Every September, custom installers of high-end home theaters and smart homes descend upon the CEDIA Expo to see new products and technologies. Integra, Onkyo’s brand for the custom installer and home-theater market, isn’t waiting. It’s already shipping its new DRX series of 7.2-channel network AV receivers. It goes without saying that these new receivers feature IR inputs and outputs, 12-volt triggers, RS-232 ports, and IP (Internet Protocol) compatibility, so that they can be integrated with high-end smart-home systems from vendors such as Crestron, Control4, and others.
On the video front, each of the new DRX units supports 4K/60 Hz HDMI inputs and outputs with HDR (High Dynamic Range), 4:4:4 color space, BT.2020, 4K/UltraHD upscaling from 1080p, and HDCP 2.2.
Just about every cutting edge-audio technology is available, too, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 5.1.2 configurations. It’s odd, however, that the top-end models don’t support a full 5.1.4 configuration with four height speakers. And there are only seven pre-outs, so you can’t use an external amplifier to make a 5.1.4 configuration. As is the case with most receivers being released, DTS:X support is coming this summer as a future firmware release.
The Integra models are among the first receivers on the market that will be ready to decode MQA (Master Quality Audio) files. MQA is an authenticated audio format guaranteeing that the listener can be sure they are hearing exactly what the artist recorded and approved in the studio. The DRX-line supports a wide assortment of hi-res music formats and streaming formats including Google Cast and AirPlay. Internet radio, and subscription services such as TuneIn Radio, Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal are also on-board with Tidal support coming in a future firmware update. While the top-of-the-line DRX-4 and DRX-5 models sport ethernet, they don’t have either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi like the entry level DRX-2 and DRX-3. The only rationale for this might be that more-expensive installations will have structured wiring, which is more reliable and doesn’t have the latency and potential interference problems associated with Wi-Fi.
Slated for a summer 2016 release, the DRX models will receive support for FireConnect. Powered by Blackfire, FireConnect is a wireless multi-room technology that can distribute any analog and digital audio signal wirelessly—from vinyl to Hi-Res Audio—to a compatible wireless speaker throughout the home.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.