Integra Research's RDC-7.1 Surround Processor Beltsville MD
Annapolis Junction, MD
Integra Research's RDC-7.1 Surround Processor
March 1, 2006 By Brent Butterworth
Buying a car is a lot more fun than buying a surround processor, because in a sense, you get to build your own. You start with a basic model and add the extras you desire. Want 22-inch wheels on that SUV? You got them. A more powerful engine? Just say the word. And if you live in Los Angeles, where only an octogenarian would want heated seats, you can leave those off.
Despite the surprising fact that a high-end surround-sound processor can cost as much as a low-end car, your audio/video dealer might laugh if you ask for the options list. Consider yourself lucky if you can choose between silver and black finishes. On the other hand, if the surround processor you choose carries the Integra Research brand, you are in for quite a ride. Either you or your installer will pay a visit to the Integra Research website, where you engage a "configurator"—a web page that lets you select the options you want and configure the RDC-7.1 surround processor to meet the requirements of your system and the demands of your musical or cinematic tastes.
Integra Research’s remote controls, such as the one for the RDV-1.1 DVD player, are covered with tiny buttons and labeled such that the remote is quite difficult to use in the dark. (Click image to enlarge)
The back of the unit sports a row of removable panels, similar to what you find on the back of a desktop computer. Integra offers a wide selection of modules that fit into the slots behind the panels. The modules you choose determine what functions the RDC-7.1 can perform and to what devices it can connect. The basic version includes a digital audio input/output module, an i.Link digital multichannel audio interface module (for connection to i.Link-equipped DVD-Audio/SACD players such as Integra Research’s RDV-1.1), and two analog audio input/output modules, one of which includes a phonograph input. A full set of analog audio outputs (balanced and unbalanced) is included at the bottom.
To make the RDC-7.1 fully functional, you add optional video input modules. A double-width video module adds basic composite video, S-video, and component video inputs and outputs. Two more modules add more component inputs—one offers professional-style BNC jacks, the other RCA jacks. An HDMI module lets you add two digital video inputs. And best of all, the RDC-7.1 can convert all of the incoming analog signals to digital, so you can run all the video signals from the RDC-7.1 to your video display through a single HDMI cable.
The RDC-7.1 processor, RDV-1.1 DVD player, and RDA-7.1 amplifier share cosmetics, but only the RDC-7.1 employs a modular concept. The RDV-1.1 plays DVD-Audio and SACD discs in addition to DVDs; the RDA-7.1 is rated at 150 watts per channel. (Click image to enlarge)
Two multichannel audio input modules let you connect a DVD-Audio/SACD player the old-fashioned analog way; one provides two 7.1-channel inputs, the other a single 7.1-channel input and a pro-...