Best SSP - Upgrade from Integra DTC 9.8

Am wrestling through some issues with a (second) Integra DTC 9.8. Looking for opinions on potential replacements.
It feeds a Classe' CA-5200, which drives B&W 802Ds, center and surrounds. Pioneer Elite 9G for video.

Used fair amount for music, also movies and TV.

I care about quality, want high performance and reliability. Thought Integra was a bargain for its features. Not sure it is my problem, but my guess is it will have to go.

What specifically are the strengths and weaknesses of the DTC-9.8? I am looking to acquiring one soon. T.I.A.
I've got the Onkyo version of the 9.8 (exact same except for the name) and I love it. It sound's super with digital sources and the Audissy MultiEQ is amazing. I'm running it throught a NAD M25 to PSB Synchrony 1's and I am very pleased with the sound and video quality.

It's only weakness (for me) is that analogue sounds a bit weak. When I run an LP through the Audissey processor though it sound's fantastic. So the removal of room nodes far outweighs the cost of doing the AD/DA to use the room correction. I'm really surprised by that, but I just spent many happy hours this weekend listening to records and re-discovered some great music - hearing new things and being constantly surprised that I much preferred the room correction. So does my wife.

If I were to upgrade, the only thing I've seen that might be better is the Anthem D2. MUCH more expensive, and I'm not sure it would be better for digital sources.

Love to hear other thoughts and experiences. What's been your issue with the 9.8. I've only had mine for a few months, and it's been very solid. Replaced a NAD M15 that blew up on me.

Anthem, Sherbourne, Sunfire, B&K, and many more will crush the Integra.
I have been very happy with the Integra in most ways. Went from small TIB with Sony XRB CRT set up to pretty significant investment about 6 months ago.

I am not dealing with analog sound, so I cannot speak to that. As a digital surround unit, the 9.8 with my amp and speakers makes a wonderful sound. The better the recording, the better the sound. SACDs are just wonderful. The video experience has been pretty great as well. And the Audessey has done a marvelous job of upgrading the sound in my room. So I have only recently moved from being very happy to starting to question the component.

Have had some nagging issues with video dropping out that, in fairness, may or may not be caused by the Integra. At this moment I feel it is the problem. Was first related to cable signal. My supplier/installer is wonderful, and they dropped a new 9.8 in. Now I am having similar issue with feed from both PS3 and Denon DVD 3930CI. We are going to try different HDMI cables next week, and also try switching to component, which may work but rubs me wrong. The replacement unit also has the 1.07 firmware as opposed to the 1.08, so we will update that as well.

It is too early to say with certainty that the 9.8 is the problem, but I am trying to understand what the upgrade alternatives look like.

Got a message about Cary and will look at that, but have an open mind. Because of the way my TV is mounted I must feed it via HDMI, and can only run one cable, so there is no alternative but to run it from the processor.
Elvick, I tell ya what though, I've had some expensive pre/pro's that I feel are better than the ones you mentioned. And I still think that what that Audyssey MultEQ offers in something like this Integra is a good "leveling ground" with otherwise better sounding sounding AV pre'pro's! Basically, I'm not convinced that a Krell 7.1 would sound better in most acoustically problematic rooms than an Audyssey Calibrated Integra, to be honest!
I'd like to see more of the better pre's with the Audyssey MulTEQ integrated.
I don't like the idea of their stand-alone processor (keep in mind, I've done enough systems to know what the value of such DSP room correction offers, first hand! - it's huge!), which makes you have to go through a few analog to digital to analog conversions ultimately. That's my beef anyway.
Yeah, I'd like to see companies like Krell, Mcintosh, Theta, and other US companies license the Audyssey MultEQ into their pre/pro's!
But that's just my dream...I like their products in receivers basically - it does wonders
So I take it that the Integra / Onkyo is one of the few if only processor around worth checking out for Audyssey EQ?

I posted a new thread I think inquiring about the difference between the Onkyo and Integra other than looks. ANy one else know?
Many other prepros are picking up Audyssey, from Onkyo and Denon, Marantz, and NAD to Sim Audio and Wisdom. This is an incomplete listing:

OTOH, some, like Anthem, incorporate very competent room EQs of their own.

Thanks for the link!

BTW, their is good info on Audyssey Dynamic EQ as well as Audyssey MultEQ. Anyone notice? If so, is there an advantage to having both IYHO?

"Audyssey Dynamic EQ as well as Audyssey MultEQ"

Sure. They are quite different.

