Originally Posted by esappy
So for those of you who have read the manual (I have not), is the following combination permissible on the X5200: the 7 "main" channels (eg. L,C,R,SL,SR,SBL,& SBR) powered via external amps with the 4 atmos top front and top rear channels powered by the internal amps and Zone 2 also powered by internal amps? I ask this because I dont see the atmos channels being as demanding as the main channels power wise so the internal amps should easily handle Atmos information with authority when the main channel duties are handled by external amps. Plus I still listen to multichannel audio from time to time and would prefer my monoblocks for that. Thanks in advance.
As discussed a few posts up, unlike the 4520CI (and presumably the eventual X7200W) the 4100/5200 do not have a "free assign" mode that allows custom assignment of any amp to any channel. So you are stuck using the preset templates for amp assignment with the limited flexibility allowed by some sub-menu settings.
In this case you have two options for amp assign mode:
Option 1 - Set Amp Assign to "Dolby Atmos" and set the Layout sub-setting to "7.1ch + 4 Height". In this mode (see pg 219 of the UK manual we have been using as a reference) you are locked in to a "standard" 7.1 ch config with Top Front and Top Rear speakers (can only be physical in-ceiling as per the discussion above). As noted on pg 219 and the diagram on pg 52, the Top Rear speakers MUST be connected to an external amp for the first two externally amplified channels. Beyond that, you can use internal or external amps for any of the other channels. So since you have 7 amps, you could do L,C,R,SL,SR with external amps, and leave the SB L/R channels internally amped, with the final two external amps powering TRL/TRR. And the Top Fronts would be internally amped.
Option 2 - For a little more flexibility you can set Amp Assign to "11.1ch" mode, manually configure for 4 Height speakers in the Height Layout menu, and designate the 4 heights as Top Front & Top Rear (the default setting, see pg 208). Then you can set the Wide/Height2 sub-setting to "Top Rear" (pg 209) which allows you to connect the Top Rear to internal amps (the Wide/Height2 speaker terminals). Then you proceed to the Pre-out sub-setting, and I believe you set it to "Front & Front Wide" (even though you don't have FW speakers) which designates the first two externally amplified channels as the FRONT speakers. If my inference is right, then you can connect the main 7 channels to external amps and the internal amps will power the four Top speakers.
Note that in both cases it is NOT possible to use internal amps for Zone 2/3 in these 9 and 11ch modes. You can still use Zone 2/3 but you need to provide external amplification for them, again due to the lack of a "custom" assignment that lets you remap unused amp channels to other zones.