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mcintosh vs sunfire?


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I am sure most will say Mac.. There are more McIntosh users on this board.

I have the Sunfire... it is clean, diggs deep, very dynamic, and will not dissapoint you in my opinion. Some people have followed my lead or already have the Sunfire, and have been VERY happy with it as well.

At this level your probably very safe with either. $$ comes into play, as well as cosmetics.

I might also say the Pre Amp also is a huge thought process of, "What do I want... What do I need?" in your head as well.

If your talking this for Home Theater... ??? Get a great McIntosh or Sunfire 7 channel amp separate, and if McIntosh or Sunfire come out with a newer Pre Amp unit, your still ok. (I assume your talking separates anyhow here LOL)

If you were in Indy, I would say come over..and hear for yourself.. (You may not want to leave.. trust me... hehehehe)

The Sunfire at 200 WPC is pretty hard to beat! In stereo, it is incredible!!

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In my opinion, (and I looked at both..) I think very well. Maybe I need to say how does the Mac stack up against my Sunfire..? hehehehehe

I could of had either one..

I am VERY much happy (again) with the Sunfire... and I would be hard pressed if you, too, were also not very happy as well. I drooled over both as a kid.. And I know and understand very different approaches to getting results, too, as far as the power supplies. The proof is not about cosmetics, the Mac wins..IMO, and is timeless. The proof to me was the sound (and yes to be honest) the cost difference too. Mine was a dealer install Sunfire Theater Grand IV and the 200 x 7 amp that was supposed to go into a HT and the owner ran out of money finishing his room, so I got it very close to dealer cost because it sat on his shelf for about 8 months.. (Separates move slow, and at this level $$ wise, there are few buyers...or pre ordered, at the Botique stores.) Because of that, I jumped at the Sunfire... It is amazing, with the only caveat being this...... it sends a weak signal to any Ultra 2 system Bass signal.. (Which my Velodyne sms-1 corrected) the stereo soundstage is amazing...

Ever sit in your seat and you SWEAR you have a middle speaker on? I do all the time with the Sunfire in stereo. The detail is amazing.

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I have the Sunfire Ultimate Receiver as well as the Theater Grand IV processor and 400~7 amp. I've heard Mac but never owned one. I'd say for the price difference, the Sunfire is a better deal and you get a lot more power. In my opinion, the Mac doesn't "trounce" the Sunfire. You can't be serious abou the Yugo/Ferrari comparison! It's more like Ferrari/Bugatti Veyron comparison, with the edge going to Ferrari because it costs SO MUCH LESS than the Veyron...

You'll never be sorry for purchasing a Sunfire product. I wouldn't buy the newest stuff though because they have a lot of the parts being made in China as of the past year.

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I'll add a recommendation for B&K to the mix.

I was introduced to B&K by the (now) classic ST-140 (105 wpc). At the time I also had a monster Carver TFM-45 (375 wpc) in my main system driving Cornwalls. I ended up listening to (and liking) the B&K more than the TFM-45, so I eventually got rid of the Carver (Sunfire is Bob Carver's new line).

I now have a B&K Ref 50 pre/pro and four B&K ST-125.2 amps running my main system and a pair of PT3sII pre-amps and ST-1400sII & ST-2140 amps running the office & bedroom systems. Needless to say, I REALLY like B&K - and it's made in the US.


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I would have to agree with jheis....the B&K stuff is really sweet. It's not as well known or as "showy" as McIntosh (or as costly), but it certainly is worth a close look.

The person that compared Sunfire to a Yugo is way out of line, Sunfire makes very nice equipment and shouldn't be overlooked. I wonder where he/she gets his comparison information from- it appears as though he/she doesn't even own any Sunfire OR McIntosh. I guess if it says McIntosh on it, it must be the best of it's kind and everything else is complete garbage.

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Even though I've been a huge fan of Carver's older gear (owned lots of 'em in the day), I've never compared Sunfire to McIntosh. I've also owned a few McIntosh stereo amps and I can attest to their reliability and sound quality...second to none, plus their reputation speaks volumes in today's audio market. Original Sunfire components are excellent from what I hear, but if their newest products are being manufactured abroad, then maybe they're not a good candidate for consideration if "built in America" is a concern of yours (not dissing Sunfire if their QC is still intact).

