Integra DTR-8.9 7.1 A/V Receiver


In Use

I've become somewhat spoiled by the clean, uncolored sound of Integra products, and the DTR-8.9 was no exception. I don't have the prior years' receiver models lying around, making direct A/B comparisons impossible, but my subjective impression was that the DTR-8.9 sounded slightly better than its predecessors. It seemed like there was a little more high-end clarity and air than the usually excellent Integra sound.

When reviewing similar products from the same manufacturer, I tend to fall back on old discs that I've heard over and over (and over again). "Heart of the Sunrise", from Yes' Fragile (DVD-Audio) has five virtuosic prog-rock musicians competing for attention in a very active 5.1 channel mix. I listened to the song both on my usual B & W speakers, as well as the MK Sound M Series speakers I recently reviewed. The Integra excelled in allowing me to hear the differences in the speakers, rather than adding its own character.

I did notice that when set to the default Audyssey Dynamic EQ, the 5.1 mix was radically different. Instruments and vocals in the surround channels jumped out in the mix, while the center channel lead vocal tended to be obscured and tended towards an echo. It was an interesting effect, but definitely not accurate reproduction, so I turned off Dynamic EQ for multi-channel music listening. However, this is just my own taste, and you should try it for yourself.

I missed Live Free or Die Hard in the movies, but somehow knew it would be a nice demo disc for home theater. By nice I mean exploding helicopters, cars racing through tunnels, cartoonish villains and henchmen, and the always entertaining Bruce Willis growling through clenched jaw. The DTR-8.9 created an extremely wide, realistic soundstage, with clean pans and intelligent dialogue throughout the latest (and last?) in the Die Hard series.