Thinking about Atmos....if I go back to a receiver will I regret it?

Pollywoggle

Well-known Member
I have been busy with other things so my home cinema system has become dated , it's a 5.1 setup as follows:
Nakimichi AV1 processor, Emotiva XPA5, Oppo 105 Blu-ray that I also use to utilise my sonos via the Oppo's sabre dacs.
Speakers are a front three XTZ 99.25s...two XTZ 93 rears and a couple of Seaton Submersive subs controlled by an SVS AS-EQ1 equaliser.

I would say I enjoy Music and movies 50/50, I have been happy with my system but I realise I am probably missing out on the latest developments like Atmos and no proper EQ like ARC or Dirac. Maybe it is time to upgrade.
Budget is a consideration so I will be looking to source some items second hand hopefully.

WAF is important and I haven't loads of rack space so I dont really want to get a better processor and start adding power amps to the XPA5.
Obviously I'm going to need to look into Atmos speakers etc or some kind of add ons?

I'm thinking of maybe getting a decent receiver like the Anthem MRX1120 as it would be handy to have a one box solution and be tidier with cables etc...but..... will a receiver like the Anthem still sound beefy as when I have had receivers (admittedly much cheaper) in the past they have always sounded weak compared to my meaty XPA5?

I would be grateful for any advice or ideas:)
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Can't tell you whether or not you'll like Atmos but there's more to it than Atmos encoded films and broadcasts. With the upmixing modes of Dolby Surround and DTS Neural it really can breathe new life into old discs. Some people find it underwhelming and disappointing mainly because they expect to much. At the moment I'm sitting listening to the Hans Zimmer blu ray with an Atmos soundtrack and it sounds amazing. Fourth night on the bounce I've had it on because of poxy fireworks driving my dog to distraction and this disc does calm her.

As for speakers in ceiling is going to be best but if you don't want to cut holes in a pristine ceiling then good quality upfiring modules can and do work very well indeed. I've been running upfiring KEF R50s for some six years now and would never go back to a base level speaker layout.

Any new receiver or processor is going to have Atmos and DTS onboard, more likely than not the other modes of Auro-3D and Imax Enchanced.
 

Pollywoggle

Well-known Member
Thats interesting, I have mentioned possible "upgrades" to my other half and she thinks that it might be a waste of time due to lack of suitable material?

We borrow blu-rays from Cinema Paradiso and use Netflix and she thinks we won't get any benefit from the modern formats?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I would say 80% of my viewing and therefore listening is of non Atmos content yet the Dolby Surround upmixing mode does a pretty good job of bringing into use those Atmos speakers. With modules the front soundstage always seems 'taller'.

Streaming services are bringing more and more Atmos content to their programmes carried by the Dolby Digital Plus stream. Some of these give very good Atmos effects.

The ceiling isn't going to come alive with sound. Just stand outside and listen for sound above you, there's very little unless you live under Heathrow's approach path. It's subtle and once you realise that you can start to notice the subtle effects such as leaves blowing in the wind above, bird song but it's not as in your face as a helicopter flying over, which you will hear if it's called for.

There are plenty of films out there that do have good Atmos effects, especially the action packed movies such as Mad Max. To me one of the best Atmos scenes is from the film Everest when the storm hits. It will totally envelop you, brilliantly done.

With Neural X, especially from DTS HD 5.1 soundtracks it is, to me, better than Dolby Surround. I have the TV series Black Sails which is already blessed with a cracking DTS MA 5.1. During the seabourn scenes you have pirates stamping on the deck right above your head and waves breaking over you in the storm sequences.

As I said, it won't hit you in the face, just grow with it and I'm sure you'll enjoy both native Atmos and DTS:X as well as the upmixing modes.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
We borrow blu-rays from Cinema Paradiso and use Netflix and she thinks we won't get any benefit from the modern formats?
So do I and quite a high percentage of my viewing (at least of films and certain series) have an Atmos soundtrack. You usually have to get the UHD disc to get Atmos as some BluRays don't have an Atmos soundtrack, when the UHD version does. Not like it costs anymore either; I just select 4K disc if it is available.

It depends on what device you use for Netflix; I use an AppleTV box, but I'm sure other devices can provide Atmos where it is available: My Sony X800 doesn't give me Atmos from Netflix, but does from disc hence getting the ATV.
 

Pollywoggle

Well-known Member
Letting you know I have an AVM60 at a very good price up in the classifieds ;) ;)
Yes I have seen that as it is an option but I reckon by the time I have bought some amplification it will cost me as much as a receiver?
Also I am hoping to simplify my system and save some space in my rack if possible.
 

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