While the Integra product line has always included the latest version of Audyssey room correction, the DHC-80.6 eliminates support for Audyssey room correction in favor of a more simplistic solution called AccuEQ. Integra has also changed the internal design of the DHC-80.6 to incorporate less expensive AVR LSI technology, which is a notable design difference from the previous generation DHC-/DTR-80.3. While the DHC-80.6 delivers on the immersive 3D experience of Dolby Surround and Dolby Atmos, it falls a bit short of the Integra heritage in terms of features, quality and performance.
Integra DHC-80.6 11.2 Surround Sound Processor
- Includes Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround processing to create an immersive 3D surround experience.
- The Audyssey room correction suite has been replaced with a much simpler AccuEQ room correction which only measures the primary listening position.
- Audyssey DSX processing, Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dolby Volume are no longer included.
- Build quality has changed to the more typical AVR LSI implementation.
- Phono stage no longer supports moving coil cartridges.
- Excellent free iOS Remote Control application
- Support for HDCP 2.2 is included on HDMI input 3 and Main Out for future compatibility with copy-protected 4K content. Video passthrough at 4K 60Hz is supported but only in 4:2:0 color space.
Dolby Atmos demonstrations and products were all the rage at CEDIA 2014 this past September. The new audio format promised a more immersive listening experience and the object-based Dolby Atmos surround technology offered movie makers and sound designers much more creative freedom. The opportunity for the industry is huge since Dolby Atmos requires an updated A/V receiver or processor and additional speakers to create the height channels used for the Dolby Atmos format. This means additional revenue opportunities for the manufacturers and for the custom installer market, and of course licensing opportunities for Dolby. I wondered how Dolby Atmos would sound in my own home theater and I was especially curious if adding additional speakers to my home theater would be worth it. I was thrilled when Integra offered to send me their latest flagship processor, the DHC-80.6 preamp/processor for review. Let’s take a closer look at the features of the DHC-80.6 and see how well Integra’s latest processor offering delivers on Dolby Atmos and the 3D surround experience.
11.2 channel Preamp / Processor
Texas Instruments PCM1795 32-Bit/192kHz
Texas Instruments PCM9211
Two 32-bit processors (Texas Instruments TMS 320 Aureus family)
Dolby® and DTS® Surround Sound Processing,
including Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround
Video Upconversion (1080p and 4K)
for Analog and HDMI Sources
HDMI 2.0 Audio/Video Switching:
8 In (includes 1 front-panel input), 3 Out plus 1 HDBaseT
Component Video Switching:
2 In, 1 Out
Composite Video Switching:
4 in, 2 out (includes front-panel input)
Digital Audio Inputs:
3 Optical (includes 1 front-panel input) and 3 Coaxial
Analog Stereo Audio Inputs:
8 RCA, 1 XLR
11.4 Channel Pre-outs (RCA and XLR),
including 4 for Subwoofers
Front-panel USB Port for
Audio Playback from USB storage devices
Ethernet Port for
Wired Network Connection
RS-232C, Remote IR (2 in, 1 out), and
12 Volt-triggers (3 out)
2nd Zone (Stereo Audio, HDMI, Composite),
3rd Zone (Stereo Audio, Composite)
3D Video Pass-through
Wi-Fi RemoteApp for
Apple or Android Devices
7-13/16" H x 17-1/8" W x 17-1/2" D
Integra, Integra DHC-80.6, Surround Processor, Preamplifier, Dolby Atmos
When I took the Integra DHC-80.6 preamp/processor out of the box, I was reminded at just how large a component this was. The DHC-80.6 processor shares the same chassis and functionality as the Integra DTR-80.6 receiver, with the difference being the inclusion of the power amplifier and speaker jacks on the receiver. I was also struck by how little the product has changed cosmetically since I reviewed the previous flagship Integra DTR-80.3 receiver three years ago. The overall style is classic Integra, with a simple curved front panel along with a very crisp white LED display. There are now two small LEDs just to the right of the power button. The first illuminates when a Dolby Atmos soundtrack is decoded. The second illuminates to indicate that the DHC-80.6 is in “Hybrid Standby” mode which means that all audio and video from a pre-selected input is sent directly to the television without any processing. This allows for watching the TV without engaging the sound system.
