|Integra DTC 9.8 AV Preamp/Processor|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Tuesday, 01 April 2008|
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I consider the DTC-9.8 to be a remarkable processor, and not just for its price. However, there are a few areas where there is room for improvement. For starters, the HDMI switching (both audio and video) isn’t as smooth or as fast as some. While HDMI switching has been a thorn in everyone’s side, there are a few products and switchers out there that do it better. While the DTC-9.8 did lock onto every signal thrown at it and never left me staring at a purple or blank screen, I was able to trip it up a few times.
I wish the DTC-9.8 looked a bit more special. I know utilizing the same case work as other Integra processors keeps costs low, but I can’t help but think how much more special the DTC-9.8 would feel if it didn’t look exactly like every other receiver from Integra or Onkyo. I know Integra can build a sexy chassis – look at their multi-channel digital amp – they just missed the boat here.
Who knew that for $1,600 retail you could get a state of the art audio/video processor, complete with all the latest bells and whistles like HDMI 1.3a inputs and both Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio capability? I didn’t, until I stumbled across the Integra DTC-9.8. In my endless quest to find an up-to-date high-end processor, I happened upon a giant killer from a company more rooted in the masses than the elite, yet the DTC-9.8 can roll with the big boys and even show them a thing or two. The DTC-9.8 is one of those rare products, although they are coming along a bit more frequently now, that challenges the status quo and threatens to put this so-called high-end aristocracy on its ass.
And why not? Who says the once untouchable kingpins of home theater aren’t to be messed with from time to time? Competition is what drives this business and you’re only as good as your last product. This puts the Integra DTC-9.8 reviewed here at the top of the proverbial mountain. I was so impressed by its performance on paper that I bought it before I even had a chance to listen to it. Now that I’ve lived with it for a while, not only is the price an absolute steal, I honestly believe Integra could charge twice as much for it and it still sell out their stock. According to my local dealer, this is exactly what is happening, as DTC-9.8’s are flying off the shelves nationwide. If you’re in the market for a processor, I highly recommend picking one up before it’s too late.