Integra DTM-40.4 Network Stereo Receiver
Input: (2) S/PDIF Coax (up to 24/96 kbps), (2) S/PDIF Toslink (up to 24/96), (1) front-mounted USB Type ‘A’ (for USB mass storage and iPod/iPhone), (1) Ethernet (10/100Mbps), (1) RS232, (1) RCA Phono (MM) w/ground, (6) analog RCA (TV/Tape w/Composite Video, Game w/Composite Video, Cable/Satellite w/Composite Video, (2) VCR/DVR w/Composite Video, BlueRay/DVD w/Composite Video), Integra/Onkyo RI connection, optional iPod dock (UP-A1), optional wi-fi (UWF-1 Wi-Fi® USB Adapter), optional HD Radio module (UP-HT1 HD Radio Tuner)
Output: (2) Pre Out (Zone A/B), (2) analog (TV/Tape, VCR/DVR), (1) Subwoofer, (2) pair Speaker terminals (Zone A/B), (1) Headphone Jack, (1) Zone 2 Out V jack, Monitor Out, 12V Trigger Out (A,B,C)
Dimensions (W x H x D): 435mm x 149.5mm x 328mm (17 1/8" x 5 7/8" x 12 15/16")
Weight: 8.07kg (19.2 lbs)
User Manual: download
Availability: through Authorized Dealers
A Network Stereo Receiver
From a certain perspective, the more buttons, knobs, inputs, and outputs a given piece of hi-fi gear has the less likely its going to be taken seriously by the audiophile community. Never mind that the audiophile community is rarely taken seriously outside itself and sometimes even suffers dissension from within, the simpler-is-better maxim makes most sense when there's one specific job to do. When we add other factors like price, convenience, and increased functionality things can get all complicated. So if you are already taken aback by the word "Receiver" you may want to hold on to your Shakti Stones because the Integra DTM-40.4 also has...tone controls.
Let's talk about what the DTM-40.4 can do from a functional birds-eye view which is similar to what many UPnP/DLNA Network Player/Streamers do—play back your network-attached music, connect to a number of Internet-based streaming services, while adding an AM/FM tuner, a host of inputs for things like TVs, CD Players, Blu-ray Players, Gaming devices, a record player (it includes a MM phono pre!), 40 presets for your favorite stations, a sleep timer, and more. And it can output all of those inputs through two pair of speakers for two-zone audio as well as a front-mounted headphone jack. Integra also shares some engineering DNA with Onkyo, so the DTM-40.4 is compatible with a few Onkyo accessories worth noting—an iPod dock (Onkyo UP-A1, $99.99), a wireless receiver (Onkyo UWF-1 Wi-Fi® USB Adapter, $39.99), and an HD Radio module (UP-HT1 HD Radio Tuner, $159.00).
If we zoom in, we learn that the DTM-40.4's networking capabilities are based on the Texas Instruments Aureus™ DSP Chip (DA830) and the DAC is also from Texas Instruments (the 32-bit/192kHz-capable TI PCM1789). The DTM-40.4 is a DLNA-certified media server and it also supports Windows Media Player (11/12) and Windows Media Connect 2.0. The associated Ethernet port accepts MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC, and Ogg Vorbis file formats up to 24-bit/96kHz. The front USB input (FAT16 or FAT32 file system formats only) shares these same file format and bit/sample rate restrictions and "each folder may contain up to 20,000 music files and folders, and folders may be nested up to 16 levels". In terms of Internet-based streaming services, the 40.4 plays with vTuner Internet Radio, Pandora, Sirius XM, Rhapsody, Slacker Personal Radio, and Last.fm (these require an associated account). If you own other Integra/Onkyo RI compatible components you can connect them to the 40.4 and use the included remote to control the whole kit and caboodle.
