Power Amplifiers

Earthquake Sound Cinenova 7 Multi-Channel Power Amplifier

ARTICLE INDEX

Introduction

Earthquake Sound, besides manufacturing very powerful subwoofers, also offers very powerful amplifiers for your home theater. The massive Cinénova Grande 7 is rated at 500 watts output per channel (seven channels) into 8 ohm loads. At $6,000, it is one of the most powerful multi-channel amplifiers in the world. But, many consumers don't need that much power, either because their home theater is small, or they just don't watch movies and listen to surround sound music very loud. So, Earthquake Sound has introduced the Cinénova 7, a seven-channel power amplifier, which is rated at 150 watts output per channel.

Specifications

  • Design: Multi-Channel Power Amplifier, Class AB
  • Power Output: 150 Watts RMS x 7 into 8 Ohms, 250 Watts into 4 Ohms, 300 Watts RMS x 7 into 2 Ohms
  • MFR: 10 Hz - 30 kHz, ±-0.1 dB
  • THD+N: 0.02%
  • Input Impedance: 28 kOhms RCA, 48 kOhms XLR
  • Inputs: XLR and RCA
  • Dimensions: 6.9" H x 17" W x 16.25" D
  • Weight: 80 Pounds
  • MSRP: $4,200 USA
  • Earthquake Sound

The Design

Well, to start with, the Cinénova 7 is built in the USA, not overseas. Secondly, it does not draw much power at idle, so it is a "Green" product. Third, it is rated into 2 ohms, so it will drive electrostatic speakers with ease. (The huge power supply that allows it to be rated into 2 ohms is the main reason this amplifier is more expensive than most other seven-channel amplifiers that have similar power output.)

Each of the seven channels is an independent module with its own power supply capacitors. There are two large toroidal transformers with separate secondary windings for each channel. Each amplifier module has eight output devices.

The rear panel has all seven modules laid out, with the connections and switches for each module in a vertical array. Each module has an RCA unbalanced input, XLR balanced input, a switch to select the RCA or XLR input, an input sensitivity dial (to adjust the level of the input signal so that you have enough room on your processor volume control to make fine adjustments), and five-way speaker binding posts. The right side has a trigger and grounded AC socket.


In Use

I tested the Cinénova 7 with an OPPO BDP-95 universal player, Anthem D2v SSP, Carver Mark IV ribbon speakers, and Final Sound electrostatic speakers. Cables were Marc Audio and Emotiva.

Frankly, this amplifier delivered plenty of loudness, despite it not being as powerful as its big brother, the Cinénova Grande 7. The bench tests show why, namely, that it puts out more power than specified.

In this SACD, Erich Kunzel directs the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, playing one of my favorite pieces, Fanfare for the Common Man, by Copland. It's not the same recording that he did decades ago, and which I still prefer, even though it is not multi-channel. Nevertheless, in surround sound, the Cinénova 7 handled it with aplomb, and if you are familiar with the piece, you know I am referring to the bass drum. It did not clip, even with my electrostatic speakers.

cinenova-7-music-pops

Jane Monheit sounds a bit like Linda Ronstadt, and in this 24/96 DVD-A recording, she and her jazz ensemble made me want to ask a waiter to bring me a glass of Chardonnay, and leave the bottle. Throaty, but not chesty or sibilant. That's the way I enjoy hearing a female jazz singer like Jane.

cinenova-7-music-jane-monheit

Mozart in the afternoon, with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Horns are brass instruments, but they should sound like brass, not "brassy". Through the Cinénova 7, they sounded like brass. Clean, bright, detailed, musical.

cinenova-7-music-mozart-horn-concertos

The 2 ohm rating will be very useful if you have multiple speaker setups in different rooms. If so, they should all be 8 ohm speakers, and you would need a speaker selector that allows you to connect the speaker binding posts of the power amplifier to more than one set of speakers. So, let's say you have a 7.1 setup in your home theater, and a pair of speakers in the dining room and family room. For a dinner party, you could stereo music playing in the home theater, while the two pairs of speakers in the other rooms are also playing the music. That is what a 2 ohm rating can do for you, and it is why this amplifier is more expensive than some seven-channel power amplifiers. Custom installers will find this product extremely useful, and their customers will be very happy with the results.


On the Bench

Distortion measurements were made within an 80 kHz bandwidth. One of my Carver Mark IV speakers was used as the load, except where indicated. I ran the tests using a single module, since each module is independent.

At 10 volts output, THD+N was 0.02%. Even-ordered harmonics predominated.

cinenova-7-1-khz

Using 19 kHz and 20 kHz sine waves, the B-A peak at 1 kHz was 70 dB below the fundamentals.

cinenova-7-19-khz-20-khz

IMD was 0.03%, using 60 Hz and 7 kHz sine waves as the test signals.

cinenova-7-imd

THD+N vs. Frequency was flat out to about 4 kHz, then rose to a bit more than 0.1% at 8 kHz to 50 kHz.

cinenova-7-thd-plus-n-vs-fr

Here is an impedance/phase plot for the Carver Mark IV speaker that I used as a load for some of the bench tests.

carver-amazing-mark-4-speaker-impedance-phase

The measured frequency response was 10 Hz - 20 kHz, - 0.1 dB, and was down 5 dB at 100 kHz.

cinenova-7-fr

Output into 8 ohms indicated the sharp knee at 150 watts, with clipping (1% THD+N) at 170 watts.

cinenova-7-power-output-8-ohms

Using a 4 ohm load, output showed the sharp knee at 230 watts, and clipping at 280 watts. I did not test the amplifier into a 2 ohm load.

cinenova-7-power-output-4-ohms


Conclusions

If you have a home theater, and want a high quality amplifier, don't need 500 watts per channel, but have speakers with low impedance, the Cinénova 7 should be on your short list. It has massive build quality, is priced with respect to that build quality, and has the sound to satisfy. It will drive several sets of speakers at the same time, due to its 2 ohm rating, so for custom installers, this is an excellent choice.