If you're considering used 2-channel amps and preamps, then IMO both Sunfire and McIntosh would be worthy choices! I'm sure you'd get a better deal on used Sunfire gear as opposed to McIntosh, but that's just my opinion (I'm not in the market so I haven't been shopping around). But if you're buying new, then between the two choices I'd go with McIntosh, especially if quality, reliability, and pride of ownership mean anything to you (plus Mac's resale values are tremendously good when it comes time to sell/upgrade).

Good luck with whatever brand you choose.

EDIT: No experience with B&K products, but I also agree (from what I've read) that they're top-notch sonically...also Boulder is another firm to consider!

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Best bet would be to audition the gear and make your own decision.

There are great offerings from various manufacturers out there as well as a few custom made to order offerings.

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I currently have an MA6850 and want to stay with Mac, but my friend who
is in the audio/video business (mostly video) wants me to try the

If he is "in the business" why not try them both, at home, where it counts? I have heard the Sunfire vs McIntosh myself.... But it is what YOU think!

I chose the Sunfire..

If your looking for a 2 channel amp..

Sunfire 300~two
Power output
300 watts continuous, per chan-
nel, all channels driven into
eight ohms, from 20 Hz-20 kHz
with no more than 0.5% T.H.D.
Power at clipping, min:
600 watts per chan nel into four
1200 watts per chan nel into two
ohms (time limited basis).
Hum and Noise
-115 dB, A-Weighted
Maximum output current
80 amperes peak to peak per ch.
Maximum output voltage
49.0 Vrms
Output impedance
Voltage source: Approx. zero ohms
Current source: Approx. one ohm
RCA Input impedance
24 kΩ
Input sensitivity for rated
out put
Unbalanced: 1.64 Vrms
Bal anced: 0.82 Vrms
XLR Input impedance
10 kΩ, each leg balanced to
ground Female XLR
Pin 1 is ground
Pin 2 is positive (hot)
Pin 3 is negative (cold)
12 VDC Trigger Inputs
Input voltage range 5 -18 VDC
Impedance: approx 600 Ω
(20 mA @ 12 V)
Removable terminal block, and
dual 1/8" mini jacks for daisy
Power Consumption
45 W At idle
150 W Typical (1/8th power)
1800 W Ab so lute Max (Fuse
Dimensions (W x H x D)
17.0" x 5.9" x 16.7"
19.0" x 6.5" x 16.7"
33 lbs. for 17" and 19" models
Brushed aluminum with black
anodize.The 17" model is also
available in a light titanium finish.

What you have now, is more like a receiver..

May I suggest this as well....


Click here for large back

spacer.gif Incredible new 7.1/9.1 channel design with two zones and seven amplifier channels capable of 200 watts each!

Bob Carver has always had a passion for making big power from a
small space. So what might you expect from this incredibly passionate
audio inventer/designer with over 30 years experience? Perhaps this:
The world's most powerful home theater receiver in a package the size
of a typical preamplifier. And this beauty will please the most
discriminating audiophile. Really.

Bob started with his highly-acclaimed Theater Grand III Home
Theater Preamp/Processor and then added seven channels of
receiver-class power amplification. This receiver can drive speakers
with impedances as low as four ohms, with 400 watts per channel at that
impedance (for those uncompromising audiophiles who require the
ultimate in power amplifiers with a lower noise floor, more power,
virtually limitless dynamics, and one-ohm stability that can drive any
speaker made, our separates systems are for you). Bob designed it to
produce a warm and engaging soundstage – both your movie and music
soundtracks will be smooth and dynamic.

The Ultimate Receiver II adds Dolby® Pro Logic® IIx to its array
of numerous surround modes including Dolby® Digital, Dolby® Digital
EX, DTS®, DTS-ES®, DTS Neo:6®, and user-configurable all-speaker
stereo. It also includes an incredible digital implementation of Bob's
wildly successful Sonic Holography® Imaging, that substantially adds
to the acoustic space of any stereo recording.

