Review: Integra DHC-80.3 A/V Controller Page 3
The 80.3’s ease-of-use quotient, at least as I score these things, is mixed. The supplied remote doesn’t win any awards for ergonomic innovation, but it gets the job done, mostly, and can boast decent backlighting and reasonable key spacing and design. But you do have to reset its operational mode to “Receiver” after selecting a new input source or otherwise commanding another component in order to work anything much beyond volume/mute, which can become annoying.
My more substantial complaints concern the paucity of direct-access controls via either remote or front panel. For example, you select surround modes via keys labeled Movie/TV, Music, Game, and THX, each of which steps through the programs that Integra considers relevant to those genres. But this still means that if you want, say, simple stereo, you may have to step through as many as eight other modes using the Music key; there’s no Stereo key per se, nor one for DPLII, Direct, or any other single mode. You can, of course, set up the default listening mode to be recalled with each input on the Integra’s main menu. And the remote’s three “Easy Macros” (My Movie, My Music, and My TV) will turn on and initiate play of an all-Onkyo system right out of the box, while the remote also offers the usual programmability for these and other macros.
The same thinking appears to have been applied to audio “extras” like selection of Audyssey equalization modes or individual channel-level adjustments, since there are no keys to invoke these functions directly. However, a “Home” key would raise a pop-up onscreen menu, with sub-menus for Input, Audio, Video, Listening Mode, and Info (displays).
Unfortunately, the Integra’s high-def onscreen graphics were uniformly a bit slow to display on my Samsung LCD TV, requiring about 2 seconds to come both up and down. And some of the Home menu’s functions mystified me. For example, the Audio sub-menu offers up separate Bass/Treble control over each speaker channel/pair; this gives you potentially 13 different controls, including, believe it or not, Subwoofer Bass. And yet there are level trims for only Center and Subwoofers 1 and 2, which I find bizarre. I’d much prefer level trims for every speaker/pair, and you can keep the tone controls.
On the other hand, a handsome, free Onkyo iPhone/Pad app can also be used with Integra gear, which offers quicker, more direct access to center and subwoofer levels and a few other choice functions. But welcome though it may be, the app is still far from comprehensive.