Just below the main power button are discrete power buttons for zones two and three. The previous DHC-/DTR-80.3 models used to support four zones, but Integra dropped support for zone four and replaced the Zone Level controls with a “Whole House Mode” function. The “Whole House Mode” feature automatically turns on Zone 2 and Zone 3 and plays the main room source in all zones. This assumes that the source device being played is also connected via analog audio inputs since Zone 3 doesn’t support a digital input. In the lower-right corner of the DHC-80.6 is the auxiliary input, which provides an external HDMI/MHL connection along with analog and optical-digital audio inputs and a composite video input. Just to the left of the auxiliary input is a USB jack. The headphone jack is on the lower-left corner along with the microphone jack for AccuEQ room correction. Other than changes to the silk-screened logos, the rest of the front panel remains unchanged and includes lots of buttons for input selection, tuner control, and listening mode selection.
The rear panel of the DHC-80.6 supports a wide array of components and is color coded to help distinguish inputs from outputs. Inputs have a black background while outputs have a white or checkered background.
The DHC-80.6 processor is THX Ultra2 Plus certified and supports eight HDMI 2.0 inputs and three HDMI 2.0 outputs (one for Zone2) which can be operated simultaneously or independently. The DHC-80.6 includes an HDBaseT output which ships covered by a black label with the warning “Custom installer use only.” The HDBaseT connection on the DHC-80.6 supports runs up to 328 feet utilizing cat5e/cat6 cable to a powered third-party HDBaseT receiver. This is a great way to reliably transmit audio and video over HDMI without the hassle of long and expensive HDMI cables. This is useful for projector installations or a separate zone that requires audio and video. The label certainly eliminates any ambiguity as to which Ethernet port to use when connecting the DHC-80.6 to your home network. The label can be removed and the connection used without hesitation or fear of repercussions, although a custom installer can come in very handy when implementing distributed audio and video in the home.
The processor supports a full complement of analog audio and video inputs with two component video inputs, four composite video inputs, eight stereo analog RCA inputs, and one balanced XLR input. The DHC-80.6 supports six digital audio inputs (3 coaxial and 3 optical). Integra has dropped support for S-Video inputs and no longer includes a 7.1 multi-channel input or the universal port which was used for the older UP-A1 iPod dock.
The pre-amp output jacks (both XLR and RCA) on the DHC-80.6 support eleven speakers, including two pair of height channels, and two subwoofers. For maximum convenience, the DHC-80.6 includes four pair of parallel subwoofer pre-amp outputs (both XLR and RCA) for those using more than two subwoofers in their home theater. The height channels are intended for Dolby Atmos, but if you don’t use the height channels, you can use those channels as front-width channels or to bi-amp your front speakers if your speakers support a bi-amp configuration.
The remaining connections on the DHC-80.6 back panel include antenna connections for the AM/FM tuner, two IR inputs and one IR output jack, and an RS-232 jack which can be used to control the DHC-80.6 with an external control system. Three 12 Volt DC Triggers are also included, which allows you to turn on another device, such as an external amplifier for multi-zone operations.
The DHC-80.6 comes with a basic remote.
From a technology perspective, the DHC-80.6 supports Dolby Atmos and speaker configurations up to 7.2.4 with two pair of height channels. The latest Dolby Surround upmixer is included to synthesize an immersive 3D surround experience from a stereo or multichannel soundtrack. Sadly, Integra chose to eliminate support for Audyssey technology from the DHC-80.6, so the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction is gone, along with Audyssey DSX processing, and Audyssey Dynamic Volume. Integra also chose to not include Dolby Volume, but since the unit is THX Ultra2 Plus certified, THX Loudness Plus can be used for volume management but only when using a THX listening mode. In place of Audyssey room correction, Integra has included AccuEQ room correction which measures a single listening position.
