Auro-3D

Bert Coules

Well-known Member
What's the current opinion and state of play of Auro-3D? I see that Denon and Marantz are offering software upgrades (at a fairly hefty cost in the case of Marantz but I don't know about Denon) but does anyone know what the takeup has been like? A year or so back it looked as though Auro-3D was bidding fair to become a serious rival for Dolby Atmos but that excitement seems to have rather fizzled out and I don't recall reading of any commercial DVDs or BluRay discs that have it.

Since I was doing a complete rebuild of my cinema area at the end of 2015 I put in the extra speakers for Auro-3D but did nothing more about it at the time. Now I'm beginning seriously to wonder if it's worth the cost and the trouble of going down that route. All the reviews I've seen mention that the Auro upmix software is extremely effective, but even so...

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dante01

Distinguished Member
There's very little content available in the UK encoded with it. I'd not expect this to change despite Auro 3D actually being quite effective. Film studios are relatively happy using Atmos and probably not in any rush to pay Auro the additional licencing associated with Auro 3D. If you cannot accomodate ceiling speakers and are having to use height speakers instead then it is a potential benefit to have Auro 3D, but I'd not purposefully compromise a conventional Atmos setup by using heights instead of ceiling speakers to fascilitate Auro 3D.
 

Bert Coules

Well-known Member
Dante01 thanks for that. For various reasons of compromise and necessity the installation I arrived at in the rebuild was as follows:

Front right, left & centre.
Front height right, left & centre.
Surround (actually pretty much at the same screen distance as the listening position) left & right.
Surround height (ditto for distance but actually in the ceiling) left & right.
Rear left & right.
Auro "voice of god" (ie ceiling centre).

Currently the three front height speakers and the VOG unit aren't connected. If I do decide to hook them up and try Auro-3D it will mean an additional amp as well as the software upgrade for my main one. As I said, the pseudo-Auro upmix is tempting but now that the first flush of enthusiasm has passed and the bank balance has somewhat diminished it is a fair bit of expenditure.
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dante01

Distinguished Member
As said, I'd be more inclined to try setup an Atmos setup utilising ceiling speakers rather than height speakers. I think you'd get better use and value for your money with an Atmos setup than you will with an Auro 3D setup that relies upon height speakers. You can portray Atmos using heights, but the most effective portrayal of Atmos is via ceiling speakers. You cannot technically portray Auro 3D in its home theatre guise using ceiling speakers.

Also note that Auro 3D in its home theatre guise doesn't employ back surrounds. It is limited to 9 channels. You'd not be able to include the centre height or back speakers within an Auro 3D setup at home without using a very expensive AV processor.


The following is what you can currently achieve in respects to an Auro 3D setup using Denon and Marantz AV receivers:
snapshot001.jpg
 
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Bert Coules

Well-known Member
Reply edited in view of your added diagram...

Many thanks for that. I could disconnect my two rear speakers and use the Marantz to feed instead the front left and right heights, but I would still need a separate amp for the centre voice of god unit (I'm assuming that's what is marked as "TS" on your diagram, is that correct?).

I'm a little hazy on the exact recommended Atmos positioning, so I'll have to check that out and maybe try as near to a proper Atmos setup as I can manage.
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dante01

Distinguished Member
Thanks. As I said, it was always going to be a compromise for either system. Actually though, apart from the orientation of the speaker units (which I accept must be a significant factor) there isn't that much difference between my ceiling speakers and my height ones: ceiling units are at 87 inches facing downwards and the height inits are at 84 inches facing forwards.
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Auro 3D for home theatre isn't object orientated and is mixed specifically for a setup that employs height speakers. Atmos is object orientated so the receiver can to some extent modify the audio dependant upon where the speakers are located. If using heights though, you'd not be able to get the same overhead effects commonly associated with Atmos soundtracks via height speakers.

Given the distinction lack of Auro 3D encoded cpntent, I'd not want to compromise an Atmos setup simply to facilitate an Auro 3D compliant setup.
 

Bert Coules

Well-known Member
Sorry to have removed the part of my previous comment which you quoted, but I hope the flow of the conversation is still clear if anyone else is following this thread.

It seems that my most sensible course, given the speaker positions (which can't now be changed) and my Marantz's current 9.1 capability, is to forget about Auro-3D for the present and try as near a correct Atmos setup as I can manage, though as I said I'm not sure exactly what that entails. I'll do some research...
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Bert Coules

Well-known Member
Yes, thanks. It seems I have a choice between losing the rears and having four ceiling (or two ceiling and two sort-of ceiling) speakers, or keeping the rears and having just two high level units (presumably the surround ones since unlike the front speakers they're angled downwards in the proper Atmos manner).

I'll experiment with the possible variations and see which I prefer. Thanks for your help.
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dante01

Distinguished Member
Where exactly are the 2 rear ceiling speakers? If going with a 7.1.2 setup then then need to be either above you or slighly ahead of your listening position. You'd not want them to be behind you.

I think having a 7 channel base layer is preferable to having 4 ceiling speakers and only a 5 speaker base layer. I'd probably suggest 7.1.2 over and above a 5.1.4 setup.
 

Bert Coules

Well-known Member
They're not actually rear ceiling speakers: in point of fact they, and the left & right surround speakers, are just forward of the main (well, the only) listening position. So a 7.1.2 setup using them rather than the front heights sounds like it might be the best choice.

I can't get all the surrounds into shot, but the right-hand side of the sort-of arch is symmetrical with the left:

Speakers 2.jpg


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Steve Withers

Reviewer
Denon and Marantz are actually including Auro-3D in their 2017-18 higher-end receivers for free now, rather than making you pay for it as an optional extra.
 

