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Hey Joel...

Here is my response to another reviewer when he asked for suggestions on formatting, etc.

I can tell you a few things I like to see.

About Sections

I like them bold, underlined and first letter caps... however, if it looks good without underlining, that is fine. I like consistency. Extra spacing between sections to set them apart.


Music Listening

Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon (SACD) - As I rolled up a joint and reclined back... heehee... just kidding of course, although back in the day I no doubt would partake. I am best forgetting those days, but they stick in my memory for some reason.

Flim & The BB's: Tricycle (Vinyl) - This may be one reason I like the underlines on the sections... then if you have subsections you can still bold and emphasize and keep the sections differentiated. If that makes sense.

Yello: One Second (CD) -The titles of sections might be more up to you and what you want to talk about most, but they should be somewhat the same generalities... however you may label one section differently than another reviewer.


Movie Watching

Medicine Man (DVD) - Blah blah blah... one of my favorite movies.

Avatar (Blu-ray, 3D) - A big time movie.

Battleship (Blu-ray) - Again... these are merely suggestions. Innovation and creativity are absolutely welcome.


Grammar and Spelling

Is spelling part of grammar?

I think there are two things here... get a spell checker. I use FF and it is built in. However, when you first start writing, use Word with its spell checker and grammar functions, although it makes some weird suggestions I don't like on grammar from time to time.

The second thing is avoid contractions... (I've, don't, doesn't, etc.)... I prefer (I have, do not, does not, etc.). We are writing a professional review and it looks more professional when we do not use contractions.


Bottom Line

Presentation and substance are important. I think it is hard to have one without the other. We want our reviews to have substance and to be attractive.

I also believe we need a minimum of 1500 words for a review. Most of what we have now from Dale, Dave and Jim are 2,000 words or more... many are 3-4K.

Of course your lab tests could easily make up for words... :T
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Integra DHC-80.2: A retrospective-Joel M. Schnur

My pre/pro Integra 80.2 (The unit is internally almost identical to the Onkyo 5508) arrived the 14th of October 2010. I was really excited to receive it. I had been using an Onkyo SC-885 for a number of years with no problems, but I was looking forward to the new Audyssey XT 32 system and years of reliable use. My Onkyo receiver (805) and my Onkyo 885 pre/pro have given me years of trouble-free service to the present day. I was looking forward to the same from the Integra 80.2 (same manufacturer) with the enhanced features it offered. Before I get into the meat of this review, let me say that to this day my Integra DHC 80.2 has worked flawlessly. I will discuss the 2010-2011 Onkyo/Integra board failures later on. However, I have not experienced any of those issues. If you don’t want to read further, let me say that this pre/pro changed my listening life and was a major improvement over the 885. Now let’s go to some of the details.

