Integra announced two new home theater pre-amp controllers in its reference-grade Research Series, to become available in March. The two models are the DRC-R1.1 11.2-channel Network A/V Controller ($2,500) and the DRX-R1.1 11.2-channel Network A/V Receiver ($3,300).
Targeted at the custom install market and ‘discerning consumers’, the units are the first in their respective categories to include 4K HDBaseT circuitry, allowing transmission of 4K/60fps/4:4:4/UHD/HDR10/Dolby Vision content over Cat 5, 6 or 7 wiring at lengths of up to 100 meters.
As we would expect from Integra, object-based audio is included in the form of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X up to 7.2.4 channels, and there is a huge list of features available on each unit. As well as wireless tech from Chromecast built-in with Google Assistant voice control, and DTS Play-Fi multi-room music streaming, both models include 8 HDMI in (1 front), main out and sub/zone 2 out with HDCP 2.2, 4K/60Hz, HDR 10, HLG, WCG (Wide Color Gamut), extended (sYCC601, Adobe RGB, Adobe YYC601), and BT.2020 video pass through.
The DRC-R1.1 includes THX Certified Ultra licensing, as well as copper screws used to lock modular circuitry blocks to a double-skinned insulated frame, and internal bracing to enhance anti-resonance properties. Built for ‘theater-reference sound’, the unit incorporates floating circuit boards, multiple 32-bit DSPs and DACS, and gold-plated 11.2-channel balanced XLR audio pre-outs. The emphasis here is clearly on high-end audio, and the DRC-R1.1 sports three 32-bit SHARC DSPs independent differential audio DACs for stereo front L/R (384kHz/32-bit AK4490) and surround (768kHz/32-bit AK4458), and separate DACs for Zone 2.
With THX Certified Select approval on the DRX-R1.1 Network A/V Receiver, it is powered with 140W per channel into 8ohms (20Hz-20kHz, 0.08 THD, 2 channels driven, FTC), and also includes all the video processing wizardry and audiophile physical architecture as outlined for the DRC-R1.1 above. Furthermore, the receiver includes a custom shielded power supply and shielded amplification to isolate signals from noise. According to Integra, the resulting performance is ‘absolute sonic purity at earth-shaking volume’ care of its ‘High-Current Amplifier Design’, which features a custom-made magnetic-flux low-hum EI power transformer.
Despite Integra’s sometimes chequered past with the company formerly ceding ground to competitors like Marantz, let’s hope that this latest slate of AV hubs continues to lead the charge for multi-channel audio in these categories. Integra is capable of producing phenomenal electronics within its own price/performance parameters, so let’s hope future reviews will attest to that. If any of you are planning to take the plunge with either of these units, please add your comments below.
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