Receivers

Integra DTR-50.1 7.2 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

The DTR-50.1 has a comprehensive array of front panel jacks as well. These include a headphone jack and a mini plug for the Audyssey set-up mic. The front panel inputs also include a USB jack, an additional HDMI input, a composite video input with stereo analog inputs as well as an optical digital input. This is a very complete set of front panel jacks for a moderately priced receiver.

On the rear panel, the DTR-50.1 has 6 HDMI inputs, 3 component inputs and 5 NTSC inputs (selectable composite or S-Video). The HDMI jacks have enough space between them that my locking Accel HDMI connectors fit without a hitch. There are 3 coaxial and 2 optical digital inputs on the rear panel along with 7 stereo analog inputs. One of these inputs is a phono input (MM).

There are no multi-channel analog inputs. The lack of a multi-channel input means that I could not listen to multi-channel SACD's using my older Sony SACD player. Of course, my Oppo BDP-83 outputs multi channel SACD via HDMI as either PCM or DSD so the omission of a multi-channel analog input was not a major concern for me. It's just something to keep in mind before you lay down serious cash for a high-end player with premium DAC's and output stages or if you have a legacy player you like a lot.

The DTR-50.1 has numerous video outputs as well. Specifically, there are 2 HDMI, 2 Component, 1 S-video and 3 Composite. The 2 HDMI outputs can be used simultaneously or individually and each can be calibrated differently in the ISF calibration menu. This is really nice. I have a plasma display and a front projector with a retractable screen that slides down in front of the flat panel for the most serious viewing. With the Integra DTR-50.1, I was able to adjust the image independently for each display. The HDMI outputs can be run simultaneously. (I used the HDMI outputs simultaneously for our Super Bowl party this year.) Keep in mind that both HDMI outputs show whatever source is selected in the Main Zone. To take full advantage of the Integra's independent multi-zone capabilities, you will need to use the Zone 2 component and/or composite outputs.

Line level outputs on the DTR-50.1's rear panel include unbalanced 7.2-channel pre outs. The ".2" means that there are 2 sub outs. The same signal is present at each output. If you want an Integra receiver that outputs separate signals with different EQ curves for each of subwoofer then check into the DTR-70.1 or the DTR-80.1 as they have this capability. There are no line level outputs for the front effects channels. There are also 2 stereo analog outputs, one for each remote zone.

Now let's talk about the speaker level outputs. There are 11 of them! Seven channels, eleven outputs. Confused? Don't be, the point is that you can connect up to 11 satellites to the DTR-50.1. Then you can select up to 7 of those that you want to be active using the SP Layout button. You can also choose to bi-amp your main channels using the surround back binding posts in addition to the L/R posts. The speaker outputs are very solid binding posts that will accept banana plugs, pins or bare wire.

The Integra DTR-50.1 rear panel also has a Sirius radio input, IR ins and outs, 3 separate 12V trigger outs, an Ethernet input and a bi-directional RS 232 port. The Ethernet connection allows streaming of files from a server, network or Internet radio. The Integra includes several popular Internet radio services: Pandora, Rhapsody, SIRIUS internet Radio, and vTuner. This is from the press release, "[the DTR-50.1 is] compatible with Windows 7 and [is] certified with DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) version 1.5, ensuring optimal compatibility with other network-enabled equipment throughout the home. Finally, [the DTR-50.1] receiver also includes USB connectivity, further increasing the streaming audio options from either personal computers or USB-enabled portable devices."

The DTR-50.1 has a Universal Port that can be used to connect an optional iPod dock (UP-A1) and/or an optional HD-Radio dock (UP-HT1). Yes, I said and/or because the two docks can be daisy chained as the UP-HT1 has a Universal Port input of its own.

The fully backlit remote control is a new design that I actually do not like as much as the former generation of Integra remotes. The older remote had a button on the side to turn on the backlighting. This button was easy to find in the dark. The new remote does not have this button. Also, the older remote had larger buttons and the print on them was much easier to read. But the newer remote is smaller and lighter. So the newer remote fit in my hand more comfortably. One major upgrade for the DTR-50.1's remote is that it is bi-directional. This means that you can program the remote to control other equipment through the DTR-50.1's GUI. That's a nice feature!

The Integra DTR-50.1 employs the ubiquitous Audyssey MultEQ set up and room compensation software. I ran the setup routine for four seating positions and felt that the results were very good. I ran the routine several times as I had a total of three different speaker systems in my lineup throughout the review period. Pretty much every time I ran the Audyssey setup routine on the Integra, I was very satisfied with the results. So I did almost all of my listening with the Audyssey equalizer settings engaged.