On the audio side of things, the DHC-80.6 uses the Texas Instruments PCM9211 24-bit analog-to-digital converter and Texas Instruments PCM 1795 32-bit/192 kHz digital-to-analog converters. Secrets’ Dr. David Rich has done an extensive review of the schematics on the DHC-/DTR-80.6 compared to the previous DHC-/DTR-80.3 model. He noted that “the analog audio path on the DHC-80.6 has been completely changed from a premium Small Scale Integrated (SSI) analog-chip design and migrated to a more typical Large Scale Integrated (LSI) AVR implementation. Since the DHC-80.6 supports so many channels, the processor uses two Renesas R2A15220 AVR LSI electronic volume controls chips. Each chip is limited to 8 channels. The DACs and the power supply for opamps on the DAC PC board remain unchanged from the DHC 80.3 at +/-12V rails, so any performance degradation is from the LSI AVR chips alone which are on +/-7V supplies. The DHC-80.6, when listening to a 5.1 channel source, has the option to run the DACs in mono mode (1 DAC per channel), which is a feature carried over from the DHC 80.3. Analog direct mode performance is now fully dependent on the Renesas R2A15220 chips’ performance.” Dr. Rich also noted that the phono stage no longer supports a moving coil cartridge. For a perspective on how build quality and component choices contribute to high-performance design, see these Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity articles.
On the video side of things, the DHC-80.6 uses a Marvel Qdeo 4K processor for scaling to 4K resolution up to 30Hz. Since the DHC-80.6 supports HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 copy protection (only available on HDMI input 3 and the HDMI Main output), the processor can successfully receive and transmit copy-protected Ultra HD content as long as the source and display device also support HDCP 2.2. Video passthrough at 4K 60Hz is supported but only in 4:2:0 color space. At the moment, there is no UHD content available that requires 4K/60Hz with 4:4:4 color space, but as more 4K and HDR products and sources, such as 4K Blu-ray players, come to market later this year, these requirements will change. This means that we will see continued changes in the HDMI chipsets and feature sets of processors like the DHC-80.6 in the near future.
If you aren’t familiar with the basics of Dolby Atmos, Secrets’ Senior Editor Chris Eberle has provided a great introduction in his article: “Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D: The Technology and The Reality.” Before discussing setup on the DHC-80.6, we need to go over the three basic types of height speakers that can be used with Dolby Atmos on the DHC-80.6. The first are traditional height speakers that can be found in a Dolby Pro Logic IIz theater configuration. Height speakers are generally mounted a few feet directly above the front left and right main speakers. Height speakers mounted in the front of the listening room are called Front High and height speakers mounted behind the listening position are called Rear High. In the following speaker layout, speakers 9 and 10 are Front High and speakers 11 and 12 are Rear High.
The second height speaker type is referred to as a Top speaker, and this type is installed directly in the ceiling, pointing down into the listening room. Top speakers can be used in three configurations with Top Front speakers being in front of the listening position, Top Middle speakers being parallel with the listening position, and Top Rear speakers being placed behind the listening position.
The third type of height speaker is a Dolby Atmos Enabled speaker. These speakers are designed to reflect sound off the ceiling and back down toward the listening position. Dolby Atmos Enabled speakers also come in two types. The first is a completely integrated design that looks like a regular speaker but also contains an upward firing driver for Dolby Atmos. The second is a Dolby Atmos elevation module that just contains an upward firing driver. The elevation module is designed to be placed on top of an existing speaker or installed near an existing speaker. In terms of the configuration options on the DHC-80.6, there is no distinction made between a Dolby Atmos Enabled speaker with a built-in upward firing driver and a separate Dolby Atmos elevation module. Both types are referred to as Dolby Enabled Speakers and they have three placement options. Dolby Enabled Front speakers are placed by the front left and right main speakers. Dolby Enabled Back speakers are placed behind the listening position by the rear or back surround channels. Dolby Enabled Surround speakers are placed on either side of the listening position by the surround channels.
As you can imagine with so many speaker options for delivering the Dolby Atmos experience in the listening room, the DHC-80.6 has to support numerous speaker configurations. While you would think that each pair of height speaker pre-amp outputs could be assigned to any position in the room, the options are far more limited and vary based on which speaker type and position is selected for the Height 1 speakers. For example, if the Height 1 speakers are being used for Top Front speakers, then the only options available for the Height 2 speakers are either “Not Use” or “Top Rear”.
If the Height 1 speakers are used for Front High speakers, then there are five options available for the Height 2 speakers including “Not Use”, “Top Middle”, “Rear High”, “Dolby Enabled Speaker Surround or “Dolby Enabled Speaker Back.” If the Height 1 speakers are used as Dolby Enabled Surround or Back speakers, then the Height 2 speakers can’t be used at all. If this sounds confusing, take a look at the following chart which illustrates how the selection of the Height 1 speaker type and position determines the available options for the Height 2 speakers on the DHC-80.6.
