I have a 50.1 receiver and find it really easy to use. My local hi fi store uses Integra for all of its home theater installations. I think they have a second layer of setup options for installers.
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I just bought an Onkyo 5508 (it should arrive Tuesday) after about a year of research/auditioning/etc. After all that time, I concluded that Onkyo/Integra was my best choice, so that's one thumbs up for your decision.
I'd add that my application is currently 2 channel audio only, so the video side of the equation was much less important to me. The changes from the 80.2 to the 80.3 weren't particularly relevant to me, so the 80.2 was the better value in my case.
Since the Onkyo 5508 is basically an Integra 80.2 (with different cosmetics and minor internal tweaks to which I do not assign much value), that comparison does go pretty directly to your "significantly better value" question:
I priced out both units and found that the Onkyo will shave about $600 (call it 25%) off the cost of the 80.2 and, for me, that's significantly better value....than the 80.2 Don't know if the same can be said vis a vis the 80.3, once you've determined that that's a better choice than the 80.2 for you.
I also happen to prefer the look of the Onkyo, but that's obviously 100% personal preference.
PS You might want to drop an e-mail to A'goner KR4 (Kal Rubinson), who is a great resource for HT questions.
What I have to say in general about the Integra 80.2 is that it is the standard-setter for (how shall I put this?) non-high-end processors. I have not used the 80.3 nor the Onkyo equivalents. All other general comments are in my columns about the 80.2:
I'm in the same boat. Kal's music in the round article says the Marantz AV7005 and the Integra DHC 80.2 were both similarly good sounding with both analog and digital sources. Differences seem to be that the integra 80.3 has audyssey xt32 and a different video processor (although I recall seeing something on avsforum that it is not a true 4K video processor??). Marantz has audyssey xt. I am trying to decide if the xt32 is worth the $950 difference in price.
Thanks guys. You have given me the reassuracne that I was hoping for.
The Marantz unit was what I inteded to purchase, until I found that it will not do certain things the way that I need/want them to, with the integration with my 2-channel system.
It actually is the ".3" upgrades that make this all happen. There are more advanced features in the 80.3 than the 80.2, which make it a good match for my particular application.
Thanks again for the input.
It wasn't so much that I comparred the new features in going from 80.2 to 80.3. I went to the dealer with what I was looking for and how I need the system to work.
After some research, he told me that, specifically, the ".3" software enables the pre/pro to perform as I need.
Essentially, I am adding the surround system to my high end 2-channel, tube rig.
The stereo channels will also serve as the main/front L/R, via my preamp's theatre bypass
Considering tube life & heat, etc., I do not want the surround system kicking on for typical tv watching, which will be the majority of the time.
I want the sound to come through the tv's speakers under normal circumstances. However, if we are watching a movie/concert, etc., we will then want the sound to go through the processor for surround.
The problem that we found with most processors, in this price point, (Marantz included) are that you have to drill into programming menus to switch between having the sound go through the processor or if it passes it through to the tv. It's not as simple as just flipping a switch.
I need something that can switch from surround to tv speakers on the fly, without "reprogramming" any settings.
I am told that with Integra's 80.3, you can program each source to default in either surround or pass-through.
We will set all defaults to pass through the sound to the tv, via hdmi. However, when the processor is turned on, it will automatically shut off the pass through and run the sound to the proper channels.
The dealer did a demo of this for me and it worked perfectly.
PrePro Off = Sound being passed through to the TV. PrePro On = No sound going to the TV.
My fear was that we'd watch a movie (in surround) at night and forget to change back the programming when done. This would result in me getting calls at work, the following day because there would be no sound coming out of the TV's speakers.
If the dealer is right, and it works in my home, as it did in the store, this addresses what is to me, a very important concern.
So, I really can't tell you what other enhancements come with the 80.3, in comparrison to the 80.2. However, I can tell you that the newer version handles a feature that is high on my functionality list.
I am not sure how your specific application demands something different from standard HDMI passthrough which is usually automatic requiring no buttons or menus. I do not have an 80.3 but every other recent prepro, so far, does this without any programming at all.
Still, if this function is critical for you and you are happy that the 80.3 meets your needs, I see no reason to deter you.
I have the Integra DHC-40.2 which is very similar to the 80.x (minus balanced pre-out connectors and less channels). User features and flexibility is very good. Sound and video quality is also excellent. Mine is a recent purchase so I am still learning. The best feature is certainly Audyssey MultiEQ. I was not sure when I first read about it but now that I have calibrated my room with MultiEQ it is amazing. I can always switch to 2 channels of "untouched" source material from my Oppo BDP-93. For everything else, especially movies MultiEQ is always in use.
