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Integra DHC-80.3 AV Preamp Controller Preview

Integra DHC-80.3

Integra DHC-80.3


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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

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.


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.


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.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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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.

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