There are a total of fourteen distinct speaker arrangements supported on the DHC-80.6 when using both pair of height speakers and counting the “Not use” options. As you can see from the previous chart, there are some combinations that are very limited. For example, you can only use Rear High speakers when using Front High speakers. While you can use Top Middle speakers with Front High speakers, if you choose to use Top Middle speakers as your Height 1 speakers, then you can’t use the Height 2 speakers for anything at all. This sounds like an Abbott and Costello comedy moment.
If you decide to bi-amp the front main speakers on the DHC-80.6, the Height 1 speaker pre-amp outputs are used for the main high frequency amplifiers. This leaves the Height 2 speaker pre-amp outputs available for one pair of Dolby Atmos height speakers. The possible configurations are shown in the following table:
When the DHC-80.6 is first powered on, an initial setup wizard prompts for a preferred language and then immediately offers the option to set up the AccuEQ system. The microphone for AccuEQ is an inexpensive plastic puck that plugs into the microphone jack on the front panel of the DHC-80.6. The initial AccuEQ setup screen on the DHC-80.6 looks very simple, with only three questions. The first option, “Front Speakers Type”, specifies whether the front speakers are normal or bi-amped. The other two options specify the Height 1 and Height 2 speaker type discussed above. The options are interactive, so making a selection for “Height 1 Speakers Type” changes the available options for “Height 2 Speakers Type.” Once the selections are made, you can press the Enter button to continue with the setup process.
While the setup screen is really simple, it is also an example of a very poor user interface. There are actually four setup options with the fourth option being the number of subwoofers connected to the DHC-80.6. You have to know to press the Down Arrow button on the remote to display that option. If you just press the Enter button, the DHC-80.6 will happily progress through the AccuEQ process, assuming that you want to configure two subwoofers. If that wasn’t your intent, you will have to start the setup process all over again to fix the mistake. To be fair, the manual does call attention to the need to scroll down the page. Unfortunately, the only visual clue is the small arrowhead in the lower right-hand corner of the AccuEQ setup interface. Considering the amount of available screen real-estate, I think Integra could improve the user interface to make things a bit more obvious.
The entire AccuEQ process takes less than ten minutes to run and only takes measurements at the primary listening position. AccuEQ shows a graphical representation of the speakers in the room and highlights which speaker is being tested. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it accurately identified channels, distance, and level in my system without any mistakes. When AccuEQ is finished, simply unplug the microphone and the setup wizard presents options for configuring sources, remote control and network.
Despite the noticeable absence of Audyssey room correction, the DHC-80.6 was straightforward to configure and the setup menus were as comprehensive as I’d come to expect on an Integra product. I connected my source devices and plugged the DHC-80.6 into my home network. I was glad to see that I had the latest firmware version. I also downloaded the Integra Remote application onto my iPhone.
In my typical listening environment, I use a McIntosh MC8207 amplifier and a seven-speaker configuration from Definitive Technology including a pair of BP-3000TL speakers with powered subwoofers for the front mains, a CLR 2002 speaker for the center channel, and four Definitive Technology UIW 94/A speakers for the surrounds and rear channels. To experience Dolby Atmos, I needed to add some height channels to my system. Integra sent along a pair of Onkyo SKH-410 Dolby Atmos Enabled add-on speaker modules. These tiny speakers are 4-3/4"W x 6-1/16"H x 6"D and each contains a 3.25” upward firing cone driver.
Definitive Technology generously sent me two pair of their A60 Elevation Modules.
The A60 speaker is 6”W x 4”H x 13-1/10”D and is designed to snap onto the top of the Definitive Technology BP-8060ST speaker. The combination of the two turns the BP-8060ST into a Dolby Atmos enabled speaker and the look is totally seamless for owners of the set.
In my case, I was using the A60 as standalone Elevation Modules and placing them as needed in my room. Peeking inside the A60, you can see the 3” upward firing driver mounted in a sealed MDF enclosure. The front of the A60 is packed with a foam baffle that helps direct the sound toward the ceiling.
