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Hello I’m looking to upgrade my existing receiver and was wondering which one you guys would recommend I have a 9.2 system with front wides.   I have three I’m considering 

Denon AVR-X8500H

Pioneer Elite SC-LX901

Integra DRX-R1

 Thanks

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AVRs can last a long time but they tend to become obsolete very quickly, at least in terms of video capabilities.  If you have one that is 15 years old then it probably doesn't have HDMI of any kind, never mind the latest HDMI spec.

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I have the Denon  4400 and absolutely love it, its feature rich and performs excellent

 

 

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Just added the Integra DTR9.2 to my home theater.  Still waiting for my dealer to swap AVRs in my C4 project, but hooked it up anyway since I couldn't wait to start playing with it.  Currently 7.1 and planning Atmos install, but even the difference in my mains from the old AVR was incredible.

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Is there much content encoded for 9.X (or even 7.X)?  Is there much to be gained in going beyond 5.1?

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The DTR-9.2 (like many AVRs in this "category/class") has 9 amplified channels and the ability to decode 11.2 channels.

The 2 subs are externally amplified.  The AVR does 7 main channels (LCR, Surround R/L, and Rear Surround R/L) and then gives you the option to use the other 4 channels in a variety of different configurations.  The most popular is 4-speaker Atmos setups with Front R/L and Rear R/L channels. That gets you to 11 channels, two of which you need to use an external amplifier to power. Other people use "front height" speakers, if installing ceiling speakers is vetoed due to cabling concerns or Wife Acceptance Factor.

There is a ton of stuff encoded in 7.x and some in Atmos.  I've never seen anything labeled as "9.2" or "7.2.4" or anything, but you will see "Atmos" on the Blu-Ray box.  Dolby has a list that they update regularly of Atmos encoded titles, it's currently 11 pages long. https://www.dolby.com/us/en/experience/dolby-atmos/bluray-and-streaming/us.pdf

There's an unofficial (but accurate) list of 7.1 encoded discs here: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=159814

I've not yet installed my Atmos speakers, but I've been running 7.1 for quite a while.  The jump from 5.1 to 7.1 is impressive, but not earth shattering.  The first time I heard Atmos in a friend's theater I said to my wife "we have to do this".  When we built our new house, I prewired for 4 Atmos speakers in the ceiling, and I'll be installing them ASAP.  The move from 5.1 or 7.1 to Atmos changes the entire movie experience.

I'm happy to keep going on about it if you like, but there's tons of information and a very active community over at avsforum.com

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Definitely doing 7.2.4 in the media room I am currently building. 7.1 has been out for a long time (2010-2011) so there is a lot of content. Atmos is becoming the next step up and is gaining traction

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Ok thanks.  I will have to look into Atmos.  What type of sources use Atmos these days?  Just BluRay and UHD discs or is other content, like streaming movies/TVs from Netflix, Amazon, etc in Atmos as well.

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And do you have to go crazy high end with speaker quality or could you use 2-4 reasonably ceiling speakers to get the effect for the Atmos speakers?

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I have a Pioneer SC-57 set up in a 9 channel configuration. It’s a workhorse. My only issue with it is no onscreen volume display. Not a big deal, but I believe your other two choices have it. I don’t know for the new Pioneer units do?

IMHO, you don’t need your ATMOS speakers to be anything outrageous. They aren’t going to do much on the lower frequency ranges and are primarily for ambient effects. I find that most in wall/ceiling speaker do the trick just fine.

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I would select medium-grade speakers at a minimum for your Atmos speakers.  They do not need to go low frequency, as F0ZZ says, so in ceiling speakers work really well if your room will support them.  However the sound effects coming from them tend to be - for lack of a better term - very "distinct".  Think rain drops falling, helicopter blades whirling, etc. So you want something responsive enough to handle rapid cone velocity changes.

All that said, bargain basement Atmos speakers are probably better than no Atmos speakers, so buy what you can afford.  I'd target somewhere around the price/quality of your right and left surrounds.

ETA: Netflix supports Atmos, but I'm not sure what tier of subscription you need to get it, and not all streamers will pass the Atmos stream to the AVR.  My AppleTV 4k supports it as well, though I've not checked to see if there are non-4k titles with Atmos, or if it's limited to 4k/UHD titles.

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10 minutes ago, livitup said:

I would select medium-grade speakers at a minimum for your Atmos speakers.  They do not need to go low frequency, as F0ZZ says, so in ceiling speakers work really well if your room will support them.  However the sound effects coming from them tend to be - for lack of a better term - very "distinct".  Think rain drops falling, helicopter blades whirling, etc.

Too bad Apocalypse Now wasn't mastered with Atmos.  The "Charlie Don't Surf!" scene would be awesome.

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14 minutes ago, livitup said:

ETA: Netflix supports Atmos, but I'm not sure what tier of subscription you need to get it, and not all streamers will pass the Atmos stream to the AVR.  My AppleTV 4k supports it as well, though I've not checked to see if there are non-4k titles with Atmos, or if it's limited to 4k/UHD titles.

Here is what the Netflix website says - first you need a plan that supports streaming in UHD -  interesting that they don't list ATV - but perhaps this list is out of date now.

The following devices support Dolby Atmos with Netflix:

  • Xbox One

  • Xbox One S

  • Xbox One X

  • 2017 LG OLED TVs

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Sorry, I should have been more specific.  I've used AppleTV to watch 4k/UHD movies from iTunes, which are also advertised as having Atmos (which I can't yet take advantage of).  I don't use ATVs for Netflix, so I don't know if Netflix will push Atmos to an AppleTV.  I know that Netflix in general supports Atmos, but I haven't ever paid attention to what streaming devices will work with it.  I believe Vudu also does Atmos, but again not sure if it's tied to UHD titles or if they have some HDX with Atmos.

