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Owners of select Denon and Marantz receivers and processors are primed to receive a post-New Year’s treat. Recently, D+M Group announced that its Denon AVR-X6300H 11.2-channel and AVR-X4300H 9.2-channel receivers, Marantz SR7011 9.2-channel receiver, and Marantz AV7703 AV pre-processor will all be eligible for an Auro-3D upgrade.

While most U.S. based enthusiasts have experienced the immersive power of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, Auro-3D has remained a mystery enjoyed by a relative few. Unlike the object-based Atmos and DTS:X codecs, Auro-3D is channel-based technology that utilizes layers of speakers to create immersion. It builds upon the typical multi-channel layouts used in most home theaters by adding a height layer (and, in some cases, a single overhead “top channel”). This upper layer adds a sense of spatiality or “acoustic reflection” that’s meant to be more life-like than sound emanating from directly overhead. In addition, AuroMatic (included in the upgrade) can upmix legacy content for an enhanced immersive experience.

The ultimate effect is quite stunning.

“D+M Group is all about innovation, and we’re always on the lookout for improvements to our hardware to offer a cutting-edge audio experience,” saidYoshinori Yamada, global business team leader for the company’s A/V receiver category.“This is our 3rd year of offering the Auro-3D firmware upgrade to our Denon and Marantz AVR lineup. We are having more and more customers asking for the upgrade. We are happy to be able to continue to deliver this technology and share the excitement with our customers.”




The upcoming upgrade will unlock Auro-3D mixes from available content and play them back on 9.1 and 10.1 speaker configurations. While Denon’s 11.2 channel AVR-X300H can natively drive a full 10.1 channel configuration without additional amplification, owners of the AVR-X4300H ad Marantz SR7011 will need external help to drive the top channel. Of course, the same requirement exists for the AV7703 pre-pro, too.

The firmware upgrade is slated to drop on January 5, 2017. It comes at a cost, however, as owners will need to pay $199 for per download. More information is available on the web at Denon and Marantz.

Image Credits: Marantz, Auro-3D
 

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This is something I never upgraded on my Marantz sr7010 and to be honest don't foresee at all. With Atmos and DTS:X they are somewhat compatible in speaker layout. Auro has taken a much different approach with the one overhead "God channel". Although I have heard Auro 3D sounds amazing.
 

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I have a forthcoming Auro piece, born from an extended interview with the founder of the technology (a foolish computer error has created some major headaches and delays... but its recreation is in the works). I don't think we've heard the last from Auro...in fact, in many respects they are just getting started. I do agree with the incompatibility sentiment, but there might be some work-arounds! ;-)
 
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