All I needed then was an amplifier for the height channels and some Dolby Atmos listening material. I was fortunate that I never sold my Rotel RMB-1095 5-channel amp and my Rotel RMB-1080 2-channel amp when I put the McIntosh MC8207 amplifier into my system. I only needed four channels of amplification, but having the extra two amps allowed me to independently power two pair of height speakers. This came in really handy when listening to just the height speakers by themselves to get a perspective on what the height speakers were actually adding to the listening experience.
I used an Oppo BDP-105 as my primary source device and started with one pair of the A60 Elevation Modules in the Dolby Enabled Front position. Dolby was very kind to send me some Blu-ray titles with Atmos soundtracks along with their own Dolby Atmos Blu-ray demonstration disc. The demo disc contains some extremely convincing material that showcases what can be done with Dolby Atmos. The “Dolby Atmos Unfold Trailer” is a prime example. The trailer begins with a three-dimensional geometric object that unfolds into smaller triangles that separate, move around, and realign themselves into the Dolby logo. The DHC-80.6 makes this demo come alive. It sounded like the triangles were physically in the room, stomping around me and above my head, on their way to become the Dolby “Double D” logo.
Another convincing demo was the “Dolby Atmos Amaze Trailer.” The DHC-80.6 transformed my listening room into a tropical rainforest complete with a dramatic thunderstorm, rain falling from above and fantastic bass from claps of thunder. One of the highlights of this trailer is the sound of a bird taking off from the left of the listening position and flying 360 degrees around the room. The effect was extremely realistic thanks to the Dolby Atmos height channels. This demo also pointed out the importance of speaker placement. For years, I was content to use ceiling-mounted surround speakers for their unobtrusive yet effective sound in my room. In the case of this trailer, it became clear that the surround speakers needed to be placed at ear level in order to effectively anchor the sounds as intended. When I first listened to the “Dolby Atmos Amaze Trailer” with my ceiling mounted surrounds, the sound of the bird taking off from the water was noticeably above me. I grabbed an old pair of surround speakers and placed them at ear level in my room and was delighted at the change. The bird clearly took off from the water to my immediate left and flew around the room. For all my listening tests with the DHC-80.6, I used surround speakers mounted at ear level to ensure that I was listening to an optimal configuration. This had the added benefit that I could repurpose the in-ceiling surround speakers as “Top Middle” height channels for some of my tests.
My first Dolby Atmos movie was “The Expendables 3.” As an action thriller, the soundtrack offered more than ample opportunities for auditioning the DHC-80.6. Right from the opening scenes, the DHC-80.6 drew me into the action. The sounds of gunshots, helicopters and hand-to-hand combat filled the room. During the attack on the abandoned building, when the tanks are firing at Sylvester Stallone and his friends, the tank rounds sounded like they were traveling from the back of the room right over my head. I would have bet money that much of the effect was accomplished by the height channels.
I could not have been more wrong. Listening to the height speakers by themselves, I was really surprised to find that the height channels only added to the ambiance of the scene. The real work was happening in the surround channels and especially the rear channels. The sound coming from the height channels was mostly soundtrack, ambient fight sounds, and the occasional clatter of falling rubble, all of which added to the overall experience. As for specific effects that made use of the height channels, there was the sound of a knife blade moving overhead and one very cool, if unbelievable, scene of one member of the Expendables team riding a motorcycle up the body of a crashed helicopter and launching into the besieged building. The DHC-80.6 seemed to effortlessly recreate this dynamic soundtrack creating an immersive and theater-like experience in my room.
My next Dolby Atmos movie was the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. The DHC-80.6 delivered another immersive experience for this fun action-adventure. The A60 elevation modules added to the ambiance of the movie and really turned my listening room into a more theater-like experience with sound coming from all around. The best sound effects could be found in the chase scene down the snowy mountainside. At one point I felt like I needed to duck my head as the height channels helped to recreate the sound of the semi-trailer skidding across the mountainside and right over my couch. Once again, this movie showcased extensive use of the rear surround channels and offered some excellent subwoofer demo material.
I tested the DHC-80.6 with two pair of A60 modules in front, front/surround, and front/back configurations. I also tried the A60 and the Onkyo SKH-410 as standalone pairs in the front, surround, and back positions. Both speaker models added to the immersive sound of the DHC-80.6 and were able to recreate the sense of sound coming from above. I also found that I preferred two sets of height speakers in the room for a more spacious effect. What surprised me, however, was that these speakers didn’t always disappear into the listening space for me.
