Originally Posted by T.Wells
Thanks. I can certainly afford the JVC, just making sure I can justify the expense based on the overall increase in my own perceived performance benefit or using the Epson as a substitute for the 1080p HDR route and upgrading again in 3 or 4 years. I lean toward buying the JVC and trying to settle in for another 5-7 years (if possible).
HDR is very complicated and difficult to implement in projectors. If not tone-mapped properly to the capabilities of the projector, the image can wind up looking worse than SDR. JVC is the only projector brand to feature dynamic tone mapping, which analyzes the video signal frame-by-frame and adjusts it for the best tone mapping (similar to what Dolby Vision does on a flat panel). No other projector does this. Unless you invest in a Lumagen Radiance Pro or MadVR Envy external video processor (which will cost more than the projector), JVC's HDR quality is way ahead of anyone else's.
I am currently running 11.2 (plus Butt Kickers in all 8 chairs) and haven't really felt the impact of the front wides or front high speakers in the DTS:X setting. I thought this may be because not many titles use the format and hence the desire to add ATMOS.
Looking at the specs for it, the Denon 4520 does not have either Atmos or DTS:X. In order to process 11 channels with Front Wides and Front Heights, you must be using the DTS Neo:X upmixer.
Both Neo:X and its successor DTS Neural:X top out at 11 channels. You can do either 7.1.4 or 9.1.2, but not 9.1.4, even on the Denon X8500.
The same 11-channel limit applies to native DTS:X soundtracks, with the added complication that Front Wide channels won't work at all if Surround Backs are also used. This effectively limits DTS:X to either 7.1.4 (no Front Wides) or 5.1.4 +Wides (no Surround Backs). Strangely, the Neural:X upmixer doesn't have this problem, just native DTS:X.
The Dolby Surround Upmixer doesn't support Front Wides at all. On the X8500, you can go to 7.1.6 with DSU, but Front Wides will never get used. Additionally, you should note that DSU really only has two effective channels of height information. All the height speakers on the left side of the room carry the same mono info, and all the height speakers on the right do the same, no matter how many speakers you install.
Dolby Atmos soundtracks can theoretically use the full 9.1.4 or 7.1.6 speaker layouts. However, they must be authored and mixed to place sound objects in the Front Wide or Top Middle locations, and most Atmos soundtracks make minimal to no use of either. Disney (which covers all of Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney Animation) authors its Atmos soundtracks in fixed 7.1.4 or even just 7.1.2 layouts.
The whole situation is very frustrating.
DTS:X Pro is supposed to finally free the DTS formats from their 11-channel limit, but there's no guarantee that the X8500 will be upgraded to that.
I was looking at the benefit of removing the Emotiva XPA-5 from my rack (used to power the 2 additonal channels with the 4520) with the 13 channel solution on the X8500 but I guess if I go 11-straight from the X6500H, I could still remove it (any chance to use the Emotiva to power the existing FW speakers to mirror FL and FR for a larger sound stage?)
You want to clone the FL and FR into extra speakers? You could do this, but I'm not sure that it would really be beneficial.