Tested Acura Integra Stereo

QuadraphonicQuad

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HIBY

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I just got back from the dealership and drove a top trim Acura integra with the Panasonic ELS 3d 16-speaker sound system with the height channel speakers in the grab handles and rear hatch pillars. I've listened to the TLX,MDX, and RDX before this review.


NEGATIVES:

The system cannot play true 5.1ch content in .wav/flac 24bit/48khz lossless. It couldn't even read my flash drive!

You cannot adjust the volume of the height channel speakers which was a negative!

The bass was over empahsized and needed to be dialed back in the EQ settings.

PROS:

The system played all lossless content at 24bit/88.2khz .flac with no issues.

Was well balanced throughout the frequency range once the bass was reduced.

System performed at the top of its class and has not competition at its price point for audio quality.

Conclusion:

The ELS 3d system performed fantastic and is a class leader in audiophile quality and music reproduction. If all you do is listen to 2ch lossless music, this system is a true must listen for its class! Having no TRUE 3d on/off option, no 5.1ch dedicated playback, and no EQ or option to turn off the height channels is a huge negative! I won't be buying this car based on that alone personally. The MDX,RDX,TLX all can play native 5.1ch lossless content from a flash drive!
 
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HIBY

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Was the compression level set to "0" on your FLAC encoder?

Just verified and checked! Compression lvl was set to "0" for wav/flac 24bit 48khz lossless 5.1ch content!

2ch 24bit/88.2khz flac lossless was set to lvl "6" or"0" compression.
 

LennonCobain

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@HIBY I am very surprised and disappointed by your findings. It’s a shame that the Integra does not support 5.1 playback. I can’t think of another Acura model in recent years that does not support 5.1 in a higher level trim with ELS Studio, ELS Studio 3D, or ELS Signature.

By the way, the “0” level encoding for FLAC files appear to be something that only affects the earlier ELS Studio system launched with the 2019 RDX. For example, any level of FLAC encoding is supported on my 2022 MDX A-spec with the ELS Studio 3D system. I believe that @JonUrban reported similar results in his 2022 RDX.
 

JonUrban

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Wow! That's a shocker. I would question the folks at ELS about this. I can't understand why they would remove that ability from the current hardware. I really don't stop by the dealer that often, but when I get my car in for the 7500 maintenance (which won't be for a month or so) I will try and get my salesman to let me try one of my USB's in one of their Integras

As for the compression level, as LennonCobain reported first here (and I had forgotten he did), the 22 MDX does not require the '0' compression, and I can verify that the 22 RDX does not either, although the '0' compression stuff plays fine in the 22's mentioned here
 

HIBY

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I honestly wasn't suprised that much. They removed the ability to adjust the height channels. Plus they used the Honda civic infotainment screen and hardware. Slapped on a reskin, added some features and called it a day.

Probably a limitation in the hardware and software. The rest of the Acura's are using infotainment only for a Acura.
 

Larry Geller

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How is it ELS 3D if they removed the 3D? Another problem is that, with no factory GPS, you have to use your phone for GPS, so you can't use the USB anyway. Acura has F'd it up six ways to Sunday.
 

tonyE

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Sounds like they just took a Honda and put Acura badges on it! Very strange

Actually, the current crop of Hondas are pretty loaded in features.... it used to be that Acuras would have a much nicer feature set... even iVTM4 is very close to SH-AWD....

...nowadays, the stereo in the top trim Hondas sounds pretty good if you drive it with good sources. I use my android phone via Android Auto (*) via USB, running downloaded "Masters" from a 512GB secondary micro SD card.

It sounds surprisingly good.

And the current Accord and Civic look pretty nice as well.

Sure, DVD-A sounded simply the best... oh well....

However, as one who bought an Integra 8 days after they came to the market in '86... and have owned three... even the GSR.... I have to say I'm underwhelmed by the new "Integra"... Might as well buy the Civic or, IMHO, the Insight. Unless, of course, you go with the CTR or TLX SH-AWD.

(*) Which, IMHO, is just not ready for prime time... too many disconnect issues...
 

marksk

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Had an '89 integra. Still my favorite of all the cars I've had. Installed a soundstream head unit, ads amps and Boston acoustics separates. Two 10" fosgates driven by a fosgate amp. I miss that car and system
 

tonyE

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Had an '89 integra. Still my favorite of all the cars I've had. Installed a soundstream head unit, ads amps and Boston acoustics separates. Two 10" fosgates driven by a fosgate amp. I miss that car and system

It was OK. The 1.6 had no torque. The '90 with the 1.8 was easier to drive. The GSR was the best.... the RSX-X was good too but not as thrilling as the B18C.

We really wanted the ITR.

The GSR had the best "audio".... but the ELS set ups sort of "compensates" for the lower redlines.
 
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IntegraVT

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Has anyone else confirmed this is still the case after any OTA firmware updates?

My little cousin just ordered the '23 A-Spec Tech with delivery next month. I sure would like to share my collection of multichannel stuff from my Acura years going back to the ELS DVD-A on the 3G TL.

