Affordable Dolby Atmos

If you haven’t heard Dolby Atmos in action yet, you’re overdue to visit us. Atmos is the most exciting innovation in home theater sound since 1997 when the DVD came out and offered full range, discrete rear channels. When you hear Atmos set up right, you’ll be as impressed by the immersion factor as we are, I promise.

Atmos has been out since early 2014. The first receivers were about $2k, which isn’t bad at all considering it was first wave and the improvement was dramatic. It’s nice that Marantz and others had a one box solution for about $2k.

The second wave of receivers to feature Atmos is just landing. It brings Atmos to a lower price point. But you gotta be careful! Most of these new receivers only process Atmos in two channels. That’s NOT GOOD ENOUGH! You need the Atmos to be processed in 4 channels.

The first receiver to do this is the Marantz SR-6010, $1400. The SR-5010 at $900 only processes Atmos into two channels. Get the SR-6010!

A properly set up Atmos system is 5.1.4. Or 7.1.4
You know about 5.1. You could also do 7.1, but most of our customers do 5.1
The 5.1.4 is the inclusion of 4 Atmos ceiling speakers. You need four to do it right.

Marantz SR6010 front

Marantz SR 6010

Marantz has just introduced its SR-6010 surround sound receiver with Dolby Atmos, 4 Atmos channels processed. It runs $1400 and has 7×110 of power. When you do the high level math, you’ll notice that 5.1.4 requires nine channels of amplification. There are seven in SR-6010. So you need two more.

One way to go is to add a muscular power amp to drive your right and left front speakers.
Let the seven channels in the receiver drive the remaining channels. A nice choice is the Emotiva XPA-200 power amp. It runs $500, 150×2. The XPA-200 is a much better amp than any of the channels built into any receiver. Take advantage of XPA-200 to get more out of your wing speakers- the L&R fronts. SR-6010 with XPA-2 runs $1900. Not so bad!

Emotiva XPA-2

Emotiva XPA-2

But, why not go a step further? The fact is that all receivers cheat on their wattage rating. If you take any receiver and test it with all channels driven simultaneously, the power falls by 30% or more. Yep, your 100w surround receiver will do well to top out at 70×5 while actually working. They’re throwing us a knuckleball with their power ratings, sorry to say.

So here’s what I’d like you to consider. Buy SR-6010 and an Emotiva XPA-5 power amp, $1000, 200×5. The package will run you just $2400. Marantz charges $2200 for its SR-7010 surround receiver. While it claims 125×9, with all channels driven, it’s more like 87.5 x9. If you run XPA-5 for your 5 main channels, you have a legitimate sledgehammer of 200×5 for all your main speakers. You can run the four ceiling speakers with the amps built in the receiver.

For $2400 total, you slaughter ANY surround receiver’s performance! The improvement in attack, control and sheer detail is dramatically improved when you add the Emo to the equation!