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Sunfire TGR-401: Finally, a powerful AV receiver

While 100 watt by 7 AV receivers are commonplace, you won't find too many 200 watt x 7 models. Here's one, Sunfire's TGR-401.

Today's audiovisual receivers are jam-packed with features, but the rarest feature is real power.

Power in the range of 100-to-150 watts or so is all you get, even in the high-end models. Models with 200 watts are rare, so we were excited to hear about the TGR-401, Sunfire's latest 200-watt receiver. Sunfire's in-house genius Bob Carver has a knack for designing high power amplifiers. Carver, in fact, designed the world's first consumer high power amp, the legendary 350 watt by two channel Phase Linear 700 stereo amp in 1972.


Carver's latest, the TGR-401 ($4,000), is a 200 watt by seven channel AV receiver that sports three HDMI version 1.3a inputs.

Hidden behind a viscously damped, brushed aluminum door the front video connections may be assigned as Y/Pr/Pb/optical for HD gaming, or composite/S-Video/analog for camcorders with a simple press of a button.

The TGR-401's Auto EQ provides a simple, automatic process to equalize all seven channels plus the subwoofer. For the installing dealer, who would like to perform hands-on tweaking, there are detailed manual adjustments available for each channel pair.

Also onboard is Sunfire's remarkable Sonic Holography circuit. Invented by Bob Carver in the 1980s, Sonic Holography creates a wide and deep soundstage from stereo recordings.

The TGR-401 also includes Sirius satellite radio, AM and FM tuners, an eight-channel input for Blu-ray, DVD-Audio, or SACD, and eight balanced XLR outputs.

At the heart of the TGR-401 is Sunfire's patented Tracking Downconverter that produces a remarkable 200 watts for each of its seven channels. TDC, now in its sixth generation, provides high-current power to speakers through a unique "just-in-time" approach that generates virtually no heat. This eliminates the need for either a fan or massive heat sinks. Oh, and while I haven't yet heard the TGR-401, I'm sure it'll sound great. Bob Carver's designs always do.