Choosing the right amp to run Atmos 9.1.4?

TurnitdownDave

Novice Member
It's been a while since I visited this sight and the AV world has moved on quite a lot since the last time I set up a home system. I'm in the fortunate position where my house has just undergone a complete rewire and I have taken the opportunity to have them install all the necessary speaker cables (QED Silver Anniversary XT Speaker Cable) for a 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos set up. I'm so excited! Anyway, my old but marvellous Onkyo is no longer up to the job and I need to upgrade. Sadly I won't be able to let rip with huge speakers as the wife has put her foot down but one step as a time. So my question is will the Denon AVC-X3700H do the job? Having looked at pictures of the back of the amp there are only 11 speaker terminals when I need 13 plus the sub. Am I missing something or will I simply need an amp that has the 13 terminals. This may sound rudimentary but there doesn't seem to anything on the manufacturers own sites. Thanks for you help.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Don't get ahead of yourself. Will your room actually support all those speakers correctly positioned. Your comment about the size of speakers sounds as though that in itself could be a problem. The Denon X3700 has eleven channels of processing on board, so not the 13 you're hoping for. For that you would need AVC X8500, over three times the cost of the X3700.

With the X3700 you can run a 7.1.4 with additional of external amplification.

The first question remains and that is is your room capable. Post a diagram with dimensions of your room along and where the screen and seating positions are going to be.
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
The lowest cost route to 13.1 channel processing is the Denon AVR-X6700, although it only has 11 channels of on-board amplification so would need 2 channels of external amplification to implement it.
 

TurnitdownDave

Novice Member
Hi, thanks for the reply. I've attached a picture of the room. The TV will sit in the alcove at the end with the sofas facing. Still a bit of a blank canvass as you can see. The room measures 5 metres wide by 7.5 metres long. The wife just didn't want the space dominated by large speakers as its our main living area. Hopefully it's a large enough space for what I had in mind. I had read about adding additional amps for additional speakers but to honest thats getting too fussy. I just want to make it as seemless as possible and as easy to use as possible. So I would need a receiver with 13 channels then, any decent alternatives to the Denon?
20210517_195435.jpg
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
The Denon 8500 is the only AVR with 13 internal amplifier channels on-board. The Denon 6700 and Marantz SR8015 are the only other AVRs that have 13.1 processing but both of these only have 11 amplifier channels on-board. That’s it - any other 13.1 channel set-up would require separates.
 

TurnitdownDave

Novice Member
Thanks for this, I guess I'm saving my pennies then. The separates route is just too cumbersome. I might just wait to hear if gibbsy thinks the room is large enough. Be a shame if not as all the wiring is in now.
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
The room’s certainly big enough but you still need to plan the layout carefully to ensure adequate channel separation otherwise you may be better off with fewer speaker channels.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The room is certainly big enough and the ceiling looks nice and high for good Atmos presentation with inceiling speakers. I would not place smallish speakers in that size room. Two reasons and the first is that small speakers are often harder to drive than their big brothers because the sensitivity tends to be quite low. Small speakers will also struggle to fill that space adequately.

You would be better off with a 7.1.4 where space and separation is better but bigger better quality speakers would make for a better audio experience and you can have it all from one box. Have you thought about on wall speakers, they can be very effective and look neat and wife friendly. Difficult to see the placement on the right hand wall because of the windows. That would also suggest that 9.1.4 would be difficult to achieve.

@Mr Wolf I had forgotten that the X6700 now has 13 processors on board with my X6500 and previous X6200 being limited to 11.
 

TurnitdownDave

Novice Member
I have thought about on wall speakers, I have read a few positive reviews abut he KEF T series speakers but I'm a bit sceptical of anything that flat being able to give a good performance. I also read that because of the limited frequency range that a good sub which can take up some of the lower midrange is a must. I've already bought the the KEF Ci160QR in ceiling speakers so they might be a good match with these though. Any thoughts about the T series or is there something else worth considering? The windows are not all the way across, I have a middle section I can use. Although the fireplace the opposite side is a problem. I had though about the KEF Ci3-80QT in the ceiling to replace the side surround speakers as they aim the sound down. A compromise I know but it might work?
20210517_195501.jpg
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
With Atmos, you can't use in-ceiling side surrounds as you won't get separation between them and the height channels in the vertical plane. In my experience they also work very badly as side surrounds.

I'm afraid you're going to have to face the usual balancing act between aesthetics and performance. Aesthetics is a personal thing but performance-wise, in a room that size I personally wouldn't want to be using any speaker that had a driver smaller than 6".

Unless you're prepared to put a front wide channel speaker in front of the window nearest the screen then I would forget about 9.1.4 and shoot for 7.1.4 instead - the AVR-X6700 will give you one box solution for this. Due to the length of the room you'll benefit hugely from back channels so they're a must.

If it were me, I'd put a nice pair of towers up front with a tonally matched large centre speaker and use large bookshelf speakers for the side and back surrounds, either mounted on furniture or speaker stands at roughly ear height or slightly higher. Wall mounting them would be my last resort. All speakers would have at least 6" drivers and be rated at least 88dB+, ideally the LCRs would be 90dB+.

And I use at least two subs.
 

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