Review: Sunfire Symphonic Reference Preamplifier

Category: Preamps

There was a few hot summers that got me realy exhausted especially if I would leave my VTL amps on. They do bring extra heat onto already UV-ed room and I started to shop for affordable SS amp.
The brand new Symphonic Reference stereo stack immediately turned my eye on and I won the auctions in the last minute.
After a payment I was awaiting two brand new items in the boxes for just a-bit over a kilobuck.
To the last minute I couldn't stop thinking of getting my speakers biamped with some great powerfull SS drive and during the summer I'd put my VTLs to the closet and will only be using SS amp.

So why here am I reviewing a preamp when I actually needed simply an SS amp?

Originally I wasn't planning keeping preamp but after a while of playing it in my system I realized that I'm very and very happy with this unique and universal driver with excellent sound quality and superb phonostage for less than halfK!!!

Yeah, I sold my ARC PH3 and little McCormack preamp in favor of SRP that still shows me how wonderful, robust and versatile it is. I realized that it hasn't enough upper-end definition in the line mode(phono is great great great all the way arround) so I connected Musical Fidelity X10 buffer to the external proccessor outs of preamp that totally eliminates this problem.

My musical tastes lie mostly in instrumental music: fusion, electronica, progressive rock and certainly FZ. He should sound very clear and very next to my ears man! If he's not there, the system's a trash! Another words the system must be precise and tight all the way arround in order to hear every instrument chrystal-clear. Despite my tastes to electric music I get pissed off certainly if piano is played with clipping and another words unclear.

The system arround this preamplifier goes even beyond my basic tastes with flowless voice performance of any instrument and any kind of music whether it's small band or huge symphony orchestra.

With addition of SRP I saved a vast amount of money selling ARC PH3 and McCormack overseas.
If money didn't matter to me, I'd probably run with Pass all the way through(with SF Cremona Amator).

Associated gear
Sunfire Symphonic Reference amplifier as a bass driver connected via balanced line converter with adjustable gain,
VTL MB100 as tweeter drivers in ultra-linear mode via high-pass output.
Sources are:
Michell Gyro SE with Incognito RB300/Lyra Argo as an analogue source.
Monarchy universal transport with EAD DSP700 MK II DAC as a digital source.

Similar products
Audio Research PH3,
McCormack Micro Line Drive.
I had experienced the same listening fatigue untill I figured the lack of a feedback and extreamly large linestage gain.
Hence I use Musical Fidelity X10 buffer at "External Processor" output loop and balanced line converter that completely eliminated this problem.
I spoke with manufacturer about the customized modifications of the unit... Since this unit is mostly built on OpAmps the feedback settings cannot be altered otherwise the stability will suffer.
Since the money I've paid for the unit are quite minimal, I decided to acquire these two units that totaled <$200.
I actually tried the MF tube (x10 v3) at various points in the system (i.e. before the preamp, in a processor loop and between the pre and the amp)- it did result in "fuller sound" (slightly better midrange) but the dynamics became even weaker.
btw my system included a various cd/dvd (rega planet, sony cd/sacd, dvp-ns725s, ead 7000 mkIII), CJ sa-250 and reference 3a's Dulcets. My SRP frustrations ended when I traded it for a 25 year old ns-10 (the first threshold preamp).
Something must be wrong, my SRF continues to deliver the goods.
No roll/off problems or listening problem(s). I'd suggest returning your
problem child to have it checked @ SunFire.
Well, I had two of them....I think that's about enough to influence one's opinion.
I'm glad that your SRP is good with no problems whatsoever. Enjoy!