Question Gearing up for PS5/Xbox - Dolby Atmos - AVR and small room speaker set advice

ukjackbauer

Member
Hello all - and sorry for the extra long subject title. I've got a lot of questions and felt rude spamming the forum with a different thread for each one...

Any and all advice from any souls kind enough to read all of the below would be much appreciated! Hopefully it's eventually of use to others, too.

(Seeing as I'm probably going to end up replacing literally all the AV equipment I own!)

All of the vital info first:

  • My living room is the home of my home cinema equipment. It's a very small room (approximately 6m x 5m).

  • My current audio setup is a Logitech z5500 5.1 system and speakers. It's given me 15 years of joy and I've never needed an AVR (until now) because I've outputted all 5.1 sound from each media device via optical cables into a "switchbox", which outputs one optical cable straight into the back of the Logitech system.

  • My TV is a Panasonic DX902B. I bought it for the 4K and HDR capabilities, and because it was the 4K TV with the best score in the HDTVtest input lag database at the time. I've been really disappointed with it since day one. It's always had banding issues, I've had the screen replaced twice due to permanent cloudy spots developing on the panel, and I've been looking for an excuse to upgrade for a while (despite it costing me £2,000, which isn't an easy sum of money for me to find, and I doubt I'll be able to sell it).

  • I suffer with light-based migraines, so most of the time I actually have the TV backlight at a maximum of around 15/100 (higher for HDR because I realise you can't really appreciate HDR content otherwise). I mention this because I read that a lot of the LG screens are super-bright, and that's not a selling point for me!

  • I'm a big gamer, and I've ordered an Xbox Series X which should be arriving in a month's time. Fingers crossed...

So...

With the new PlayStations and Xboxes just around the corner, I've realised that - at the very least - I've got to update my sound system. Why? Because the optical outputs have been culled. My sound system doesn't accept HDMI ports, and also, I'd quite like to try Dolby Atmos if I'm going to have to make a big change.

This also presents an opportunity to get rid of that damn optical cable switchbox, which is the bane of my life for many reasons, and replace it with an AVR. (It has to be manually switched, all my other remotes clash with the IR channels so it will unintentionally switch from one input to another at random intervals, etc.)

The worst part is that it seems I have to throw away the speakers and subwoofer (rather than connect them to a new system) - not just because they're not Dolby Atmos speakers, but because the Logitech control centre and subwoofer are hardwired together (and the subwoofer is what all the speakers connect into the back of).

I've done a little research into AVRs that support 8K/60hz, 4K/120hz, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, VRR, ALLM, HFR, HLG, eARC... (Let's just say 8K+ from now on.) All of which seems important in order to buy something future-proof as well as something that can cope with the older (still HDMI) consoles.

I was hoping to spend less than £1,000, and with that in mind, it's looking like my options are the Marantz NR1711 Slim, the Denon AVR-X2700H or the Yamaha RX-V6A (those last two, looking at the owners threads, seem to be having some firmware issues at the moment).

Most of those systems only have a single 8K-capable input port. For example, here's the rear of the Marantz NR1711 Slim:

mz_nr1711_n_re_sg_001_hi__large_full.jpg

So, at last, the questions...

  • Am I right in thinking that I could connect any 8K+ devices directly into an 8K+ TV that supported eARC, and that Dolby Atmos would be passed through to an AVR via the HDMI cable connecting the TV to the AVR? (I worry about this because, for example, my Panasonic TV will only passthrough stereo sound via the optical out, which I read was because they refused to pay for a Dolby license.)

  • If the above is correct on all 8K+ TVs, would there be any real downside to doing that, as opposed to having an AVR with many 8K+ HDMI ports and connecting directly to that?

  • If there is no real downside, and I bought an 8K+ eARC TV, am I not better off buying a cheaper eARC-supporting Dolby-Atmos-supporting AVR?

And finally...

Seeing as I'm going to have to replace all my speakers etc., I've been looking at buying a new set of Dolby Atmos speakers to go with the AVR. (A package deal of some sort would be wonderful.)

The only small-room set I can find (I can't stress enough how small the room is - it's been great with my current 5.1 setup but that's because the speakers are all tiny)... is this Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 set.

I've read a few reviews that say they're nowhere near as good as "proper speakers" - and I'm sure that's true but realistically, I don't think I can fit bigger speakers than those into my living room (and I can't have the sound too loud anyway because of the neighbours).

  • Is the Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 set a good set?

  • Would they work with the AVRs I mentioned above?

  • Is the consensus that I won't notice Dolby Atmos in such a small room anyway?

  • Is there any alternative speaker set for a Dolby Atmos setup in a small room, other than a soundbar? (Which, surely, is going to sound worse when I've got used to an actual 5.1 setup?)

Thanks so much. Really sorry this is such a huge post.

(I didn't even get to ask for TV recommendations...)
 
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Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
HDMI Features - avoid falling into the pitfall of trying to ‘shorthand’ your requirements, the majority of supported ‘features’ are optional so never assume a feature is automatically supported.

HDMI.org actually mandate that licensed adopters not label HDMI sockets as ‘4K’ or ‘8K’ unless they also list the supported features of a socket somewhere close to the 4K/8K label.

AVR manufacturers are desperately trying to grab sales so most/all devices which are advertised as supporting the latest features all carry a ‘at a future date’ warning so you are going to see lots of folk with issues for a while until the source devices, appropriate content and firmware updates settle down.

eARC does allow for the TV to become the audio ‘hub’ and many argue that to get the most out of some of the new video features the latest consoles support you want to connect the Source direct to the TV (so plenty of fully featured inputs required on the TV) and use eARC out to an eARC enabled AVR for audio.

Immersive audio is possible in a small room assuming you can place suitable speakers in the appropriate positions.

Budget - you may want to start with an eARC enabled TV and AVR and less than a full compliment of loudspeakers and add additional speakers when budget arrives.

Early days for many of the features you require so there will be hiccups along the way no matter which kit you go for.

Joe
 

Broadsword

Well-known Member
Haha, I only got as far as 6m by 5m being a very small room lol. You then stress how small it is later on. Is that a typo?

If I were you I would be patient and skip this years AVR’s and wait till next year. I think everything is being rushed and the features are at a minimum, hopefully next year everything will mature and you won’t wish you had waited.
 
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