Some Features of the Integra DHC 80.2 Pre/Pro (from Integra website)
•THX® Ultra2 Plus™ Certified
•HDMI® (Version 1.4a to Support 3D and Audio Return Channel) with Deep Color™, x.v.Color™, LipSync, Dolby® TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio™, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD,
Multichannel PCM, and CEC
•8 HDMI Inputs (1 Front/7 Rear) and 2 Outputs
•Dual HDMI Outputs (Simultaneously Active Capable)
•2 USB Ports (Front and Rear Panel)
•Front-Panel USB Port for Memory Devices and iPhone® / iPod® Models (Enables Display of Album Artwork)
•Network Capability for Streaming Audio Files (MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, and LPCM)
•Internet Radio Connectivity (Pandora®, Rhapsody®, SIRIUS Internet Radio®, Napster, Mediafly™, Slacker, and vTuner)*
•Certified with Windows® 7 and DLNA Version 1.5
•Firmware Updates via Ethernet and USB
•ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) Video Calibration for Optimal Video Performance
•HDMI Video Upscaling to 1080p/24 with HQV Reon-VX
•VLSC™ (Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry) for All Channels
•Burr-Brown 192 kHz/32-Bit DACs (PCM1795 x 6) for All Channels
•DSD Direct for Super Audio CD
•Dolby® Volume for Reference-Quality Listening Experience at Any Volume
•Dolby® TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio™, Dolby® Digital Plus, DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio™ Decoding
•DTS Neural Surround™ Decoding
•Audyssey DSX™ and Dolby® Pro Logic® IIz for New Surround Channels
•Audyssey MultEQ® XT32 for Room Acoustic Correction
•Audyssey MultEQ® Pro Ready with Target EQ Curve Editing*
•Audyssey Dynamic EQ® for Loudness Correction
•Audyssey Dynamic Volume® to Maintain Optimal Listening Level and Dynamic Range
•2-Channel Balanced XLR Audio Inputs
•9.2 Multichannel Balanced XLR Pre Outs (with Front Bi-Amp Capability)
•Overlaid Graphical On-Screen Display (OSD) via All Video Outputs
•4 DSP Modes for Gaming: Rock, Sports, Action, and Role Playing Game (RPG)
•Analog RGB Video Input (D-sub, 15 pin) and Audio Input for PC
•Gold-Plated, Machined Solid Brass, 3/4" (19 mm)-Pitch Audio Inputs (TV/CD and Phono)
•Universal Port for Single-Cable Connection of Optional Onkyo Dock for iPhone® / iPod® or HD Radio™ Tuner
• 7 Digital Inputs (4 Optical and 3 Coaxial)
HDTV-Capable Component Video Switching (3 Inputs and 1 Output)
Linear Optimum Gain Volume Circuitry
Music Optimizer™ for Compressed Digital Music Files
A-Form Listening Mode Memory
Direct Mode
Independent Crossover Adjustment for F/C/S/SB (40/45/50/55/60/70/80/90/100/110/120/130/150/200 Hz)
• A/V Sync Control Function (Up to 250 ms in 2 ms Steps)
• Color-Coded, 9.2 Multichannel Pre Outs (Including 2 Independent Subwoofer Pre Outs)
• Color-Coded, 7.1 Multichannel Inputs
• SIRIUS Satellite Radio® Ready* and HD Radio Ready
• 40 FM/AM/SIRIUS Random Presets
• Compatible with RI (Remote Interactive) Dock for iPod
• Bi-Directional, Preprogrammed, and Customizable RI Remote Control with Backlight, On-Screen Setup, Mode-Key LEDs, and Macro Presets for Four Activities
• 5 A/V Inputs (1 Front/4 Rear) and 1 Output
• Video/S-Video Outputs (Monitor)
• 1 Audio Input and 1 Output

* SIRIUS requires separate purchase of subscription, compatible tuner, and antenna.

CUSTOM INTEGRATION FEATURES
• Bi-Directional Ethernet and RS232 Port for Control
• Zone 2/3 Pre Outs for Distributed Audio Playback in Multiple Rooms
• Zone 2 and Zone 3 Subwoofer Outputs
• Zone 2 Monitor Outputs (Component and Composite Video)
• Independent Zone 2 and Zone 3 Bass/Treble/Balance Controls
• Max & Power On Volume Settings for Main Zone & Zone 2/Zone 3
• Dealer Settings Memory Store & Recall with Lock/Unlock
• Permanently Stored Settings
• 2 IR Inputs and 1 Output
• 3 Programmable 12V Triggers (with Adjustable Delay)
• Optional Rack Mount Kit Available (IRK-180-4)
• RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI) for System Control*


Specifications: (from Integra Website


AMPLIFIER SECTION
THD (Total Harmonic Distortion): 0.05% (Rated Power) Damping Factor: 60 (Front, 1 kHz, 8 ohms) Input Sensitivity and Impedance: 200 mV/47 k-ohms (Line)
2.5 mV/47 k-ohms (Phono MM)
Rated RCA Output Level and
Impedance: 1 V/470 ohms (Pre out)
Maximum RCA Output Level
and Impedance: 5.5 V/470 ohms (Pre out)
Rated XLR Output Level and
Impedance: 2 V/470 ohms (Pre out)
Maximum XLR Output Level
and Impedance: 11.0 V/470 ohms (Pre out)
Phono Overload: 70mV (MM 1kHz 0.5%)
Frequency Response: 5 Hz–100 kHz/+1 dB, -3 dB (Direct mode) Tone Control : ±10 dB, 50 Hz (Bass)
±10 dB, 20 kHz (Treble)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 110 dB (Line, IHF-A) 80 dB (PHONO, IHF-A)