I find the inclusion of "VCR" and "Tape Out" for recording (and even AM/FM) to be wonderfully old-fashioned and the tone controls for Bass and Treble similarly quaint. From the manual, "The Bass control adjusts bass sounds. Turn it up to make them louder. Turn it down to make them quieter. Normally, it should be set midway." Substitute "Treble" for "Bass" and you've got the full rundown. In addition to these tone controls, there's a "Music Optimizer" control which is either on or off and is meant to enhance the sound of compressed music files (only works with analog inputs and music files with a sampling rate of 48kHz or lower). There's also "Direct Mode" which bypasses and disables all tone controls and you can even set Direct Mode to work with specific input options.
There's an included remote as well as an "Integra" app for the iPhone/iPod available for free from the App Store. I used both and while the Integra App does not include album cover art, it was easy to navigate my NAS-based music library. In terms of setting up my Network-attached music on the DTM-40.4, all I had to do was connect an Ethernet cable and use the remote to select "NET" and then scroll down to "DLNA", and scroll again until I saw my NAS (2TB Western Digital My Book Live), select it, which then displayed its submenus including Albums, Artists, etc. I will mention that all of the music files on this DLNA/UPnP-ready NAS device are stored as uncompressed FLAC files. With the exception of the 24/176.4 and 24/192 files which we already know will not play on the DTM-40.4, everything played without a hitch.
The amplifier in the 40.4 is rated at 80W/channel into 8ohms and 100W/channel into 6ohms with a claimed frequency response of 5Hz to 100kHz/ +1dB-3dB. The amplifier employs Onkyo's Wide Range Amplifier Technology (WRAT) which according to the literature is a low negative feedback design, eliminates ground-potential fluctuations, while offering high instantaneous current capability. The strong, silent and fast type? The binding posts on the 40.4 only accept banana plugs or bare wire (I'd recommend bananas).
The front panel is as busy as the back with a total of 15 buttons, 5 knobs, a headphone jack and USB input. You can select your speakers (Zone A/B), dim the display, select your input, adjust bass (±10 dB, 50 Hz) treble (±10 dB, 20 kHz) and balance, set radio presets, select presets, tune your tuner, enter setup mode, control volume, and more. I found the to 40.4 very easy to use although I would not recommend skipping the manual and overall fit and finish to be just fine all things considered. I'd also say a sizable chunk of its 19.2 pounds comes from that beefy (the manual calls it "Massive") power transformer.
I mainly spent my time with the Integra DTM-40.4 listening to network and internet-based sources including music from my NAS (up to 24/96), WPRB, WFMU, internet radio via vTuner, and even some LPs spun on my Rega P3/Denon 103/Auditorium 23 step up set up. I preferred "Direct Mode" for all of the above but hey, feel free to fiddle—I promise I won't tell. Those tone controls worked as advertised but since I mostly listened in "Direct Mode" they were bypassed because that's the way I roll. One reason I chose the DeVore The Nines as my speaker of choice is they do the job of passing along whatever you give them and are exceptionally well-mannered, imo of course. So I find they don't need any tones controlled unless something upstream is sorely lacking and this was happily not the case with the 40.4's WRAT (is that pronounced rat?) based amplification. But the main reason I chose the DeVore The Nines, as well as all of my other hi-fi gear, is I really enjoy listening to music through them.
As I mentioned, the Network setup was truly plug in, navigate and play as was internet radio, SiriusXM (the 40.4 comes with a free trial period), Spotify, vTuner, and spinning vinyl. I also played music from my iPhone, a USB thumb drive, and an external hard drive all through the front USB input. And if I had to pick a sonic preference, it would be vinyl then NET/DLNA/NAS, then internet radio. LPs had some sparkle, a touch of that magic realism that transforms listening to music on a hi-fi into something worth doing in its own right. I listened all the way through a number of LPs but I'll mention The Stooges Fun House from 1970 as the one I had the most fun with. I've read many people comment on audio forums about how difficult and expensive turntables are to setup, to get to sound good, and to maintain and I have no idea what they're talking about. I think some audiophiles think too much and don't do enough listening for pleasure. But that's another story.
