Integra is a very popular brand amongst professional home theater installers for a number of reasons, including sound quality, reliability, and the fact that Integra products typically include a number of installer-friendly features like ISF-certified calibration controls and HDBaseT support. Enthusiasts who "know" know that Integra consistently does a good job combining high performance with latest features that the uber-high-end companies often struggle to keep up with.
The DTR-70.6 receiver is Integra's flagship, carrying a price tag of $2,800. What sets it apart from most of the receivers on the market are its 11.2 channels of Dolby Atmos-capable glory. Many consumers scoff at anything beyond a 5.1 home theater setup as being not worth the hassle, mostly due to the incremental increase in sound quality/enjoyment versus the hassle and cost of setup. While I tend to agree with this sentiment, I'm here to tell you that the jump to 11.2, if done properly, is exactly the game-changer many of us have been hoping and waiting for. Trust me when I explain that I'm as skeptical as (if not more so than) the next guy when it comes to being duped by manufacturer smoke and mirrors, but Dolby Atmos, when setup accurately and given the proper source material, is exactly the jolt that the home theater realm needs. This is not simply adding more speakers to entice people to buy new gear; this is a completely redesigned methodology in terms of sound recording, sound engineering, and ultimately sound encoding onto a Blu-ray disc. Since the focus of this review is the Integra receiver and not Atmos in general, I'll supply you with a link that's worth your time if you want to research Atmos. Also, if you have experience with Atmos and disagree with my assertion that this technology is game-changing, please share your thoughts in the comments section, and I'll be sure to engage.
The DTR-70.6 is an 11.2-channel, 135-watt-per-channel beast of a receiver. It measures roughly 17 inches wide by eight inches high by 17 inches deep and weighs a hefty 47 pounds. The feature set includes everything you'd hope for in a flagship receiver being rolled out in 2015, including eight HDMI inputs and three outputs. The HDMI 2.0 connections include support for HDCP 2.2. copy protection, 3D, and 4K upscaling and pass-through. This receiver is also THX Select2-certified and features built-in support for Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more. The amplifier and processor blocks are independent of one another, preserving and enhancing sound quality by limiting interference.
As I mentioned in the intro, Integra has wisely included HDBaseT, which allows for the transmission of full HD video and audio content over long cable runs, using either CAT5e/6 or HDMI cabling. This allows the unit to function as a central hub in a multi-room system. Ultimately, the DTR-70.6's feature set is too vast for the confines of this review; so, if you're hungry for more detail, take a look at Integra's product page.
Having used separates in my listening room for the past several years, I must admit that it felt good to set aside my XLR cables, along with my Integra amp, in favor of a single, cutting-edge unit. While there would be a few sacrifices with said reduction in gear and cabling, ultimately it was a welcome tradeoff. I connected the Integra to my reference rig, which consists of a pair of Focal 836Ws for the front left/right, an Episode 700 series center channel, four Episode Signature 1300 Series in-ceiling speakers for the Atmos height channels, and four Definitive Technology Mythos Gems for the surround and surround back channels. My source components for this review included an Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player, a NAS drive, and my Music Hall 2.2 turntable. Connecting to a home network is hard-wire only with the Integra, so I ran an Ethernet cable to my range extender and had no problems.
Once all my gear was connected to the receiver, I ran Integra's AccuEQ auto calibration software, which detects from only one position: the sweet spot. Interestingly, the most difficult portion of running the calibration software was trying to keep my five-year-old son quiet during the measurements; other than that, it was a quick and seamless process. I allowed the Integra to break-in a bit, which also bought me a bit of time to install the four ceiling speakers for Atmos, although you do have the option of using upward-firing speakers or Atmos modules that sit atop existing speakers, should you choose not to go the ceiling route.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...