Denon and Marantz launch with Atmos
Among a wide range of new features, the top three models of new home theatre receivers from Denon and Marantz include Dolby Atmos audio decoding.
QualiFi, the Australian distributor of Denon and Marantz products, has showcased the brands’ latest home theatre receivers.
Both brands have also re-introduced AM – which has been missing for a few years – to their tuner sections.
Also featured in most models are:
• built-in WiFi with twin antennae.
• built in Bluetooth.
• full support for four ohm loudspeakers.
• HDMI 2.0 with support for 4K video at up to 60Hz.
• Direct Stream Digital (DSD) decoding.
• A tripod for the Audyssey calibration microphone.
There are seven models in the Denon line up, from the entry level AVR-X510BT to the top end AVR-X7200W. Marantz gets four new home theatre receiver models, from the slimline NR1605 to the SR7009, plus two high end surround decoder/pre-amps, the AV7702 and AV8802. These decoders include multichannel XLR outputs.
The Denon AVR-X510BT is the entry level model. It scores 5 x 70W, Bluetooth, six HDMI inputs, with two supporting full 4K – 4:4:4 and 24 bit colour – pass through. The AVR-X1100W moves up a step to 7 x 80W and adds all the features listed above, while the AVR-2100W increases power to 95W and has full 4K support on all eight of its HDMI inputs.
It also adds Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) calibration settings, while the AVR-X3100W introduces into the range full custom installation facilities, Zone 2 HDMI and a power boost to 105W for seven channels.
Dolby Atmos appears in the AVR-X4100W and above models. The AVR-X4100W can support the 5.1.4 (i.e. with four ceiling speakers) or 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos configuration with the use of two external power amplifiers, or 5.1.2 if it goes it alone. The nine channel AVR-X5200 can handle Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 on its own, or go to 7.1.4 with the addition of two external amplifiers.
Marantz’s new receivers follow a similar progression, although some traditional Marantz design elements such as toroidal transformers, Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules (HDAMs) and copper plated internal panels are used in several models. Dolby Atmos enters the range with the 9 x 125W SR7009.
At the launch QualiFi demonstrated a full 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos system, based on a pre-release Marantz SR7009, supplemented with an external two channel power amplifier, using Jamo speakers and subwoofers from Jamo and Sunfire. A wealth of Atmos material should soon be available on Blu-ray, starting with the Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Dolby Atmos allows audio to be created as more than a hundred individual sound ‘objects’ (a bullet whizzing past, for example, would be one object) in addition to a regular surround sound ‘bed’ of seven channels. This can be carried on regular Blu-ray disc in Dolby TrueHD format. The sound is an ‘extension’ which is ignored by decoders which are not equipped to support Atmos. The Atmos system takes all these elements and delivers them adjusted to work to best effect with the speaker system actually in place. Typical systems will involve the traditional five speakers plus two or four ceiling speakers and a subwoofer – known as 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 – or configurations with more ear-level speakers: 7.1.2, 7.1.4 and 9.1.2. The system supports up to 24.1.10, but few such implementations are expected.
The QualiFi demonstration used the Dolby Atmos demonstration Blu-ray disc, which contains a number of clips designed to show off the system. The results were impressive, with cinema-level sound volumes and a clear sense of precisely defined sound elements above the listener’s head; a clear advance over the Dolby Pro Logic IIz ‘height’ system from a couple of years ago.