- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 14 April 2011
I tested the Sunfire SDS-10 with an OPPO BDP-83 universal player, Lamm LL1 preamplifier, Emotive XPA-1 monoblock power amplifiers, and Krix Equinox bookshelf speakers. Cables were Emotiva and Marc Audio. I set the SDS-10 crossover at 80 Hz and adjusted the volume until it sounded balanced with the main speakers, and fiddled with the phase until it sounded even more balanced.
Well, I must say that I never cease to be amazed at the products that Bob Carver has his fingers into. The SDS-10 is no exception.
The Ray Brown Trio is exceptional in that it is a jazz trio without a drummer. Being a drummer myself, I don't know why I like the album, but I do. The SDS-10 did a very convincing job of adding the fundamental frequencies in the piano's lower registers, as well as with Brown's string bass. There was no boominess or chestiness to the sound at all.
Classical piano also fared well with the SDS-10, and if there is anything that will challenge a sound system, it is Chopin's tendency to play every key on the piano. The Kris Equinox is a rather small bookshelf speaker, and the overall sound truly benefited from having the SDS-10 in the system.
So, after all that sweet jazz and relaxing Chopin, I decided it was time to heat things up. Big band means lots of instruments, and they don't play lullabys. This SACD moves right along, and the SDS-10 stayed with the music all the way to the end. Now, I am not saying it will compete with the big guys, like the Paradigm SUB 2 or Velodyne DD-18+ that we reviewed recently, but within its boundaries, it plays just fine. Those Emotiva monoblocks will put out 500 watts RMS, and there were a few transients along the way that I am sure were climbing into the stratosphere that the Emotivas can deliver. Small speakers like the Equinox can take high power transients for a short time as long as the amp is not clipping, but the little SDS-10 held its head high and came through unscathed.
I watched a few movies with the SDS-10 in our home theater lab, and as long as there weren't any digitally synthesized subterrainian low frequencies (~ 18 Hz), the sub did its job. Mind you, this subs is not for a big home theater setup, but is more for a family style, small, cozy room setup, where everyone is happy with the volume at modest levels.