Integra DHC80.3 vs Marantz AV7701 - please help with final processor choice. - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Which processor should I go for - sound quality being the most important factor?
Marantz AV7701 2 33.33%
Integra DHC80.3 3 50.00%
Other options with Balanced XLR output - pl. write in your choice in the thread 1 16.67%
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-16-2013, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Folks,

I seem to need some help with finalizing between the following 3 options:

1. Marantz AV7701 - about US$1700, including customs duty and shipping
2. Onkyo PR-SC5508 - about US$2000, including customs duty and shipping
3. Integra DHC80.3 (or Onkyo PR-SC5509) - about US$2600, including customs duty and shipping from

(The DHC60.5 is not available yet outside North America and Taiwan - so I'm forced to look at the above options)

Background: I'm based in India (220V-50Hz AC). My mains (L/C/R)- Neumann KH310 (Active 3 way, balanced XLR inputs). Not yet decided on the surrounds - will add them later... These will be sitting in an untreated, reflective apartment living-room and in a couple of years move to a dedicated HT room (with some treatment).

Sound Quality is the top-most priority. Usage will be Music 70%, Movies 30% - played through a HTPC from media files stored from hard-disks or streamed through.

The PR-SC5508 and PR-SC5509 (Integra DHC80.3) have the following factors in their favor:
1. Audyssey MultEq XT32
2. Sub-Eq
3. 32 bit DACs
4. 2 USB inputs - makes it easier to have 2 disks connected
5. 9.2 Ch

The following factors are against the Onkyo/Integra:
1. Does not offer 4k Pass-through - again not sure if its a simple firmware upgrade or the whole video-card needs to be changed? anyways I don't plant to get a 4k display in the next few years - its still nice to know it will be covered when I do get it... but who knows what will happen to HDMI standards at that point - and by then HDBaseT (found on the DHC60.5) may be the standard.
2. The price is considerably higher than the Marantz.

The Marantz AV7701 has the following factors in its favor:
1. Lower price - a preferred price point for me (considering I've already spent around US$7k for just the LCR)
2. Available locally with better dealer support network than the Integra which is available only in the UAE.
3. 4k pass-through

The following factors are against the Marantz:
1. No Audyssey MultEq XT32 or Sub-Eq
2. 24bit DACs
3. only 7.2 ch

Not sure how to compare the THD and other "performance" figures of the above.

I've also considered the following but dropped due to price or lack of a certain feature or availability or other considerations:
Sherbourn (Emotiva) PT-7030, XMC-1
Marantz AV7005, AV8801
Denon DN-500AV
Yamaha CX-A5000
Krell Foundation, Crestron, Anthem, Cary, Primare, Lexicon, Storm, Meridian
It is quite surprising that there no other processors in the US$2000 price range with balanced XLR output...

Could the experts and regulars of this forum help me make a decision on this decision?
Thanks in advance for any and all responses.
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-17-2013, 02:50 AM
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I own the 80.3 but if buying now I would go Marantz AV8801 or (waiting on reviews) Yamaha CX-A5000. Feedback so far indicates equivalent for movies, my interest is for music

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-17-2013, 08:39 AM
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I listen to music 60% of the time and movies the other 40%. I went with the Yamaha CX-A5000 and couldn't be happier. Do some checking online and you should be able to find one with a street price that will meet your budget. I have owned and installed Marantz equipment professionally and they are great units, but the Yamaha has a slight edge over them when doing musical playback as music is yamahas forte, they seem to put more emphasis in that area for playback on there equipment. You really can't go wrong with either unit as they are both excellent. Differences I have noticed between the two is one, the Yamaha runs much cooler, and two, the Yamaha allows switching of hdmi inputs in standby mode for output to a tv without having to turn the unit on or selecting a default standby input when the unit is in standby as the Marantz does.smile.gif

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post #4 of 16 Old 11-17-2013, 03:29 PM
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I would go with the Marantz. I looked at the 7701 earlier this year but I decided to put off the purchase for awhile but I really liked what it offered, and since I currently own a Marantz AVR I know the brand to be very good.

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post #5 of 16 Old 11-17-2013, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks folks for the responses:

I'm being told that the Audyssey MultEq XT32 and Sub-Eq feature alone is worth the price difference between AV7701 and DHC80.3...especially considering my "untreated and reflective cement walls and marble flooring - apartment living room".

I realize the DHC80.3 is comparable to the predecessor of AV8801 than to AV8801 or AV7701

Unfortunately I do not want to step-up to the $3500 price bracket - in which case - AV8801 might be the first choice as it offers Audyssey MultEq XT32 and Sub-Eq and 4k pass through... At the $4000 price point other brands may enter the picture.

I also know the AV7701 is comparable to DHC60.5 which is not yet available anywhere but North America and Taiwan...

I really feel Marantz disappointed everyone by not offering the Audyssey MultEq XT32 and Sub-Eq in the AV7701.

The other features found in the PR-SC5508 or DHC80.3 like 32 bit DACs, 2 USB inputs and 9.2Ch are all nice to haves... but its the lack of Audyssey MultEq XT32 and Sub-Eq that is causing me to hesitate with the AV7701...