Bert Coules

Well-known Member
That's interesting, thanks. Let's see: the possible secondhand value of my 7009, plus the £150 or so I'd save by not having to shell out for the Auro-3D upgrade... I wonder how close that would get me to a new receiver?

From what Dante01 was saying, Atmos is still probably my best bet, but even so it would be interesting to hear Auro-3D even with a less than perfect speaker setup.

As an aside, it irks me to have to pay for an FM tuner I'll never use, the reception where I live being what it is. A DAB tuner might be a more attractive proposition, but best of all would be no radio at all.
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Jase

Distinguished Member
With some of the Denon/Marantz models you can select a Front Height/Rear Height configuration which will then let you use Auro3D, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

With the Auro3D upgrade you also get Auro2D which uses the Surround Back speakers in a 7.1 layout. Auro2D doesn't use the Heights though.

I'm currently running a 7.1.4 configuration with Front and Rear Heights and it works well for all formats and automatically switches on/off the relevant speakers depending on what mode you're listening to. E.g 5.1.4 for Auro3D, 7.1 for Auro2D and 7.1.4 for Atmos/DTS:X/Dolby Surround/DTS Neural:X.
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Thanks, Asgardiano. That sounds a near-ideal setup. What receiver are you using?
A Marantz SR7010 with a couple of Rotel power amps. The 7010 only powers the Surround Back speakers.
 

Bert Coules

Well-known Member
A Marantz SR7010...
Thanks.
...with a couple of Rotel power amps. The 7010 only powers the Surround Back speakers.
Sorry, I'm probably just displaying my ignorance but I don't quite follow this. If you've only a couple of additional power amps, that presumably accounts for a total of only four speakers. What's powering the rermaining eight?
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Jase

Distinguished Member
Thanks.
Sorry, I'm probably just displaying my ignorance but I don't quite follow this. If you've only a couple of additional power amps, what's powering the rermainder of the speakers?
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Both the Rotels are five channel power amps. :)

One runs the Fronts, Centre and Surrounds and the other the four Heights (with a spare unused channel).
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
That occurred to me just after I posted the question. Honest. Is there a particular reason why you don't use the Marantz to power some at least of the additional speakers? Is it a question of quality?
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I found the Marantz a bit flat sounding using it's internal amps with my M&K speakers (which like a decent bit of grunt behind them). The Rotels are far better in terms of dynamics.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
With some of the Denon/Marantz models you can select a Front Height/Rear Height configuration which will then let you use Auro3D, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

With the Auro3D upgrade you also get Auro2D which uses the Surround Back speakers in a 7.1 layout. Auro2D doesn't use the Heights though.

I'm currently running a 7.1.4 configuration with Front and Rear Heights and it works well for all formats and automatically switches on/off the relevant speakers depending on what mode you're listening to. E.g 5.1.4 for Auro3D, 7.1 for Auro2D and 7.1.4 for Atmos/DTS:X/Dolby Surround/DTS Neural:X.

You'd still then be using a compromised Atmos setup dependant upon heights. AS I've said, there's very little content encoded with Auro 3D available and I'd not priorities the setting up of an Auro 3D setup which is dependant upon heights over instigating an Atmos setup using ceiling speakers that best portray Atmos. Atmos is the pdominant format so I'd prioritise the setup that best portrays Atmos rather than implimentating an Auro 3D setup that compromises Atmos's performance.

Why is having an Auro 3D setup of more importance than having an Atmos setup that will best portray far more of the soundtrackss associated with the content that is available?

The best configuration to use for Atmos includes ceiling speakers as opposed to heights. You cannot and do not get the overhead effects commonly associated with Atmos soundtracks if using height speakers. By using heights you compromise the Atmos perfprmance of your setup.
 
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Bert Coules

Well-known Member
But Dante01, you're arguing for perfection. Asgardiano's setup isn't perfect - it uses heights rather than ceiling units for Atmos - but in his (or her?) own words, "it works well for all formats". Similarly, my arrangement isn't perfect for either system: I have high-level surrounds in the ceiling and front highs on my screen wall.

Trying Auro-3D isn't "of more importance than having an Atmos setup that will best portray far more of the soundtracks associated with the content that is available" - it's just an oportunity to sample something a little different in as near to the best configuration for it that I can manage and to compare it to an Atmos system that is also reasonably near to correct but no more than that.
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dante01

Distinguished Member
But Dante01, you're arguing for perfection. Asgardiano's setup isn't perfect - it uses heights rather than ceiling units for Atmos - but in his (or her?) own words, "it works well for all formats". Similarly, my arrangement isn't perfect: I have high-level surrounds in the ceiling and front highs on my screen wall.

Trying Auro-3D isn't "of more importance than having an Atmos setup that will best portray far more of the soundtracks associated with the content that is available" - it's just an oportunity to sample something a little different in as near to the best configuration for it that I can manage.
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No, I'm asking why woud anyone want to compromise their setup in order to offer support for a format that there's no content available to exploit? I'd suggst it better to build a setup that offers you the best performance from the formats you'll more likely encounter.

You are compromising your setup's Atmos performance in order to offer support for a format that has practically no content encoded with it available here in the UK.
 
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Bert Coules

Well-known Member
I thought I'd explained that I won't be "compromising my setup": my setup (as far as speaker positioning is concerned) is now installed and fixed and I shan't be changing it.

And as for the lack of true Auro-3D content, I thought I'd also explained that it's the system's upscaling (if that's the correct term) to "pseudo Auro" which interests me at least as much as its handling of genuine recordings.
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