The world of multi-channel music and home theater may be an ever changing space filled with more new technologies and firmware updates than I'm sure most enthusiasts know what to do with. Yet one constant has been the need for a multi-channel amplifier, for no matter what your video or audio processing is doing you're always in need of solid amplification to make your loudspeakers sing. Amplifiers have evolved over the years to become more powerful, more efficient and subsequently more expensive in many cases. They've even grown to include up to seven channels of amplification, up from the original two or even one. However, few amplifiers offer the connectivity, power and number of channels that the Integra DTA-70.1, reviewed here, offers - all for a price that most enthusiasts can afford.
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Retailing for $1,800, the DTA-70.1 is a nine channel, that's right, I said nine channel amplifier, churning out an impressive 150-Watts (tested with two channels driven) in a push-pull configuration. The DTA-70.1 has a dynamic power rating of 180-Watts per channel into eight Ohms, 300-Watts into four and a staggering 400-Watts into three - not bad for a sub $2,000 amp. But why nine channels? The DTA-70.1 is one of the few amplifiers to be able to take full advantage of the latest surround sound codecs by providing all the requisite loudspeakers with the power they crave without having to mix and match. Don't have a full 9.1 home theater? No problem, for you can use the DTA-70.1's extra channels to bi-amp your main left and right loudspeakers if you so desire. Along with packing potentially more power and channels than you'll know what to do with, the DTA-70.1 is also THX Ultra2 Certified.
The DTA-70.1 itself is a handsome piece of kit boasting an aluminum façade that bares Integra's trademark scoop design with a narrow shard of light that glows blue when the amp is in operation. Around back the DTA-70.1 has both balanced and unbalanced inputs as well as color coordinated, five-way binding posts that can accept all speaker wire types from spade terminations to bare wire. A 12-volt trigger, auto power on/off switch, speaker impedance selector switch and a removable power cord round out the DTA-70.1's list of features. The amp itself measures in at a hair over 17 inches wide by nearly eight inches tall and 17 and a half inches deep. It tips the scales at a surprisingly manageable 50 pounds, which is far from back breaking considering most multi-channel amps weigh in excess of 100 pounds or more.
In terms of sound the DTA-70.1 is surprising in many ways. For starters it sounds nothing at all like the amplifier sections in most Integra or Onkyo receivers, which is what I was expecting. The DTA-70.1 has a far more laid back, full bodied sound that is spacious as opposed to the more direct, forward sound you'll find in many mass market amps and receivers. I connected the DTA-70.1 to my reference Onkyo receiver's preamp outs where it powered my five Noble Fidelity L-85 LCRS in-ceiling loudspeakers. In this configuration, the DTA-70.1's presence was immediately apparent, for the sound quality of my bedroom home theater improved dramatically. There was more detail, air and decay throughout which lent a greater sense of spaciousness and improved dynamics to the performance, be it music or movies. Midrange and treble clarity improved as the DTA-70.1 imparted more texture to the performance along with natural tone and weight which grounded things a bit when compared to my Onkyo receiver's internal amps. Soundstage-wise, the DTA-70.1 didn't disappoint, in fact it surprised me, for the depth of the soundstage seemed to extend back beyond my front wall an additional two to three feet, which it didn't do with just my Onkyo receiver calling the shots. In terms of soundstage width the DTA-70.1 wasn't as dramatic; however the level of detail and control exhibited throughout was. In terms of bass the DTA-70.1 was impressive though you're not about to mistake it for a Krell Evolution 402e or even a Mark Levinson No 533H, but still, for less than $2,000, the DTA-70.1 is no slouch.
Read about the high points and low points of the DTA-70.1 on Page 2.