In fact for the DHC80.3 - I'd have to (or find someone to) make a special trip to UAE - whereas the AV7701 is available locally (but warrant support is spotty/doubtful).


considering my setup location as described above and my LCR (Neumann K+H310 - 3 way, 270W, active speakers) - my only question is: would the Audyssey MultEq XT32 and Sub-Eq alone be the clinching factor worth all the trouble and expense to get the DHC80.3?

Update: The local Onkyo dealer has offered the PR-SC5508 for US$2000 (incl. taxes, shipping and duty) but with 1 year warranty. Since the DHC80.3 is available only in the UAE - this is a lot more more convenient and I could get it delivered immediately. Since I don't plan to upgrade to a 4K or #D TV for atleast another 4-5 years - are there any technical issues bugs with the PR-SC5508 that were rectified in the PR-SC5509/DHC80.3?
Any reason why one shouldn't go for a PR-SC5508 - at this point?
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-19-2014, 03:10 AM
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I sure hope you made the extra effort for the Integra dhc80.3 . Like yourself but for me 2.5 years ago I had the easier option of the Marantz and unfortunately took it, musically the worst amp processor I've ever listened to for music and movies.Unfortunately for me I purchased it un seen and unlistened too( mainly because of recommendations on the internet ). The Marantz went back to its supplier a few weeks later after I tried everything with it to make it sound half decent( my conclusion ,it was just a cheap processor and you get what you pay for) and I then had to drive 500k south and  pick up an Integra dhc80.3 .But I listened to the Integra and did my homework second time around before buying.  The Integra blows the Marantz away and unfortunately unless you owned both and played them on the same equipment with the same set up parameters you would never know the huge improvement to be had with the Integra over the Marantz (chalk and Cheese). Personally  I'm 70% music and 30 % movies even though I own around 500 Blu-ray movies now , my music library is much bigger than my movies. The Integra was worth the extra money and I'm still loving it..

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post #7 of 16 Old 03-19-2014, 03:56 AM
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I would strongly recommend to consider the cx-a5000 too. Read the reviews as mentioned by others and make your decision. Between the yamaha & 8801 it's almost a tie but the yamaha is cheaper.

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post #8 of 16 Old 03-19-2014, 06:14 AM
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I have an Integra 80.3 and am seriously thinking of trading it in for a Marantz 8801. I have McIntosh amps and Klipsch Ref 7 speakers in a treated and dedicated room. I'd rather have the McIntosh 151 processors but it's $12,000! I found a place that will trade me...$1500 and my Integra for the Marantz. Marantz and McIntosh are from the same company so I am hoping the Marantz will be better than the Integra.

Thoughts and opinions please?

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post #9 of 16 Old 03-19-2014, 04:29 PM
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listen to the Marantz in your room against the Integra , I'm not the only person that hears a huge noticable difference. The Audio supplier I returned the Marantz preampback to told me he normally didin't sell the Marantz anymore but because I stronly requested it he got it in for me . He stated to many Marantz units were returned for exactly as I had explained and he found it difficult to reurn them to marantz down in melbourne..I was lucky he took it back and got acredit towardsthe Integra.. In Australia the marantz was $2200 I had to come up with aniother $1300 to buy the Integra $3500 and it was worth every penny.
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-19-2014, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitespark View Post

listen to the Marantz in your room against the Integra , I'm not the only person that hears a huge noticable difference. The Audio supplier I returned the Marantz preampback to told me he normally didin't sell the Marantz anymore but because I stronly requested it he got it in for me . He stated to many Marantz units were returned for exactly as I had explained and he found it difficult to reurn them to marantz down in melbourne..I was lucky he took it back and got acredit towardsthe Integra.. In Australia the marantz was $2200 I had to come up with another $1300 to buy the Integra $3500 and it was worth every penny.

My problem is due to the store doing the trade I will not have them both to listen to side by side. I looked on these forums and others and can't find much about my Integra DHC 80.3 but I find loads of opinions and comments on the Marantz Av8801. My thinking was since I really wanted a McIntosh processor/pr amp to match my McIntosh amps that since Marantz is the same company it would be a lot closer to McIntosh than Integra. Plus I'd heard the Marantz sounds very neutral but open and warm.

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Marantz AV8801 Processor.................Da-Lite Screen
Klipsch Reference Series 7.2................Panasonic BluRay BDT500
Epson Pro 6010 Projector.....................Sony Playstation used for SACD and BluRay
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-19-2014, 07:06 PM
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I wonder what I could sell my like new Integra 80.3 for? Anyone know what these have been selling for?

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McIntosh MC207 Amps.........................DarbyVision Darblet
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Klipsch Reference Series 7.2................Panasonic BluRay BDT500
Epson Pro 6010 Projector.....................Sony Playstation used for SACD and BluRay
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-20-2014, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdrums View Post

My problem is due to the store doing the trade I will not have them both to listen to side by side. I looked on these forums and others and can't find much about my Integra DHC 80.3 but I find loads of opinions and comments on the Marantz Av8801. My thinking was since I really wanted a McIntosh processor/pr amp to match my McIntosh amps that since Marantz is the same company it would be a lot closer to McIntosh than Integra. Plus I'd heard the Marantz sounds very neutral but open and warm.

