It used to be you were only a true audio enthusiast if you had separate components that required a second mortgage on your house or recklessly jeopardized your kid's future. Now, with the economy in the toilet and your kid's college fund most assuredly in harm's way, high-ticket luxuries like home theater separates
have had to adapt to the masses in order to woo consumers into spending their hard-earned money. The Integra
DTC 9.8 reviewed here represents the pinnacle of what I like to call the "new way of thinking" among AV manufacturers. It offers incredible performance, features and connectivity options for a modest cost. At around $1,500 retail, the Integra DTC 9.8 isn't expensive, considering I'd put it up against the likes of some of the industry's most touted offerings. Does it do everything as well as its more expensive rivals do? No, but it does such an awful lot right that it's hard to fault its shortcomings at these prices.Additional Resources
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to pair with the DTC 9.8.
So what does your $1,500 get you? For starters, it buys you four HDMI v1.3a inputs
and two (yes, two) HDMI outputs, all of which are capable of upsampling legacy sources to 1080p via its internal HQV video processor. It also buys you access to the latest uncompressed audio formats, such as Dolby True HD
and DTS Master Audio
, as well as featuring Audyssey's weapons-grade automated EQ and room correction system
. Other receivers boast a watered-down version of Audyssey's EQ, but the DTC 9.8 comes equipped with the pro version, without the need for a custom installer and/or an expensive microphone kit. The DTC 9.8 has both balanced and unbalanced preamp outputs, as well as more inputs and outputs (both analog and digital) than you are likely to ever need or use. Hell, it even has a decent phono stage. The DTC 9.8 is satellite- and Internet radio-ready. It can also be mated to a local network for audio streaming. Speaking of networking, the DTC 9.8 can also operate three zones (both audio and video) simultaneously, making it a centerpiece for a small whole home audio/ video system.
Once connected, the DTC 9.8's menu and set-up procedure is as good as it gets and despite the button-laden "receiver" look, day to day livability is a breeze. The remote, like the one included with the Onkyo 805, is loaded with features and functional on a level that is unprecedented. Click to Page 2 for The High Points, The Low Points and The Conclusion.