If you seek a separate-component pre/pro with reference-quality audio and video performance, and are not prepared to pay one dollar more than is necessary, the Integra DHC-80.3 stands at the top of a class of one. It may be complex to set up and, occasionally, to use. But for most people, those factors will be addressed by a custom installer — and the rest of us will revel in the Integra’s complexity. More important, I can’t imagine the DHC-80.3’s audio or video prowess disappointing a home theater builder, no matter how lofty his or her goals. And in my book, that’s the very definition of a “reference” component.
Dolby Digital Performance
All data were obtained from various test DVDs using 16-bit dithered test signals, which set limits on measured distortion and noise performance. Reference input level is –20 dBFS; reference output, 200 mV into 100 kilohms. Volume setting for reference level was 80.5. All level trims at zero; except for subwoofer-related tests, all speakers were set to “large” with subwoofer on. All are worst-case figures where applicable.
Distortion ref. (THD+N, 1 kHz)
Noise level (A-wtd): –75.5 dB
Excess noise (with sine tone)
16-bit (EN16): 0.1 dB
Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.2 dB
Multichannel Performance, Analog Input
Reference input and output level is 200 mV; volume setting for reference output level was 84.5.
Max Input/Output Level (1 kHz): 4.4v/6.5v
Distortion (THD+N, 1 kHz): 0.004%
Noise level (A-wtd): –101.0
Frequency response: <10 Hz to 200 kHz +0, –0.3 dB
Stereo Performance, Digital Input
Reference level is –20 dBFS for 200-mV output; all level trims at zero. Volume setting for reference level was -84.5
Distortion at reference level: 0.003%
Linearity error (at –90 dBFS): 0.06 dB
Noise level (A-wtd): –75.6 dB
with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: –91.9 dB
Excess noise (with/without sine tone)
16-bit (EN16): 0.1/0.3 dB
quasi-20-bit (EN20): 6.0/6.2 dB
Noise modulation: 0.0 dB
Frequency response: <10 Hz to 20 kHz +0, –0.2 dB
with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: <10 Hz to 44 kHz +0, -1 dB
Max Input Level (1 kHz, 0 dBFS): 6.5v
Measured results obtained with Dolby Digital test signals.
Subwoofer-output frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 24 dB/octave (approx.) above –6-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz
High-pass-filter frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave below –3-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz
Maximum unclipped subwoofer output (trim at 0): 7.4v
Subwoofer distortion (from 6-channel, 30-Hz, 0-dBFS signal; subwoofer trim set to 0): 0.02%
Crossover consistency: bass crossover frequency and slope were consistent for all sources and formats
Signal-format consistency: consistent for all applicable formats
Speaker-size selection: all channels can be set to “small”
Speaker-distance compensation: available for all main channels
Not too surprisingly, Integra’s DHC-8.3 controller measured identically, effectively speaking, to the DHC-9.9 model we tested about 2 years ago. Which is to say, virtually perfectly, matching benchmarks or theoretical maxima on just about every test. Signal-to-noise ratio, linearity, distortion, frequency response; all were spot “on the number,” and the DHC-8.3 matched its predecessor in showing no noise modulation whatsoever on our repetitive fade-to-noise test. From the engineering perspective, the Integra pre-pro proved itself that most admirable of examples, a “reference” design that backs it up on the bench. — D.K.
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