“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Integra DHC-80.3 AV Preamp Controller Preview

By
Integra DHC-80.3

Integra DHC-80.3

Summary

  • Product Name: DHC-80.3
  • Manufacturer: Integra
  • Review Date: September 27, 2011 19:55
  • MSRP: $2600
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

ADVANCED FEATURES

  • 9.2 Channel Network A/V Controller
  • THX® Ultra2 Plus™ Certified
  • HDMI® (Version 1.4a to Support 3D and Audio Return Channel) with Deep Color™, x.v.Color™, LipSync, Dolby® TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio™, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD, Multichannel PCM, and CEC
  • 8 HDMI Inputs (1 Front/7 Rear) and 2 Outputs
  • Dual HDMI Outputs (Simultaneously Active Capable)
  • 2 USB Ports (Front and Rear Panel)
  • Front-Panel USB Port for Memory Devices and iPhone® / iPod® Models (Enables Display of Album Artwork)
  • Network Capability for Streaming Audio Files (MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, and LPCM)
  • Internet Radio Connectivity (Pandora®, Rhapsody®, SIRIUS Internet Radio®, Napster, Mediafly™, Slacker, and vTuner)*
  • Certified with Windows® 7 and DLNA Version 1.5
  • Firmware Updates via Ethernet and USB
  • ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) Video Calibration for Optimal Video Performance
  • HDMI Video Upscaling to 1080p/24 with HQV Reon-VX
  • VLSC™ (Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry) for All Channels
  • Burr-Brown 192 kHz/32-Bit DACs (PCM1796 x 6) for All Channels
  • DSD Direct for Super Audio CD
  • Dolby® Volume for Reference-Quality Listening Experience at Any Volume
  • Dolby® TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio™, Dolby® Digital Plus, DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio™ Decoding
  • DTS Neural Surround™ Decoding
  • Audyssey DSX™ and Dolby® Pro Logic® IIz for New Surround Channels
  • Audyssey MultEQ® XT32 for Room Acoustic Correction
  • Audyssey MultEQ® Pro Ready with Target EQ Curve Editing
  • Audyssey Dynamic EQ® for Loudness Correction
  • Audyssey Dynamic Volume® to Maintain Optimal Listening Level and Dynamic Range
  • 2-Channel Balanced XLR Audio Inputs
  • 9.2 Multichannel Balanced XLR Pre Outs (with Front Bi-Amp Capability)
  • Overlaid Graphical On-Screen Display (OSD) via All Video Outputs
  • 4 DSP Modes for Gaming: Rock, Sports, Action, and Role Playing Game (RPG)
  • Analog RGB Video Input (D-sub, 15 pin) and Audio Input for PC
  • Gold-Plated, Machined Solid Brass, 3/4" (19 mm)-Pitch Audio Inputs (TV/CD and Phono)
  • Universal Port for Single-Cable Connection of Optional Onkyo Dock for iPhone® / iPod® or HD Radio™ Tuner

OTHER FEATURES

  • Three 32-Bit Processing DSP Chips (DA830 x 1, DA788 x 2)
  • 7 Digital Inputs (4 Optical and 3 Coaxial)
  • HDTV-Capable Component Video Switching (3 Inputs and 1 Output)
  • Linear Optimum Gain Volume Circuitry
  • Music Optimizer™ for Compressed Digital Music Files
  • A-Form Listening Mode Memory
  • Direct Mode
  • Independent Crossover Adjustment for F/C/S/SB(40/45/50/55/60/70/80/90/100/110/120/130/150/200 Hz)
  • A/V Sync Control Function (Up to 250 ms in 2 ms Steps)
  • Color-Coded, 9.2 Multichannel Pre Outs (Including 2 Independent Subwoofer Pre Outs)
  • Color-Coded, 7.1 Multichannel Inputs
  • SIRIUS Satellite Radio® Ready and HD Radio Ready
  • 40 FM/AM/SIRIUS Random Presets
  • Compatible with RI (Remote Interactive) Dock for iPod
  • Bi-Directional, Preprogrammed, and Customizable RI Remote Control with Backlight, On-Screen Setup, Mode-Key LEDs, and Macro Presets for Four Activities
  • 5 A/V Inputs (1 Front/4 Rear) and 1 Output
  • Video/S-Video Outputs (Monitor)
  • 1 Audio Input and 1 Output

CUSTOM INTEGRATION FEATURES

  • Bi-Directional Ethernet and RS232 Port for Control
  • Zone 2/3 Pre Outs for Distributed Audio Playback in Multiple Rooms
  • Zone 2 and Zone 3 Subwoofer Outputs
  • Zone 2 Monitor Outputs (Component and Composite Video)
  • Independent Zone 2 and Zone 3 Bass/Treble/Balance Controls
  • Max & Power On Volume Settings for Main Zone & Zone 2/Zone 3
  • Dealer Settings Memory Store & Recall with Lock/Unlock
  • Permanently Stored Settings
  • 2 IR Inputs and 1 Output
  • 3 Programmable 12V Triggers (with Adjustable Delay)
  • Optional Rack Mount Kit Available (IRK-180-4)
  • RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI) for System Control

Other

  • Dimensions (W X H X D): 17 1/8" x 7 13/16" x 17 1/2"
  • Weight: 29.8 lbs

Executive Overview

While at CEDIA this year we came across quite a few new products that are sure to have installers and consumers talking. Anything from Integra is a shoe-in to fit that bill. We've seen a lot of new products out with the latest features but dedicated preamps generally lag behind the curve due to their specialized market. Integra is looking to break that unwritten rule with their new DHC-80.3, a 9.2 channel THX Ultra2+ certified preamplifier.

