How do I verify - or debunk - the claims of The Upgrade Company? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I am an extremely happy owner of an Onkyo 5508. My understanding it that it is virtually identical to the Integra 80.2 with the only differences being the design of the face and a minor feature (or two?) like Pure Audio.

Now The Upgrade Company is offering the 5508 and is making some claims that I don't think are accurate, but would like to find out about. They claim that "The Integra DHC-80.2 prepro is similar internally, however Integra is a consumer line, not a pro line. The Integra 80.2 sounds inferior to the Onkyo Pro 5508. The Integra 80.2 exhibits weaker bass response, a rolled off top end, sounds eiled and slightly less defined in direct comparison to the Onkyo Pro 5508."

I have heard both units .. not in the same system .. and did not notice any deficiencies in the 80.2.

They go on to claim that "The Onkyo Profesisional 5508 prepro has been designed and built to "Pro" standards, not consumer like Marantz, Integra, Anthem, Classe, McIntosh & others that use less costly switching power supplies, often pseudo-balanced architecture."

Again, it is my understanding that these two units are identical inside. So, either my understanding is wrong, or this is a bald-faced attempt to mislead people.

Which is it?

Jeff

Disclaimer: Before any TUC fans get their panties in a bunch here, I am merely asking the question. If someone from TUC wants to drop in and document their claims, that would be great! Also note that I am not calling into question the value of TUC's upgrades nor claims of performance improvements; this is strictly regarding their claims that the 80.2 is both substantially different from and inferior to the 5508.

It's been brought to my attention that the link above doesn't work. Apparently, AVS doesn't allow links to them. OK, click on the link and replace the **** with (remove the spaces "u p g r a d e c o m p a n y")
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post #2 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:05 AM
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debunk....waste of $$$!!! No one has ever posted a real audible measured difference but that does not stop people from posting wild conclusions of incredible performance gains. The audio world has the most imaginative people ever, there is no other way to describe how someone can believe there is so called "Huge" differences when no measurement backs up their conclusions.

Juts think companies with large R&D budgets sell products for thousands but never "add these upgrades" themselves?? You would think a company would add the HIGHEST GRADE components its can and sell the product accordingly. Why don't the big companies do it ever??? Hmmm......


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post #3 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:06 AM
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post #4 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

debunk....waste of $$$!!! No one has ever posted a real audible measured difference but that does not stop people from posting wild conclusions of incredible performance gains. The audio world has the most imaginative people ever, there is no other way to describe how someone can believe there is so called "Huge" differences when no measurement backs up their conclusions.


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http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...pgrade+company

Thanks. I am not trying to start a flame war here. I would prefer to limit the discussion to what can and can't be easily verified, i.e. the differences internally between the 80.2 and the 5508. From what I read, they have the identical power supplies. Now, if their claims on this are proven to be bogus, we might be able to move on to the point of your rant.

Jeff
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post #5 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:09 AM
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My bad

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post #6 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

Thanks. I am not trying to start a flame war here. I would prefer to limit the discussion to what can and can't be easily verified, i.e. the differences internally between the 80.2 and the 5508. From what I read, they have the identical power supplies. Now, if their claims on this are proven to be bogus, we might be able to move on to the point of your rant.

Jeff

The come off the same line....ask the guys putting them together why they would sound different??

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post #7 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Don't stir the hornet's nest!

Should result in some lively discussion, right?
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post #8 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post

The come off the same line....ask the guys putting them together why they would sound different??

You're singing my song, but we need documentation.

Jeff
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post #9 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:41 AM
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Both use the same basic tooling..
The Integra has a few more install friendly features usually done by software. Note that the $ overhead for a unique AVR just for the Integra brand is too high..
For your info, the global $ sales of Onkyo is 25x that of Integra..

Just my $0.02...
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post #10 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post

Both use the same basic tooling..
The Integra has a few more install friendly features usually done by software. Note that the $ overhead for a unique AVR just for the Integra brand is too high..
For your info, the global $ sales of Onkyo is 25x that of Integra..

Just my $0.02...

It would be a long, hard ... and ugly .. slog to take them on on their performance improvement claims, but this claim, i.e. that the 5508 is built better than the 80.2, seems pretty "binary" to me. This should be a piece of cake to verify or debunk.

Jeff
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post #11 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 11:14 AM
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Jeff,

Anyone that is the least bit knowledgable in audio that goes to the TUC site and reads the text about the TUC 5508 will quickly see how much BS Dave Schulte is trying to sell. The "built for profit" BS he is spewing is the best part for me. So ole' DS is not turning a tidy profit for his works of audio art (blue goop).

