Processor upgrade from Integra 9.8?

With arrival of new SOTA TV, will be going from 99% 2-channel to 85%. For 3-d capability, my question is whether to upgrade to Integra DHC-80.3/Onkyo PR-SC5508 or to go higher up the chain. Not sure what, if anything, I will be giving up by purchasing at the $2K price point vs $5K, other than, of course, an extra $3K of expense. Also have an Oppo BDP-95 on the way for Blue-Ray/3D. Will be incorporating front speakers, preamp and amps from 2-channel into the HT system.

Thanks for any help.
You don't need to go with a new processor for 3d, you can go direct to your tv with the Oppo and still have your existing processor decode the audio or you could have the Oppo do the decoding.
Thanks Monty - I guess my ignorance as to the capabilities of the Oppo is showing :-). I don't even have it yet, but it sounds like it may be my solution in more than 1 area. I appreciate you pointing this out - thanks again.
Oppo installed using both HDMI outs - looks and sounds great! Thanks again :-)
Both the 5508 and 80.3 will get you superior audio compared with the 9.8 as well as permit 3D passthrough, although that will not be required with the dual HDMI outputs from the Oppo. However, you might consider the BDP-93 since the only major distinction between the 93 and 95 is the latter's superior analog outputs. You would be best off using the HDMI with any of the three mentioned prepros (including the 9.8) anyway.

There is nothing else I would recommend under $5k.

Certainly,it is not my place to tell you how to spend your money; however, looking at the components in your system, I would consider moving up the chain to the Denon processor ($4400), Class 800, Anthem D2 and others. Any of those units will provide you with the same level of quality as you already have. I am surprised your other components did not jump the integra/onkyo and tell it to scram, it was in the wrong neighborhood.
Thanks Kal. I've already got the BDP-95 installed. I've also already got 2-channel more than covered.

The only issue is the Audyssey processing difference between the Integra 9.8(MultEQ XT) and the 80.2 or 80.3(MultEQ XT32). I have never directly compared this, so don't have any idea. Is it night and day? Subtle? I really can't see how this difference alone could be worth $2600 to me(less whatever I could get for the 9.8). Please enlighten me? Thanks.
Hard to say what it will do for you but I think the overall sound of the 80.2 plus that of XT32 make it a significant improvement for me. The only way to know is to compare them. I have published my observations.

Mig007 - there was some muffled muttering early on, but that soon subsided. :-)

I appreciate your comment and that was my original thinking as well. However, the Integra is pretty well holding its own, with the addition of the Oppo's video. The problem is there is no place to compare the products you mentioned and no one I have been able to find who has sufficient knowledge of both my current system and these processors to be able to tell which would integrate the best.

In addition, since I already have 2-channel covered and only really watch movies in the winters, a processor's "usage factor" is not very high in my system right now. I suppose if I were to hear a processor that simply blew me away I would be interested, but for anything short of that I'll probably be OK as I am for now. I'm not sure about 4K, but we're not there yet...
I have an Onkyo Pro SC885 processor with a Oppo BDP 95 and run 2.1 and 5.1 multichannel analogue from the Oppo as it kills the Onkyo processing. I can even utilize the DTS Master Audio and Dolby Digital Plus through analogue too. the 2 channel from the Oppo 95 is also exceptional too compared to the Onkyo which is fair. I had talked with a fella from Onkyo which said the upgrade processor which is the 5508 would not be a huge upgrade in sound quality from the 885. It does have few more options than mine of course but not worth the money. Assuming the extremely highest caliber of the Sabre32 Reference ES 9018 from ESS Technology was defeating my Onkyo I myself would have to probably go to a separate processor like Wyred for Sound as they use ESS technology. Unless someone has a higher experience of decoding than that.

Best regards Bacardi
Thanks for your comments. It sounds like you are making good use of the Oppo as well! I have been very impressed with its capabilities, especially at its price-point.

I'm using digital sound from the Oppo into the Integra and it obviously sounds great. The only reason for me to upgrade processors at this point would be to gain access to Audyssey XT32 processing, 1 level above XT, which I currently have, for movies only. That's it.