While to the uninitiated, the different THX certifications might indicate a level of rigor in the testing (and in a way it does), it is really all about room size. A THX I/S+ certification is for small rooms, Select2+ for medium rooms, and Ultra2+ for large rooms. In the case of the DHC-80.3, the Ultra2+ certification means that it was tested to bring "the cinematic experience to larger home theaters, 3,000 cubic feet in szie, with a viewing distance of 12 feet or greater from the screen."

As we've seen in other Onkyo and Integra offerings, the DHC-80.3 sports the new Marvell Qdeo 4K video processing which allows upscaling to 4K (which is convenient in that, at the same show, 4K displays have first started showing up) along with an upgraded IDT HQV Vida VDH1900 chipset (from the HQV ReonVX of last year's models) for traditional scaling and upconverstion. Videophiles will love that this chipset allows ISFccc calibration capabilities. Also on board is the brand new DTS Neo:X dimensional surround processing which is the first solution to incorporate 2.0/5.1/6.1/7.1-to-9.1/11.1 conversion within a single algorithm. The older Audyssey DSX and Dolby ProLogic IIz additional channel solutions are also on board.

DHC-80.3-rear

As you'd expect from a processor of this caliber, there are tons of connections on the back. Along the bottom, XLR connections make connecting to high-end amplifiers a snap though RCA connections are also available. There are 7.1 channel inputs as well as outputs for height/width channels and dual subwoofer outputs (both available in XLR or RCA). Two additional zones of audio are supports (RCA only) along with a sub out for each. Zone 2 can be sent video as well (composite or component. Eight HDMI 1.4a inputs are included (one on the front) along with two outputs. Front and rear USB ports means that you can stream content on the fly from the front while keeping a drive connected to the rear at all times. The latest Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction is on board which allows independent correction of the dual subwoofer outputs.

It isn't a decent processor without some sort of networking and the Integra DHC-80.3 doesn't disappoint. There is a rear Ethernet port for networking and the processor is Windows 7 and DLNA certified for easy streaming. If you don't have one of the optional iPod/iPhone docks, you can use the front mounted USB port which allows a direct digital connection. The DHC-80.3 is preformatted for Spotify, Mediafly, Pandora, Slacker, Napster, Rhapsody, vTuner, SIRIUS XM Internet Radio, and Last.fm. The HD tuner means you'll have access to all your local digital radio stations. Apps are now available for iDevice and Android control.

Conclusion

The power behind a processor like the Integra DHC-80.3 can't be adequately summed up in a short preview article. Often, a processor will be priced more than its comparable receiver because of the low production runs. Not so with the DHC-80.3. At $2600 is is actually $400 less than the DTR-80.3 receiver. While $400 won't pay for all the amplification you'll need, it is something. Sporting nearly all the latest technologies on the market, the DHC-80.3 processor is sure to catch the eye of all those consumers interested not only in separates, but in playing with all the latest technologies.

For more information, please visit www.integrahometheater.com.

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

About the author:

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

View full profile

Recent Forum Posts:

Rickster71 posts on February 02, 2012 19:08
This is interesting.
They even have lab tests on page 4.
Review: Integra DHC-80.3 A/V Controller | Sound and Vision Magazine
I just wish there were standard test values, methodology.
surveyor posts on October 14, 2011 08:56
I own an Integra DHC-80.2 and it drives an Outlaw Model 770 amp with much aplomb. You'll have no problem with The DHC-80.3 being able to drive your amp!
xwing, post: 835820
Is the PREAMP OUTPUT level on Onkyo/Integras adequate finally, at LEAST 2 Volts RMS instead of 0.707V?

I have an older top of line Onkyo TX NR905 receiver, and hooked to Earthquake Cinenova 7 channel 600 Watt/ch amp, it played QUIETER than the internal amps, because of Onkyo's LOW 0.707 Volt RMS (measured) preamp output! I had to swap out resistors in the amp to make it somewhat better (thanks to Earthquake's VERY helpful tech section).

The DHC 80.3 specs say 1.0V rated/5.5V max RCA preamp output, and
2V rated/11V max XLR preamp output.

The older TX NR 905 was rated at 1V but measured 0.707 RMS…just not adequate, as the Cinenova needs 1.7VAC RMS to clip 116dBA output.

I'd like to buy a new Integra DHC 80.3 preamp, but will not until I know it can properly feed my amplifier, or other high end amps I might choose to get.
PedroDepue posts on October 14, 2011 03:21
I have a Rotel 1095 wich can service the amp needs for either one

xwing posts on October 13, 2011 15:12
Is the PREAMP OUTPUT level on Onkyo/Integras adequate finally, at LEAST 2 Volts RMS instead of 0.707V?

I have an older top of line Onkyo TX NR905 receiver, and hooked to Earthquake Cinenova 7 channel 600 Watt/ch amp, it played QUIETER than the internal amps, because of Onkyo's LOW 0.707 Volt RMS (measured) preamp output! I had to swap out resistors in the amp to make it somewhat better (thanks to Earthquake's VERY helpful tech section).

The DHC 80.3 specs say 1.0V rated/5.5V max RCA preamp output, and
2V rated/11V max XLR preamp output.

The older TX NR 905 was rated at 1V but measured 0.707 RMS…just not adequate, as the Cinenova needs 1.7VAC RMS to clip 116dBA output.

I'd like to buy a new Integra DHC 80.3 preamp, but will not until I know it can properly feed my amplifier, or other high end amps I might choose to get.
surveyor posts on October 08, 2011 21:53
Stereofile Class A

Stereofile rated the Integra DHC-80.2 as Class A- in October of 2011.
The Integra DHC-80.3 is just an updated video processor version- so it should be very good! I wish the Audio Holics would review the Integra DHC-80.3. You would probably find it to be the new Heavy Weight Champion!
Post Reply