VIDEO SECTION
Input Sensitivity/Output Level and Impedance
Video: 1.0 Vp–p/75 ohms (Component Y and S-Video Y)
0.7 Vp–p/75 ohms (Component PB/CB,PR/CR)
0.28 Vp-p/75 ohms (S-Video C)
1.0 Vp–p/75 ohms (Composite) Component Video
Frequency Response: 5 Hz–100 MHz/0 dB, -3 dB
TUNER SECTION
Tuning Frequency Range: FM 87.5 MHz–107.9 MHz
AM 530 kHz–1,710 kHz
FM/AM/SIRIUS Preset Memory: 40 stations
GENERAL
Power Supply: AC 120 V~, 60 Hz
Power Consumption: 1.2 A
Dimensions (W x H x D): 17 1/8˝ x 7 13/16˝ x 17 1/2˝ (435 x 173.5 x 365 mm) Weight: 29.8 lbs. (13.5 kg)
CARTON
Dimensions (W x H x D): 22 7/16˝ x 11 3/4˝ x 18 7/16˝
(570 x 298 x 469 mm)
Weight: 38.6 lbs. (17.5 kg)





What does it look like? (From Integra Website) See Website for pictures. I can upload if you wish Can go at top..


Setup
After I received the Integra box, I carefully disengaged my cables from my 885 and tried to do a one-to-one cable match as closely as possible. This worked. I have FIOS for my Internet and TV watching, an OPPO 83, and a Logitech Squeezetouch for music listening. My TV is a Pioneer Kuro 151. The amps are a Bryston 6B SST (2) for the front three speakers and an Outlaw 7500 for the surrounds. Speakers: Martin Logan Montis, Stage for the fronts, NHT Hybrid dipoles HDP2 for the surrounds, and Celestion SL6 for the rears. I use two subwoofers: (They should have been matched but are not: long story) Martin Logan Descent I and a JL 112. The room is 14x16x8 with the couch ~8’ from the two speakers, which are ~4’ from the front wall, 26” from the side walls. I use two GIK 244 panels to help tame some room modes (16x8 is not a good thing). The TV and center speaker are 10’ from the main listening position. When I first got the 80.2, I had ML Vantage speakers and a ML Cinema I, but I have since upgraded. (The previous speakers were very good, the current ones are great!) I use an Antec AV cooler to keep the 80.2 cool. It gets very hot.
Once I had all the cables plugged in, I turned on the system with Harmony 880 (now a Logitech One) and proceeded to test the system. First I did a quick Audyssey Calibration with three points only. I then checked my internet connection for the Integra. I use MoCa from the Fios feed. This works well. I then checked for firmware upgrades and installed one. Since the first time, there have been a number of firmware updates. One of these was very important to fix the glitch with the Audyssey Pro Kit and the Onkyo 5508 and the Integra 80.2 (more later). I then entered my equipment into the Integra remote using the 80.2’s internet lookups. I was pleasantly surprised that the remote could run my TV, my Oppo, my Fios box, as well as the 80.2 itself. I actually use my iPad now for the 80.2 (Oremote) Sequeezetouch (Ipeng), and Fios (Fios app).
After I had confirmed all was working, I did a full 8-point Audyssey XT 32 calibration using the guides on AVS and on the Martin Logan forum (Jo Fo) to help me with the process.

Impressions
Wow what a difference! This unit is head and tails better than the 885 for stereo listening and provided much better impact for movies. I used the AIX Blu ray for listening tests at first and the Spears and Munsil Blu Ray to tune Video. My calibrated Kuro 151 has a wonderful picture and I only needed to adjust the brightness and contrast a little bit to get optimal viewing from my FIOS HD system and the Oppo. I have recorded calibration patterns from the HD net. These are not great but they do serve. As the years go by, they have been quite useful for touch up. A number of people have complained about the clicks when the system changes audio. I do not find this to be an important issue and hardly notice them. The frequency of these clicks can be decreased by setting the listening mode to PLIIx. I did not try the system in 9.2 with the wide or height speakers that are possible using the 80.2. My room is not really one in which these can be properly set up.
I was very interested in hearing any differences between the Audyssey XT32 and the 885s XT. For me, the XT32 significantly improves the low end and the sense of spatial environment in the room with respect to the 885. The sound of the 80.2 was also better in general without Audyssey compared to the 885 without Audyssey. I assume this is due to improvements in the DACs.
Internet Radio works and one can choose stations as one likes. The interface for putting in stations is not great but it works. I prefer to listen with Squeezetouch so I do not use this feature at the moment.
Firmware updates over the internet have worked seamlessly. I have a hardwired connection. This can also be done via USB.

