Sunfire Theater Grand IV A/V Preamplifier

Theater Grand IV

  • Auto signal sensing input switching - automatically turns the unit on, selects your source and surround mode
  • 7.1 Channel Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS, DTS-ES and DTS Neo:6 decoding, plus Sunfire's exclusive Side-Axis outputs for 9.1 channels total playback!
  • Bob Carver's awesome Sonic Holography Imaging now in noise-free DSP for the ultimate soundstage enhancement of two-channel sources
  • Second zone plays sources independent of the main zone
  • Full-time digital downmix provides accurate two-channel output for tape recording, digital outputs, and second zone from multichannel digital sources
  • Nine channel (user settable) "PARTY" mode engages all speakers from any two channel source
  • Direct two-channel analog bypass mode
  • Preprogrammed and learning remote control with LCD display
  • Bob Carver's Dynamic Tuner Noise Reduction for dramatically improved clarity of weak FM stations

User Reviews (1)

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moshidog   AudioPhile [Apr 02, 2007]

Fantastic surround sound quality
Great 2 channel pre amp, great soundstage
Easy to setup
Comes with a universal remote, if you need that.
Handy rear IR input for IR expansion


Flaky audio cutouts on digital sound format changes (e.g. 5.1 to 2.0)
Remote is bulky and overkill if you don't want a universal remote

My previous processor died on me unexpectedly, so I went out looking for a replacement unit on short notice. I bought the Sunfire from a local dealer right off their showroom floor as it was the only thing they had in stock. I didn't know what to expect, having no prior experience with Sunfire products and just being desperate to get my home theater back up and running.

Setup was very easy. I just plugged in all the cables for my sources, connected to my amps, and turned it on. Instantly it picked the source that was currently active and I heard sound! I was delighted that I wouldn't have to spend a whole night programming a pre/pro. I got to move right along to calibaration, which was very simple with the onscreen menus. One downer is that the unit is basically useless without onscreen display. The front panel cannot be used for any useful configuration and is basically just to show you the currently active source, volume level, or surround output format. Anything more and you have to go to the OSD, which is a pain if you are not using the Sunfire for video switching because you have DVI or an external switcher.

I bought the unit for audio processing, not video features. So my comments are only going to cover audio.

The unit sounds fantastic. I was really surprised by how much better it does at both two channel and multi-channel compared to the Lexicon MC-1 that it replaced. I thought that Lexicon made a decent audio product, but now I see how weak it really was. The Sunfire throws a great stereo soundstage that is deep, wide, and envelops you. Surround sound effects are really strong and completely immersive and reaslistic. Bass performance is fantastic. Bass is very deep and very tight and accurate compared to my prior Lexicon MC1, which was rather undefined and muddy. Even from another room it sounds different, like a real event is happening in the other room as opposed to boomy bass and effects.

Now, the great sound quality comes at the expense of some usability factors. The greatest annoyance is that the unit has problems in staying locked into an audio processing mode, and it has problems switching audio modes. I have updated to the latest 4.25 firmware which claims to fix a lot of these issues, but it is still buggy. The audio glitches badly when switching from Dolby Digital 5.1 to Dolby Digital 2.0, such as when watching episodes of 24 on DVD at the scene changes. The audio also glitches when I'm using it in 48KHz PCM digital stereo mode connected to my PC. The PC system beeps and other random sounds clip because the unit has a delay in sensing when audio is present. There is no way to force the unit to stay locked in a processing mode when no audio is present, it is constantly analyzing the signal and going silent at the first sign of audio loss, which means it clips the start of a sound when audio start back up again. Never had this problem with any other pre-pro I have ever used.

Similar Products Used: Lexicon MC-1
Lexicon DC-1
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