Apparently Audyssey is saying that other smaller hi-end companies like Krell, Mcintosh, Theta, Anthem, etc, aren't in a financial position to do the integration with the MultEQ! - er, something like that. At least that's what the impression I'm getting from chatting with them.
They say they'd LOVE to have these smaller companies incorporate the Audyssey technology into their products, but that it's not fincancially feasible, for whatever reason.
I also inquired as to the issue of their otherwise excellent "out-board" processor, being that you are adding another ANALOG TO DIGITAL TO ANALOG stage in that processing; and would they be adding a digital connection capability to that unit any time soon. I don't think they are, at this point.
Apparently Audyssey is saying that other smaller hi-end companies like Krell, Mcintosh, Theta, Anthem, etc, aren't in a financial position to do the integration with the MultEQ! - er, something like that. At least that's what the impression I'm getting from chatting with them.
They say they'd LOVE to have these smaller companies incorporate the Audyssey technology into their products, but that it's not fincancially feasible, for whatever reason.
No doubt this is a big issue. However, I note that both Wisdom Audio and Sim Audio have encorporated Audyssey and, although I know nothing of anyone's financials (but my own), I do not think these are massively larger than the ones you list. Anthem, btw, developed their own system which is quite good.

I also inquired as to the issue of their otherwise excellent "out-board" processor, being that you are adding another ANALOG TO DIGITAL TO ANALOG stage in that processing; and would they be adding a digital connection capability to that unit any time soon. I don't think they are, at this point.
I know. The issues are:
1. Digital formats are so varied that a multiplicity of inputs and codecs might be required and constantly updated.
2. There are very few pre/pros that can output a digital signal and very few power amps that can accept them (S/PDIF aside).

I have no clue with the Audyssey Eq. What I do have experience with is pre-pros. I have had in my system Integra, Onkyo, Denon, B&K, yamaha, Anthem and currently a sherbourne 7010/A.
Quality electronics, quality wiring, great DAC's (dual crystals in the sherbourne) and nice power supplies beat the insane amount of feature stuffed into the Asian gear.
All things being equal, guybguy's system is really nice and will easily benefit from a quality front end. The integra is a nice piece FOR THE MONEY. If you are listening to basic audio or simple 5.1 theater and don't need the gimmicks, I'll take a stripped down high end piece over an Integra with tons of features.
Of course, it is hard to advise since Guybguy never told us what, exactly, he lacks and what he is looking for in sound and/or video.

I am looking for excellent sound (HT, SACD, CD) and video (SC and HD).
I did not start the thread due to seeking specific audio or video improvements. Have not had time to get upgrade-itis over this component yet. What prompted the question was the phenomenon of having video drop out while watching either Blu-Ray or DVD sources. So long as I am questioning the unit, I am interested in understanding what the alternatives look (or sound) like.
Whether I make a change now or later, I appreciate the thoughts and insights.
Kr4, thank you for the response
Elevick, I totally appreciate where you are coming from, and I too have owned some very excellent AV pre's over the years, sans any EQ and/or processing. I've had the krell 5.1, Macintosh MX130, Mac3, Aragon Soundstage, Upgraded Acurus Act3, and others (I've used/sold many others, including Meridian, Cal Audio Labs, Theta, etc). What intrigues me thought, as an acoutical guy, is the HUGE sonic benefits offered by these newer DSP teqnologies!
Yes, parmateric EQ's can help with issues you could only fix with lots of acoustical treatments, in many smaller rooms. And yet they can only do so much compared to what something like the Audyssey is bringing to the table from my findings! - it makes that much of a difference, as to say it might be a bigger improvement in the sound than, well, quality electronics themselves!!!
So, you put together otherwise funamentally quality hi-end gear with that kind of acoutical advantage (built in), and you have the potential for some mind blowing sound, I believe!
Kr4, thanks for the update (haven't looked on audyssey's website for listings of what's out there recently). I'll loook into the Sim and Wisdom stuff.
Guybguy - regarding video dropouts with the Integra...

I recently put an Integra 9.8 into a system that had been working fine for over a year. I also experienced video dropouts. It took a while, but after I upgraded my 8meter HDMI cable ($400), the video problem was resolved. Not happy about that upgrade, but it is a longish run.