I would bet the difference between the PR-SC5508P and the PR-SC5508 is the letter P and that rack ears come with the 5508P model. I would also bet the only difference between the 5508 and the 80.2 are cosmetics and that the 5008 has the Pure Audio mode. The fact that DS claims the 5508 is "built to Pro standards" is another joke as the PR-SC5508 is sold through non Pro dealers and shown on the Onkyo-USA site. I just wish someone would to a direct comparison to TUC's 5508 and a stock 5508. That in its self would answer many questions.

http://www.onkyopro.com/prod_class.c...s=Preamplifier

http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?cl...er&m=PR-SC5508

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post #12 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree, Bill. But absent scientific tests, the performance differences are subjective. His claim regarding the construction of the 5508 vs the 80.2 is a mare of a different hue. I think I will email Integra his claim and see what they have to say.

Anybody have any direct email addresses for Integra bigwigs?

Jeff
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post #13 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

If someone from TUC wants to drop in and document their claims, that would be great!

TUC (Dave Schulte) will never, ever, legitimately document any of his claims. He will just instead dance around providing any real documented & measured proof of anything, the only thing he will provide is the claims made by people who blindly believe in whatever it he is selling them. In the past he has used excuses like not having a printer, or a way to make a PDF file when asked for documented proof. And he has also gone out of his way to have few forum threads here, and also at audioholics forums shut down/locked if anyone starts to question what he is trying to sell or make claims for.


Here is one of the AVS threads about TUC that was locked here.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1198719
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post #14 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnla View Post

TUC (Dave Schulte) will never, ever, legitimately document any of his claims. He will just instead dance around providing any real documented & measured proof of anything, the only thing he will provide is the claims made by people who blindly believe in whatever it he is selling them. In the past he has used excuses like not having a printer, or a way to make a PDF file when asked for documented proof. And he has also gone out of his way to have few forum threads here, and also at audioholics forums shut down/locked if anyone starts to question what he is trying to sell or make claims for.


Here is one of the AVS threads about TUC that was locked here.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1198719

I think this is different from all of the other claims. *This* claim can be verified. And I would think that Onkyo/Integra might have something to say about it as well as his comments go beyond "mine sounds better than theirs". He makes claims about one of their units that are insulting.

Jeff
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[quote=pepar;20476561]
Quote:


I agree, Bill. But absent scientific tests, the performance differences are subjective. His claim regarding the construction of the 5508 vs the 80.2 is a mare of a different hue. I think I will email Integra his claim and see what they have to say.

Jeff,

You are 100% correct in that the comparisons would be subjective. But TUC's claims of his modded 5508 having better SQ of prepros costing 3-4 times that of TUC's 5508 should not be hard to disprove IMO. Add that to the fact DS refuses to divulge what actual "Mods" are being done makes me even more skeptical of his claims.

Quote:


Anybody have any direct email addresses for Integra bigwigs?

I believe that forum member alanl715 might be of some help in that regard. If I recall Alan compared part numbers to a few specific internal components of both the 9.9 and 886. Again if I recall correctly (very poor memory here) Alan found that the part numbers were identical. I wish I could recall what thread these posts were in but I can't. I believe that if you can clearly show the 80.2 and the 5508 are in fact identical internally that will really show what TUC is all about. I'm sure DS will come up with some lame excuse and that copy will quickly disappear from TUC's site.

In fairness to Alan I hope I have the facts straight on this as it was quite awhile ago. Alan has been an excellent source of information for Integra and Onkyo owners in the past.

Bill

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post #16 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

I think this is different from all of the other claims. *This* claim can be verified. And I would think that Onkyo/Integra might have something to say about it as well as his comments go beyond "mine sounds better than theirs". He makes claims about one of their units that are insulting.

Jeff

Seeing as how the Integra division of Onkyo has much more strict controls over their dealers and distribution than the Onkyo division does, I'm pretty sure no authorized Integra dealer wants to get caught selling him 80.2's to resell as modded units, it's not worth the risk of a Integra dealer to get caught selling to places like TUC and then lose their right to sell Integra branded products after getting caught. So I think the only reason he is making this better "claim" for the 5508 over the 80.2, is because he has someone that will supply him with 5508's at a great price, and then he can turn around and resell them modded with even a better profit.
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post #17 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

You are 100% correct in that the comparisons would be subjective. But TUC's claims of his modded 5508 having better SQ of prepros costing 3-4 times that of TUC's 5508 should not be hard to disprove IMO. Add that to the fact DS refuses to divulge what actual "Mods" are being done makes me even more skeptical of his claims.

