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More Audio Components Combine Atmos, Auro-3D

Mahwah, N.J. — The number of audio components capable of decoding Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D is growing, with D+M Group’s Denon and Marantz brands each planning an Auro3D firmware upgrade to select components in December at an unspecified price.

The two Denon components are the $1,499-suggested 7.2-channel AVR-X4100W and $1,999-suggested 9.2-channel AVR-X5200W 9.2-channel networked A/V receivers.

The two Marantz components are the $$1,999-suggested 9-channel SR7009 networked A/V receiver and $1,999-suggested AV7702 multichannel A/V preamplifier.

The upgrades can be accomplished by consumers using the components’ built-in online-upgrade capability.

The 7×125-watt Denon AVR-X4100W supports Dolby Atmos 5.1.2, 5.1.4, and 7.1.2 configurations, the latter two with the addition of a two-channel amp. It also supports Auro-3D in 9.1-channel configuration with no in-ceiling (top) channel and Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X 9.1-channel processing.

The 9×140-watt AVR-X5200W supports Dolby Atmos 5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, 7.1.4, and 9.1.2 speaker configurations, the latter two with the addition of a two-channel amp. For Auro-3D playback, it supports the 9.1-channel configuration and, when an external amp is added, the 10.1-channel configuration with in-ceiling (top) channel. The AVR also supports Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X 11.1-chanel post processing and features 13.2-channel preouts.

At Marantz, both components support 9.1-channel and 10.1-channel Auro-3D speaker configurations, though the AVR requires an add-on amp to deliver the 10.1-channel experience. Both also support Audyssey DSX and 11.1-channel DTS Neo:X, and both feature 13.2-channel preouts.

All four components feature Auro-Matic to up-mix sources to add height information without adding height speakers.

The components could be deployed in a home theater incorporating a limited number of overlapping Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D speaker configurations, enabling users to build libraries of Blu-ray discs encoded with either surround format, said D+M Group technical product manager Paul Belanger.

They are, he said:

–Atmos 5.1.2 (5.1 + two front height channels) simultaneous with Auro-3D 10.1-speaker configuration (5.1 + front height + surround height + in-ceiling overhead channel (the latter not supported by the Denon AVR-X4100W).

— Auro3D 7.1-speaker configuration (5.1 + front height), simultaneous with Atmos 7.1.2, 7.1.4, 7.1 + front height, 5.1 +top middle + front height, or 7.1 + rear height + front height.

If consumers are using surround-height channels in an Auro configuration, those speakers will not be active during Atmos playback. And during Auro playback, Atmos top-middle speakers or rear-height speakers would not be active, he said.

No additional overlapping configurations will be available through outboard speaker selectors, he said.

At least two other companies — Steinway Lyngdorf and Datasat Digital Entertainment, formerly the cinema-equipment arm of DTS — also plan audio components that support both surround technologies.

Steinway Lyngdorf plans first-quarter shipments of the $18,000-suggested P200 A/V processor, which will decode Atmos and Auro content. The processor is sold as a package only with Steinway Lyngdorf amps, speakers and woofers.

Datasat Digital Entertainment offers the $19,000 RS20i and $11,000 LS10 A/V processors, both with an optional $3,000 Auro-3D decoder. Dolby Atmos will be made available in early 2015 for the RS20i via a firmware update or via the addition of a hardware board in an expansion slot. Future Datasat products will also incorporate both surround technologies, the company said.