Like yourself I read numerous reviews and many posts on how great the marantz was so convinced that all these people were right I made the mistake of buying un seen and un heard . I broke my number one rule ,mainly because I live in the country region now of NSW and access to audio houses are difficult . Unfortunatley the posts I read after its purchase weren't as positive, but all like my self were very disappointed in it , they made comments like the marantz was lacking in sound stage depth ,imaging and realism .,it sounded warm and neutral but lacked definition of instruments, instruments disappeared into the background , vocals were not centralised .and so on. ..Personally I tried everything to make it sound close to my old Sony ES flagship( I used Sony's preouts and ran Rotel 1080 power amps) that I loved for 9 years/ 20,000 hours but the Marantz was far inferior so finaly back it went to the retailer and I purchased the Integra . Immediatley on installation of the integra dhc 80.3,the sound stage was as good as my old Sony STR-VA333ES using my exsisting Tara lab high quality pure copper RCA interconnects from pre and post . I then spent the next 3 months tweaking and experimenting, resonnance tunning , upgrading to pure silver balanced XLR and Audioquest speaker cabling replacing my old Tara labs...needles to say it now outperforms my old setup and I've loved it ever since.. ...

.You quoted " due to the store doing the trade I will not have them both to listen to side by side". Well you can ! take your Integra dhc 80.3 along to the store and put it side by side with the Marantz and use exactly the same connections to the same gear..If they want a sale or your future business they should happily accomidate , AB test the units..I did this 10 years ago with my old gear and then helped my friend do the same when I lived in the city..

Last thought ... I dont know what your setup is like. But one improvement(Tweak) I discovered years ago with all my gear was resonnance tunning.. I installed 3 brass 1.5 inch cones under the Integra dhc 80.3 , one at front at center under the supply transformer and two at rear( triangle formation) , unlike my Sony the power supply transformer was at side of the unit so the 3 cones were different in their placing. I have resonnance cones under all my components. Its incredible how something so insignificant made such a huge difference and improved my sound stage.. I swear by resonnance tunnuing.

P.S in the end I stopped believing everything I read on the net and wondered if all those marantz owners/net post writers actually have listened to the Integra and done direct comparisons, or are they just convincing them selves because they joined a club/group and purchased something cheaper and all beleve they got something just as good ." the bargain" .

P.SS you will find other forums like Hometheatre shack and a few others that they use Onkyo and Integra preamps for all their gear testing , speakers and transports etc ,,,, yet to hear of a marantz as a standard set and used.
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post #13 of 16 Old 04-05-2014, 07:04 PM
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I don't know about the 80.3 but if you read through Onkyo receiver/preamp threads, it becomes apparent that Onkyo has had a problem with their HDMI boards across what might be their entire product line for multiple years, probably since '07 or so. I've have the 80.2 for 2-3 years and lately audio is completely gone for HDMI and all the digital inputs. You have to leave it on for an unpredictable amount of time (seems to be getting longer) for audio to be recognized. The only "fix" I have now is to never turn it off--we'll see how long that lasts. The surprising thing, to me, is that when I searched the problem, I found that it had afflicted most of the previous models, as well as multiple lower end model receivers. Exact same problem! Considering how pervasive this seems to be, I can't imagine why Onkyo would still use the same design if they have other designs, so I would suggest people stay away from all Onkyo/Integra A/V products until there is an indication that this problem has been fixed.

Type in "Onkyo receiver no sound" in Google, and you see immediately results spanning across: TX-SR803 (2007), TX-NR807, TX-NR1007, TX-NR3007, TX-NR5007 (all 2009 models), TX-NR708 (2010), TX-NR509, TX-NR609 (2011), TX-NR414/515/616 (2012), etc.

In case you're convinced this only occurs with "low end" models, here are some threads:
http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/amps-pre-pros-receivers/56301-suddenly-no-audio-integra-9-8-a.html
http://www.avsforum.com/t/873877/the-official-integra-dtc-9-8-thread/12840
http://www.avrev.com/forum/preamps-audio-video/5911-integra-dhc-80-1-no-sound-problem.html
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1188234/the-official-integra-dhc-80-1-pre-pro/1830
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1455911/onkyo-hdmi-failures/60
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1275837/the-official-integra-dhc-80-2-pre-pro-thread/3510
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post #14 of 16 Old 04-06-2014, 12:37 PM
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I had problems with the 5508, which is by no means low end.
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-07-2014, 02:24 PM
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I've had my Integra DHC80.3 for a year and a half...zero HDMI issues...zero issues with this processor. However I like to try out different things and keep wondering if the Marantz 8801 would be a better match for my McIntosh amps? Or I just might sell off my DHC80.3 and put extra money towards a McIntosh processor and then that would make it all complete for me.

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Epson Pro 6010 Projector.....................Sony Playstation used for SACD and BluRay
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post #16 of 16 Old 04-09-2014, 12:27 AM
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I've had my Integra 80.3 for over 2 years as well and never had a problem .Can't fault it...Best dam processor I've listened to and owned.

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