Integra DTR-70.4 AV Receiver Reviewed

Published On: June 12, 2013
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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Integra DTR-70.4 AV Receiver Reviewed

The Integra DTR-70.4 AV receiver is a product loaded with features, many of them unique to the receiver. Andrew Robinson puts the many features to the test in his review to see how valuable they are.

Integra DTR-70.4 AV Receiver Reviewed

  • Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.

Integra-DTR-70_4-AV-Receiver-review-angle-left-small.jpgAV receivers have come a long way in the eyes of home theater enthusiasts, both in terms of their performance and their respectability. I've encountered several as of late that even manage to challenge the notion that one needs separates in order to achieve home theater bliss. Simply put, there's a lot to be excited about when it comes today's modern AV receiver. Unlike many of their AV-preamp cousins in the "affordable" range, AV receivers pack a lot of today's hottest features at a price that more mainstream consumers can afford. The fact that a good portion of these receivers also sound terrific is a bonus. Case in point is the Integra DTR-70.4 AV receiver reviewed here.

Additional Resources
• Read more AV receiver review written by the Home Theater Review staff.
• Find Bookshelf Speakers and Floorstanding Speakers to pair with the DTR-70.4.
• Explore amplifier in our Amplifier Review section.

The DTR-70.4 isn't Integra's flagship receiver, but rather its runner-up -- athough you'd never know it by looking at the receiver or its spec sheet. It retails for $2,800, which isn't cheap by receiver standards. However, if it performs, it could be viewed as an outright steal among the AV separates crowd. Visaully, there is little that distinguishes the DTR-70.4 from its predecessors or even, really, its competition. It's not that the DTR-70.4 is a bad-looking piece of kit; it isn't. It just has a look we've grown accustomed to from Integra, one that I feel is in need of a refresh. Because most all Integra products look the same, they also have similar, if not the same, dimensions: the DTR-70.4 measures a little over 17 inches wide by nearly eight inches tall and 18 inches deep. It's no lightweight either, tipping the scales at a respectable 54 pounds -- thanks not only to its sturdy construction but also the four transformers inside. The front of the DTR-70.4 features Integra's slightly concaved design aesthetic that is then filled to near capacity with hard controls for virtually every feature. While the presence of hard controls may not be as aesthetically pleasing as a button-free face, I actually appreciate this about Integra products. Too often I just want to hit a button and have a product respond, versus having to shift through remotes and onscreen menus. The DTR-70.4's large display rests center mass and is flanked by the only two non-black design elements on the unit's façade: the standby button and the receiver's larger-than-life volume dial. There are also a few connections located on the front of the DTR-70.4, including a quarter-inch headphone jack, 3.5mm Audyssey setup mic input, USB input, HDMI input, composite video input/analog audio set and finally digital audio input (optical).

Around back you're treated to a variable buffet of AV options, all of which are cleanly laid out and clearly labeled. Starting from the top and moving left to right, you'll find a single USB input, an Ethernet bi-directional connection and eight HDMI inputs, followed by two HDMI outputs. Eight plus the one on the front gives the DTR-70.4 nine HDMI inputs total, which is handy given the receiver's support of Zone 2 HDMI. The DTR-70.4 is 4K-ready, meaning that it can upscale HD content to Ultra HD/4K through its internal QDEO video processor from Marvell. Sadly 4K pass-through is not supported, meaning that the DTR-70.4 cannot accept a native 4K signal but can only upscale an incoming HD one to 4K. Below the unit's HDMI input/outputs, you'll find three coaxial and two optical digital audio inputs. There are two component video inputs, as well as a single component video output, plus four composite video inputs mated with a single composite video out. The DTR-70.4 has an RS-232 bi-directional connection for your custom-installation needs, as well as numerous (three) multi-zone preamp outputs, all of which have their own subwoofer out. That last part is intriguing because it means you can essentially run up to four 2.1-channel systems throughout your home via a single receiver. Next to the multi-zone preamp outs, there is even a dual-zone AM/FM tuner section, with the primary zone's tuner being an HD Radio tuner. As for analog audio inputs, you have pretty much your choice of every option, including a phono stage. There is a full complement of RCA-style preamp outs (15 to be exact), but I'll get to that in a moment. Across the bottom rests the DTR-70.4's 11 pairs of binding posts. Throw in a couple of remote inputs, 12-volt triggers and a detachable power cord, and you pretty much have the DTR-70.4's rear panel all sewn up.

