A Firewire high-resolution digital interface is just one feature of Integra Research’s new RDC-7.1 audio video controller, a modular design that will allow audiophiles, video enthusiasts and custom installers to choose their own ideal combination of features. With the help of the dealer and a configuration wizard on Integra Research’s web site, customers will be able to pick and choose among eight different optional modules to create their personal ideal system. This platform will also allow for ongoing upgrades to reflect new technology, program sources, and connection options. The first planned upgrade modules will be introduced in the fall of this year.
There are several important new technologies represented in the initial modules available in April, including HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) for compatibility with the new DVI (digital video interface) components, and iLink (Firewire, IEEE-1394) for direct digital inputs from DVD-Audio and SACD players. The modular configuration makes forthcoming upgrades as simple as replacing modules and upgrading software.
A few of many possible configurations include: (1) a full-ticket system with all the audio and video options, (2) a high-end multichannel audiophile system for SACD and DVD-Audio with no video options, (3) a videophile system leaving out some audio features, and (4) a custom installer system focusing on networking and multi-room connectivity and perhaps leaving out some of the higher-end features.
The base platform of the Integra Research RDC-7.1 is THX Ultra2 certified and has processing for every surround sound mode offered by THX, Dolby, and DTS. It has a rugged aluminum chassis, with oversized high-current power supply, eight balanced XLR outputs, multichannel RCA preamp outputs, two additional RCA subwoofer outs, three-zone multiroom capability, bidirectional RS-232, plus extensive remote control interface and remote trigger options. The base model includes modules for digital audio, analog audio and iLink.
The included iLink module provides two direct digital inputs for high-resolution SACD and DVD-Audio from iLink-equipped source players such as the Integra Research RDV-1.1. This allows the RCD-7.1’s extensive digital bass management capabilities to be applied to these signals just as they are for all other inputs. iLink also prevents direct digital copying to protect musicians’ intellectual property rights.
The Integra Research RDC-7.1’s fixed digital audio module has six optical and six coaxial digital inputs, and two optical and two coaxial digital outputs. It uses top grade 192 kHz/24-bit Wolfson DACs (digital/analog converters) on all channels for no-compromise sound quality. The module also includes processing for THX Surround EX, Dolby Digital EX and Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and DTS, DTS-ES, DTS Neo:6, and DTS 96/24. Other digital audio features include Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Speaker that create surround sound effects using headphones or two speakers. The fixed analog audio module has nine stereo inputs, a phono input, and five outputs. The inputs are all assignable, and the outputs can be configured for recorders and various multizone options. Both fixed and variable outputs are supported through menu selection.
The optional HDMI module is used to connect to other HDMI equipped components and is compatible with components that use DVI (Digital Video Interface). This module has two HDMI inputs and one output.
The optional video module has three high definition component video inputs and one output as well as six composite and S-video inputs and four assignable outputs. All inputs are upconverted to component video to avoid the need for redundant cables when using older video source devices. Additionally all video inputs sources including 480i component video are upconverted to 480p for HDMI.
The third key option is Integra’s Net-Tune™ Ethernet client receiver module for accessing digital music files over a local PC network (TCP/IP). Net-Tune plays MP3, WMA, and PCM files stored on a PC or Integra NAS-2.3 music server. It also has Internet Radio capability for networks with broadband Internet access. Up to 12 Net-Tune client receivers can independently access the same server simultaneously.
The fourth option is for an extra component video input/output pair with a choice of either RCA or BNC connectors. The fifth option provides a choice between two additional audio input modules. One has dual 7.1 analog inputs and the other has one 7.1 analog and one professional AES/EBU digital input.
An optional radio module includes a high quality AM and FM tuner with discrete tuning and presets station recall supported for multiple zones via IR and RS-232 interfaces. An elegant aluminum faced remote control with a scroll wheel and LCD display provides full control over the receiver and can be set up to control other AV components as well.
The Integra Research RDC-7.1 will be available in April, with a suggested retail base price of $4,000.