Secrets Product Review

Earthquake Cinénova Grande Seven-Channel (300 Watts per Channel) Power Amplifier

Part II

March, 2006

John E. Johnson, Jr.


The Setup

I listened to the Cinénova with a Denon DVD-5900 DVD player, Yamaha Universal Player, Lexicon MC-12B SSP, and Carver Amazing Mark IV ribbon speakers. Cables (XLR) were Nordost.


Like the five-channel version that we reviewed in 2004, the seven-channel version in 2006 sounds a bit laid back in the high frequencies. This is a very good thing in my opinion, because as a massive power amplifier, this product will likely be installed for consumers who like their music and sound tracks loud.

This new Heads Up SACD (HUSA-9107) of the modern jazz group Spyrogyra, called Wrapped in a Dream, just literally stomps out some fast paced music, and is not something you would play as background music.

The Cinénova did its thing right along with the musicians, never missing a beat. Man, there is nothing like discrete surround sound music, especially with an amplifier like this.

One thing I listen for is the rasp of the saxophone's reed, and it was clearly there, not that I stopped tapping my feet to listen for it.


Although there is a world of difference between jazz and Brahms in style, the need for a fine amplifier does not change at all, especially when the fingers are hitting the keyboard like jack hammers, as they do in this Virgin CD of Brahms Paganini Variations (0-94633-26282-9).

The music sounds much like Rachmaninov preludes, thundering across the strings.

This disc in particular, showed off the incredible bass capabilities of the Cinénova. Remember, the lowest note on the piano has a fundamental of 28 Hz. This is the 4 kVa power supply in action.


Well, now this is a unique disc, Mozart in Egypt (Virgin Classics 7-24354-53112-5) where Mozart melodies are played in Egyptian style, with instruments of that country.

Some of the stringed instruments have very unusual overtones, and a lesser amplifier would have mushed them up so they might not be so recognizable.


Ah, now, chamber orchestra, there is something you can listen to as background music, but that does not mean clarity is unimportant.

This EMI Classics CD, Vivaldi Flute Concertos (0-94634-72122-6) has Emmanuel Pahud playing a flute with a small orchestra. When you can hear the whoosh of the wind from his mouth over the flute mouthpiece, you know the amplifier is articulating the details, and at low volume, this is not an easy thing to do, as many amplifiers, surprisingly, have a problem at low levels.


The human voice is always a critical test with any audio product, particularly with speakers, but also with amplifiers.

In this Virgin Classics CD, Rolando Villazon: Opera Recital, he sings Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Strauss, and other pieces with full orchestra backing him up.

The amplifier has to back him up too, and keep his voice distinct from all those violins playing several octaves, and kettle drums pounding away, which it did marvelously.


OK, so it was not a very good movie. But, Doom certainly gave the Cinénova a good workout, although it did not request a towel afterwards.

I don't know how many thousands of rounds they shot off during this film, but the Cinénova was none the worse for it. I was amazed at how rapid some of the guns they used will fire their rounds, and the amplifier kept each shot distinct, all the while with the remaining channels being just as active with other sound effects.

Again, amazing bass output, a sign of a top notch power supply.


Click Here to Go to Part III.

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