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Looking for a decoder device for new Atmos Setup (1 Viewer)

Doug2000

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Never built a home theater system before so looking for some help finding the right hdmi decoding ”device”. So far I’ve only purchased the TV (TCL 75” Class 6 Roku TV. Model: 75R635). My plan is to run all powered speakers so I don’t need an amp (or a classic AVR). I will run audio (via the eARC HDMI port from the TV) to a decoder/DAC/preamp device and then balanced XLR line level to the powered speakers. Planning for at least 9 speakers + two subs to start, but want capacity to add additional surround/atmos speakers in the future. What device should I use for decoding? Looks like Trinnov makes something but really expensive/complicated. I‘m looking for something simple that’s set-and-forget.

I would not be opposed to running a separate DAC so a decoder device that takes in an HDMI and outputs separate lossless PCM channels for each speaker (in ADAT, AES or Dante) would also work.

New to home theater but I have a pro audio background.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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You're probably looking at something like this:
 

JohnRice

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Do you have a target budget? You basically need a surround preamp like the one linked above, or a surround receiver that has full preamp outputs. Ones that have XLR outputs will be in the higher price range, but you can always get a regular model and use RCA to XLR cables.
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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As others have noted, you will need a pre-pro like the Marantz Peter linked. But honestly, it’ll be much cheaper to get a mid-line receiver. It will have the same processing capabilities - you don’t have to use the built-in amplifiers.

I‘m looking for something simple that’s set-and-forget.
Home theater pre-pros or AVRs are “set and forget,” but there isn’t anything simple about any of them.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

Doug2000

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Do you have a target budget? You basically need a surround preamp like the one linked above, or a surround receiver that has full preamp outputs. Ones that have XLR outputs will be in the higher price range, but you can always get a regular model and use RCA to XLR cables.
Budget? Not sure I know enough yet to set a budget. I did write down an preliminary list of the powered speakers I‘m considering and it totaled north of $12,000. But making a lists and plunking down the cash are two different things. We will see…
 

Doug2000

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Thanks for the replies. Searching ‘atmos preamps’ i see in addition to marantz an Trinnov (two names I’m familiar with) there are some others: anthem, rotel, arcam, nad (sure there are more still) - Any general advice on these brands? any ones to avoid? Inherent strengths/ weaknesses? Personal preferences? What should my research look for?

Generally speaking, Should i be worried about lip synch issues? I guess im concerned because if i have a problem i wont know till the end and I really won’t know how to fix it.

Do these preamps have auto calibration? thought i saw some include there own measurement mic. Can you do a manual override. What are most folks doing?

Last newb question (for now): What happens when you play 2 channel stereo music through these surround systems. Would prefer to just get signal from front left and right (+ subs)? As i plan to use bigger n better speakers in the FL & FR positions for 2 channel stereo playback.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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Most of those brands are solid. You'll probably find a number of people here have a Marantz (I use a Denon receiver but hope to upgrade at some point soon).

No worries about lip sync - they should all have a setting to adjust it.

The ones with mics have some sort of auto calibration (Audyssey, etc.). You'll find opinions vary as to their usefulness but they can always be manually adjusted.

For 2-channel music, you would set the processor to something like "bypass" or "direct" (or whatever the particular manufacturer calls it) which would bypass the surround circuitry.
 

DanH1972

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Thanks for the replies. Searching ‘atmos preamps’ i see in addition to marantz an Trinnov (two names I’m familiar with) there are some others: anthem, rotel, arcam, nad (sure there are more still) - Any general advice on these brands? any ones to avoid? Inherent strengths/ weaknesses? Personal preferences? What should my research look for?

Generally speaking, Should i be worried about lip synch issues? I guess im concerned because if i have a problem i wont know till the end and I really won’t know how to fix it.

Do these preamps have auto calibration? thought i saw some include there own measurement mic. Can you do a manual override. What are most folks doing?

Last newb question (for now): What happens when you play 2 channel stereo music through these surround systems. Would prefer to just get signal from front left and right (+ subs)? As i plan to use bigger n better speakers in the FL & FR positions for 2 channel stereo playback.
I would consider the Monolith HTP-1 built by ATI. It has 9.1.6 Dolby Atmos processing, an upcoming DTS: X Pro update (to also allow 9.1.6 with DTS soundtracks), and even Auro3D that is channel-mapped by ATI to work within a Dolby Atmos speaker configuration (so you don't have to use two speaker layouts for a third immersive format that is barely surviving in the market). It uses Dirac auto calibration software. You only need to buy a Dirac friendly calibration mic, but they are not expensive and this allows you to choose the one that best fits your needs.

Monoprice is touting this as HDMI 2.1 upgradeable with a future board swap.

Best bang for the buck if you have a few coins to spend on an upgrade friendly pre-amp/processor with high quality sound and many neat features for the money.
 

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