When The Perfect Vision received review samples of Sunfire’s flagship TGP-5 Theater Grand Processor and TGA-7400 Theater Grand Amplifier, they came with an unexpected treat: a visit from Sunfire’s legendary founder and chief designer, Bob Carver. Our talks with Carver covered all sorts of subjects from loudspeakers to design details of the TGP-5 and TGA-7400, but what stood out most was the fact that Carver evaluates his designs with both the objectivity of a physicist and the passionate sensibilities of a veteran audiophile. Of course it’s one thing to say your products can satisfy purists, but quite another to deliver the goods. Can Sunfire’s components truly walk the high-performance walk? The simple answer is that they can—and do.
The TGP-5 is long on features that impact sound quality, but short on gongs and whistles of dubious merit, which is how we think components ought to set their priorities. Accordingly, the TGP-5 uses high quality parts such as 24-bit/192kHz Analog Devices DACs, and it provides both single-ended and balanced sets of 8-channel analog outputs. The controller provides Carver’s signature Sonic Holography circuit, which can add an impressive measure of soundstage width and depth on stereo material. The circuit can also be used with Dolby Pro Logic IIx or DTS Neo:6 processing to help fill in information from the sides of the soundstage. For even more effective side-fill, the TGP-5 can derive signals for an optional pair of Side Axis speakers. Finally, the TGP-5 supports multizone operations and comes with an excellent lighted remote.
Through both its HDMI and component video outputs, the video performance of the TGP- 5 was exemplary. I could see no difference between signals routed through the controller versus those run directly to my reference display. The maximum video resolution of the HDMI inputs is 1080i, and, says Sunfire, “no … audio decoding in the TGP-5 is available from the HDMI inputs,” meaning users should “always connect a separate digital audio input cable when using HDMI."