Cinepro 3K6

Cinepro 3K6

3000W 6-Channel Power Amp Daily Rate: $75

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From a glance at the front face-plate, it looks . . . errr . . . professional. Six knobs, a power button, and 14 small LEDs reside on a gray, silk-screened face plate, framed top and bottom by brushed, black metal. The LEDs serve to indicate the presence of a signal at any of the individual channels, clipping of the same, power status, and protection circuit use.


Looking at the rear, toggle switches set the use of either the single-ended or balanced inputs located on the right, while also offering bridging of the channel pairs labeled Left/Right Front, Left/Right Rear, & Center/Sub. Five-way binding post outputs, slightly cramped, sit on the left side of the rear panel. Because of the close proximity of the output posts, I'd really recommend using banana plugs, as they tend to fit into nooks and crannies. The majority of space is occupied by large heat sinks that plant their big tails between the inputs and outputs.


The internal layout is neat, simple, and crowded with goodies. With an unGodly toroidal transformer, 120,000 µF of filter capacitance, and ±95 volt rails, it delivers, without straining, 350 watts into 8 Ohms, and 500 watts into 4 Ohms with all six channels operating. There are 1,050 Joules of energy storage just waiting to send those bass drums into your wall studs, courtesy of six bipolar output devices per channel.


The output sections use output inductors to ensure stability into reactive loads at ultrasonic frequencies. Theoretically, this could cause minor phase shifts in the audible band, but it's a minor drawback considering the possible alternative. If an amplifier's circuit design uses global feedback without an output network for the sake of bandwidth specifications, or to tailor a rising response for a more lively sound, it might lead to problems. Amplifiers with response peaks have poor phase response within the top of their bandwidth, which leaves them open to oscillation with reactive loads and, occasionally, catastrophic failure. Is an output inductor a compromise? Maybe. Significant? The CinePro 3k6 still has a wider bandwidth than many highly regarded amplifiers without output inductors, so I'd lean towards not very (significant, that is).


The CinePro isn't just another pretty face with no guts. It's a simple, dependable design. Input driver stages, and outputs, mounted to the rear panel, share a large central power supply. It isn't dual-mono, or hexa-mono for that matter, which does introduce some theoretical cross-talk compromises, but also comes with its own advantages. The ability to share a single power source allows extra juice, beyond a channel's normal share, to be allocated where the need demands it most.


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