- Written by Ross Jones
- Published on 23 July 2012
The Integra DTR 50.3 THX Select2 Plus Receiver In Use
I used the five amp channels of the DTR 50.3 to drive my five-channel speaker system, and hooked up the other two channels to Zone 2, where they drove a pair of Paradigm outdoor speakers. Later in the review period, I connected the pre-outs of the Integra's left, right and center-channels to the unbalanced inputs of my Emotiva XPA-3 amplifier using single-ended cables (the Integra does not have XLR pre-out jacks), leaving the Integra to power the left and right surround speakers.
All of the prior Integra receivers I've reviewed generated significant heat from the top panel, to the point that on some products it was uncomfortable to leave a hand there. However, the DTR 50.3 ran significantly cooler than prior models. The top panel never felt more than slightly warm to the touch.
While it is easy to note the difference in heat signature of the DTR 50.3 to prior Integra receivers, it's impossible to draw direct comparisons to the sound of other Integra products I've reviewed in the past, given the passage of time. Nonetheless, my experience is that Integra products have a particular sound, by which I mean they don't sound like anything. They simply reproduce the source material without adding its own character or coloration. I've certainly heard more detailed sound in products costing several times the $1,400 list price of the DTR 50.3, but unless you're used to that level of performance, you wouldn't know you're missing anything with the Integra.
Roxy Music's Avalon (SACD) is a time machine back to the 80's, complete with the dense, lush arrangements that were typical of the era. The title track has multi-layered keyboards and guitars drenched in echo, with Bryan Ferry's voice seemingly floating above the mix. The Integra did a fine job of separating the various instruments and vocals, without reducing the track to a mish-mosh of sounds as I've heard on lesser systems.
Speaking of time machines, the Blu-ray of Yes Live at Montreux 2003 offers a glimpse back into the prog rock giants' set list from their peak in the 1970's, but with 21st century audio quality. The Integra really brought the concert to life, with all the dynamic contrasts and power that come with a fine Yes performance.
Thor was a perfectly silly film that didn't take itself too seriously, but was a real treat for the eyes and ears. Again, the DTR 50.3 created an immersive, theater-like experience, with all manner of mayhem bouncing throughout the soundstage.
As previously mentioned, later in the review period I used my Emotiva amp to power the front three channels. Although my past experiences have produced dramatic differences, I was surprised how subtle the changes were in substituting a dedicated amp capable of 200 watts per channel, for the Integra's own internal amplifier. There was a little more air and clarity in the mid to upper frequencies when using the Emotiva, but not a huge world of difference.