Archive for category AV Receivers
I started out by streaming two-channel music using built-in apps and from my iPhone using both AirPlay and Chromecast through the Synchrony One towers with no subwoofer. The Onkyo was not happy when I attempted to stream high-res audio from Qobuz via Chromecast, stuttering and locking up at time. (I’ll put this down to the fact that the service hasn’t officially launched yet in North America, and I was using an overseas-based press preview account.) Other music streaming services worked fine via Chromecast. Listened to on Tidal, Joe Cocker’s superb cover of Bob Dylan’s “Seven Days” recorded with Sly and Robbie on drums and bass revealed a nicely fleshed out, punchy sound, with plenty of bottom-end kick. Any lingering concerns I had about the amp’s ability to drive the Synchrony towers were quickly put to bed, and I was able to crank the music up nice and loud without having the sound turn raw and thin.”
A foray into using a 5.1.4 speaker setup arguably suited the Marantz even better than 7.1.2. This array added more height detail and made the soundstage feel more expansive at lower volumes too. Dense scenes within the City of a Thousand Planets, from Valerian… (4K BD) are suitably warm and stifling. Each neighbourhood is filled with its own charm, the Marantz missing little in bringing both the earthy grime and vibrancy to the film’s soundscape.
In general, the SR7012 acquits itself as a solid and sophisticated performer, if not an all-action monster. My Fifth Element 4K UHD reference Atmos disc is perfectly accurate and enjoyable but, when the scenes hot up, this does lack that last degree of grunt compared to more potent (and more expensive) AVRs. It’s a better bet for smaller speaker packages and systems. Add to this the formidable feature set and stellar performance with stereo music, and it’s warmly recommended.”
The CX-A5200 is another great example of Yamaha’s multichannel expertise. The AI embellishment feels less like a gimmick and more of a genuine feature that can enhance your enjoyment of surround soundtracks. I’m not so enamoured of all the DSP settings, which do feel like a gimmick to me, but I know they have their fans.
If you already own the CX-A5100, Surround:AI might not be a compelling reason to upgrade; the predecessor is still a cracking processor. But if you’re thinking of going the separates route and building a multichannel system, the CX-A5200 is a serious contender. It looks great and sounds even better, has a host of features and the build quality of a Rolls Royce, and a price that is highly competitive. Best of all, it can make your surround sound smarter…
“The 13-channel decoding in the AVR-X8500H can be configured in either 9.1.4 or 7.1.6 layouts. The 9.1.4 option returns use of Front Wide speakers, which Denon had stopped supporting for a couple years to some owners’ dismay. Be advised that, in Dolby Atmos, only sounds specifically encoded as objects will pass through the Front Wide channels, and the Dolby Surround Upmixer ignores them altogether. DTS:X and the DTS Neural:X up-mixer may put those speakers to more use.
If Front Wides are not of interest to you, the two additional channels can be used for height speakers instead. Previous mass-market receivers were limited to four height channels of sound, the most typical arrangement for which was Top Front and Top Rear designations. In most rooms, that should be enough to provide strong height effects with separation and directionality. When an airplane or helicopter is supposed to fly overhead, you can hear it move from the front to the back of the room or vice versa. On the other hand, four channels may not be enough for particularly large rooms or those with challenging physical limitations. My own home theater has a low ceiling which, when combined with the distance between Top Front and Top Rear speakers, left me with an auditory hole above my head. Adding two more speakers in Top Middle positions helps to anchor sounds where they did not image adequately before.