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Sunfire Atmos Subwoofer First Look

Sunfire Atmos subwoofer

Sunfire Atmos subwoofer


  • Product Name: Atmos Subwoofer
  • Manufacturer: Sunfire
  • Review Date: February 04, 2011 22:45
  • MSRP: $TBA
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Small (under 10" square footprint)
  • Powerful (1400 watt amp)
  • Strong (Aluminum driver and cabinet)
  • Friendly (master/slave connections for daisy chaining subs, auto room EQ included)

Executive Overview

So, if you're read any of my first looks on subs you've heard the mantra - It is either a larger box or a large amp. Welcome, friends, to the large amp. There is a market, and a large one, for the small sub. Subs the size of coffee tables may impress your fellow Audioholics but don't think, for a minute, that people leave your house with their wives saying, "Honey, we have GOT to get one of those!" Instead, your friend is probably getting "the look" with "the finger" shoved in their face and their wife saying, "Don't even THINK about it!"

Face it, the vast majority of the population just doesn't get (understand) bass. They think it is nothing but that bumping sound they hear emanating from kid's cars. They don't know how much visceral impact and enjoyment a movie can actually convey through a subwoofer. They don't understand that an explosion in a movie can not only sound like an explosion but feel like one too. They understand that they like the sound in the theaters but they don't think that the wall of subs they have in such places is one of the main reasons.

You can break them down, slowly, but first, you have to get a sub into the home. And that sub better be small. If you are a smart Audioholics (and we know you are), you'll make sure that small sub sounds good. Because if it doesn't, the better half will just use it as an excuse why you don't ever need another sub. If the small sub is good but the one you're trying to convince her to upgrade to is "better" (as you describe it), then she'll understand. If the small one sounds like a pig farting in the corner, no amount of "better" is going to convince her.

Sunfire has been making subs that home theater nuts have be coveting for years. Now they've announced their smallest sub yet - the Atmos. Featuring a custom 6.5" woofer paired with a new asymmetrical cardiod surround, Sunfire claims the Atmos will outperform many 10" and 12" subs. Just not one of theirs we're guessing.

The asymmetrical cardiod surround allows over 1.5" of excursion on the driver. It is going to need it as there is a 1400 (you're reading that right) amp backing it. With all that power, they had to design the cabinet out of aluminum (freaking ALUMINUM!!!) to combat the internal pressure the driver will create. We're thinking Atmos is a pretty apt name.

The footprint of the sub is less than 10" square (the picture above shows just how small) which will please even the pickiest spouses. There is a newly designed (but not described) foot which will allow the Atmos to stay in place even at high volumes (and movement). Sunfire says the foot was inspired by the tire industry so we're guessing it is some sort rubber surround? Either that or a set of knobby tires but probably the former. 

The Sunfire Atmos features an automatic room equalizer circuit which, according to Sunfire, adjusts the sub's response to best suit the room. We're not sure if this is some sort of parametric EQ with an external mic or if it is a servo system. Either way, the sub is where most of your room problems happen so including some room correction is always a bonus. Sunfire has included a master/slave connections so that two Atmos' can be connected with a single cable. Because if you can't have one big sub, two small ones make sense right?


Of course the question you have is price. Subs this small with this much technology tend to be pricey. Well, we don't know yet. The Atmos will begin shipping in quarter two (limited availability i.e. dealers only) of this year so we'll have to wait. But don't expect it to be cheap. We don't. But when you want small, you have to pay. Big is cheap. All it takes is a modeling program, a big driver, and a bunch of MDF. Small takes knowledge, technology, and know how. Sunfire definitely has all that. All you need to do is pay for it.

For more information, please visit www.sunfire.com.

The Atmos will begin shipping in Q2 2011 on a limited availability basis.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

DS-21 posts on May 01, 2012 14:30
MidnightSensi2, post: 789840
The drivers usually lasted, I don't think I ever saw one that failed, the main issue was always the amps and amplifier hum.

Yep. The other problem was that they sounded awful, because the drivers had such high inductance…

(Also, it couldn't reproduce the really deep stuff, but that was by design. I think the PR was tuned to 30Hz or thereabouts.)

jmilton7043, post: 882242
$2K, my friend.

ATMOS (atmosphere) will produce 2 atmospheres of pressure for output.

In what sized volume? Its own cabinet?

That's the kind of mindless propaganda that looks impressive at first blush, until one realizes that the qualifying information one needs to determine if it's a meaningful claim is entirely absent.
jmilton7043 posts on May 01, 2012 13:10
Atmos price announced:

$2K, my friend.

ATMOS (atmosphere) will produce 2 atmospheres of pressure for output. SECRETS of Home Theater is getting one this week to review.
B1-66ER posts on February 07, 2011 01:32
Casey01, post: 789607
Sorry, when it come to subs, size does matter and no matter how much you try, you can't defy the laws of physics. I can recall Sunfire's original introduction in to the world of high powered “mini” subs ($1800) and when it came right down to it the louder the volume and the lower the frequency the more it “gasped for air” and that essentially continues with many of similar type models from other brands. In a relatively small room for music applications, OK, but in a reasonably sophisticated HT set-up with its greater demands for higher SPL and deeper bass? No.
You are right, you cant deny physics however excursion allows smaller woofers to get great extension and move a pretty good amount of air.. Moving air doesn't have to be about sheer diameter. I dont know the Thiel/Small on this Sunfire woofer, but I know there is a reason we see high roll surrounds and longer coil travel on modern woofers.
TheGovernment posts on February 06, 2011 13:13
kevon27, post: 789603
Okay. When these some subs with massive excursion, how long do they really last? With all that movement, I can see those sub only lasting a few years.
Am I wrong?

It doesn't work like that. As long as your not over extending the sub and bottoming it out, there is not reason it can't last 50 years (as long as the surround doesn't dry out and crack)

If high excursion subs wore out, I'd have 5K in subs sitting here doing nothing lol
MidnightSensi2 posts on February 06, 2011 09:42
kevon27, post: 789603
Okay. When these some subs with massive excursion, how long do they really last? With all that movement, I can see those sub only lasting a few years.
Am I wrong?

I used/worked with Sunfire's when I was in high school working for a local installer that was a dealer of them. This was when it was their original “True Sub II” or whatever it was called, the 13“x13” dual driver one.

My review:

It certainly made big bass for it's size, and wives loved it for that. Hide one or two of those and have a nice theater with no visible subwoofer but still impactful bass.

The drivers usually lasted, I don't think I ever saw one that failed, the main issue was always the amps and amplifier hum. The amps would go bad, but Sunfire would stand behind them - but the amplifier hum thing was always an issue. At first everyone would think it was a ground loop, sometimes it was, other times it was some weird transformer thing that needed to get fixed. Lots of warranty claims with that. Then they'd get it back and it would be fine for a while and then do it again.

Again, I was just in high school running wires, so I'm not saying this hasn't long since been fixed - but that always stuck in my mind. I ended up buying a used one for /super/ cheap when I went to college - and it still works, never had a problem with it. I still have it, I just don't use it. Doesn't take up much room, hehe.
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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