Dolby Atmos, Auro3D and DTS: X - What are they?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Steve Withers, Jan 14, 2015.

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    1. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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    2. Coz22998

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      Thanks Steve - I'm in the process of converting my garage and am caught between the rock and a hard place with regard to speaker placement amongst other things. I'm erring towards postponing the whole thing to be honest - with the uncertainty of speaker placements, plus the issue of all current receivers not being fully HDCP 2.2 compliant (well apart from Onkyo......maybe :)), let alone whether or not they will be able to upgrade to DTS:X......its just NOT the time to be investing........

      although I'm wavering......I want my new home cinema.....:(
       
      Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    3. wolfram7

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      Don't bother waiting for the latest thing - you will not buy anything. Buy the best you can afford to enjoy your current viewing. Then give yourself 3-5 years before you upgrade. The format wars should be resolved by then.
       
    4. dante01

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      That would ordinarily be sound advice, but some major changes are about to occur that would be best catered for by waiting until purchasing a new AV receiver. This is especially the case when you consider these changes are going to be effecting the more dedicated home theatre enthusiasts miore than anyone else and that such enthusiasts usually spend quite a lot on their kit when they do replace items or buy new kit. You'd be pretty peed off if spending near enough £2K on a new AV receiver now only to find it cannot deal with new standards a few months later. It is also increasingly looking as though none of the current AV receivers will be updated for use with DTS-X. The new format is apparently very processor intensive and current receivers simply lack the processing power to deal with it. Onkyo are already telling existing customers that their current line up of AV receivers will not be getting an update and only some of the new models to be released this year will support the new format.

      Also note that although Onkyo receivers offer HDCP compliance, they do so in a manner that actually reduces their ability to passthrough 4K UHD content. It is true that Onkyo receivers support HDCP 2.2, but they do not fully support 4K UHD encoded content.


      What is about to change isn't a mystery and well documented so I'd suggest now is not the best time to invest large sums of money into a new AV receiver. Wait until tat least the end of this year or maybe even wait until next years models are with us.
       
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      Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    5. wolfram7

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    6. Jules

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      When lossless audio came in, you didn't need to change your speaker layout, and everything worked as before if you chose not to upgrade your components in stages, and there was no danger of 'backing the wrong horse'.

      With these new formats, and the impending war, you are going to need some DIY skills, new speakers, a new amp, possibly a new storage medium, and could still be left having backed the wrong horse.

      We've had so many technology format wars in recent times that people have learned to sit them out.
      But then, with so many siting it out there isn't sufficient take up of any of them to make them a success.

      That's why, in addition to the domestic discord these new formats will create, I simply cannot see any of them succeeding.
       
    7. Smurfin

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      To know whether any of these formats will "succeed" in terms of end user take up, you only need to look at the % split between 7.1, 5.1, 2.1 and 2.0 systems in people's living rooms.

      I don't know the definitive split as I doubt there's ever been a proper study, but I only personally know one person who has 7.1, and most people are happy with 5.1. I hope disc formats will carry the soundtracks anyway, just so we have a choice, but it does feel like one war where there will be no winners.

      I think most people don't care, and even if they do, it's a bit of a moot point as streaming becomes ever more prevalent and viable (and let's get to lossless audio first, before thinking about extra channels!).

      For evidence I present the editor of AVF - @Phil Hinton . In the 13 years I've been on the forums, I've known him as an AV-holic fan for whom quality has always been a priority, yet he's happy watching movies on Netflix! what the fudge.... ;)
       
    8. deanflyer

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      I'm in the process of converting a room to a home cinema including a full rewire so I have no excuses about considering Atmos et al. I travelled down to Manchester a few weeks ago for a demo of Atmos from the guys at AudioT.

      It is very good and in the short time I had to listen (5.1.4 with in ceiling speakers) and compare it to standard 5.1 I was very impressed.

