellow audiophile.

 

On with the show!! 

 

I sense a strident tone here. My comments aren't about disparaging or even insinuating that your rec isn't good. The point I like to make with these older gears is there are a BUNCH of "ways" to look at having a unit like this serviced, and "which angles" are available to the owner are more numerous than most realize (which is why people come here to ask questions). It's not meant to be an "gotta be this or that", but a springboard from which the owner can ask questions about the overall approaches of the techs they are considering to do the work.

 

It's much like a discussion around a classic automobile. There's a number of variables, right down to the upholstery. As one who has "walked the walk" like this with a myriad of vintage gears, asking questions gets you answers, and if you're considering shipping your prize across the country or region to have that unit serviced you will want to do the best possible to "shoot straight and true" with the first choice. I know what it is to "choose poorly" for the job and have to pay to do it again, too, although I'm not sensing that's so much an issue here. Interesting thing was the "poorly chosen tech" in my case was one of the most renowned people around that gear, but it was the wrong approach for what I was really needing to have done. That guy doesn't do "rebuilds" and that's what my gear needed. 

 

Some of us have had "year-long-sagas" right here on this forum with these sort of projects. It's how I learned who and what to ask.

 

And in many cases, the "one not chosen" still can be a really good option for a lot of work - many of us here have built a good network of service people just through interacting in places like these. 

 

I would say that whoever ends up candidates that the OP should talk with ALL of them and find out what they have to say. The techs are usually more than willing to serve up opinions on this stuff, and as one who was in the market for this type of work am all ears and want to hear all of the opinion and thoughts I can get out of them. I will always suggest that people seeking these services do the same. I will say that on a 20 year old amp I want to talk to the "experience in the room" to ascertain if parts not yet failed in that unit are "due" that have not yet failed. If so, that's more of a "rebuild" situation where parts that have a habit of failing/wearing/drifting out of spec are replaced while the other fix it surgery is done.

 

 It' doesn't have to be "one good the other bad", in fact I've had to choose between some pretty good people in this biz and felt bad I couldn't choose both. That happens too, but it's all in service of finding the the RIGHT solution. I know the internet tends to imply the opposite, which is why I make a point of responding here.

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Posted (edited)

@Audible Nectar ~

 

No tone intended, combative or otherwise, ☺️ I didn't consider your post as argumentative, and I'm sorry if what I wrote had you feeling like you needed to be defensive. That was NOT my intent!! I actually quite agree with your methods and approach, which is why it took me so long to find those guys in the first place!! 🤣

 

Deciding who's to operate on our beloved equipment isn't something easy or without anxiety, for sure. Paul and crew have earned my trust. There are certainly others that are as trustworthy, just as there are hacks and thieves.

 

So, my friend, I think we're in agreement!!

Edited by Jedster1
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Thanks everyone for the good advice & recommendations. Either of those Cinema Grands mentioned earlier in the thread, should make someone a great Amp, I’m just already into this one about as far as is reasonable, buying another seems like adding layers of complication. I’ll just have this one repaired (hopefully it can be fixed). I really should’ve held onto the other one.  Hindsight, eh? If anyone is looking for one, they should take a look at those, they really are excellent pieces of gear. Whether two channels to just the La Scalas or full on HT Surround. 

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2 hours ago, M_Klipsches said:

I was hoping for a simple capacitor. No chance? My electrical theory only runs so deep. 

 

The Cinema Grand is packed with Chinese 85 degree caps  versus 105 or higher 125 degree Japanese  caps in hot zones   , so the 1st caps to fail  ,  are in the PSU  .

 

.  I would have a local  tech check the PSU board   ,it's really no big deal  to service the PSU  back to factory specs with high quality  caps from Nichicon - Panasonic   etc

 

-another possibility , the various Cinema Grand  amp's  PCB Boards are  soldered  together, so 1st thing is to also check for cracks or weak solder joints .

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On 5/1/2022 at 9:27 AM, Jedster1 said:

@Audible Nectar ~

 

No tone intended, combative or otherwise, ☺️ I didn't consider your post as argumentative, and I'm sorry if what I wrote had you feeling like you needed to be defensive. That was NOT my intent!! I actually quite agree with your methods and approach, which is why it took me so long to find those guys in the first place!! 🤣

 

Deciding who's to operate on our beloved equipment isn't something easy or without anxiety, for sure. Paul and crew have earned my trust. There are certainly others that are as trustworthy, just as there are hacks and thieves.

 

So, my friend, I think we're in agreement!!

Excellent😇 ::shakes cyberhand ::

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On 5/2/2022 at 4:42 PM, M_Klipsches said:

I was hoping for a simple capacitor. No chance? My electrical theory only runs so deep. 

 

 Which model do you have, is it one of the original 19" versions? Signature or standard? 5 channel or 7? How long have you owned it? That silver 200x7 I posted a link for is the last version Sunfire made before moving production to China, it has all of the factory updates and higher quality capacitors already installed. It was built in 2005 and with the higher quality parts will likely easily last 10+ more years without need for servicing. 

 

 

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