This was especially true when listening to the Dolby Atmos soundtrack on “Step Up All In.” I was originally thinking this movie would have little, if any, content in the height channels. It turns out that recreating a dance competition in Las Vegas offered plenty of material for the height channels. The final dance competition takes place on a stage surrounded by multiple-levels of fans cheering on the dancers from above. Dolby Atmos and the DHC-80.6 did an excellent job recreating this venue in my listening room.
I turned off the amplifier for my main channels and was amazed at how much soundtrack, crowd noise, and overall ambient sound was coming just from the height channels. What disappointed me was that I was very aware of the sound coming from the general location of each elevation module. I reconfigured the DHC-80.6 again and used my in-ceiling speakers as “Top Middle” speakers and eliminated the elevation modules. The difference was amazing. The height content blended much more seamlessly with the rest of my speakers and the DHC-80.6 created a wonderfully immersive experience that made me think I was in the crowd watching the dance competition. After trying numerous speaker configurations, what worked best for my room was a pair of in-ceiling speakers in the Top Middle position as well as a pair of speakers mounted in the Front High position.
While I enjoyed sampling the Dolby Atmos soundtracks, what really impressed me was the Dolby Surround upmixer on the DHC-80.6, which creates a 3D surround experience from existing content. Watching scenes from movies like “Skyfall”, “Prometheus” and “TRON: Legacy” was simply addicting. All of these titles sounded much more immersive with improved dynamics and a much greater sense of space and realism. While I was always happy with my 7.1 speaker system, I was completely hooked on the benefits of Dolby Surround and the added height channels. I would have loved to do an A/B comparison against Dolby PLIIx, but Integra no longer includes PLIIx decoding on the DHC-80.6.
I tried using the Dolby Surround upmixer with stereo music, but found the combination not to my liking. I felt that the vocals collapsed too much into the center channel and I ultimately preferred listening to music on the DHC-80.6 in stereo. The DHC-80.6 stereo performance is good but the sense of realism and transparency is not as pronounced as with other processors like the Emotiva XMC-1.
From an operational perspective, the DHC-80.6 is easy to use but the interface has not changed much since the previous models. The transparent on-screen overlays still bugged me as they can be hard to read depending on the underlying video image. The remote control is the same design as prior models but is no longer backlit which is quite unfortunate. The DHC-80.6 uses relays so there can be a fair amount of clicking noise if switching between stereo and Dolby Surround decoding.
From a control perspective, Integra has made some nice improvements to the free Integra Remote app, which is available for both Apple iDevices and Android devices. The main interface of the Remote app provides access to power, input, listening mode and finally shows the active listening mode.
The source selections are extensive and include streaming services like TuneIn, Pandora, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Slacker Personal Radio, Aupeo! Personal Radio, Deezer and Spotify.
Zone selection is very simple from the Remote app and Integra has finally included the ability to play a digital source in Zone 2. The Remote app also allows you to enable the “Network Standby” feature without having to navigate the main setup menu.
I was also pleased that accessing local DLNA music servers on my home network worked without any problems and properly displayed the album art. The interface in the Remote app is also much nicer than navigating the on-screen interface directly on the DHC-80.6.
My standard benchmark tests were done using two-channel bypass mode so that all digital signal processing was off. On tests using the XLR input, I measured the XLR preamp output of the DHC-80.6. On tests using an RCA input, I measured the RCA preamp output of the DHC-80.6. The source device for both analog and HDMI tests was an Oppo BDP-105.
At 1 kHz into the XLR input, THD+N was 0.007970%. We see harmonics throughout the spectrum with the second harmonic at 2 kHz being about 78 dB below 2 VRMS.
At 1 kHz into the RCA input, THD+N was 0.023789%. We see harmonics throughout the spectrum with the second harmonic at 2 kHz being about 68 dB below 2 VRMS. The major difference between this and the previous graph is related to the voltage difference. For a power amplifier with the typical minimum gain of 20 (26dB), a 2 VRMS RCA input is required to produce 200 Watts out into 8 ohms. With 2 VRMS balanced as shown in the previous graph, you only have 1 VRMS single ended, which is what runs internally inside the DHC-80.6. In this test, we have 2.06 VRMS single ended with a slight increase in distortion.
