Sunfire TGR-3 Home Theatre Receiver

Product Name: Sunfire TGR-3 Home Theatre Receiver
Product Type: Home Theatre Receiver
Price: $9999
Reviewed By: Stephen Dawson
Magazine: Smart Home ideas Autumn 2008
Distributor: Hi Fi & Video Marketing Pty Lt
Who Sells What/Website: Sunfire

It isn’t often we get to review home theatre receivers offering 200w from each of their channels. But that is what the Sunfire TGR-3 delivers writes Stephen Dawson.

A dozen years ago Bob Carver, the founder of Sunfire, developed a unique solution for improving the efficiency of amplifiers. His technique is called the ‘Tracking Downconverter Amplifier’, and it controls the amount of voltage applied to the output stage of the amplifier.

The stronger the signal, the more voltage supplied. This reduces enormously the amount of waste heat, and reduces the demand for large heatsinks and power supplies.

Equipment

Aside from this innovation, the Sunfire TGR-3 is fairly basic. It features two HDMI inputs, but these are merely for switching the signal. The receiver will not accept the audio from these HDMI connections (so you have to also provide regular digital audio connections), nor will it convert analogue video sources to HDMI.

It does, however, provide video conversion from composite and S-Video to its component video outputs (there are two sets available). The receiver has plenty of optical and coaxial digital audio inputs; there is also a coaxial digital audio output.

There are plenty of analogue video and audio inputs as well, including a set of 7.1 inputs for your Blu-ray or HD DVD player. There is also a set of 7.3 preamplifier outputs. Why 7.3? Because there is provision for connecting three subwoofers!

There are no front panel AV inputs, nor indeed a headphone output.

You can re-allocate the two amplifier channels normally used for rear surround to power a second zone, or to power ‘side axis’ speakers.

These are intended to go into the generally broad gap between the front and surround speakers, so as to improve the uniformity of the surround sound field.