Integra-DTR-70_4-AV-Receiver-review-rear.jpgNow, with 15 preamp outputs and 11 pairs of binding posts at the ready, why is the DTR-70.4 labeled as a 9.2-channel AV receiver? Simple. While it may have 11 pairs of binding posts and 15 preamp outputs, they're only configurable for up to nine at a time (or 9.2, to be more exact). This means that you can add, say, height channels to your 7.1 system, but you can't also add width. Two height or width channels would take your 7.1 system to 9.1, the DTR-70.4's limit - unless you take advantage of the DTR-70.4's DTS Neo:X feature. This feature allows you to connect an external amplifier for the front wide channels, bringing the limit up to 11.2 channels. While there are four physical subwoofer preamp outputs, technically there are but two, since the additional two are simply splits of the same signal. This allows you to connect up to four subwoofers to the DTR-70.4, although the receiver will view the four in pairs of two. Don't be discouraged because Audyssey's MultEQ XT 32 with SubEQ HT is designed to work with up to four subwoofers set up as pairs of two - say, a front pair and a back pair. Of course you can run just two and have them EQ'ed independently in the eyes of Audyssey.

Along with Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 capability, the DTR-70.4 also features Marvell's latest video processor, which I spoke about a bit earlier. It also features InstaPrevue, which is a way for you to figuratively view all incoming HDMI video signals via small picture windows laid on top of real-time content. It's kind of neat. The receiver even has ISF-certified calibration controls, allowing you to adjust each incoming source/video signal independently for the most accurate image possible, as well as being able to set Day and Night settings to take into account the light level of the room. The DTR-70.4 is THX Ultra 2 Plus-certified, and it is capable of decoding and playing back a wide variety of sound and surround sound formats, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Then there are the DTR-70.4's network capabilities, which include DLNA support, as well as a host of popular app-based or Internet services like Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, Rhapsody, SirusXM and more. For a complete list of compatible services, please visit Integra's website.

As for power the DTR-70.4 is rated to 140 watts per channel at eight ohms with two channels driven. Dynamic power is listed at 320 watts (three ohms), 270 watts (four ohms) and 160 watts (eight ohms) courtesy of its internal WRAT amplifiers. Total harmonic distortion is listed as less than half of one percent, and the DTR-70.4's signal-to-noise ratio is a reported 110dB.

The DTR-70.4's remote is not unlike every other remote that has come packaged Integra product over the past few years. It's long and slender, it fit comfortably in my hand, and it has enough backlighting to be functional in a darkened environment. In other words, it's a real remote. What's really cool is that the DTR-70.4 has the ability to be controlled via IP on your tablet or smarty-phone, thanks to a free app made available by Integra. The app is available on both iOS and Android devices and brings a level of touchscreen sophistication and sex appeal to the DTR-70.4. I used the app exclusively during my evaluation of the DTR-70.4 as it resided in my equipment rack, which is in an adjacent room (thus denying me any line of sight).

Integra-DTR-70_4-AV-Receiver-review-front.jpgThe Hookup
Since I've been an Integra customer for, oh, going on 10 years, setting up the DTR-70.4 didn't present me with a great many challenges, although I did take special note of the improved OSD. The DTR-70.4 went into my Sanus rack where my Integra DHC 80.2 AV preamp sat prior. Since the DTR-70.4 has its own built-in amplification, my reference Crown XLS and Parasound Halo amplifiers got a break. I connected the DTR-70.4 to my reference Tekton Design Pendragon speakers, which are very easy to drive, even for audiophile speakers. It should be noted that the DTR-70.4's binding posts have a sort of plastic surround that keeps them from being compatible with spade lugs. I connected my reference RBH SX-1212P/R sub to the DTR-70.4's first subwoofer output and my Pendragon subwoofer to its second. I went ahead and EQ'ed the RBH sub using the Room EQ Wizard and my Behringer Feedback Destroyer Pro, but I left my Pendragon sub to its own devices (and proper placement, of course). I always run two subs because the Pendragon sub is more of a mid-bass or fast-attack bass woofer (it cuts at 30Hz), whereas the RBH is a true subwoofer in that it can hit below 20Hz easily. The blending of the two gives me a seamless response from 20 to 20 that simply begs belief.

I connected both my Dune-HD Max and Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray players to the DTR-70.4 via HDMI cables. I then ran a 40-foot length of RedMere HDMI cable out to my reference SIM2 M.150 LED DLP projector from the DTR-70.4's main HDMI output.

Once everything was connected, it took little time to name the inputs, level match the speakers and get everything more or less "dialed in" to my liking before I was ready to rock and roll. The new OSD graphics were a welcomed touch, although the layout of information and ease of setup didn't really change. I liked that.

