- Written by Robert Kozel
- Published on 09 May 2012
The Integra DTR-80.3 A/V Receiver In Use
For my listening tests, I was using a seven-speaker configuration from Definitive Technology including a pair of BP-3000TL speakers with powered subwoofers for the front mains, a CLR 2002 speaker for the center channel, and four Definitive Technology UIW 94/A speakers for the surrounds and rear channels. I used an Oppo BDP-95 as my primary source device. I was really looking forward to hearing how Audyssey MultEQ XT32 performed on the DTR-80.3.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the DTR-80.3 had no trouble drawing me into the final chapter of these wonderful movies. Dialog was exceptionally clear and well placed, and the sound effects during the battles were excellent. I especially loved the sustained bass during Voldemort's attack on Hogwarts. I really noticed how well the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 was handling the bass response in my room. I had configured the video processing on the DTR-80.3 to process the video from my BDP-95 and I was really pleased to see that the DTR-80.3 had no trouble producing a beautiful picture. The shadow details throughout the movie were excellent and the detail in Voldemort's face as he disintegrated was amazing.
In Steven Spielberg's Super Eight, the DTR-80.3 recreated this demanding soundtrack with ease. From the awesome bass as the bus is crushed to the amazing effects during the train crash, the DTR-80.3 more than succeeded in impressing me. I almost jumped out of my seat as the boxcar door crashed behind me. The amplifiers in the DTR-80.3 had no trouble handling the dynamic range in this soundtrack. I really loved the use of rear surround effects in this movie especially the subtle clicking of the movie projector in the rear of my listening room as the kids' movie played during the ending credits of the actual movie.
In listening to music on the DTR-80.3, I consistently preferred to listen in stereo with Audyssey processing enabled rather than in direct mode without processing. Audyssey MultEQ XT32 processing definitely improved the overall imaging and detail in music and the bass response in my room was much cleaner as well. On the Ray Charles: Genius Loves Company album, vocals were very clear and instruments were well positioned in the soundstage. Adele's '21' album had great dynamics and I found myself listening to the entire album all over again.
While I enjoyed listening to two-channel music on the DTR-80.3, multi-channel audio on the DTR-80.3 really impressed me. I played some of the sample tracks from the AIX Records Audio Calibration and HD Music Sampler disc. The 96 kHz Dolby TrueHD track of Let Me by Lisbeth Scott was positively stunning, showcasing her amazing voice along with the beautiful piano accompaniment. The vocals, bass and flute in Primavera sung by Destani Wolf were also exquisite. I was absolutely drawn into the performance and was reminded of just how good such high resolution music can sound. The DTR-80.3 had no trouble creating a wonderful soundstage to bring these amazing performances into my listening room.
I was also really pleased with the overall sound quality of Audyssey Dynamic Volume. This feature supports several levels of processing, and I found that the "Light" setting did a great job of improving the overall quality of the presentation and allowed me to enjoy the DTR-80.3 at lower volumes without losing dynamic range. In comparison, I felt that Dolby Volume limited the sound quality too much and really muddled the sound for my tastes. I also experimented with passing DSD (SACD audio) directly from my Oppo BDP-95 through the DTR-80.3 using "DSD Direct" mode which completely bypasses Audyssey processing. I found that the soundstage lacked focus and I wasn't pleased with the bass response in my particular room. I really loved the sound with Audyssey processing engaged and was happy for the opportunity to compare the sound with the DTR-80.3.
From a video perspective, the DTR-80.3 did not display any handshake problems when changing resolutions on my satellite box or when changing inputs to another HDMI source. Video output looked great on movie and television content and Blu-ray content was excellent. I set my Oppo BDP-95 to output 480i and let the DTR-80.3 process the video from the DVD of Gladiator. The picture looked great and there were no processing problems even on tough scenes like the flyover of the coliseum. We will talk much more about the video performance in the benchmark.
From an operational perspective, the DTR-80.3 was pretty simple to use. Source inputs can be selected just by pressing a button on the front of the receiver or on the remote. Sound processing modes are grouped into four categories named Movie/TV, Music, Game and THX. To change to a different processing mode like Dolby PLIIx Music while listening to music for example, I simply had to press the "Music" button on the remote multiple times to cycle through the possible choices. Unfortunately, pressing the button just once changes the current processing mode, so this leads to some frustrations as the entire list of options must be reviewed to find the original selection.
