It's been a long wait, but Dolby Atmos is finally available for home theaters in three new products from Onkyo, including the PR
-SC5530 pre/pro seen here.
If you're like me, you've been longing for Dolby Atmos three-dimensional audio to be available for home theaters. Well, that longing is about to be satisfied. Onkyo today announced three new products—the TX-NR1030 and TX-NR3030 AV receivers and PR
-SC5530 AV controller (pre/pro)—all with Dolby Atmos. Each of these THX-certified components features dual 32-bit DSP engines to decode, scale, and calibrate the Atmos system to suit individual home-theater configurations.
The TX-NR1030 provides nine channels of high-current amplification and two subwoofer outputs, while the flagship TX-NR3030 ups the main channel count to 11; the PR
-SC5530 pre/pro also provides 11.2-channel operation. With any of them, you can augment a 5.1 or 7.1 system with width, height, and/or overhead speakers. As far as I know, there is currently no content available for the home with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, but these units can synthetically expand a 5.1 or 7.1 soundtrack into the extra speakers.
Both AVRs provide 11.4 pre-outs and balanced XLR pre-outs for the front L/R channels, while the PR
-SC5530 offers both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs for all 11.4 channels. All three can also be configured to biamp the front left and right speakers (using outboard amps with the PR
-SC5530, of course).
The TX-NR3030 flagship AVR is one of three new products from Onkyo that offers Dolby Atmos along with 11 channels of amplification and many other high-end features.
All three units are built like tanks with high-quality components throughout, and separate processing and amplifier blocks minimize electrical interference. Both AVRs feature a customized high-regulation transformer, while the TX-NR3030 adds two EI transformers for audio and video processing along with custom 18,000 µF capacitors and low-distortion, three-stage inverted Darlington amplifier circuitry. The PR
-SC5530 has a custom toroidal power supply and separate EI transformers for audio and video processing. In addition to the dual 32-bit DSPs, there are seven TI Burr-Brown DACs—192 kHz/32-bit in the TX-NR3030 and PR
-SC5530 and 192 kHz/24-bit in the TX-NR1030.
Room calibration/correction is provided by Onkyo's proprietary AccuEQ, which measures and compensates for speaker distances, levels, crossovers, and frequency response from one location, and it doesn't downsample 96 kHz, unlike many other room-correction systems. Also, AccuEQ can be set to bypass the front L/R speakers if you want to experience the unique sound of your stereo speakers without DSP. Engaging Pure Direct Analog Path mode physically switches off all digital circuits when listening to analog sources, such as a turntable or high-quality SACD or CD player.
Built-in WiFi supports double-rate DSD, gapless 192 kHz/24-bit FLAC and WAV, and Dolby TrueHD streaming from a media server as well as streaming directly from a mobile device. Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR streaming quality is enhanced by a Music Optimizer DSP mode that is said to restore lost information from MP3s and other lossy audio files.
The TX-NR1030 offers nine channels of amplification rather than 11, but aside from a few relatively minor differences, it's much the same as its larger sibling, the TX-NR3030.
On the video side of things, eight HDMI 2.0 inputs and three outputs support 4K/UHD at 60 fps and a 21:9 aspect ratio, and one of the inputs and the main output support HDCP 2.2 copy protection. A second HDMI output can route 1080p video to a remote display with multizone control using a streaming and control app, and the third HDMI out is intended for a dedicated projector connection at up to 4K/UHD at 60 fps. Unfortunately, the HDMI ports operate at 10.2 Gbps, not the full 18 Gbps of fully implemented HDMI 2.0, so they can't handle anything more than 4K/UHD at 60 fps with 8-bit, 4:2:0 color.
A Marvell Qdeo video processor upscales low-resolution video to 1080p or UHD, and ISF Day and Night modes let you calibrate the video settings for bright and dark viewing environments. I'm glad to see the Qdeo processor, which works very well, but I'm not sure how useful the ISF modes are—after all, most serious home-theater enthusiasts calibrate the display device directly, so having this capability in the AVR or pre/pro seems redundant.
All three units are scheduled to ship to dealers in August; the TX-NR1030 will carry a retail price of $1699, the TX-NR3030 will be $2399, and the PR
-SC5530 will be $2499.
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