      However, all these competing standards have put me off and I'm going to stick to a standard 5.1 setup. I can't even be bothered to install additional cabling for possible future installation, as the competing standards are all different and who knows who will win.

      I'll use the extra money to buy some nicer 5.1 speakers!
       
    9. wl1

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      My interpretation of the competing formats is attached (just wiring new layouts), showing that there is not too much similarity between Auro3D rears and Atmos IMO.
       

      Attached Files:

    10. silouette

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      Gosh yeah, just when you reckon you have it all tweaked up to the best you can achieve, but would still like to know how to squeeze out a bit of extra performance.(Which quite frankly only us that are truly addicted will notice). Along comes three new formats that just throw everything up in the air,literally. I will definitely be hanging on for a couple more years to see how it all pans out before drilling holes in the ceiling.

      Wouldn't it be great if there were far more affordable flexible processors available,so you could keep all your speakers ,just change the amount and placement. Power them by independent amp channels,then just upgrade your processor software as the new formats became viable.
      But I guess it's in the manufacturers interests to shift more boxes. But if sensible prices were charged for each upgrade,surely we would choose the kit based on this flexibility.Maybe this does already exist? It would surely be a win win
      for everyone.
       
    11. lokyc

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      Really depends on how much you want to spend and how much you felt the Atmos adds to the immersive experience.

      IMHO, if one is building a dedicated cinema room, it would be short-sighted not to lay cables for additional speakers. The only question is of course, how many is enough.

      Suffice to say I think 5 will be a sensible choice. Although one could add more.

      Competing formats aside, seems like Auro's upmixer works really well. So even if Atmos and DTS:X didn't take off, one could always deploy upmixing. Anyways, doesn't Atmos upmixer work well too?

      Then there are the processors. Someone more knowledgeable please wade in.

      But Trinnov's 3D remapping could negate any problems with speaker layouts.

      Just line them up and the processor will map them according to the format.

      At least for standard 5.1 it is able to do that. Using a pair of high-low centres to lock the centre channel to the middle of the screen. You could scatter 32 channels all over the room and it will produce the sound image required.

      As for flexible processors, I believe the upcoming Marantz 8802 may fit the bill. It is likely to be upgradeable to all 3 formats. The only issue if the next gen technology outstrip the processing power it is equipped with. And things like HDMI standards etc. The change of the board costs half as much as the pre/pro initially, many customers probably just change the whole thing.

      Of course if one is looking at spending over 10k, those are upgradeable. ie Trinnov, Datasat, Theta Digital. Trinnov and TD are practically PCs.
       
    12. bailey1987

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    13. TheOtherMe

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      I cant see why you would wait tbh, most of the new Amps will support all 3 and as they said in the article, you can probably discount Auro3D.

      So get a new Amp, put the speakers where Dolby tell you to and DTS:X will also work fine.

      Sounds like a win to me.
       
    14. dante01

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      Very few of the new receivers will support all three formats.

      Most of the new amps do not unfortunately support all three of the new formats. Only Denon/Marantz appear to have embraced Atmos and DTS:X wholesale and only they offer a paid Auro 3D update with their higher tier receivers. Onkyo are the next best option with their TXNR646 model including Atmos and DTS:X, but the likes of Yamaha reserve DTS:X and Atmos for their top tier AV receivers. If wanting to consider a DTS:X and Atmos enabled receiver from every manufacturer then you'd need to have a budget in excess of £1K. Denon have Atmos and DTS:X models on the way that will cost under £500. If you've a limited budget then your options are also going to be limited.

      As it stands now, you'd have to wait because there's only Denon's AVRX7200W currently available in stores that can and will give you DTS:X along with Atmos and Auro 3D. New receivers with Atmos and the ability to facilitate DTS:X from Denon should be appearing in stores by the end of this month though.
       
      Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
    15. geogan

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      Eh? We already have lossless don't we - DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD? And before that we had it for many, many years in a lesser known niche format called Compact Disc ;)
       
    16. JGM

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      You've removed the quote from its context. Smurfin was referring to streaming when he added that comment.
       