The Owner's Manual states FLAC/WAV are supported but oddly no details on channels/resolution. (Pg 242 http://techinfo.honda.com/rjanisis/p...B3S52323OM.PDF)

Thanks!
 

tonyE

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I just got back from the dealership and drove a top trim Acura integra with the Panasonic ELS 3d 16-speaker sound system with the height channel speakers in the grab handles and rear hatch pillars. I've listened to the TLX,MDX, and RDX before this review.


NEGATIVES:

The system cannot play true 5.1ch content in .wav/flac 24bit/48khz lossless. It couldn't even read my flash drive!

You cannot adjust the volume of the height channel speakers which was a negative!

The bass was over empahsized and needed to be dialed back in the EQ settings.

PROS:

The system played all lossless content at 24bit/88.2khz .flac with no issues.

Was well balanced throughout the frequency range once the bass was reduced.

System performed at the top of its class and has not competition at its price point for audio quality.

Conclusion:

The ELS 3d system performed fantastic and is a class leader in audiophile quality and music reproduction. If all you do is listen to 2ch lossless music, this system is a true must listen for its class! Having no TRUE 3d on/off option, no 5.1ch dedicated playback, and no EQ or option to turn off the height channels is a huge negative! I won't be buying this car based on that alone personally. The MDX,RDX,TLX all can play native 5.1ch lossless content from a flash drive!


Hmm.. how does it drive?
 

mojorisin

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Has anyone else confirmed this is still the case after any OTA firmware updates?

My little cousin just ordered the '23 A-Spec Tech with delivery next month. I sure would like to share my collection of multichannel stuff from my Acura years going back to the ELS DVD-A on the 3G TL.

The Owner's Manual states FLAC/WAV are supported but oddly no details on channels/resolution. (Pg 242 http://techinfo.honda.com/rjanisis/p...B3S52323OM.PDF)

Thanks!
I just bought this car ('23 Integra A-Spec Tech 6MT) last week and I'm working on trying different formats/bitrates/sample rates to see if any work with 5.1. I am on the latest firmware.

Earlier today, I tried test files of the following formats (all 5.1 i.e. 6 channel):
FLAC - 24bit 96khz (compression level 0 and 8 tested)
FLAC - 24bit 48khz (compression level 0 and 8 tested)
FLAC - 16bit 96khz (compression 0 and 8)
FLAC - 16bit 48khz (compression 0 and 8)
WAV - 24bit 48khz
WAV - 16bit 48khz

All of the FLAC files completely failed to play. What's interesting is, they did not show the message "this file cannot be played" (or whatever it says), instead they just got skipped by the player. I could see it on the screen skipping through each FLAC file in order.

The WAV files both played, but it appeared that the L and R surround channels are getting mapped to the front L and front R speakers. I will check again tomorrow and listen more closely. The only thing giving me some hope is that the surround L and R test audio was quieter, or seemed farther away, than the front L and R test audio. (They were equal volume using my home theater 5.1 setup, which I know works correctly).

I also am going to test with DTS digital surround codec if I can figure out how to properly encode my test files for it.

And I'm a bit concerned that my FLAC files all failed - I am assuming stereo FLAC will work, but I will be double-checking that.


My end goal is to compile a master list of all file formats, bitrates, channels, etc. that work (at least among lossless formats - I'm not going to bother with things like mp3). I'll post that here in this thread when it's done.
 

HIBY

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I just bought this car ('23 Integra A-Spec Tech 6MT) last week and I'm working on trying different formats/bitrates/sample rates to see if any work with 5.1. I am on the latest firmware.

Earlier today, I tried test files of the following formats (all 5.1 i.e. 6 channel):
FLAC - 24bit 96khz (compression level 0 and 8 tested)
FLAC - 24bit 48khz (compression level 0 and 8 tested)
FLAC - 16bit 96khz (compression 0 and 8)
FLAC - 16bit 48khz (compression 0 and 8)
WAV - 24bit 48khz
WAV - 16bit 48khz

All of the FLAC files completely failed to play. What's interesting is, they did not show the message "this file cannot be played" (or whatever it says), instead they just got skipped by the player. I could see it on the screen skipping through each FLAC file in order.

The WAV files both played, but it appeared that the L and R surround channels are getting mapped to the front L and front R speakers. I will check again tomorrow and listen more closely. The only thing giving me some hope is that the surround L and R test audio was quieter, or seemed farther away, than the front L and R test audio. (They were equal volume using my home theater 5.1 setup, which I know works correctly).

I also am going to test with DTS digital surround codec if I can figure out how to properly encode my test files for it.

And I'm a bit concerned that my FLAC files all failed - I am assuming stereo FLAC will work, but I will be double-checking that.


My end goal is to compile a master list of all file formats, bitrates, channels, etc. that work (at least among lossless formats - I'm not going to bother with things like mp3). I'll post that here in this thread when it's done.
Any updates? All I know is my flac 48khz 24bit 5.1 0 compression files failed. It's concerning that flac files can't play, but the TLX, mdx, rdx can read them in surround.

