Sunfire Atmos review

Loads of bass for its size, but that ability comes at a hefty price Tested at £1600

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Sunfire Atmos delivers loads of bass for its size, but that ability comes at a hefty price


  • +

    Small size

  • +

    Lovely build and finish

  • +

    Capable of high volume levels

  • +

    Good EQ system


  • -

    It is possible to get greater sonic authority and scale for similar money, and more insight for considerably less

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Think of the ideal subwoofer. Did the words ‘small’ and ‘lots of bass’ come to mind? If so, the tiny Sunfire Atmos may be exactly what you’re looking for, provided that hefty price tag isn’t an issue.

This subwoofer really is small. It essentially a 23cm aluminium cube, and pretty chunky with it, weighing in at almost 15kg.Its build quality is impressive and finish is as neat as any price rival.

Sunfire Atmos review: Power and features

There’s no shortage of power here. The Atmos’s internal amplifier delivers a whopping 1400 watts of power to a single, heavy-duty 16.5cm driver. Take a look at the sub and you’ll see what looks like two drive units: the second one is a passive radiator, which works essentially like a more tuneable reflex port.

It would be easy for things to get out of hand with such a powerful amplifier on board, but Sunfire has been clever with the design, taking care to bring power consumption and heat output to sensible levels. While such power might seem like overkill, it’s necessary if large amounts of bass are required from such a compact unit.

The feature count is decent. There are line-level inputs and outputs plus a variable phase control to help integrate the Sunfire Atmos into a surround system. The frequency control offers a decent range of 30Hz to 100Hz with a bypass position if your AV amp has control over this function.

Sunfire Atmos

Sunfire Atmos

Sunfire Atmos review: Positioning

Despite a huge (claimed) throw of almost 46mm, the Atmos still needs an element of room reinforcement to convince. Clever engineering only gets you so far before limitations imposed by physics get in the way. Sunfire advises a corner placement – and rightly so, as this adds plenty of support to the Atmos’s output.

Such positioning is likely to emphasise room nodes, so it’s handy that the company has included a room equalisation feature to even things out. While not as sophisticated as some we’ve seen, the EQ system works well, and helps to produce cleaner and more balanced results.

Sunfire Atmos review: Sound

Used as Sunfire recommends, this little sub delivers a mighty sound for its size. There’s enough punch to satisfy with the menacing soundtrack of The Dark Knight Rises, explosions and all. The presentation is relatively taut and agile, and it’s surprising just how loud the Atmos goes before it starts to struggle. There’s enough tunefulness here to please with music too.

Good as the Sunfire Atmos is, though, we can’t help thinking that our £1600 would be better spent elsewhere. The likes of the £1200 B&W PV1D may not sound as robust, but it has a far more detailed and insightful sound while slightly larger alternatives such as the £1400 Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra sound significantly more authoritative and punchy with really low notes.

Sunfire Atmos review: Verdict

If a small size is really important then the Atmos makes sense. It’s amazing just how much bass Sunfire has managed to generate out of this little box. However, if you can go bigger you’ll find better bass, and save some money in the process.

See all our subwoofer Best Buys

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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