The DTR-80.3 includes a very handy on-screen "Home" menu which allows for input selection as well as direct access to most of the configuration options that you might want to change for a given input. The menu can be accessed directly from the remote by pressing the "Home" button. I really appreciated how easy it was to select audio processing options and to experiment with the Audyssey options using this menu. My biggest complaint about this menu is the overall color scheme and use of transparency which allows the image underneath to show through. The menu can be very hard to view when it appears over a primarily blue image background as you can see in this example.
The menu continues to add more highlights and more color as items are selected.
I would have much preferred a solid menu background using similar graphics to the setup menu system. Another odd thing about the "Home" menu is the lack of user-friendly names. Even though I had assigned a user-friendly name to each of my source inputs using the on-screen keyboard found on the "Name Edit" sub-menu of the "Source Setup" menu, the names are completely left off from the input list as you can see in the previous image. The user has to select an input first in order to see the user-friendly name. I would like to see Integra reverse this approach on this interface.
From a control perspective, I really liked the backlit remote that comes with the DTR-80.3. The remote is well organized and fits nicely into your hand. The remote can be programmed to support other devices and it has a nice macro facility. I was also able to control the DTR-80.3 from my iPhone using the free Integra Remote app, which is available for both Apple iDevices and Android devices. The main interface of the Remote app provides access to power, input, and listening modes.
Pressing the input button brings up a handy input selection menu. It would be really nice if the app could get the user- defined names from the DTR-80.3.
Pressing the small arrow at the edge of each input button brings up a control interface for the current input such as this one for the BD/DVD input.
Swiping to the right from the main interface brings up slider controls for the bass, treble, center, and subwoofer level.
Swiping to the left from the main interface brings up controls for setup and access to the "Home" menu. The arrow controls can be activated by sliding your finger in the direction of the arrows. This wasn't obvious at first and just pressing the arrow controls results in hitting the "Enter" button by mistake.
The volume slider control can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of any of the interface screens.
I did find a workaround to my problem with reusing the HDMI input from the Oppo BDP-95. I first selected the "BD/DVD" input which displayed the HDMI output from the BDP-95 on my television. I then selected the alternate input on the DTR-80.3 which was assigned the analog stereo output of the BDP-95. The DTR-80.3 continues to output the HDMI signal from the original input selection and then allowed me to listen to the analog input while still enjoying the picture. This isn't terribly family-friendly, but it does get the job done as long as you don't forget and change inputs to another HDMI source such as a cable or satellite receiver.
On the networking side of things, the DTR-80.3 offers a wide array of options.
Some of the highlights include the vTuner application, which allows access to thousands of internet radio stations from around the world. DLNA support is provided for accessing local media servers on your home network. Music services like Pandora, Rhapsody and Napster are included and joined by new services Aupeo! and Spotify. Aupeo! Personal Radio is an internet radio service based in Germany. Spotify is another internet music service based in the UK. Spotify allows you to access whatever music tracks you want and offers a free package along with paid subscriptions that offer other functionality and ultimately no advertising. I explored vTuner, Pandora and DLNA with the DTR-80.3 and had absolutely no problems in accessing my network or the internet. From an interface perspective, the apps are pretty basic and don't really take advantage of any significant graphics processing to make a more sophisticated or appealing interface. For example, here's the interface for Pandora while a song is playing.
While it certainly gets the job done, it pales in comparison to the Pandora interface offered on the Oppo BDP-9x players or the Apple iPad. The network apps are displayed in a 4:3 aspect ratio. In my case, the on-screen display appeared stretched unless I changed the picture format on my television to handle 4:3 content.
The DTR-80.3 offers a graphical user interface which allows for quick browsing of music files on USB media. The DTR-80.3 supports WAV, WMA, MP3, FLAC, WMA 9.2 Lossless, and Ogg Vorbis formats. While album artwork was displayed during playback of WMA files, the artwork and some metadata like artist name were completely missing during playback of FLAC files. I also tried the "Extended Mode" iPod interface but while it was functional, it was just cumbersome to use and no match for using the iDevice's native interface. I wish the DTR-80.3 supported AirPlay so I could just wirelessly stream music from my favorite iDevice to the DTR-80.3.