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Sunfire CRM-2 & SubRosa
A Threesome Is Always Better

Francis Vale

 

Sunfire CRM-2 Cinema Ribbon Loudspeaker

 

There have been a couple of constants in my high-end audio life.  One has been my love of ribbon speakers.  I have such a system in one room, running full range Analysis Omega ribbons. It’s a glorious rig, especially now that the Omega’s have been updated (full review coming soon). So Nuttn’ Honey was going to keep me from trying out Bob Carver’s latest design in ribbon speakers, the Sunfire CRM-2.

Standing a tad over 8” tall, these 7.5 pound puppies are a far cry from Bob Carver’s original six foot tall Amazing Loudspeaker. During the late 1980’s and 1990’s, when they were being sold, the Amazing’s became the stuff of audio legend. Per Carver’s usual, “fuck off, I’ll go my own way”, approach to audio system design, the Amazing’s bristled with innovation.

The Platinum Amazing had four, very low profile 12” woofers (the Silver edition had three such), along with a ribbon comprised of four strips of pleated aluminum foil running almost the full vertical length of these very large floor standing speakers. The foil strips were joined top and bottom to form a continuous loop. Thirty-six feet worth of ceramic magnets per side provided the magnetic push-pull force for the 60-inch ribbon, which operated full-range above about 100Hz, with useful output to about 20kHz.

The woofer’s cone was sliced thinner than properly cut prosciutto di Parma. And the magnet driving it was about the size of a horny gnat’s balls. The end result was an array of woofers that featured high sensitivity and a lightning quick response that could keep up with the Amazing’s go-fast ribbon.

But even though their overall sensitivity was fairly high, the Amazing’s ate wattage like tapped out tourists at an all you can eat Las Vegas buffet.  (BTW, if you can score a used pair of late edition Amazing Platinum’s in very good condition for around a grand or so, you have hit the jackpot.)

After 20 years of thinking about what can I do for a follow up ribbon act, Bob found his righteous answer in an X-Acto knife. Like some OCD-crazed Sweeney Todd, he meticulously sliced the Amazing’s 60” ribbon repeatedly, finally folding it up and then wrapping it around and around. 

The result was an Amazing, Honey I shrunk the kids’ moment. What formerly nested in a barn door sized speaker now became the foundation for a tiny new machine called a CRM-2, and at its soprano heart beat a sliced and diced 6” tall ribbon.

More properly, it's called a CRM-2 Cinema Ribbon Loudspeaker. Flanking the Cinema ribbon are dual side firing 4.5" woofers whose design, according to Sunfire, relies on high-pressure, "High Back-emit" technology that provides very high bass output from a very small box.

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21st, The VXM Network, http://www.vxm.com

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