I don't typically run Audyssey-anything for I'm not usually a fan of the resulting sound, but I did run through its auto EQ procedure, courtesy of the DTR-70.4 and the included microphone, and found the results to be accurate and their effect on the overall clarity of the sound in my room (largely) beneficial. Admittedly, though, I simply preferred the Integra's sound with my Pendragon speakers au natural, which is how I chose to evaluate the DTR-70.4.

Read about the performance of the Integra DTR-70.4 receiver on Page 2.

Starting with two-channel music, I fired up Peter Cincotti's "I Love Paris" off his album On The Moon (Monster Music). Straightaway the DTR-70.4's sound was one of clarity and composure, possessing a smoothness that came across as completely natural in my room. The DTR-70.4 exhibited solid power delivery from top to bottom and played well into the mid- to high-90dB range with little, if any, effort (granted my speakers are 98dB efficient). Down low the DTR-70.4 kicked like a mule and exhibited great control and composure throughout the bass. In truth there seemed to be a little extra "magic" present via the DTR-70.4 compared with my now two-year-old reference Onkyo receiver, in that there was an added level of refinement that was easily discernible. Notes, both in terms of their leading and trailing edges, hung in space a bit longer and possessed a sort of analog "roundness" that was both enjoyable and surprising. I say surprising because I hear something similar through my Crown and Parasound amps, but I've never really heard it through an AV receiver -- until now, that is. The speed in which the DTR-70.4 delivered the music was also incredible, resulting in lifelike dynamic swings that never sounded forced or overtly bombastic but just "right." The depth and width of the DTR-70.4's soundstage was also impressive, as was the delineation heard within.

Because I found the DTR-70.4's sound to be so well-balanced but still "fun," I cued up Nicki Minaj's "Va Va Voom" off her album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (Universal). I went ahead and set the volume for "broke" and in turn was treated to a performance that, had I not known prior, I may have mistaken for or attributed to budget separates. The speed and composure of the DTR-70.4's sound was, again, just phenomenal. Even at extreme volumes, with peaks easily hitting the 100dB mark, the sound was never forward, harsh or fatiguing. For some reason, though (and this is where separates do have it over AV receivers), I couldn't get the DTR-70.4 to give me much more. While peaks nearing 100dB are by no means timid, the fact that I reached the DTR-70.4's limit means that those with inefficient speakers or larger rooms won't even come close to what I achieved on my 98dB-efficient Pendragons. Still, at its limits, the DTR-70.4 didn't tear itself or the sound apart; it just couldn't go any further. I could easily live with peaks right around the 100dB mark, and I'm willing others could, too. But for those who need more, you'll have to add an amplifier or two down the road.

I ended my two-channel evaluation of the DTR-70.4 with Michael Jackson's "Who Is It?" off his album Dangerous (Sony). Without repeating myself, my biggest takeaway with regards to the DTR-70.4's performance on this track was the emotional chord it struck. So often we get wrapped up with picking apart a product's individual attributes and lose sight of the big picture. While individual aspects of the DTR-70.4's performance do stand out, they all play a role in a much grander picture -- one that succeeds in captivating the aural senses and thus drawing you more deeply into the material. That's arguably the highest praise I can think of when describing any product, let alone an AV receiver like the DTR-70.4. As I listened to its sound, I was always engaged emotionally.

Switching gears to movies, I cued up Iron Man on Blu-ray disc (Paramount). I chaptered ahead to the aerial battle over what I assume is meant to be Afghanistan, and the resulting sound was nothing if not wholly cinematic in its portrayal. The balance that the DTR-70.4 exhibited with two-channel music was present with multichannel content in spades. The entire frequency range was given its due with equal parts care and control. Dynamics, especially down low, were off the charts, and the composure exhibited throughout the high frequencies was equally impressive. Moreover, the inflection and nuance captured in the actors' vocals bordered on matching that of some budget and mid-fi separate rigs I've had the privilege of demoing lately. I was also very impressed by the DTR-70.4's ability to convey sheer, unbridled scale. I have a large room in terms of overall volume, and it's accented by a very large screen. It's not uncommon for AV receivers to falter when trying to "live up to" those requirements, but that was not the case with the DTR-70.4. However, again, its limit seemed to be right at the edge of what I could live with, and admittedly I could do with a touch more. Still, for 90 percent of folks, the DTR-70.4 has the requisite power to transport you straight to the heart of your favorite films.

