I've upgraded the Marantz 7010 to Auro 3D (my layout is already Auro 3D 9.1 complete; I've got the pre-out connected for the VOG speaker ready on the Yamaha "center" channel input in 7-channel input mode; I just need a suitable speaker to tack up there to use it). The upgrade went pretty smooth after I got the serial number and upgrade ID off the unit (one's on the back and one in the menu system). I just put Amazon Online as the dealer (since that's where the previous owner said they got it) and it seems Amazon IS an authorized dealer for Marantz products. In any case, it didn't give me any trouble. It upgraded in about 15 minutes total (said it would take 40 minutes to over an hour depending, but I guess they use slow Internet speeds as a gauge or something. I'm only getting 30-50Mbps down there. It was done downloading in about 4 minutes and spent the next 10-12 minutes installing the actual software. I ran the Auro 3D demo and played about 20 minutes of Blade Runner to compare to the Atmos version and also tried Auro 3D and 2D on other trailers and some music.
Auro 2D - Sounded like TrueHD/MasterHD on their material. It sounds better for 2-channel, IMO, especially music where the surround isn't so heavy you're wondering WTF is going on. It's still not cool like PLIIx was (huge mistake of Dolby to kill their own best upmixer for music by pushing DSU over including the older formats as well, IMO).
Auro 3D - With Music. Nice. Much better than DSU or Neural X for music, IMO. It does NOT sound like 11-channel stereo or at least not the "default" Yamaha 11-channel stereo mode. Maybe if you turned the surrounds way down, etc. it would be similar. Again, not intrusive, but also not particularly noticeable compared to PLIIx for putting sounds in other places. It's still too "Front orientated" IMO. I'd rather choose between Stereo and PLIIx, but the only way I'm going to be able to do that is to loop back 7-channel out from my second receiver to the first and provide it with its own optical or RCA connection for 2-channel music (either put my old HDMI switcher in line that can extract optical or maybe off a device that has it). I don't know why these newer AVRs don't include it given how many prefer it for music.
Auro 3D - With Encoded Movie (only have Blade Runner 2049; should get 3 more here tomorrow). I compared the first 20 minutes or so of each. I've got to say they sounded more similar than different (overhead car positions were the same). Despite what Ted99 said about the proctor's voice giving the retcon scan being somewhere else in one versus the other, I found they were both in exactly the same spot to a T (i.e. top of my 92" screen centered with a semi-wide girth to it with Agent K's voice directly under it at bed level). At first, I thought the Atmos version was much higher (ceiling level), but it turns out that when I switched from Top Middle to Rear Height to make both work the receiver had rear height "disable" in the speaker config list (despite the amp setup set to use it). Once I turned it on, the voice moved to the same place as Auro 3D did with Surround Height enabled. In other words, it's not coming from one speaker (not even top center height). It's a mixture of side height + center bed + front height in varying amounts to create what I assume is meant to be a more three dimensional rendering of the guy's voice or something (or to place it just so). I'll have to go back and read where the infamous "reverb" scene is to check it (forgot and very tired right now).
Speaking of Surround Height, as I guessed, if you set it to use "rear height" for Auro 3D but use a set of speakers that are actually in the surround height position, there is NO DIFFERENCE in the output (that I can hear). Thus, it's perfectly safe to use a speaker selector to swap them (might cause havoc with Audyssey XT32 settings if you use it since it's a different speaker in a different position, but at the moment, I'm not using it so it makes no difference what-so-ever. Meanwhile, I think my previous tests with rear height selected with the side height speakers were flawed as I didn't realize the speakers were OFF (go figure) and therefore concluded it was rendered massively different (e.g. no rain in the Amaze demo) when in fact, the speakers were off (there was rain in the Amaze demo for the rear height speakers after all, although I think it was about half what top middle was putting out). DTS certainly behaved differently with rear height selected instead with the speaker in the same position (no longer tried to create a phantom rear height). But the Atmos demos sounded very similar (to the point where without an A/B I probably didn't notice any difference). I'm sure there are some rear surround bits I've yet to notice that would be better on Atmos either way as Sdrucker pointed out.
Pressing the input button, I can't help but notice my 11 channel receiver is only using 9 channels running Blade Runner 2049.... (the whole point of what I was saying about how a software update to make use of rear surrounds would be nice even if it was only for 13.1 movies in the future, but frankly, given the way everything from PLIIx to DSU and Neural X can GENERATE rear surrounds (quite effectively at that in the case of DSU/Neural X), it seems like their renderer could at least have the option to make some fake rear surrounds when you're not using the VOG channel (even the CEO has said it's not really needed in a home environment as it's quite easily phantomed at those ceiling heights). Oh well, score one for Atmos, I suppose, although people using 5.1.4 setups probably wouldn't notice any difference, what-so-ever.
The point being it should be no trouble making Atmos and Auro 3D and DTS all live together quite happily in the same home theater here with the addition of a speaker selector box (already here; just needs connected once I get the rear height speakers in). It's a 2-input, 2-output design with the ability to both swap inputs and play either location with either signal (thus you could in fact play rear height and side height at the same time the same way a receiver does it with the A/B type switches, in parallel so watch your impedance rating versus the amp if you do this (my Yamaha drove my PSB bookshelf speakers just fine that way in the front when I was testing and they're 6 ohm averaged). Getting up to press the speaker selector would be a bit of a chore (when I can run everything else from remote), but given the lack of Auro 3D movies, I doubt I'll be doing it that often.
Auro 3D Demo. It did actually sound different than the Neural X rendering (which is about 75% similar, IMO, although I liked Neural X's more authoritative "VOG" rendering better, the Auro 3D one did actually sound like it was several feet higher up than the ceiling limit somehow (like it really was a 3rd layer) whereas Neural X sounded right overhead but at ceiling height across from the side height speakers). The tractor bit seemed to move smoother and not sound so obnoxious. Other sounds seemed to be in similar places, but their character seemed different (probably since they weren't just duplicated/moved sounds, but actual quad-microphone recorded channels). It was actually quite nice sounding, like you're really there. I'd like to order some of their music discs to try even more than the movies since the movies are just "rendered" the way the mixing guy does it while actual multi-miked performances should be almost holographic sounding (like binaural is for headphones).
Worth $200? I have no idea, but I can't say ANY of these upgrades are "worth it" from a practical standpoint. I'd have to try more music to see if I thought it was better than playing back in stereo and if there's some good music recordings, well, who knows. I know I was willing to pay a pretty penny to hear Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here in quadraphonic..... But I was enjoying movies just fine up until now and now I feel like I've got this upgrade bug that won't stop.... (there's a new tensioned electric screen yet to consider and then when a usable, reasonably priced 4K/3D model projector becomes available that doesn't cause rainbows.....