As tempting as that is, I'd like to stay focused on the 5508 vs 80.2 claim. I've read other threads that ... go south pretty quickly when the modifications themselves are questioned.

Quote:


I believe that forum member alanl715 might be of some help in that regard. If I recall Alan compared part numbers to a few specific internal components of both the 9.9 and 886. Again if I recall correctly (very poor memory here) Alan found that the part numbers were identical. I wish I could recall what thread these posts were in but I can't. In fairness to Alan I hope I have the facts straight on this as it was quite awhile ago. Alan has been an excellent source of information for Integra and Onkyo owners in the past.

Bill

Hopefully, some more people will see this this evening and someone will be able to provide some documentation. I'd love for MrHiEndAudio himself to post here on this.

Jeff
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post #18 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnla View Post

Seeing as how the Integra division of Onkyo has much more strict controls over their dealers and distribution than the Onkyo division does, I'm pretty sure no authorized Integra dealer wants to get caught selling him 80.2's to resell as modded units, it's not worth the risk of a Integra dealer to get caught selling and lose their right to sell Integra branded products. So I think the only reason he is making this "claim" for the 5508, is because he has someone that will supply him with 5508's at a great price, and then he can turn around and resell them modded with even a better profit.

Yes, I think you are correct about why he's modding 5508's instead of 80.2's, but why he felt that he needed to crap on the 80.2 is beyond me.

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post #19 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Open PM to Dave Shulte:

Hi Dave,

I have started a thread on your comments regarding the Onkyo 5508 being better built than the Integra 80.2. As far as I and everyone else knows, they are identical (with the exception of cosmetics and Pure Audio). Here's the thread if you are interested.

Regards,
Jeff
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post #20 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 01:33 PM
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Ohhhh boy this is going to be great. I just popped the popcorn in the microwave so I'll be ready.

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post #21 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 01:44 PM
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He also claims the Onkyo Pro 5508 is a "...PRO model so it has to be truly balanced to earn it's THX PRO certification."

AFAIK, there is no such thing as a "THX PRO" certification. Both the 5508 and the 80.2 are THX Ultra2 Plus certified.

OT question: When a THX certified product is modified, does it lose it's THX certification if it's not re-tested by THX? This applies to both the modded 5508 and the 80.2, (and/or any other THX certified product he, or anyone else, modifies.)

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post #22 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

He also claims the Onkyo Pro 5508 is a "...PRO model so it has to be truly balanced to earn it's THX PRO certification."

AFAIK, there is no such thing as a "THX PRO" certification. Both the 5508 and the 80.2 are THX Ultra2 Plus certified.

Craig,

Thats a good find. I looked at the TUC site quickly and did not notice this little editorial gem. If anyone after reading that still wishes to have TUC "Mod" their 5508 then they must be pretty gullible. For TUC to think the 5508 is a truly balanced prepro with THX Pro is not a company I want poking around inside any component of mine.

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post #23 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone got any internal pics of products in question. A peek inside reveals all.

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post #25 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 06:10 PM
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Anyone got any internal pics of products in question. A peek inside reveals all.

That could be tough as TUC applies seals to the case on all the components they "Mod". So if owners of a TUC "Modded" component opens the case to take a peek the warranty is voided.

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post #26 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 06:30 PM
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from what I can gather, 80.2 vs 5508 is a non issue, basically they are the same unit, with 1 slight difference the 80.2 has more customization than the 5508...

though how far it goes depends on the hardware and firmware mods to whether or not it benefits the unit in question...

press junkets aside someone will have to buy both units, to compare what you get for value for money..
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post #27 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 06:32 PM
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Found these inside pictures of the stock units on Google Images:





They look pretty similar to me...
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post #28 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mystic_sniper28 View Post

from what I can gather, 80.2 vs 5508 is a non issue, basically they are the same unit, with 1 slight difference the 80.2 has more customization than the 5508...

In what way can the 80.2 be customized over the 5508?

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post #29 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMark1 View Post

Found these inside pictures of the stock units on Google Images:





They look pretty similar to me...

Looking at the pictures you posted it looks like two of the larger boards and one small board are located differently. One shows the boards over to the right and the other they are over to the left. This shows that the 5508 and the 80.2 are not indentical units internally. The two might share the same internal components but the build is different. Verrrry interesting.

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post #30 of 1596 Old 05-23-2011, 07:11 PM
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the onkyo pic is flipped...
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