Speaking of favorite films, I ended my evaluation of the DTR-70.4 with Moulin Rouge! (20th Century Fox). I noticed that, despite being well balanced and largely neutral in its midrange, the DTR-70.4 wasn't so overly smooth that it glossed over the slightly older film's imperfections. Microphone hiss was still present in certain scenes, although it wasn't as pronounced as what I've heard through other equipment. This leads me to believe that the DTR-70.4 is resolute, but not vindictive. This touch of sonic assistance was a trait I confirmed when playing back some poorly recorded MP3 files, which the DTR-70.4 cleaned up and played back nicely. While I've heard more resolving audio components, I was still impressed by the DTR-70.4's ability to convey the subtlest inflections and emotions put forth by the actors, be it through song or straight dialogue. All of the performers had palpable weight and lifelike scale via the DTR-70.4, which is more than I can say about most AV receivers when it comes to their portrayal of dialogue. In terms of its surround sound performance, the DTR-70.4's ambient and surround-channel control was exemplary, creating a truly three-dimensional soundfield that was as seamless as it was enveloping. I loved it.

In truth, I loved everything about the DTR-70.4's performance and wasn't really counting down the minutes until I could reinstate my reference rig once more. It's not that the DTR-70.4 outclassed my reference setup -- it didn't -- but it was so good in its own right that I didn't feel the need to rip it from my Sanus rack upon concluding my evaluation. If that doesn't clue you in to how I really feel about the DTR-70.4, then nothing will.

The Downside
Those with less-than-efficient loudspeakers, larger rooms or a propensity to want to hit 100-plus-dB peaks might be left wanting a little in terms of the DTR-70.4's power output. Thankfully, you can easily add an amplifier or two to the DTR-70.4 down the road that should eliminate any shortcomings on behalf of its internal WRAT amplifiers.

Those of you with spade-terminated speaker cables will have to either invest in new cables or at the very least some banana adapters, thanks to the DTR-70.4's plastic surrounds that half cover its binding posts.

Despite having the ability to upscale to 4K, the DTR-70.4 is not a true 4K product. When a 4K or Ultra HD consumer standard is (finally) ratified, the DTR-70.4 will be stuck conforming to today's HD standard(s). Now, in the DTR-70.4's defense, it isn't the only AV receiver on the market today that will suffer a similar fate upon Ultra HD's arrival -- hell, even products with supposed 4K pass-through may be obsolete, too.

As cool as some of the DTR-70.4's features are, like InstaPrevue, I'm not sure what the appeal is. For instance, how many of us run multiple sources of content into a single device at one time? I have two main source components (a Dune-HD Max and an Oppo BDP-103), but I never run a movie on both at the same time, so I question the need for video preview to switch between them. Maybe between a Blu-ray player and a DVR, but even then I just don't get it. Maybe I'm not InstaPrevue's target market. The same is true for some of the included or compatible apps and Internet-based services; I have them elsewhere in my setup, so I'm none too keen on doubling up and spending more to have them inside my AV receiver.

Comparison and Competition
At $2,800 retail, the DTR-70.4 isn't cheap, so there are only a handful of AV receivers to which you can honestly compare. The first one that comes to mind is Sony's new STR-DA5800ES AV receiver that I recently reviewed and was impressed by. I found the two to be similar, but I ultimately preferred the DTR-70.4, for it was every bit as functional and terrific-sounding as the Sony but with zero setup and day-to-day livability headaches. Granted the DTR-70.4 does cost a bit more, but it's added cost would be worth it to me.

At the $2,800 price point, you must also compare the DTR-70.4 with budget separates, in which case both Outlaw and Emotiva products spring to mind. The combination of Outlaw's 7125 amplifier and Model 975 AV preamp will set you back less than the DTR-70.4's asking price and yet will yield similar if not equal performance in terms of sonics. The Outlaw combo doesn't boast the same features as the DTR-70.4; but then again, when new technologies like Ultra HD arrive, you'll only be out the cost of a Model 975 and not $2,800, as is the case with the DTR-70.4. The same is true for Emotiva. Just something to think about before making any purchase decision. For more on these products and other AV receivers, please visit Home Theater Review's AV receiver page.

For $2,800 retail, the Integra DTR-70.4 isn't cheap, but then again it doesn't act or sound cheap, either. While it may ring all the bells for today, making it one of the better (or even best) AV receivers I've encountered to date, it's not without its flaws. Its sound is exceptional, but those with less-than-efficient loudspeakers or larger rooms may be left needing a bit more "juice." Also, when Ultra HD comes to town later this year or next, the DTR-70.4 may prove to be somewhat obsolete. Still, in the now and for the foreseeable future, it's one hell of an AV receiver.

Additional Resources
Read more AV receiver review written by the Home Theater Review staff.
Find Bookshelf Speakers and Floorstanding Speakers to pair with the DTR-70.4.
Explore amplifier in our Amplifier Review section.

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