What do I need for Dolby Atmos and DTS X?

Jesse Skeen

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I'm almost embarrassed to have to be asking this question as up until now I've known everything about sound (haven't even had a setup without surround since 1989), but after looking through options I'm just a bit confused. What I would LIKE to do is replace my current 7.1 receiver (which doesn't do Atmos) with another receiver that does do Atmos but WITHOUT the use of any additional amplifiers! If I'm reading the instructions for some of these correctly, you need an additional amplifier or more to run the extra Atmos speakers, OR you can disable the two rear-surround channels and play the Atmos channels through those instead. I of course want ALL channels to be working and not have to give any of them up. (Currently Atmos sound tracks play as 7.1 on my system; I would assume that they're intended to be heard that way with additional speakers for Atmos.) Some have terminals to hook up 9 speakers, but it appears that for Atmos it won't actually put sound out through all 9 of them at once, again forcing you to either disable some channels or use another amplifier to run the Atmos speakers.

I have limited space right now (limited funds also) and it would just be a mess to have more than one "box" powering the sound. If it's not possible to do this with just one receiver/amplifier unit that can drive all the speakers, then I might just have to forego Atmos for the time being.
 

BaconFat

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You need to get a 9.1 AVR. Don't know how much you can spend, but you should look for a 2014/2015 model if your budget is tight. I'm thinking a Denon X5200 or X7200 would work for you.
 

Jesse Skeen

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So if it specifically says "9.1" then I can at least keep my current 7.1 setup and add 2 more speakers for Atmos? I looked at the manual online for the Marantz SR7010 and it still looked like that wasn't possible (it shows a number of speaker configurations and you have to choose one) but will take a closer look. I'll probably end up buying a higher-priced receiver just because those seem to be the only ones that still have discrete 7.1 channel analog inputs- I don't want to give that up as my current receiver has that.
 

BaconFat

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If you look a little closer at the SR7010 description you'll see that this avr can actually process 11 channels with 9 channels handled by the internal amps and the two additional channels managed by an external amp. So in your case you could do 7.1.2 without an external amp.
 

Jesse Skeen

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Does the .2 in "7.1.2" refer to the Atmos channels? That's another thing I haven't quite gotten yet. If I'm confused, I can't imagine what the average people think of all this.
 

BaconFat

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Does the .2 in "7.1.2" refer to the Atmos channels? ...
Yeah, it took me a while to get it squared away in my head too. And then there's variations of Atmos speaker configurations to add to the confusion. You can have front and/or rear height locations, which are placed on the wall as close to the ceiling as possible. A combination of one or two of the ceiling positions(Top Front, Top Middle and Top Rear). Or a combination of one height position and one ceiling position. You can also have a single Voice of God(VOG) speaker which is placed over the MLP. Oh yeah, there's also upfiring "Atmos" speakers which are placed on top of your LF/RF and/or surround speakers that bounce the audio off the ceiling. Then you could also configure for Auro 3-D which uses the front height and side height positions. Auro is an upgrade that you have to pay for and I'm not aware of any audio source that uses Auro.
 

Jesse Skeen

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Thanks a lot for your answers- gives me a better idea of what I need to get. Seems a lot of receivers have Dolby Atmos but some of them need another amp hooked up to actually use that function, which is something I want to avoid. I know Atmos doesn't have a "correct" number of speakers and it'll configure itself to however many you have, so I should be able to get away with just having two extra ones (I plan to get the ones that aim upwards as I can't install speakers in the ceiling.) Someone please correct me if I'm wrong about that.
 

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