For the XLR tests at 2 VRMS, a power amp with a gain 20V/V will have a power output of only 50 Watts, which is why we also supply 5 VRMS tests which will take the power amp to 300 Watts.
At 10 kHz into the XLR input, THD+N was 0.008618%. The second harmonic at 20 kHz is about 76 dB below 2 VRMS.
At 10 kHz into the RCA input, THD+N was 0.024252%. Compared to the previous test, we see an increase in distortion due the higher 2.05 VRMS single ended. The second harmonic at 20 kHz is about 67 dB below 2 VRMS.
The IMD measurement using the XLR input was 0.004382%. We see noise spurs on either side of the fundamentals and a second harmonic at 14 kHz at 100 dB below 2 VRMS.
The IMD measurement using the RCA input was 0.016227%. Compared to the previous test, we see an increase in distortion due the higher internal voltage of 2.01 VRMS single ended.
Here are the results for 19 kHz, 20 kHz combined test frequencies using the XLR input. There is a visible B-A peak at 1 kHz about 84 dB below 2 VRMS. We see distortion spurs throughout the spectrum. The second harmonics at 38 kHz and 40 kHz are about 82 dB below 2 VRMS (6 dBV).
Here are the results for 19 kHz, 20 kHz combined test frequencies using the RCA input. There is a visible B-A peak at 1 kHz about 68 dB below 2 VRMS. We see distortion spurs throughout the spectrum. The second harmonics at 38 kHz and 40 kHz are about 67 dB below 2 VRMS.
I measured the frequency response of the DHC-80.6 out to 96 kHz. In analog direct, the response is flat out to about 50 kHz and then we see a very gradual 5 dB roll-off of the high frequencies. The second plot shows what happens in stereo mode with digital signal processing and AccuEQ enabled. The DHC-80.6 downsamples the signal to 48 kHz and applies any room correction filters for each channel. You can see the roll-off of low frequencies for the left channel in the graph below 60 Hz. The signal then abruptly falls off around 24 kHz. This result isn’t surprising since we’ve seen this same downsampling with AudysseyXT32 implementations on other products.
I was disappointed to see no other corrections to the left channel in this test. I’ve used Anthem’s Room Correction (ARC) for many years and ARC always made some adjustments in my room for this channel. Anthem’s Room Correction is also able to apply room correction at frequencies up to 96 kHz. I ran the test again with AccuEQ turned off and the graph was indistinguishable from the plot with AccuEQ turned on. In this case, it doesn’t look like AccuEQ is doing anything and the DHC-80.6 is just applying bass management to the channel. For comparison purposes, here’s a look at this same test from the Anthem Statement D2v 3D processor. You can clearly see the inverse room correction curve in the graph with ARC enabled.
Now we take a look at the results using one of the HDMI inputs, fed from test discs played on an OPPO-BDP-105. At 1 kHz, and 16-bit/44.1k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.002059% measured from the XLR preamp output. We see several harmonics in the spectrum with the peak at 2 kHz being about 92 dB below 2 VRMS. For all digital tests, the DAC was driven at -5 dBFS and the volume adjusted for 2 VRMS at the output.
At 1 kHz, and 16-bit/44.1k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.016826% measured from the RCA preamp output, which is higher than the previous test. We see some distortion spurs as well as harmonics throughout the spectrum with the peak at 2 kHz being about 70 dB below 2 VRMS. As with the analog direct tests, the volume was increased 6 dB to bring the single ended output to 2 VRMS with the same -5 dBFS digital input to the DAC.
The remaining tests are for XLR only.
At 1 kHz, and 24-bit/96k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.001757%. We see some distortion spurs as well as harmonics throughout the spectrum with the second harmonic at 2 kHz being about 92 dB below 2 VRMS.
At 1 kHz, and 24-bit/96k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.001984% at 5 VRMS. We see some distortion spurs as well as harmonics throughout the spectrum with the second harmonic at 2 kHz being about 81 dB below 5 VRMS.
At 1 kHz, and 24-bit/192k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.0017044%. A well-performing DAC is not going to show much change in distortion for a change in sampling rate if the bit depth is kept constant.
At 10 kHz, and 16-bit/44.1k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.010366%. We see some distortion spurs in the spectrum with the second harmonic at 20 kHz being about 102 dB below 2 VRMS.