    17. TheOtherMe

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      Older ones yes but if you get this years models I'm not sure thats true.

      OK but they have big ranges to suit most budgets here and here.

      Also Yamaha, and Onkyo do some good ones and pioneer say that some are coming so if you cant find an Amp to suit your needs in that lot I suspect you are in the minority.

      Well unless you have an unlimited budget, your options are always going to be limited, I'm not sure what your point is, you only need to fine one you like and with the list above, that shouldn't be to hard. (OK not all of them are out today but you are talking weeks not months.)

      The point is, if you want to upgrade to Atmos and DTS:X, you will have quite a large selection to chose from in the next few months and no reason not to.

      BTW: The Demos I have seen were amazing.
       
    18. dante01

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      It is true and I went into some depth to explain that to you. Yamaha will not be launching any receiver under £1K that includes Atmos and or DTS:X. Sony have not announced any receivers with either Atmos or DTS:X. Pioneer haven't announced any new receivers that will include either Atmos or DTS:X and all their entry levels models will not include support for either. Only Pioneers top models will in all probability include either Atmos or DTS:X. Only Onkyo and D&M have decided to include both Atmos and DTS:X onboard entry level receivers. Onkyo are including it onboard every receiver from the TXNR646 upward, Denon are including both onboard every receiver from the AVRX1200W upward and Marantz are including the new formats onboard every receiver from the Marantz NR1606 upward. No manufacturer apart from D&M is offering Auro 3D via their AV receiver line up and D&M only offer this as a paid update option on their top tier models.
       
      Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
    19. TheOtherMe

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      OK, so if you want this you have to get a Denon, Marantz, Onkyo or high end Pioneer.

      That's still quite a selection.
       
    20. KelvinS1965

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      In a way though I don't see it as an issue that there are fewer cheaper AVRs with Atmos/DTS:X. Generally those buyers would be struggling to find the extra cash for the ceiling speakers and it's also arguable whether it's a good idea hanging even more speakers off a lower powered amp (and it's shared power supply) anyway. Of course I know that some people will want every single bell and whistle for their money, but IMHO sometimes quality over quantity is more important.

      In any case it's not like there isn't a budget option, though IMHO if buying a 646 then I reckon it's more of a 'badges and features' purchase than an audiophile purchase...
       
    21. dante01

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      Yes, but not most of the new receivers as you suggested and not inclusive of Auro 3D. You don't have to guess at this because the manufacturers have announced their new line ups and are already begining to ship them. You simply have to look at the new models and their specifications to see that your appraisal was incorrect.
       
      Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
    22. dante01

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      You can buy a pair of Atmos upward firing speakers for under £80. They aren't fantastic, but even some of those with the high end DEnon AVR7200W are giving them a go with favourable results. How much do you think a pair of ceiling speakers will cost exactly? They are no more expensive than your average bookcase speaker.

      I doubt the cost of the speakers will be an issue, but implimentation of them may cause problems?

      I think the issue with choosing ONkyo will be their dropping of Audyssey and their implimentation of their own AccuEQ system? This wasn't received very well last year and ONkyo have done nothing to improve upon AccuEQ. Many have said that they'll not buy another Onkyo receiver while Onkyo continue to use AccuEQ.
       
      Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
    23. TheOtherMe

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      Um, OK. :rolleyes:
       
    24. KelvinS1965

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      I know that ceiling speakers aren't that expensive, but the extra expense of buying them (and then fitting in some cases for those non DIYers) might be enough of an extra cost/hassle to deter some. Of course the upward firing option might be easier for some to implement, but often budget AVRs are pairs with smaller satellite speakers which won't make it easy to facilitate putting the upward firing speaker on top of them.

      I'd argue that at the lower budget end buyers might be better advised to focus on getting the best 5.1 set up they can as further diluting the budget with extra speakers may not be the best option.