Hi Kal, do you feel that your highend choices match or beat the current hi value products in picture quality, flexibility etc or is it mainly audio quality that seperates them from hi value for money Onkyo,Denon etc. One can't help but get the impression that these "smaller" companies just don't have economies of scale that say Onkyo has and therefore one has to pay substantially more for the same technology in these high end products.
Looks's like I'm in the right thread. I have money down and I plan on ordering the AV 7005 tomorrow morning but I'm having second thoughts about the 80.3. It will cost me about $700 more than the 7005, is it WORTH IT? I am big into 2ch listening and use my rig about 50/50 music to movie surround sound stuff. Any feedback would be appreciated.
There is a bigger feature list for the "hi value for money" prepros than there is for most (but not all) of the high-end prepros but the fundamental sound quality is not as good.
OTOH, one does pay a big price for this in $$ and in loss of features. Whether it is worth it is a very individual choice.
I am very happy with the Integra 80.2 which I just re-installed in my CT system today.
I can safely say that buying dearer components does not always equate to better sound. I have had some very high end components and receivers over the years including the beautiful Arcam AVR600, which I still own. In my opinion, the biggest improvement one can make to their experience in sound quality is room treatment and/or correction. That is why for me the Audyssey XT32 enabled Integra had me pull out my AVR600 and utilise my multichannel power amp (NAD M25)and DHC 80.3. I run two SVS Ultras. The Audyssey XT32 bass management is head and shoulders above the bass management of the Arcam. I sold my ASEQ1 so I wanted excellent bass management. The Integra delivers in spades. Quite simply the audio is outstanding. I strongly believe that an excellent set up will perform just as well in 2 channel as it does in multichannel. If it does not, then it is not the right way to go.
So after reading the whole thread I am utterly confused as to the difference between the DHC80.2 and DHC80.3. I too use my theater as much as 2ch music listening and have been wondring if the DHC80.3 is right for me and does Audyssey XT32 really make that big of difference. I own a DTC 9.8 and have never been really impressed with the Audyssey room correction in that unit. I feel I was never close to getting the same performance outta the DTC 9.8 that I ever had with my Classe SSP60 let or my B&K REF50. I like integra products because of their versatility and mulit zone, but would like to try and get within shouting distance of the performance category of the Classe SSP800 which I can't afford, hence, the DHC 80.3 consideration. What do you guys think. Am I just dreaming here trying to get real good home theater surround and 2 ch music from a High Value piece like the DHC 80.3. Would appreciate any help or comments.
I "went over" to the room correction "dark side" for my main, 2 channel, music only system several years ago. My ARC and Joule preamps were first joined by a Velo SMS-1 room correction/sub controller, then replaced by an Onkyo pre-pro with XT32. There's no going back now.
IMHO, Audyssey xt32 is GREAT. The xt32 equipped Onkyo PRSC 550x pre-pro is sometimes available for +/- $1500 new on-line (you may have to check a few times). Older versions of Audyssey are pretty damn good (I have an Integra AVR in my multi-channel set-up), but the results I've gotten with xt32 in the main system are -IMHO- worth a hefty premium. Since the Onkyo doesn't really command such a premium (vis a vis Marantz, et al), I believe that it's a pretty safe call.
Have Integra solved the problems that were associated with the ribbon cable and other defects that were the subject of their recent press release?
I was thinking of buying one to replace my aged Meridian 565 (still performing yeoman's service in a secondary video system) but I'm not looking to spend my time getting to know their tech support and shipping and receiving dep't.
I've had the Integra DHC-40.2 for almost a year now and have never been happier. It was a big improvement over my Denon AVR-3300 that I was using previously as a preamp. If I had to do it all over again, I'd certainly buy the Integra again.
Are you going to be using balanced connections? If not, you might want to consider going with the DHC-40.2 and pocketing the savings. Just a thought.
I am considering both of these processors and Anthem or Classe which are much more expensive. Was wondering if it makes more sense to buy the less expensive processor and also getting a stereo preamp with pass through. Any thoughts on that approach. I am replacing a B&K Ref 50 and leaning towards the Marantz because it is about a $1,000 cheaper.
It depends on the importance you gave to multichannel sound. You always can trust on a good pre for stereo, but still you will miss quality in SACDs multichannel, for instance. I have a Mac pre and an Anthem D2V, and both units complement each other very well. The other option is to supplement the prepro with a good multichannel player.