Sunfire Theater Grand Receiver 3 Page 2

Sunfire Theater Grand Receiver 3

Along with the usual 7.1 channels, the TGR-3 has line-level outputs for left and right "side-axis" speakers. These channels deliver "spread" from the main left/right channels to make surround and multichannel playback wrap more continuously around the listening position; you have the option of powering them by reassigning the back-surround amplifier channels, but they require an outboard stereo amp for a full 9.1-channel layout. I messed with these enough to judge them potentially useful but disconnected them for critical listening.

Sunfire Theater Grand Receiver 3 RemoteSunfire's remote is a familiar OEM design we've seen accompanying a number of receivers and pre-pros over the years, and it's a good one. Clear labeling, adequate backlighting, and extensive programmability make it a true system-wide asset, though it requires a short learning period till you get used to first selecting the component to be controlled, then the page where the desired command resides.

You select listening modes via the remote by first choosing STEREO or DOLBY, then cycling through the available variants via the arrow keys; DTS options are included in the DOLBY submenu. Unfortunately, you can assign only one Dolby Pro Logic II or DPL IIx mode to each input as the default. Consequently, switching from, say, DPL IIx-Movies to DPL IIx-Music - something I do frequently, since I use the same player for movie and music discs - requires a trip back to the menus each time.

On the other hand, the menus do enable you to set and store different subwoofer levels for Dolby/DTS listening modes and for stereo, which I think is thoughtful and useful. Better still, the remote has always-available "on-the-fly" trims for center, surround, and sub outputs on one of its "soft" pages, and you can set things up so that these are remembered or, if you prefer, re-zeroed every time the TGR-3 power cycles. Somebody in Snohomish, Washington has actually taken the time to think about how real people use these things.

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