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Sunfire Theater Grand III Processor Review

by Steven DellaSala July 14, 2003
Contributors: Gene DellaSala
Sunfire Theater Grand III

Sunfire Theater Grand III

  • Product Name: Theater Grand III Processor
  • Manufacturer: Sunfire
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStar
  • Review Date: July 14, 2003 19:00
  • MSRP: $ 3500
  • Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS Neo:6, Dolby Pro Logic II
  • 7-Axis mode
  • Two-channel analog bypass mode
  • Second zone can play sources independent of the main zone
  • Eight-channel analog audio input for DVD-A or SACD
  • Six audio/video inputs, each with audio, S-video, and composite video
  • Three audio-only inputs
  • MM phono input
  • Digital audio (S/PDIF) inputs for six sources (four coax or optical; two coax only)
  • FM/AM tuner with Dynamic Noise Reduction and 40 presets
  • Balanced outputs for primary 7.1 channels
  • Four subwoofer outputs
  • All-digital bass management with crossover frequencies adjustable from 40Hz to 160Hz
  • 24-bit A-to-D converter and 24-bit/192kHz D-to-A converters
  • DSP tone controls
  • Three 100MHz HDTV-compatible wide-bandwidth component-video inputs and two outputs
  • Preprogrammed learning remote control with LCD screen
  • FLASH memory upgradeable via CD
  • Auto signal-sensing input switching
  • IEEE-1394 (Firewire™) port for future expansion


  • Nice Universal Remote Control
  • Bass management adjustments from 40Hz to 160Hz
  • Video Switching employs 100HHz bandwidth
  • Triggered outputs 500mA current
  • Power up volume configuration
  • Auto signal sensing
  • Flash memory upgrade via CD
  • Balanced XLR output
  • Name recognition


  • Sound lacks detail and bass seems flat compared to other processors
  • Mediocre signal to noise ratio for price range
  • Lights stay on at all times
  • No remote operation for dimming lights
  • Channel trim accuracy limited to +/- 1dB
  • Volume knob wobbles
  • Only one set of speaker level adjustments stored
  • No subwoofer group delay adjustment
  • No sub in analogue bypass
  • Only one IEEE 1394 connector
  • Pink noise has distortion and crackling
  • Lacks refinement for price range


Sunfire Theater Grand III Introduction

It's not very often that Audioholics declines a detailed review of hardware, but every once in a while, we receive a product that doesn't meet our expectations. Sunfire's Theater Grand III (TGIII) is such a product, where we felt its performance and refinement did not match up to its $3,500 price tag.

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