I'm going to convert my test usb to .wav and try again.
 

mojorisin

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Any updates? All I know is my flac 48khz 24bit 5.1 0 compression files failed. It's concerning that flac files can't play, but the TLX, mdx, rdx can read them in surround.

I'm going to convert my test usb to .wav and try again.
Yes, here's my results:

Stereo FLAC played fine. I tried 16 & 24 bit, 48 & 96 kHz, 0 & 8 compression level, and every combination of those (so that's 8 different files total) and they all played correctly, no issues.

5.1 Wav files will play. I tried 16 bit and 24 bit at 48 kHz and they played, as did a 7.1 wav file (24 bit, 48 kHz). But, they seem to be playing in stereo. I am not 100% sure and have been meaning to test again to make sure but haven't had the time.

I have also been trying to test with .dts 5.1 files but haven't been able to get the system to recognize them.


Hope this helps.
 

HIBY

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Yes, here's my results:

Stereo FLAC played fine. I tried 16 & 24 bit, 48 & 96 kHz, 0 & 8 compression level, and every combination of those (so that's 8 different files total) and they all played correctly, no issues.

5.1 Wav files will play. I tried 16 bit and 24 bit at 48 kHz and they played, as did a 7.1 wav file (24 bit, 48 kHz). But, they seem to be playing in stereo. I am not 100% sure and have been meaning to test again to make sure but haven't had the time.

I have also been trying to test with .dts 5.1 files but haven't been able to get the system to recognize them.


Hope this helps.

That sucks the system can't play 5.1 flac. I'll have to convert to .wav and try my luck! It's a pain having to convert 200+gb of 5.1 content.

Thanks for the update and info! Sucks if they aren't truly playing in 5.1
 
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tonyE

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I find this conversation both fascinating and absurd.

Fascinating because of two things:

(1) I've been there before when I was burning DVD-Rs for my Acuras. Eventually, though, I gave up on their design and have had Hondas for last few years.

(2) Has anyone tried playing something like Tidal over the Android interface? I find it sounds really good in our '19 Passport and '20 Clarity PHEV. Elevates the built in system way above what I thought was possible.

Absurd because of two things:

(1) People won't buy the car because it doesn't support some specific decoding.... but they don't bother to describe how the car drives? In my experience with SH-AWD (and iVTM-4), when the road gets curvy you shut off the stereo and start to use the paddle shifters and enjoy how the car rotates the tail as you aim for the apex... Or how it will launch off the line with all four tires grabbing the asphalt with no wheelspin at all.. sort of boring until you realize how fast you are going!

(2) People are ignoring the most obvious thing: Internal Acoustics of the car. Has anyone tried playing with the sun visors? Trust me, they affect the imaging greatly. I found that with the visors down, the image becomes tightly focused in front of you, while with the visors up, the image opens up, less tight but larger.


Anyhow, I love how the new Integra looks, but it doesn't offer SH-AWD or a hybrid IMMD AWD set up... although seeing the MT6 available with that engine makes it very nice (but no LSD). So, maybe we should all wait for the new CTR. After all, the best stereo I've ever had in an Acura was the surround sound B18C... 🏎️🏎️
 

HIBY

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I find this conversation both fascinating and absurd.

Fascinating because of two things:

(1) I've been there before when I was burning DVD-Rs for my Acuras. Eventually, though, I gave up on their design and have had Hondas for last few years.

(2) Has anyone tried playing something like Tidal over the Android interface? I find it sounds really good in our '19 Passport and '20 Clarity PHEV. Elevates the built in system way above what I thought was possible.

Absurd because of two things:

(1) People won't buy the car because it doesn't support some specific decoding.... but they don't bother to describe how the car drives? In my experience with SH-AWD (and iVTM-4), when the road gets curvy you shut off the stereo and start to use the paddle shifters and enjoy how the car rotates the tail as you aim for the apex... Or how it will launch off the line with all four tires grabbing the asphalt with no wheelspin at all.. sort of boring until you realize how fast you are going!

(2) People are ignoring the most obvious thing: Internal Acoustics of the car. Has anyone tried playing with the sun visors? Trust me, they affect the imaging greatly. I found that with the visors down, the image becomes tightly focused in front of you, while with the visors up, the image opens up, less tight but larger.


Anyhow, I love how the new Integra looks, but it doesn't offer SH-AWD or a hybrid IMMD AWD set up... although seeing the MT6 available with that engine makes it very nice (but no LSD). So, maybe we should all wait for the new CTR. After all, the best stereo I've ever had in an Acura was the surround sound B18C... 🏎️🏎️
The manual does have a mechanical limited slip differential.

Well audio is a big deal is to us people on here obviously. So the idea of having a lesser experience due to being limited from file format is a big deal to me.

As in the move to usb only and throwing away CD and aux input.

My current issue is all my music library is in DSD and I don't want to be bothered converting to pcm for the car.

I've got a couple hundred gigabytes of 5.1ch content in FLAC on a flashdrive.

So for me the TLX is my only hope or a Lexus ES. I also tossed around the idea of a Genesis G80 or Volvo V70.
 
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