Sunfire TGR-401 Theater Grand Receiver Review Keene NH
Hampton Falls, NH
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Sunfire TGR-401 Theater Grand Receiver Review
December 8, 2008 By Gary Altunian
One Point Four Kilowatts
An A/V receiver is arguably the most important component in a home theater system surpassed, only, perhaps by speakers.
It has a big job: Take in all your sources, process them, and then the "little box that could" has to amplify the signal and send it out to your speakers.
It’s no wonder the receiver plays a big role in the overall sound quality and functionality of the system. So, to get the job done, Sunfire has introduced the TGR-401 Theater Grand Receiver.
The TGR-401 is a clean, stylish looking component absent the confusing overabundance of buttons and switches found on many receivers.
Behind its beefy 3/8”-thick front panel is almost 1,400 watts of power (200 x 7 into 8 ohms) delivered by Sunfire’s Tracking Downconverter™ power supply that keeps that amplifier idling at 6 volts above ground so it’s pre-conditioned for an incoming audio signal.
The TDC circuit also helps the amp run cooler, even under demanding operating conditions.
The TGR-401 is a switchable two-zone audio receiver, which borrows the two surround back channels to power stereo speakers in a second zone, leaving five channels for the main home theater system, though you can add a separate amp two-channel amp to the main system to keep the 7.1.
The receiver includes an Auto Setup and Auto EQ feature that sets speaker levels, distance and size for all seven-channels and provides automatic equalization for the system. Following the Auto EQ, a manual equalizer can be used to fine-tune the system.
Its decoding capabilities include Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES and DTS 96/24 in addition to Sunfire’s Sonic Holography soundfield enhancement feature – more on this later.
You might expect that a receiver in this performance and price class would have decoders for the latest high-definition Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD lossless audio formats.
However, to decode hi-def discs you’ll need to have a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player with built-in lossless decoders and analog outputs to connect to the Sunfire’s multichannel analog audio inputs.
Its video switching includes three HDMI 1.3a inputs and one output which are 1080p-capable for handling uncompressed digital video between source components and display devices.
The unique front panel A/V input is configurable for Y/Pr/Pb component video/Optical for HD game consoles or composite/S-video/analog audio input for camcorders.
A bi-directional RS-232 port is included for upgrading the receiver’s software (via downloadable PC software) and for connection to a home theater controller.
It features a built-in AM/FM tuner and is Sirius Satellite Radio Ready with an optional tuner kit (Sirius subscription required).
I tested the TGR-401 in a 5.2 channel system using the Sunfire HRS satellite speakers and two HRS-10 powered subwoofers. The system included the optional VIA!Migo dock for controlling an Apple iPod via the on-screen...