Review: Sunfire Theater Grand IV Processor Surround Pre

Category: Preamps

Sunfire Theater Grand IV


I have owned this unit for a little over one year. Music used in reviewing this processor ranged all over the map from Primus to Donald Fagen to the 1812 Overture to Spyro Gyra. It replaced a Sunfire Classic Tube Control Center (preamp). In complete processor bypass mode, I find little sonic difference between the two units.

There is VERY LITTLE difference between the TG-III (used in the Ultimate Receiver) and the TG-IV which replaced it. They boil down to:

1) Minor increase in the bass management options (mainly the ability to save sub settings between different inputs, as well as the ability to set separate crossover frequencies for the main & surround speakers)
2) Volume step increased to .5 increments (vice 1.0)
3) Addition of Dolby Digital Pro Logic II
4) Minor upgrade in internal processor software
5) Video format conversion that automatically up-converts composite to S-video, and S-Video to component video

This preamp is just as good as any of the previous renditions of Sunfire preamps. The sound quality is virtually identical on all of them (i.e., PERFECT); the only real changes are the processor input/output options. The sound stage & "black" background are astounding if you're upgrading from an older Carver product or lesser unit (as most are).

There are a multitude of surround processor options with this unit, to include direct bypass of the processor for clean, uncluttered 2-channel sound. I highly recommend a thorough review of the instruction manual BEFORE using the processor, as well as making use of the on-screen-menu option by routing your video signal through your monitor. This makes things much easier as what appears on the small processor screen is abbreviated and difficult to understand when your poring through the menu.

I give HUGE kudos to the latest iteration of the Sunfire remote; it is fantastic & easy to use/program!

Other that the errant software glitch requiring a "reboot", I've experience no problems with this unit. I upgraded the software from the Sunfire website & have had no software issues since then. I highly recommend this preamp/processor.

Associated gear
-Sunfire Cinema Grand Seven Signature Amplifier
-Carver Amazing Loudspeakers-III
-Carver SD/A-360 5-disc CDP
-Benchmark DAC-1 Digital-to-Analog Converter

Similar products
Sunfire Classic Tube Control Amplifier (preamp)
Sunfire Ultimate Receiver