Is Dolby Digital EX/DTS-ES in matrix mode worth getting?


Standard Member
I'm looking for a 5 channel receiver.

Current favourite is Denon AVR-1603 which I can get for £230.

But for around 50 quid more I can the Yamaha RXV-530 or Marantz SR4300 which have DTS-ES/Dolby Digital EX processing to give a 'phantom' rear channel.

Does this feature make a huge difference?

Has anyone tried one of these 'new' receivers? Do they really exist yet as I've phoned around a few places and although they are advertised, they're never in stock!!

I'll be using it for music and movies and I have Mission M73 main speakers. Any help appreciated...

Jason S

It's not a phantom rear but a rear centre matrixed into the l/r surrounds. So effectively it's a 6 channel reciever (exc. Sub)

For me, yes it's worth the extra £50

I don't have any of the recievers you've listed, but I do have the yamaha rx-v630rds which is widely available, and perfroms exceptionally well for the price.

You may find that if music is a priority you should choose the amp based on the 2-channel performance with music. But for home cinema I'd seriously consider the ES/EX option.


Standard Member

Thanks for the reply. But I've taken the plunge already :) and ordered the......

Denon 1603

My reasoning I guess was that EX/ES processing was meaningless unless you had a true 6 channel amplifier and I dont really have a budget/living space for an extra speaker.

Still would like to hear from anyone who has EX/ES decoders but only a 5.1 amplifier......


I know this is an old thread, but I wondered how the Denon 1603 had performed since you got it as I was thinking about buying one?




Standard Member

The amp is OK, but given another chance I may have got the Marantz SR4300 instead. When I bought it, the Marantz wasnt readily available yet and I wasnt sure about Marantz's reliability.

Plus points:

Good connections for a £230 amp
DD/DTS/PL2 movie sound are all good. (Rears seem a bit quiet so I've had to adjust their gain, but once done its OK)
Reliability - No problems yet

Minus points:

Music is not as good as my £150 Rotel 820AX amp that I bought over 10 years ago.
Remote works with all my other AV equipment but lacking some useful functions (eg Record on VCR, Mute on TV).
During long silent periods on film (in DTS), it can switch to PL2 by mistake which is annoying.

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