|Integra DTR-10.5 Receiver|
|Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Friday, 01 July 2005|
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I have always pushed my receivers and AV preamps to the limit in terms of inputs. Having almost every modern videogame system imaginable, an HD PVR, a DVD player, a few VCRs, an Onkyo Nettunes receiver, a DAT player, a High-8 video camera and a Sirius Satellite receiver, among others, as source components, I have yet to find a receiver or AV preamp that fully accepts every single input I throw at it without compromising somewhere. That is, until I discovered Integra’s top-of-the-line DTR-10.5 receiver which starts at $3,800. The connection possibilities are almost endless and the amount of sound formats and technologies on the DTR-10.5 are unbelievable. From the high-quality 192 kHz/24-bit DACs to almost every DTS and Dolby Digital format known to man and with Integra’s Nettunes Internet radio music server playback capabilities built in, I believe this 7.1-capable receiver with THX®Surround EX™ and THX®Certified Ultra2 can be the core of a $10,000 to $30,000 home theater system.
Integra has endeared itself to the ever-growing and very important custom installer market with their new “Build To Order” concept (anyone can try it out with no obligation). Much like a fast food restaurant that prides itself on not making your food until you place your order, Integra allows you to custom order your DTR-10.5 online, using a very slick interface. The back panel of a base model DTR-10.5 is listed on the screen and the user can add or remove cards from the back panel at the click of a button, much like customizing options on a computer at Apple.com or Dell.com. As the different cards are selected, the picture onscreen updates and you can see where the cards will be added. This proved to be very valuable to me even before my finished receiver arrived, as I was able to know in advance what my DTR-10.5 would look like. This allowed me to arrange my AV cabinet accordingly to have the cleanest cabling set-up possible when I added the DTR-10.5.
Unless you are absolutely certain what your home theater system is going to need as far as inputs and outputs are concerned, both Integra and I recommend that you allow your AV retailer to configure your DTR-10.5. You’d hate to miss something that you should have added or end up spending more money than you needed to, so it’s best to discuss your particular needs both immediate and long-term with your installer, then have them place the order. Of course, a receiver of this caliber contains an RS-232 control port as part of its standard makeup, as well as a 12-volt trigger, a built-in 120v AC outlet, a powerful AM/FM tuner and pre-outs for using an external amplifier.
The DTR-10.5 is a card-based receiver that allows for upgradeability, making it much more “future-proof” than most receivers today. The layout of the back reminded me specifically of some much more expensive pieces, like Meridian’s 800 and Mark Levinson’s No. 40 AV preamp. Everything is laid out logically and the gold connectors give the back of the DTR-10.5 an elegant look. The cards are secured in place by flush-mount hex screws and a supplied Allen wrench makes it very easy to add and remove cards. Flat black blank panels fill in any empty card slots to prevent dust and debris from entering the unit.
The chassis of the DTR-10.5 is fairly sizable at 17 and 1/8 inches wide, eight and 11/16 inches tall and 18 and 15/16 inches deep, weighing 70.8 pounds in its base configuration. The matte black finish and the quality build of the case give you a sense that this is a quality piece of AV gear, not a run-of-the-mill Japanese receiver. Loaded to the gills with all of the available card options, the receiver does not weigh much more than in its base configuration. I found that positioning it in the center of my equipment rack allowed me to route cables up, down and sideways for the cleanest install possible.
In its standard configuration, the DTR-10.5 comes with a digital audio module, an analog audio module, a video module and an AM/FM tuner module. This configuration provides six optical audio ins, two optical audio outs, three component video ins, one component video out, six S-Video ins and two S-Video outs. Two sets of speaker terminals for a primary zone and secondary zone run across the bottom of the back panel and pre-outs for a third zone are available as well. The flip-down panel in the front allows for headphones to be plugged in, as well as an extra video input for the easy addition of a non-permanent videogame system or video camera. The headphone input automatically cuts off the main speakers and features Dolby® Headphone technology that simulates surround sound on a stereo pair of headphones. I have found the headphones to be a great option while listening late at night. In my home, I often use headphones while riding an exercise bike. However, others in my household want to watch the same movie and listen through the speakers. At first I did not think I would be able to grant their requests, however by using the Zone 2 line output and an external headphone preamp, the DTR-10.5 is able to output sound through the main speakers via Zone 1 and the headphones via Zone 2.
Configuration and Set-up
Five blank panels are available on the back of the stock DTR-10.5. Since I have so many different sources, I loaded the DTR-10.5 up with the iLINK module, the Net-Tune Ethernet module, the RCA component module, the multi-channel and AES/EBU module and, most importantly, the HDMI module for two in/one out HDMI video switching. The only option that I did not choose was the BNC-type connector component video card. For users with a video projector that does not have a DVI or HDMI input, this would be the best-quality option. With all of these cards, it brought the retail price of the system tested here to $4,950.
The build quality of the rear panel is also topnotch and, other than the speaker terminal knobs that I felt were a bit small, I was very impressed with everything about the receiver cosmetically. I believe the reasons that the speaker wire terminals are not as robust as those of other receivers or amps I have used in the past is the fact that the engineers at Integra had to fit 28 of them on the back panel. With the smaller, thinner knobs, there is room for the other important components. I still had no problem connecting my beefy Ultralink speaker wire to the connectors, so I find this a very minor thing in an otherwise extremely elegant and well-crafted piece.
The onscreen menus for setting up the inputs, outputs and speaker levels and distances on the DTR-10.5 were amongst the most intuitive I have ever used. I recommend using your TV monitor at first, until you are familiar with the menu trees in this multi-level set-up. However, once I learned the logic of the set-up menus, I was able to use the smaller text display on the face of the receiver if I had to quickly adjust something and didn’t want to wait for my projection screen TV to fire up. The option of running a 7.1 speaker set-up is available on the DTR-10.5, as is the capability of running a total of three audio zones. My theater only has enough speakers for a 5.1 set-up, so I was not able to take advantage of all of the surround sound options. I set the DTR-10.5 up to automatically detect the sound format on the disc and use whatever it reads from the source. DTS discs automatically triggered the receiver to decode the DTS signal, as it does with Dolby Digital. If you have room in your system for the required amount of speakers, you will be able to enjoy the 6.1 with DTS ES 96/25 or 7.1 with Dolby Pro-Logic IIx.
To switch between all of the video game systems, VCRs and other video sources in my system via the HDMI card, the DTR-10.5 features a Si504 deinterlacing chip from Silicon Image. There are menu settings in the receiver that allow Composite, S-Video and 480i component video to be upconverted to 480p HDMI. If your video display is HDMI you'll want to use this function to streamline your video switching, allowing you to keep your display on the digital input at all times. Previous to this, I had to toggle between the HDMI input on my TV when watching DVDs and Satellite to the analog video inputs for my other non HDMI sources.
The impressive $2,500 DPS-10.5 universal player from Integra is a perfect match for the DTR-10.5, as they are able to connect via iLINK for fully digital playback of 5.1 surround sound music in DVD-Audio and SACD. The 5.1 analog outputs on the DVD player and the 5.1 analog input card on the receiver could be used as well, but I wanted to eliminate the digital to analog and analog to digital steps to keep the audio signal as pure as possible. With a direct digital connection for multi-channel audio and the direct digital HDMI video connection for the DVD player and HD Satellite receiver, you can truly step into the digital domain with the DTR-10.5 and DPS-10.5 combo.