Sunny Cable Technology H3W15S “Special Edition”
|Sunny Cable Technology H3W15S “Special Edition” Loudspeaker|
|Master of the Elements|
Sunny Cable Technology is a company with a fast-growing reputation for designing state-of-the-art audio cables, but in recent years they have also begun to create quite a stir in the designing of loudspeakers. My first exposure to their speaker designs came last year when Clement Perry returned from the 2007 CES, and not long after, arrived the top-of-the-line model H3W18 loudspeaker, also known as the “Majestic.” They were among the few components to have won Clement over and as you will see, were a complete surprise to me. But first, allow me to provide you with a bit of history.
I met Clement in the summer of 2001 when my writing tenure at Ultimate Audio expired due to the untimely demise of that magazine. Clement caught notice of my cover story on the Talon Khorus loudspeaker and thought he would pick my brain regarding the controversial new speaker that he happened to own as well.
At the time, I was blissfully ignorant of the maelstrom of controversy the young company had stirred regarding claims of extremely low measures of driver distortion. I received a call from Clement who found himself in the midst of the public discourse raging around the Khorus. From that point forward, we have been traveling this road en simpatico. While we have not always agreed with every turn taken, we do seem to hold similar priorities regarding audio. So with great confidence I take his observations seriously. Seven years later, yada yada yada, I have the same Nova Acoustics Memory player, Behold amplification system, and now with the inclusion of the Majestic’s slightly smaller sibling the H3W15S (Special, Edition) it has become a fait accompli.
Yet when I first got the rundown on the Sunny speakers from Clement, the surprise for me did not come from the excitement generated by such an accomplished early effort from a relative newcomer to the cascade of super speakers being produced. It was the fact that the Majestic employed a horn driver! I could not believe Clement was so taken by a horn design. We had always shared a lukewarm reaction, to say the least, to the horn speakers heard to date. Then I remembered Clement’s experience in the South of France at the home of French super-audiophile Jean Yves, whose $300k horn-loaded system really scrambled his eggs (photos below).
With interest peaked, I looked up the Sunny speakers on the web. Now, I have been around the block once or twice and have seen quite a few provocative speaker designs. That said I, have never seen a speaker as hulking and monolithic as the Majestic in all my days. Reading the specs regarding size and weight told only a part of the story. Seeing a picture of Sunny Lo, chief designer for Sunny Cable standing next to the speaker is a whole ‘nother story. Like one of those fake pictures every fisherman has taken where the fish hangs in the foreground and the fisherman lines up several feet behind the fish while acting as if he is holding up the alleged monster, this photo of Sunny Lo in proximity to the Majestic had the same effect. I guess when Sam Laufer of Laufer Teknik, a New York area dealer of Sunny Cable products described the speaker to me as “a big black phone booth,” he wasn’t kidding.
When I first saw the speakers at Clement’s up close and personal, the reality of the great fish, I mean speaker came to light. I did not say it, but I thought Clement needed to get out of that listening room of his and get some fresh air, these speakers inspire the condemnation of insanity from the uninformed … I was soon to be informed.
Here Comes the Sun(ny)
Watching the good folks from Laufer Teknik uncrate and wrestle the Sunny Special Edition (SE) speakers was quite a site. Heaving the horn enclosure atop the bass cabinet was like catching a glimpse of what assembling Stonehenge must have been like. At 600 lbs per side in total, the horn’s enclosure itself weighs in at a staggering 300lbs!
Once a cursory position based on where my previous speakers rested, Sunny Lo and his brother-in-law Andre Au took the helm and began to slap the speakers into position, literally. Sunny Lo feels so strongly about the precise alignment of the two sections that he slaps the sides of the top cabinet in order to accrue minuscule shifts in position until he feels the contours are aligned precisely. I would have liked to see some kind of coupling system be it small male/female dimples or any other ingenious method Sunny Lo could devise. Once I began to reposition the speakers, the bottom enclosure became askew from the bass plate, while the top portion became misaligned from the bottom. I did all I could to get it realigned but once my hand became numb from all that flesh on lacquer impact, good enough would have to be good enough. Once the slapfest came to an end it was time to wire them up. Being a tri-wired speaker, Sunny Lo brought along three runs of the wonderful Series 1000 speaker wire I recently reviewed. A jumper from the bottom section to the top is handled by the Sunny Supreme XLR interconnect.
This particular pair of speakers had resided at the Laufer Teknik showroom in Brooklyn for some time, yet hadn’t really been fully broken in. Once the music began, I got a sense that this was going to be a relationship that needed time, patience and intuition to fully realize. Feeling the balance was initially too bright, Sunny Lo opened the back panel behind the horn and resoldered the resistor value. There are a series of eight resistors for the midrange horn arranged in a circle that allows for user selectability in 1/2 dB steps. Personally, I would prefer either friction contacts or some type of switch, but Sunny Lo would argue solder is a superior method, who am I to argue. After two resister values were tried we settled on the third from flat (or 1 1/2 dB up) and began listening in earnest.
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