The DSR-4.8 features a sophisticated graphical menu for initial setup that is reasonably intuitive and easy to navigate. The Integra also provides an “Advanced” setup menu that, unfortunately and confusingly, does not display onscreen (instead, it works only through the receiver’s small front panel display). Since the advanced menu addresses certain basic configuration decisions all users will need to make (for example, configuring the system for 2-channel vs. 2.1-channel operation), it really ought to be displayed onscreen along with all other menu options.
The DSR-4.8 comes with a remote similar to, but simpler than, the remotes typically provided with Integra A/V receivers. Unfortunately, the DSR-4.8 remote is not backlit (most Integra AVR remotes are) and does not provide discrete, named input selector buttons; instead, the remote selects inputs via a matched pair of “>” (go forward) and “<” (go backward) buttons.
Given the real-world circumstances under which the DSR-4.8 is likely to be used, we do have two minor quibbles with the way this receiver’s inputs are set up.
First, there is only one HDMI Pass-Thru, where I think most users would expect at least two (one for a cable box and the other for a Blu-ray player). Second, as mentioned above, the DSR-4.8 can only pass through but not play HDMI audio signals, which seems downright weird (it sort of defeats the “one-cable-does-it-all” appeal of HDMI, don’t you think?).
Here’s the recommended workaround. If you want to run a Blu-ray player through the DSR-4.8, and have the Integra and your main speakers (not the speakers in your TV set) play movie soundtracks, then plan on using an HDMI cable (or component video cables) for video connections supplemented with either a coaxial or optical digital cable for audio connections.
As a test I routed HD video signals from a high-quality Blu-ray player through the Integra and found its HDMI pass-thru performance exemplary. The DSR-4.8 added no visible noise or other artifacts to pass-thru signals.
On DVDs, the DSR-4.8’s built-in player proved good, though not quite top-tier level, performance. On the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD, for example, the Integra offered good resolution, good motion adaptive processing, and very good handling of various video, film, and animation frame cadences, though it faltered to a degree on the disc’s notoriously difficult jaggies tests and moiré pattern tests. Happily, these latter two problem spots were rarely evident when I used the DSR-4.8 to play real-world movies. When playing DVDs the Integra delivered good 1080i upscaling performance and a presentation that handled onscreen motion smoothly, but that rendered small, fine image details a bit more softly than some top-tier players do.
Integra’s WRAT amplifiers give the DSR-4.8 a pleasingly warm, natural, well-balanced sound that has virtually none of the shrill, brittle, treble edginess that many other low-cost receivers exhibit. Although it is perhaps not the last word in retrieval of subtle, low-level sonic details, the Integra more than holds its own relative to other products in its price class and it provides more than enough resolution for listeners to discern difference between different grades of recordings (for example, to hear how and where SACD discs sound better than their CD counterparts).