AV 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.
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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.
Now, 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).
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.