Since my HT system is 5.1, not increasing in the near future, and has video covered by the Oppo, I can't convince myself that I will hear a big enough audible difference by upgrading processors. It seems to make more sense to wait a while, enjoy what I have, and if I upgrade processors later on, do it with a product that will also upgrade video beyond the capabilities (current and future) of the Oppo 95+. In other words, make a SUBSTANTIAL upgrade when technology allows, not just something incremental at this point. Since my new Oppo-95 setup has ALREADY resulted in a substantial upgrade from what I had, I'm very happy for now. :-)

Thank you all for your input - it has been invaluable in allowing me to reach a comfortable decision, at least for now. Let someone else support the economy for a change!! :-) Happy New Year to All!!

I cannot believe that you find the analog from the 95 via the 885 is superior to HDMI since the 9.8 (equivalent of the 885) has mediocre analog inputs which would compromise that arrangement. Had you said that you were using an 80.2 or 80.3 I would accept that as a possibility (although I would not agree). In fact, the analog inputs are one of the real improvements over the first generation prepros. There are others.

I am using the analogue in the Oppo.

Regards Bacardi
01-01-12: Bacardi
I am using the analogue in the Oppo.
Yes but are you running it through the mediocre analog of the 885?

No through the Oppo 95.

Regards Bacardi
C'mon. What is the Oppo connected to? Directly to the power amp or via a decent analog preamp? If so, that is quite different from going via the 885.

I found that the weakest feature of the 9.8 (885) is the analog in/out, even direct.

K. Maybe I need to specify my hookup and setup. My apologies:

Parasound power amp 5channel to Onkyo pre outs
5.1 rcas from Oppo to Onkyo
5.1 audio outs from Oppo to 5.1 multichannel ins on Onkyo
Hdmi 1 from Oppo(video only) to Hdmi Onkyo
Onkyo displays Multichannel Direct

Are you saying that I am hearing analogue from the Onkyo and not Oppo?

Regards Bacardi
Of course you are. The input stage of the Onkyo, its volume control circuitry and its output stage. I have no doubt that the 95 analog output is superb but it is constrained by the Onkyo which, in my experience, is not great. With a better prepro or analog preamp, I might use that but with the 885/9.8, I would prefer HDMI.

I've tried the Hdmi but thought the Multichannel analogue sounded better. What would you suggest for Analogue pre? Someone suggested the Parasound P7 to me awhile back.

Regards Bacardi
The P7 is, imho, the best choice now. There are some others that one can seek but are hard to find: McCormack MAP-1, McIntosh C45, Audio Research MP-1 and, my favorite, the Bel Canto Pre6.

I am going to be that fish who attaches to sharks and eats the leftovers as my post generated one measly reply. Is the analogue section of the Integra Research RDC-7.1 good enough to forgo an upgrade and just use the analogue outputs of the Oppo 95?
Wish I could help but I have never heard/used the RDC-7.1. I think it is a pretty rare device.

Kal, the Integra Research RDC-7.1 was a surround pre-processor that was modular in design. One could order the unit based on which features chosen and a card with those features plugged in. An example was having an extra set of 7.1 inputs. It was designed with BAT and had the Apogee technology from its Ben unit for lowing of jitter.
I am familiar with it, on paper, because I was considering getting one. Never heard one.
I believe it sounds very good, but I don't know how it stacks up against a Bel Canto or Parasound P7, or even a McCormack. The Integra is made by a mass consumer product company as opposed to the above. I realize that the Integras, Panasonic, and other similiar situated companies once in awhile come out with awesome products then lapse back to mediocrity.
Since you've already got a McCormack piece, I would pick up the MAP-1, used, here to try. You also might try giving Steve a call - he's always been very proactive in helping owners of his gear.
NewsFlash - Just discovered the DACs in the 9.8 are only 192/24, while those in the 80.2 and 80.3 are 192/32. Unfortunately, that is enough of a difference for me to reconsider upgrading now, rather than later. So much for my best laid plans....
Is that a significant difference? IMHO, the advance to MultEQ XT32 is a significant difference.

OTOH, the 80.2 does sound better than the 9.8.

