Dolby Digital (as well as DTS) 5.1 surround sound was one of the best things ever to come to the home theater world. A surround sound system, combined with an impressively large high definition display (preferably a home theater screen and projector) turns movie watching into a total sensory experience. That experience is getting an upgrade with the introduction of Dolby Atmos.
Dolby Atmos is the newest surround sound system, but it’s much more than just adding additional audio channels (read more about Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D here). Atmos adds speakers to your ceiling and turns channels into sound objects that adds more realism and immersion to the home theater experience.
Making the upgrade to Dolby Atmos requires some new hardware, and the most important piece is your surround sound AV receiver. Some new receivers can be upgraded with a firmware download from the internet, while others come ready for Atmos soundtracks right out of the box.
Check out these recommendations for a new Dolby Atmos home theater receiver:
The Marantz SR7009 has nine discrete amplifier channels with 125 watts of power each. Plus with four DSP (Digital Sound Processing) engines, the Marantz AVR can do up to 11.2 channels (with an extra amp). It also includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, as well as support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The SR7009 can support 4K and 3D and has a solid aluminum trap door on the front to hide control buttons and connections. Other features include the latest current feedback topology, new Marantz HDAMs, Audyssey MultEQ XT room calibration, Audyssey DSX and dts-Neo:X, eight HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs, and a phono input. $1,999
Yamaha Adventage RX-A3040
The 9.2-channel RX-A3040 is the top-of-the-line model, with the ability to expand to 11.2 channels. It also has Yamaha’s own CINEMA DSP HD technology, an ESS Technology 192 kHz/32-bit ES9016 DAC for the seven main channels, and an ESS ES9006 SABRE Premier Audio DAC for the others. Other features include HDMI multi-zone switching (with HDMI 2.0), WiFi, and the YPAO – R.S.C. (Reflected Sound Control) with 3D calibration system, video upconversion to 4K 60p, AirPlay, HTC Connect, and access to Pandora, Spotify Connect, Rhapsody, SiriusXM and vTuner out of the box. $2,199.
The Integra DHC-80.6 is a THX Ultra2 Plus-certified 11.2-channel network AV preamp (a separate amplifier is required). It has eight HDMI 2.0 inputs and three output.. It also has 11.2 multichannel balanced XLR pre-outs, two-channel balanced XLR audio inputs, 11.2 multichannel pre-outs, and audio-grade 18 mm-pitch RCA pre-outs. You also get HDBaseT technology for whole-house distribution and connectivity over a single Cat5e/6 cable with this Integra receiver. It promises support up to 325 feet for uncompressed full HD multimedia content, including 3D and 2K/4K Ultra HD. According to Integra, the HDBaseT and HDMI output ports on all of the new AVRs can be assigned for main or second zone configuration. $3,200