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2 hours ago, zaphod said:

Ok thanks.  I will have to look into Atmos.  What type of sources use Atmos these days?  Just BluRay and UHD discs or is other content, like streaming movies/TVs from Netflix, Amazon, etc in Atmos as well.

I find that Blu-ray Atmos support is very sporadic. Seems that most of the new UHDs have it (though the requisite included Blu-ray disc generally still lacks Atmos). As mentioned above, I know Vudu has Atmos support and Netflix supports on certain devices with their UHD plan (don't think you need near the bandwidth to support Atmos as you do 4k). Not sure about the Apple TV--sounds like they may have added recently as I don't think they had it at release. 

Would certainly not consider getting a receiver without Atmos support if you're shopping for a new one though as it's becoming the new standard. Seems like it'd be hard to find a 2017-18 model without Atmos support though--more a concern if you're looking in the after-market space. 

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41 minutes ago, rea said:

Would certainly not consider getting a receiver without Atmos support if you're shopping for a new one though as it's becoming the new standard. Seems like it'd be hard to find a 2017-18 model without Atmos support though--more a concern if you're looking in the after-market space. 

That makes sense although if you are getting the AVR for a secondary or tertiary location in your house then you may not care about Atmos since you are unlikely to have a plethora of speakers in such locations.

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Is there much content encoded for 9.X (or even 7.X)?  Is there much to be gained in going beyond 5.1?

I'm on 7.1 with a Sony ES1800 and Kef e305s

 

Set up as front side and back. You hear a lot from all of them and with the rear mounted fairly high (family room logistics) the effects are pretty cool.

 

Friends kids looking behind is often fun. The LFE on polar express also gets their attention!

 

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21 minutes ago, zaphod said:

That makes sense although if you are getting the AVR for a secondary or tertiary location in your house then you may not care about Atmos since you are unlikely to have a plethora of speakers in such locations.

True. And in those situations you may even get more bang for your buck with a dedicated amp anyway unless you need all the inputs with the AVR. 

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2 minutes ago, rea said:

True. And in those situations you may even get more bang for your buck with a dedicated amp anyway unless you need all the inputs with the AVR. 

You mean like a C4 matrix amp?  Or Triad One?

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Not necessarily. I was mostly just saying you can likely get more power for your passive speakers in your hypothetical  zones not needing 7.1/Atmos for less money if you just got an amp and allowed the TV to handle the sources (most have 4-5 HDMI inputs these days).

Would really only need/want a matrix amp or Triad One if you want the zone connected in your whole-home environment. An AVR won't do that for you either so I wasn't really considering that when I brought the amp up, but certainly always an option. Whether you just want local amplification or connected is another fun C4 rabbit hole to jump down, haha. 

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9 minutes ago, rea said:

Not necessarily. I was mostly just saying you can likely get more power for your passive speakers in your hypothetical  zones not needing 7.1/Atmos for less money if you just got an amp and allowed the TV to handle the sources (most have 4-5 HDMI inputs these days).

Would really only need/want a matrix amp or Triad One if you want the zone connected in your whole-home environment. An AVR won't do that for you either so I wasn't really considering that when I brought the amp up, but certainly always an option. Whether you just want local amplification or connected is another fun C4 rabbit hole to jump down, haha. 

i.e. this 2 channel amp is about 5% the cost of the Integra: https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Source-AMP100VS-Channel-Amplifier/dp/B00ZSEFU94/ref=pd_ybh_a_6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=WV1Y5P693NMFBQZ594T7

If you have a TV with enough inputs to handle all the sources, and the TV also has an audio output jack (most do these days), then that amp is all you would need to have two speakers in the room with the TV.  If the TV only has optical audio output (often the case) then you would also need one of these: https://www.amazon.com/PROZOR-Digital-Converter-Toslink-Adapter/dp/B00KNNSKV0/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1517004930&sr=1-3&keywords=spdif+to+analog+converter for a whopping additional $12.

C4 can still control the TV, selecting sources and such, and the audio selection will naturally follow, and always be piped out to the local amp and speakers.

This solution works great if you have a TV stand or cabinet or something (with the local source boxes - cable/dvd/etc.) that you can put the amp in/on and just a single pair of speakers in the room dedicated to the TV.

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8 minutes ago, livitup said:

i.e. this 2 channel amp is about 5% the cost of the Integra: https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Source-AMP100VS-Channel-Amplifier/dp/B00ZSEFU94/ref=pd_ybh_a_6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=WV1Y5P693NMFBQZ594T7

If you have a TV with enough inputs to handle all the sources, and the TV also has an audio output jack (most do these days), then that amp is all you would need to have two speakers in the room with the TV.  If the TV only has optical audio output (often the case) then you would also need one of these: https://www.amazon.com/PROZOR-Digital-Converter-Toslink-Adapter/dp/B00KNNSKV0/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1517004930&sr=1-3&keywords=spdif+to+analog+converter for a whopping additional $12.

C4 can still control the TV, selecting sources and such, and the audio selection will naturally follow, and always be piped out to the local amp and speakers.

This solution works great if you have a TV stand or cabinet or something (with the local source boxes - cable/dvd/etc.) that you can put the amp in/on and just a single pair of speakers in the room dedicated to the TV.

Not all tv's have variable volume out, especially toslink out so that amp wouldn't particularly be an option in many cases

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