      I was aware of Onkyo dropping Audyssey, though in my setup XT32 didn't work well anyway and I'm getting much better results using Dirac (DDRC-88A) but that requires a separate power amp to facilitate installing the separate eq 'box'. I'm unlikely to buy another Onkyo receiver more because my last one (AVR818) sounded harsh and edgy, plus it was very involved bypassing the (suboptimal, compared to my Lumagen) video processing.

      At the moment I'm thinking in terms of a Marantz 7010 myself: I'll use my DDRC-88A on the 7.1 channels into my Arcam P7 power amp and manually eq the 4 ceiling speakers powering them from the 7010 internal amps. Won't be until early next year as I need to wait for some messy building work to be done, then a total room rebuild to fit in the ceiling speakers and two more subs (to make one in each corner).
       
    25. dante01

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      The same receivers are going to be going head to head with one another irrespective of whether they include Atmos and DTS:X or not. The AVRX2200W will be selling for less than a Yamaha RXV679. The Denon is for all intense purposes better spec'd than the Yamaha and includes Atmos and DTS:X. You'd not be disadvantaged by buying an entry level receiver including the new formats when compared to those that aren't and those that do not included the formats are going to offer the consumer less opportunity to expand and try out these new formats. Just because a new receiver includeds the new formats doesn't mean you have to use them and install additional speakers, but the option is there should you want it.
       
    26. KelvinS1965

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      I think you're assuming that fitting Atmos/DTS:X will make no difference to the amp in quality terms though: The extra cost of those parts (and extra amp channels) may have an impact in the overall sound quality of the AVR, though how much this would show being used with similarly low budget ancillaries is another matter. Therefore it isn't a given that 'you'd not be disadvantaged by buying an entry level receiver including the new formats' if you never have any intention to use them, just that you no longer have the option to use them.
       
    27. dante01

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      There are no extra amplification channels. The amplification is exactly as it was with last years 7.1 receivers. This year's Denon receivers are actually cheaper than last year and better spec'd. Compromises haven't been made in order to fascilitate Atmos and or DTS:X, in fact DTS:X requires the presence of superior processing when compared to those recevers lacking DTS:X.
       
    28. Garioch

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      Apologies for resurrecting such an old thread. This is a great article for newbies like myself to follow (so many thanks to the author) and has answered a question I spent last night researching, which was "are the speaker placements different for Auro 3D and Dolby Atmos?"

      It looks like the answer is a resounding "yes." (Many thanks to @wl1 for the attached images a few posts above).

      However, the article states the following:

      Just wondering if anyone has installed their overhead speakers in this manner (or similar) and what they think of the results? Does it do lessen the Atmos experience by moving the overhead speakers nearer the front and rears? I know that there are very few Auro 3D movies but I was curious about the Auro 3D music discs.

      Many thanks.
       
    29. dante01

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      You can effectively have an Auro3D speaker setup using heights that can also be used in conjunction with both Atmos and DTS:X. It w0uld however not be advisable to have a setup utilising ceiling speakers or upward firing speakers if your intention is to play Auro3D encoded content. Auro3D is still channel based and was mixed with this and mainly height as opposed to ceiling speakers in mind.

      Denon receivers allow the following configuration on their models that can be Auro£D enabled:

      [​IMG]


      I'd also suggest that Atmos performance will be compromised if using heights as opposed to ceiling speakers. Ceiling speakers give the best performance in conjunction with Atmos audio and are preferable to either heights or upward firing speakers.
       
    30. Garioch

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      Thanks @dante01

      I think on balance then and reading everything I have about Auro 3D (as well as following the advice on the AVforums podcasts), I'm definitely keen on a proper ceiling speaker setup to suit Atmos (as that'll be the majority of what I'll be watching).

      Now it just comes down to utilising a system, which supports all three or just stick with DTS:X / Atmos. I guess it'll come down to costs.
       

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