I have concluded that the integra 9.8 requires high quality HDMI cables.
Anyone compair the 9.8 to the older Integra Research RDC-7?
Um that Sim AV processor looks quite interesting - although a bit more money than the Integra range, for sure.
Sim has always made some pretty nice sounding stuff, if much better than mass-marketed mid-fi, like Rotel.
Would like to see some reviews on the newer Sim's, myself. Otherwise, I might go find one locally, either way, and see what I come up with.
As for the Wisdom Audio SC-1 (er whatever), I can't make out exactly what that is from a quick glance at their site.
The Integra person my installer is talking to is also suggesting that a longish HDMI cable could be the issue. Have a 50 foot cable. Going to test running a shorter one across the room to the TV to continue to trouble shoot. What are your thoughts on signal boosters? Would hate to have to pull the cable and replace it - painted conduit would likely require that we repaint much or all of the room.
A 50-foot HDMI cable is much more likely the source of dropouts than anything else. I'd go with two high quality HDMIs (e.g., Analysis Plus): a 15' and a 35' linked by a booster at the 15' point with AC adapter.
Thanks. I tried running a much shorter cable across the room from the Integra to the TV. I fully expected this to do the trick, but such was not the case. Still had same problem. We are going to try a booster anyway, as well as trying different pre/pros.
calling Kal! I noticed you had listened to the new Mark Levinson....can you comment on it...especially as a stand alone 2 channel preamp for those who want an all in one system?
I have heard the ML only at show demos and found it impressive although that was to be expected. I have not auditioned it at home.

Kal, would love u to review it? Anything else comes to mind? Great for 2 channel analogue preamp (super DAC not necessary as I already have one) + good for movies multi channel, hopefully can do the new high resolution HD 5.1 audio DA conversion, and hopefully room correction options...? Anyone have a good recommendation? Can be more expensive than the Integra, Denon stuff (which I am not belittling),.....I know the Audio Rsch multichannel analogue preamp is a viable option, leaving the processing to be done within the blu ray player but not sure plus dont want to have all those cables.....
Also thought home theatre bypass is an option, but then that's another box which I wld prefer to avoid....can't we have a do it all?
Henryhk wrote: "hopefully can do the new high resolution HD 5.1 audio DA conversion." Nope.

Hey Kal, have u checked out the new Denon AVP A1HDC1? Looks like quite a juggernaut!
Interesting bunch of posts. I have been running an Integra 9.8 for a few months with zero problems.


- there are some BluRay discs that are known to be problematic

- not all BluRay players are created equal, nor are all of them up to the current BD standard, nor do all of them use the latest HDMI standard

- in HDMI land, 50' is a very long run - a high quality cable is required to maintain the HDMI spec at that length (eg top of the line Wireworld) My longest cable is nine feet which is from the Integra to the Pio plasma

- my ISF tweaker and I did some looking and chose to completely bypass the Reon processor in the Integra - dunno for a fact but this could be the cause of some drop outs (we let the Oppo do the DVD 1080p)

As for Audyssey - I'm with iplaynaked (how can you not be) my calibration guy had never run it so we ran the calibration for fun. We did not do a before, but when we ran his Sencore 1/3 audio analyzer afterwards he looked at the plot and said it would take him at least a half a day to even get close using the built in 15 band (per channel) EQ. The difference in my room is pretty much unbelievable. Better yet having watched techs struggle with B&K (and fail miserably) this is designed from the git go to be used by the consumer. It is almost completely fool proof and can be redone everytime you change a component or move a speaker.

I am looking forward to having a Audyssey certified tech come out and run the full calibration.

As a general note, the folks at Integra deserve huge props for a very well thought out and easy to use GUI (user interface) Have not seen another manufacturer that can even come close and in this type of gear it is a huge benefit.

Finally, I am running an all HDMI system. Four sources switch through the Integra and output through one cable to the plasma. This used to take forty (40) RCAs to get from four sources in component 7.1. This is not only a clutter buster, it's a huge cost savings. It makes trouble shooting much easier and it eliminates the weak point in any system - the cables.

And the uncompressed audio from BluRay is unreal

Be aware that like any software company, Audyssey is constantly coming up with new functionality. (eg Dynamic EQ) Despite the fact that this is a software patch, the 9.8 cannot be upgraded to include new Audyssey features. A tech at Audyssey told me that some manufacturers have left hooks (APIs I guess) to add new functionality while others like Integra have not. This is one thing I would look at critically when comparing Audyssey offerings.

Spend more if you like or can, but most of us will be hard pressed to come up with more for anything near the money. More to the point, no matter what you spend anything less then this is not SOTA
I started this thread. Here is what has happened most recently. I went without any Blu Rays for weeks. I decided not to increase my investment and told my installers to bring back my original 9.8 - which had been sent back to have everything fixed and updated. Our plan was to add a booster to fix HDMI problems.
First, the replacement 9.8 now worked without the booster. Then we hooked up my original 9.8. On hooking it up, it displayed "Onkyo" on the screen. Had not done this originally. Issue with switches had not been fixed (they would not switch surrounds from monopole to dipole).
So they ended up bringing me a 9.9, which has worked extremely well ever since. Ran Audyssey using three locations, and need to do again for more locations to get it right, but all seems to be quite satisfactory.
Xlnt news Guy - I love a happy ending

FWIW Integra is Onkyo's is upmarket brand. I would assume that they share engineering and manufacturing resources.

They do seem to have completely independent service/support groups here in the US