Looking for some feedback- Getting tired of "waiting" for Theta to get it together and release the Dirac Live upgrade, because my system is at a point whrre I cannot completely dial it in without room correction. I've checked with Theta as recently as last week, and still no firm answer on release date for Dirac.
I recently demo'd an Integra DHC-80.3 in my dealer's $150k+ reference system, where the 80.3 replaced the CBIII-HD in the chain as the processor. We did some A-B listening between the 80.3/CBIIIHD for movies and 2ch, and the 80.3 sounded 95% as good as the CBIIIHD for movies, very good for 2ch but of course not as good on the stage or depth in terms of critical listening. But, the video quality was nicer than the CBIII due to the 80.3's scaler. Actually in some respects it sounded better than the CBIIIHD because of the room correction in effect.
We then put a GenVIII S3 into the mix with the GenVIII running L/R and the 80.3 running the remainder. We could not tell a shred of difference between this and using a GenVIII with the CBIII-HD. Identical sound / stage / openness for both movies and 2ch. Quite amazing, really, considering the Integra is slighly more than $2k. It really got me thinking.
There is a well reputed company online that does high-end mods to the Integra and other audiophile gear - http://www.**************.com/upgrade-company-products/integra?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.pbv.v1.tpl&product_id=25&category_id=17
I spoke with the owner and he claims that a modded 80.3 (roughly $3200 in cost for a brand new moded unit), will be sonically on par with our out-perform a CBIII (they also mod Theta units as well). They back the claim with an unconditional inhome demo return policy. - e.g. you don't like it or agree, send it back. He seemed quite nice, knowledgeable and very low pressure (no sales pitches).
Looking at the DAC specs of the 80.3, which BTW does room correction in the 96khz domain, I could see how a properly modded unit could acheive similar sonic quality. So the quandry now is to either keep waiting for Dirac from Theta, buy a Trinnov unit for RC to go with the Theta, or sell the Theta and pick up a modded 80.3 plus a GenVIII s3.