The Ultimate Receiver II's control system takes into consideration the needs
of the modern AV system. New in version II is video format conversion
that automatically up-converts composite to S-video, and S-Video to component
video to keep you from having to change inputs on your TV.

The Ultimate
Receiver II’s remote is a powerful new preprogrammed and learning
LCD-based design (a digital image of the actual receiver remote is not
yet available. It is identical to a Theater Grand remote, but with
'RCVR' instead of 'TGIII' or 'TGIV' in the LCD window. Click HERE
to see the identical Theater Grand III remote). The Ultimate Receiver II
includes an RS 232 communication port to allow easy operation from any
custom control system.

The Ultimate Receiver II also includes an AM/FM tuner with 40
presets, an eight-channel input for DVD-Audio or SACD, a Phono stage, a
digital output which is active for ALL analog and digital sources (even
the phono input!) and much, much more. We urge you to see one right
away at your local Sunfire Dealer.

Feature and Specs
  • Seven channels of power amplification
  • 200 WATTS rms PER CHANNEL into eight ohms from 20Hz to 20kHz with no more than 0.5% THD
  • Won't cook your expensive gear!
    Incredibly efficient tracking downconverter power amplifier design
    generates shockingly little heat – like all of our Sunfire amplifiers,
    the Ultimate Receiver II runs warm to the touch even while generating
    truly thunderous output levels. Less heat = longer life for everything
    in your equipment rack
  • Two of the seven power amp channels can be configured (via
    on-screen-display setup) to amplify the surround back or side-axis
  • Preamp outputs for all channels
  • Auto signal sensing input switching – Automatically turns the unit on, selects your source and surround mode
  • Bob Carver's awesome Holographic Imaging now in noise-free DSP for the ultimate soundstage enhancement of two-channel sources
  • 7.1 Channel Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX,
    DTS, DTS-ES and DTS Neo:6 decoding, plus Sunfire's exclusive
    Side-Axis outputs for 9.1 channels total playback! (An additional
    stereo power amplifier is required for all 9.1 channels)
  • Second zone can play sources independent of the main zone
  • Full-time digital downmix provides accurate two-channel
    output for tape recording, digital outputs, and second zone from
    multichannel digital sources
  • User configurable nine channel 'PARTY' mode engages all speakers from any two channel source
  • Direct two-channel analog bypass mode
  • Incredible new preprogrammed and learning remote control with LCD
  • FM/AM tuner with 40 presets and Bob Carver's awesome Dynamic
    FM Noise Reduction circuit which dramatically improves clarity of weak
    FM stations
  • Three 100MHz+ HDTV compatible wide-bandwidth component video inputs and two outputs
  • Format conversion between S-VHS, component and composite video
  • Six audio/video inputs, each with audio, S-video and composite video
  • Three audio-only inputs, including Moving Magnet Phono input for LPs
  • Eight channel analog audio input using RCA connectors for DVD-A, SACD, or other external multichannel source
  • Digital audio (S/PDIF) inputs for six sources: four coax or optical, plus two coax only
  • Coaxial and optical digital (S/PDIF) outputs provide
    two-channel digital downmix from 5.1 sources or analog inputs like
    phono (record your vinyl to CD-R or DAT!)
  • Three subwoofer outputs
  • Side-axis side speaker outputs for completely enveloping soundstage (total of 9.1 channels!)
    Comprehensive all-digital bass manager with crossover frequencies of 40 to 160Hz
    DSP tone controls
  • 24-bit A-to-D converter and 24-bit/192kHz Multibit D-to-A converters for the ultimate in sound quality
  • Separate trigger outputs and infrared inputs for both zones
  • High-current (500mA total) trigger outputs easily handle the most power hungry accessories
  • Sunfire exclusive: FLASH memory upgradable by playing a CD!
  • Dimensions: 17" wide, 5.75" high (includes feet), 16.5" deep
  • Two-year parts and labor warranty
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If you are doing audio only, the BEST preamp I've ever heard, BY FAR, was the Sunfire Classic Tube Control Amplifier (pre). They aren't made any more, but one occasionally pops up for sale, and they usually command about $1,000.00, plus or minus $200.00. They are the cat's @$$! Pair that up with the Sunfire 300~2 channel amp and you are in for a treat!

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