At 10 kHz, and 24-bit/96k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.005363% at 2 VRMS.
At 10 kHz, and 24-bit/96k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.010700% at 5 VRMS.
At 10 kHz, and 24-bit/192k sampling rate, THD+N was 0.002605% at 2 VRMS.
The IMD measurement through HDMI at 16-bit/44.1k sampling was 0.001200% at 2 VRMS.
The IMD measurement at 24-bit/96k sampling rate was 0.000971%. The second harmonic at 14 kHz is about 111 db below the 60 Hz tone at 2 VRMS.
The IMD measurement at 24-bit/96k sampling rate was 0.000831%. The second harmonic at 14 kHz is about 103 db below the 60 Hz tone at 5 VRMS.
The IMD measurement at 24-bit/192k sampling rate was 0.002475%.
Here are the results for the 19 kHz, 20 kHz combined test frequencies using the HDMI input with 16-bit/44.1k sampling. There is a visible B-A peak at 1 kHz about 106 dB below each test tone at 1 VRMS which is insignificant. For this test, the digital input for both the 19 kHz and 20 kHz test tones is -11 dBFS. This produces two analog tones at 1 VRMS (0 dBV RMS) each. In the time domain, the two 1 VRMS tones have a peak-peak value of a single tone at 2 VRMS.
Here are the results for the 19 kHz, 20 kHz combined test frequencies using the HDMI input with 24-bit/96k sampling. We see distortion spurs throughout the spectrum. There is a visible B-A peak at 1 kHz about 110 dB below each test tone at 1 VRMS which is insignificant. The second harmonics at 38 kHz and 40 kHz are about 95 dB respectively below 1 VRMS.
Here are the results for the 19 kHz, 20 kHz combined test frequencies using the HDMI input with 24-bit/96k sampling at 5 VRMS. We see higher distortion spurs throughout the spectrum. There is a visible B-A peak at 1 kHz about 79 dB below each test tone at 2.5 VRMS. The second harmonics at 38 kHz and 40 kHz are about 81 dB below each test tone at 2.5 VRMS.
Here are the results for the 19 kHz, 20 kHz combined test frequencies using the HDMI input with 24-bit/192k sampling. As in the previous test, there are distortion spurs throughout the spectrum. The second harmonics at 38 kHz and 40 kHz and the third harmonics at 57 kHz and 60 kHz are about 96 dB below each test tone.
On the video side of things, the Integra DHC-80.6 passed our standard video tests without any problems.
THE INTEGRA DHC-80.6 11.2 is a High Performance Processor.
- Includes Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround processing to create an immersive and addictive 3D surround experience
- Excellent free iOS Remote Control application
- Support for HDCP 2.2 is included on HDMI input 3 and Main Out for future compatibility with copy-protected 4K content. Video passthrough at 4K 60Hz is supported but only in 4:2:0 color space
- A more comprehensive Audyssey room correction suite rather than the much simpler AccuEQ room correction which only measures the primary listening position
- Audyssey DSX processing, Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dolby Volume to be included
- Retain high build quality rather than changing to the more typical AVR LSI implementation
- Moving coil support in the phono stage
- An upgrade path to HDMI 2.0a and HDR
After listening to Dolby Atmos on the DHC-80.6 in my own home theater, I have to say that I’m hooked and will be making the investment in extra speakers to have an Atmos theater in my home. I enjoyed the immersive sound created by the Dolby Surround upmixer and I was impressed with how it created a more theater-like experience. The DHC-80.6 definitely delivers on the promise of Dolby Atmos.
Integra products have always offered a great mix of leading-edge technology along with outstanding performance at an attainable price. The difficulty with the DHC-80.6 really comes down to overall feature set versus the competition from Marantz and Denon. While the Integra DHC-80.6 has Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround, it lacks a robust room correction system, has dropped Dolby Volume, and offers no future upgrade path for DTS:X, Auro-3D or 4K 50/60Hz content at 4:4:4 resolution. Given these limitations and the amount of change happening in the industry especially around 4K, HDR and HDMI, I would expect the DHC-80.6 to be an interim model, hopefully replaced by a new version restoring the competitive feature set to the product line.
The author would like to thank Dr. David Rich for his contributions on this article.