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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have narrowed down my receiver choices to the Integra DTR 80.3, Pioneer Elite SC-77, or Pioneer Elite SC-79. Both offer very similar features, so the deciding factors seem to be:
  • D3 ICE amp (Pioneer Elites) vs A/B amp (Integra)
  • Ability to control separate crossovers to all speakers (Integra can, Pioneer Elite sets same crossover to all speakers)
  • Is the SC-79 worth the extra $500 - $1000 extra over the SC-79 for the USB DAC, HDBaseT, and 5 watts per channel? I called Pioneer, and they seemed clueless about the differences - they referred to their web page. Does the SC-79 have a better amp that helps account for the price difference?


I am not concerned about MCACC vs Audyssey differences.


I have NHT 2.9 fronts, NHT 1.5 rears, an NHT center (forget the model), and a Velodyne DD-18 sub. My plan is to bi-amp the 2.9's. The 2.9's are 6 ohm, the center and the 1.5's are 8 ohm. Both these amps can run mixed impedance.


When I talk to brick and mortar shops that sell both, they all comment that the Integra sounds better. However, I have read many reviews that say how good the D3 ICE amps sound. Additionally, I read about this challenge of digital vs A/B amps where people are unable to reliably identify them:
http://audioxpress.com/amps/honeycutt-amp-sound-axnov12/


This thread explains why digital amps are good for low-to-mid-range, but can have issues with higher frequencies:
http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55392 (see bob1029 post, at the bottom)


What is the collective wisdom of this list?


Also, is the Integra DTR 80.3 receiving a model refresh (perhaps 80.4) any time soon? If so, is there an ETA?


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
 

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Of the equipment you list, I'd tend to go with Integra, because of Audyssey's sub EQ and the crossover issue. Often small surround speakers need a significantly higher crossover than the main speakers. If it's well above 80Hz, you can tell that the sounds are coming from the subwoofer, which can be distracting.


Speakers and room acoustics make the most difference in the quality of the sound you hear. Electronics is a distant third, although automated room correction like Audyssey and MCACC can help with some infelicities in the speakers or room.


The differences in the amps' power output is not enough to be audible. Our hearing is very nonlinear. Twice the power = 3dB, but you need 10dB more to make a sound seem twice as loud.


Bi-amping makes no difference whatsoever in the quality of the sound you hear. (Unless you use speaker cables which distort the sound.) When bi-amped, exactly the same full range audio signal is sent through the amps to both sets of speaker drivers (woofer and high-frequency). Also, the small additional amount of power available to the woofers due to offloading the high-frequency speaker drivers is not enough to add enough headroom to make an audible difference in the maximum sound level. And, anyhow, all the amps are limited by sharing the same central power supply in a receiver. Bi-amping doesn't hurt, though, except for the expense of the additional speaker cables and in the complexity of configuring the equipment.


The manufacturers are being very quiet about what's coming and when. My impression is that there has been a delay in the availability of HDMI V2 chipsets, which would be one of the major improvements many people are looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Any idea on when Integra may refresh the DTR 80.3 to the DTR 80.4? All of the lower-end units seemed to have received refreshes, so I am curious. Integra offers no information, so I am not looking for a NDA info or anythin - rather, if Integra does model refreshes every X years and we are nearing year X, that would suffice.


Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
To bring an end to this thread, the Integra is getting chosen as the superior product as compared to the SC-77/SC-79. The big issue people point out is the inability to modify crossovers per pair on the Pioneer Elites. The other big issue was that the Integra 70.4 does a lot more video processing stuff, and allows HDMI in different zones. Thus, the best advice was to get a modernized DTR 80.x series. Rumor has it that the 80.5 is coming out Q3 or Q4 of 2014.


So, I will wait for the DTR 80.5. Thanks!
 

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I bought the 80.3 a little over a year ago for myself, deciding it was finally time to retire my 13 year old Yamaha DSP-A1. My company was a Pioneer Elite dealer for about 18 months and we switched to Integra due to our perceived cheapening of the Pioneer product. We felt like the Elite line was again becoming just a printed name on the front, while the chassis got more plastic and less high-end feeling. Having been familiar with Integra in the past we felt very comfortable switching over and have had very few issues.


All of that said, I'm incredibly happy with my 80.3. It sounds excellent for a receiver powering my Paradigm Reference Studio/100 fronts, CC-450 center and Studio 20 rears. I had auditioned the SC-55 Elite when it was current and it was very nice, but I think the Integra just has more headroom, and the adjustability of crossovers was a big deal for me. The reason Integra gives for not refreshing the piece in the last two years is because they don't feel enough has changed to warrant the model being upgraded. I wouldn't be surprised if an HDbaseT output is added in the next rev, as well as 4K passthrough. (Although in theory all HDMI 1.4 products will pass 4K if they followed the rules properly)


Just my two or three cents.


- Bill
 
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