Thanks Kal - OK, well that makes 2 significant differences!! BTW, I sent you an e-mail.... :-) Whether it makes sense to look at $5-10K (after CES, of course) given my limited use for just AUDIO of movies only? Seems like paying for features (like video, 9.1, etc.) that I just don't need, but I could be wrong.... Any suggestions?
I cannot predict what will turn up at CES but it is less than a week away and the bloggers will reveal all rapidly. In general, though, the $5-10K processor do not offer more features.


P.S.: No need for email as this is better discussed out in the open. ;-)
Thanks. Enjoy CES - I'll be curious to see what's on the horizon.
Are you saying with a integra 80.2 or .3 and an oppo 95 music listening is still better using hdmi rather than analogue outputs.

I am currently using a 9.8 and thought about upgrading to 80.2 and oppo 95 .

Dont know if the 500 dollar increase is justified 93 to 95 if hdmi and 9.8 or 80.2 is used foe processing

I will use for music and home theater
Yes. I prefer to use HDMI. The difference between all analog (via the 80.2) and via HDMI are small. OTOH, the ability to use the 80.2's DSP (including roomEQ) makes for a substantive advantage over the all-analog path.

Thank you Kal, I believe you saved me 500 dollars .
An Integra dealer told me I could run analog outs from my Oppo into my 9.8 and still not lose Audyssey. I tried to do this yesterday but couldn't get the Integra into multichannel mode to accept the Oppo signal. Integra was not much help either. Common sense tells me it won't work, but I need to at least try it.

Also, any new HT developments out of CES related to this thread?

Fplanner2010, my Onkyo Pro processor display shows Multichannel Direct but it won't show Audyysey. I am running analogue with Oppo 95. I guess it's not possible.

Regards Bacardi

Your dealer is misinformed. None of the Integras will digitize the MCH analog inputs and, therefore, none will be able to apply Audyssey to that input. Besides, you would loose any of the advantages of the Oppo analog output by redigitizing it.

thanks - that's exactly what I thought...
An issue with the Audyssey is that it won't recognize my sub unless it is directly attached to the Integra. Since it is hooked up to my 2-channel audio preamp, which is in turn connected to the Integra, its not being recognized. I suppose I could just hook it directly to the Integra for calibration pruposes?
I am not sure that would work. What you might consider is a switch that would connect it to the 2-channel preamp for stereo and the Integra for MCH.

I'm not a fan of any sort of "switches" in an audio chain - any suggestions? My theory was to just carry over the sub settings manually when I re-connect the sub to my 2-channel preamp. Thanks.

Also, did you see anything new under $5K that competes with the Integra/Onkyo? I've also been looking at used Theta Casablanca IIIs, but that seems to be several levels more intense than I currently want to deal with for HT. There are also way more variables and options than I really want to deal with, unless there is some way to simplify all this.
1. You cannot "just carry over the sub settings manually when I re-connect the sub to my 2-channel preamp" because the new configuration will affect the overall transfer function due to whatever filters are in place in the the latter.

2. Da capo: Get the 80.2/3 or the 5508.

Kal- Thanks very much for your responses.

Would I not have this same bass configuration issue with the 80.2/3? I hope you are saying my sub will be recognized despite not being directly connected to the Integra by the 80.2/3.?
Nope. I am suggesting you take advantage of the superior analog audio of the newer models in lieu of your more complex configuration.
Did anybody hear the new Mcintosh MX121? It is supposed to cost 6k, to come with Audyssey (don't know if the 32 version) and was presented at CES.
It sounds like I would still have the same subwoofer issue with the 80.2/3, absent some sort of a switch. Not sure who makes reasonably-priced audiophile quality switches, but I guess that would be my first step?
I think that obsessing over switches is silly.

The MX121 was not demonstrated but was on display. It will have MultEQ XT32.

I agree about the switches - back to basics and trust my ears - that has always worked well for me... :-)
There are subwoofers like Rythmik or MLogan that accept two simultaneous connections, an LFE from the prepro and a line level from the pre. You will need two outputs from your stereo pre; one for your mains and the other for the sub. There are other solutions, like the one offered by SVS, which put the sub between your pre and your mains. Check their websites.
Regarding the MX121, did Mc people tell which D/As are they using?
Ridom - good idea. That was 1 of the things I was going to investigate. My sub is a Velo DD-15+ and I'm pretty sure it has that capability. Thanks again.