Auro Brings Height With Channel-Based Surround

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DENVER – Belgium-based Auro Technologies developed its first two AVRs and first two A/V processors with Auro-3D surround. They are the Auriga Standard at a suggested 12,300 Euros, Auriga Luxury at 14,900 Euros, Mensa at 17,800 Euros, and Crux at 10,370 Euros.

The Auriga AVRs are available, and the processors ship Oct. 1.

The company is seeking U.S. distribution and offers the products through its website at Auro-3D.com.

The AVRs will decode Auro-3D soundtracks on future Blu-ray movie discs but will also upmix mono, stereo and multichannel sources to Auro-3D.

Auro technology is used in cinemas with a total of more than 500 screens outside the U.S. and in 132 U.S. cinemas, a spokesperson said. About eight movies are available in the format, but more than 100 international movies are slated for release with Auro soundtracks, the company said. No Auro- encoded Blu-ray movie discs are yet available inside or outside the U.S., the company said.

Select Blu-ray music discs are available with Auro-3D outside the U.S. and can be ordered online for U.S. delivery.

Auro soundtracks on future U.S.-market Blu-ray movie discs will use eight PCM tracks playable on existing players but encoded with metadata supporting the 11.1-channel Auro-3D soundtracks mixed for cinemas. The AVRs will lets listeners hear the original Auro 11.1 mix as it was mixed in the studio, the company said.

To deliver that promise, a spokesman explained, “metadata is encoded in the actual audio data and allows for the decoding of true, discrete channels at full resolution and with 100-percent channel separation.”

Traditional home theatre systems “will play the encoded files as standard surround mixes,” he added.

Auro also upscales traditional soundtracks into Auro 3D tracks.

An 11.1-channel Auro system consists of two five-channel speaker layers, each having an L, C, R, LS and RS speaker. The base layer features the LCRs in the normal position, or slightly below if behind a screen. The base-level side surrounds are placed lower than in a standard surround configuration. The height layer consists of five speakers in the same lateral locations as the base layer speakers but high on the wall, typically at the wall/ceiling junction to achieve maximum vertical separation between layers. The 11th channel consists of one or more speakers receiving the same signal, mounted in the ceiling.

Auro’s Auriga AVRs feature 13.1-channel playback through their amplifier sections, but four RCA line outs are available to support additional channels via add-on amplifiers. In a home theater incorporating 5.1 speakers, users could add four height speakers on the wall to deliver height effects.

Each amplified channel delivers 200 watts into 8 ohms with all channels driven.

The AVRs also decode DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD.

Separately, Storm Developments will unveil its StormAudio SSP 16-3D preamp processor with Auro-3D decoding and 16-channel support, and Steinway Lyngdorf is showing an $18,000 surround processor with Auro and Dolby Atmos.

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