Tweaks

The first question was what audio listening mode I should use. Several were terrible. I tried THX to see if that would help with my rear channels. THX Ultra was OK, but in general PLIIX works better for me in most cases. As long as the preferences have been set properly in the Integra setup, PLIIx comes up when it should, stereo comes up for CDs and Radio. I use the direct mode for DTS Master, etc., and these come up as appropriate when I play BluRays.
The video was good and the sound was very good but I was looking for more. I wanted more control over the x-over points and more information about how to best set them. So I got the Audyssey Pro Kit. Frankly, when I first tried it, it left me unimpressed. I then read Kal Rubinson’s Stereophile column on the Audyssey Pro Kit in the 80.2. His initial opinions mirrored mine. I sent him some of my curves, which showed that the measurements were skewed in the treble range (too “glassy” according to Kal). He pursued the matter with Chris Kyriakakis over at Audyssey. It turned out that Integra had forgotten to set a flag to show that the mic being used was the Pro mic and not the standard one. Integra soon released a firmware upgrade and all was well; the system sounded very, very very good indeed!
However I was still not done. I was not happy with the integration of my subs after the Pro Kit did its thing. It seems others were also not thrilled with the two sub integration using Audyssey. This has been discussed at length in the Audyssey Pro thread on AVS. Using Omnimic, I found that the low end of my system was not very flat. The splice at the x-over was not smooth. I then found a tweak on the AVS forum called gain matching. Using pink noise, by monitoring the pattern in Omnimic, it is possible to optimize the sound by varying the distance of the subs. It seems that Audyssey does a non-optimal job of handling the phase of two speakers with the mains. By changing the distance of the subs from the listener while watching the pink noise pattern, the curve can be flattened out in the x-over region. Voila! Now my system gives me wonderful jazz bass and great impact in watching movies in a wonderful enveloping environment.
Living with the 80.2 since October 2010: am I lucky?
We listen to SCADs (Diana Krall, Bill Evans, David Hazeltine, etc., BluRay’s like Ray Orbison’s Black Night and the Band’s The Last Waltz, BluRay operas, lots of movies, CDs ripped in Flac on my Squeezetouch, and lots of Fios HD TV. The sound and viewing in our media room are now glorious.
While I have had no problems to date with this unit, others have. There is a thread in the AVS forum dedicated to problems with 2010/2011 (80.2, 5508, xx08 etc) units. A number of them have failed. Onkyo and Integra have extended the warranty for these units. Recently I read that an 80.2 failed a few weeks ago (HDMI board-classic failure mode) and rather than fixing it, Integra replaced it with an 80.3 at no cost under warranty. So while there have been a significant number of failures in these units, Onkyo/Integra is standing behind them. Nevertheless, the angst of knowing it might fail has been an ongoing issue for me. That being said, all of my three Onkyo/Integra units are still working fine (805, 885, and 80.2). I have used exhaust fans for all three along with good surge protection. Perhaps that helps.
The question remains: should you buy an 80.2 on eBay? If the price is good and the warranty is still valid, sure. Otherwise I would go with the 5509/80.3

Summary
The 80.2 is a superb Pre/Pro. Coupled with the right amps, speakers, video monitor or projection system, it can provide a really fine night at the opera, jazz club, or the movies. Just be sure that the unit is registered with Integra and the warranty is enabled.
 

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You can use Word for your initial write-up, but formatting such as bold, underline, links and such have to have BB code... which uses brackets [] instead of HTML code <>. You won't be able to paste HTML code into the post.
 
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