The Integra DTR-50.1 includes the new Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing which upmixes source material to include front height speakers. It also has Audyssey Dynamic Surround Expansion (DSX) which can derive signals for front height or front width speakers. DSX also applies "Surround Envelopment Processing" to enhance the blend between the front and surround channels. I experimented with both the DPL IIz and Audyssey DSX. I preferred the DSX processing over the DPL IIz processing because the front width channels derived from the Audyssey DSX routine really did provide a greater improvement to the sound field than the front height channels derived by either DPL IIz or Audyssey DSX. If I were building a new theater from scratch, I would definitely consider front width and/or height speakers in the system. I might install a total of eleven satellites – FL, C, FR, SL, SR, SBL, SBR, and the 4 front effects channels because you can hook up all these speakers to the Integra DTR-50.1 and freely activate whichever speakers you choose for your listening session using the SP Layout button. Sadly, my current room configuration means that these additional channels would not be a reasonable permanent retrofit. Depending on the source material, the additional effects channels tended to make the front soundstage too diffuse at times. On the other hand, with good program material, the sound expansion was a meaningful improvement.

The Integra DTR-50.1 has THX Loudness Plus. According to the manufacturer, "with THX Loudness Plus, home theater audiences can now experience the rich details in a surround mix at any volume level. A consequence of turning the volume below Reference Level is that certain sound elements can be lost or perceived differently by the listener. THX Loudness Plus compensates for the tonal and spatial shifts that occur when the volume is reduced by intelligently adjusting ambient surround channel levels and frequency response. This enables users experience the true impact of soundtracks regardless of the volume setting. THX Loudness Plus is automatically applied when listening in any THX listening mode."

This receiver has similar processing via Audyssey Dynamic EQ. The Integra can be set to override the THX Loudness Plus with the Audyssey routine, if you so desire. I generally ran the receiver with THX Loudness Plus when I had the Klipsch Icon W system in play. Alternately, I ran the DTR-50.1 with Audyssey Dynamic EQ when the Canton GLE system was being evaluated. I suggest that you try experimenting with these routines to find a setting you like. I found that when either of these routines was properly dialed in, the sound really did have a lot more meat on its bones when listening at socially responsible levels.

The Integra DTR-50.1 has Audyssey Dynamic volume which is intended to tame loud passages that are typical of cable, satellite and OTA feeds. I played with this feature a little, but I didn't use it very much.

The DTR-50.1 features HDMI upscaling to 1080p via the Faroudja DCDi Cinema Enhancement solution. The Integra Receiver will also transcode and upconvert analog video to HDMI. Since I have an Oppo BDP-83 Universal player, I didn't need (or want) deinterlacing support for any of my disk-based material. When it came to deinterlacing the 1080i signal from my DirecTV DVR, however, I much preferred the results achieved via the Faroudja DCDi Cinema Enhancement over the deinterlacer in my Pioneer Kuro plasma display. The Faroudja DCDi Cinema Enhancement did a good job resolving the 3:2 pull-down on film based material. Likewise, the Faroudja chip is motion-adaptive and really excelled when processing video signals. So I pretty much let the receiver deinterlace all signals from my DirecTV DVR.

This receiver has extensive video calibration controls which let the user adjust basic and advanced picture parameters. These controls are located in two places within the DTR-50.1's menu tree. Basic picture controls are found in the Monitor Out menu. These settings adjust all the inputs simultaneously for each video output. The more advanced controls are found in the Source Setup Menu. Here you will find the same basic picture controls plus it adds brightness and contrast controls for the primaries as well as a gamma adjustment. The settings in the Source Setup Menu are source-dependent.

In addition to these video controls, the Integra DTR-50.1 also features the Imaging Science Foundation Certified Calibration Controls (ISFccc). This hidden menu lets the installer/calibrator fine tune picture controls. Each HDMI output can be configured differently in the ISFccc menu. These adjustments add control over the secondary colors. Plus there are memory slots for day and night for each source. The DTR-50.1 has a third memory slot for custom adjustments that can be made by the user.

The published power output of the Integra is 130 watts per channel with 2 channels driven full band at a maximum THD of 0.08%. This appears to be a somewhat optimistic specification when you consider that the DTR-50.1 has a total of 7 amplifier channels and it doesn't have the most massive power supply I've seen. Be that as it may, I used this receiver to drive the Canton GLE speaker system with the main speakers crossed over at 40 Hz. The Integra DTR-50.1 never really even broke a sweat. The GLE's are rated at 4 ohms nominal and I left the Integra DTR-50.1 set to 8 ohms. This system filled my large room to reference levels without complaint except for really extreme material that stressed the sub well before stressing the receiver.