How good can a $550 Receiver sound? Well, once I swapped the stock power cord for the $1,200...ah kidding (the 40.4. includes an "Oversized OFC Detachable AC Cord"). The 40.4 is punchy, fast-sounding and fun if somewhat blanched of the full musical rainbow of colors related to the sounds that make instruments stand apart from one another in all their power and glory (and tone controls cannot add what isn't there). You more than likely won't get startled by the sound of the 40.4 the way more refined hi-fi components can reach out and touch your inner music lover with a remembrance of musical things past. Overall, I'd call it less dimensional in most aspects of music-making than I'm accustomed to through my Leben CS-300XS with my MacBook Pro and any number of DACs handling playback duties. This translates, for me, into sound from the 40.4. that invites you to listen to but does not invite you to listen into which is an important distinction.
Of course we're talking about comparisons to setups that are multiples of the 40.4's cost with added levels of complexity and that's worth noting and harping on. With the Integra DTM-40.4 you don't need anything else to play back streaming services, and internet/terrestrial-based radio except a pair of speakers and cables to connect 'em. You can always add a NAS* and a turntable (I would) if you want to really enjoy yourself and explore our endless backward and forward catalog of music. Lets face facts—there's a lifetime of music that only exists on LP or CD so for my tastes, I need a turntable but can live without a CD player since I rip every CD I buy to my NAS as soon as I get it, preferring the superior possibilities of hard drive-based playback. To fill my preferential picture, I enjoy radio hosted by people to machine-made recommendations mainly because I prefer incongruity and quirky connections to being presented with stuff that's similar to what I already know and like. I value the humanness behind music's interwoven-ness that an algorithm can never capture. Human is as human does, unexpectedly.
Back to the Integra DTM-40.4, who exactly is it for? I'd say its for people who want to integrate NAS and internet-based streaming services, maybe a turntable, AM/FM, premp and amplification and more into their listening room in one simple and easy to use package. More than likely, this will also include TV and a home theater 2.0 or 2.1 setup which can also add gaming to the long list of wants delivered. A true network home entertainment receiver. I took the 40.4 for a spin in our main living listening/watching room which includes a pair of Altec Valencias from 1967 and the ability to listen to movies and TV through these lovely vintage but not dated sounding speakers as well as connect to our NAS-based music, internet streaming services, Oppo player, and push music from any one of the family iPhones, all-into-one-box is a very appealing prospect.
* A Note on NAS
In terms of Network Attached Storage (NAS), something like the Western Digital My Book Live (1TB $123, 2TB $153 on Amazon) would make the perfect mate for the 40.4 and it's what I used for this review. It's also a snap to setup and use and all you need is a home Ethernet network and compatible music files. When ripping, I recommend the uncompressed FLAC format available through dbPoweramp but you can also use compressed FLAC files if you wish. Once setup with your NAS-based music, one Ethernet connection to the 40.4 gives you access to it and, through the internet, to more music than you can possibly listen to in a lifetime of listening. And tons of it is free and legal and all of that is a beautiful and powerful thing.
The Integra DTM-40.4 is a good choice for people looking to enjoy the full monty of music playback options that exist today but don't want to fuss or spend a few month's-worth of wages to get there. Of course fussing can lead to a richer musical experience and one that will invite more intimate time between you and your music. Ultimately I find the sonic shortcomings of the 40.4 to be relative to my notion of what makes listening to music on a hi-fi a fully captivating and engrossing experience as opposed to a comparison to live music or to other hi-fi gear. In other words, this is a personal valuation based on an accumulation of experiences over time that includes listening to live music, playing music (poorly), as well as listening through all manner of apparatus to recorded music.
The point being, for someone coming to the Integra DTM-40.4 from a different place with different goals in mind, these shortcomings may not be an issue. The most obvious example being someone looking for a first step into a dedicated hi-fi. In fact the 40.4 may represent a step up in musical enjoyment and its myriad input options allow for connectivity to a world of music in a number of formats including LPs!, Network-Attached Storage, iDevices, and streaming services coupled with the ability to drive most sensible speaker loads. And the fact that all of this functionality is wrapped up in a $550 package is to my mind nothing but good news.
Also on hand and in use during the DTM-40.4 review: Peachtree Grand Integrated, Mytek Stereo192-DSD-DAC, Schiit Bitfrost DAC, AudioQuest DragonFly USB DAC