The doors open tomorrow at CEDIA 2018 in San Diego, but the news is arriving already. AV receiver & pre/pro heavy hitters Denon and Marantz have announced two new AVRs and one new preamp processor (respectively) that are IMAX Enhanced-Ready.

What is Imax Enhanced? It is a program developed by IMAX and DTS that certifies and licenses gear capable of reproducing content that has been put through a IMAX 4K HDR remastering process with a “special variant” of DTS:X sound. Launch partners are Sound United (parent company of Denon and Marantz) as well as Sony, Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures.

Devices with IMAX Enhanced capability will feature an IMAX Mode that’s designed to deliver a maximalist home entertainment experience that the press release describes as “highest-quality, sharpest 4K HDR images and powerful, immersive sound.” In addition to movies, numerous IMAX documentaries will be available as IMAX Enhanced.

Let’s take a look at the two AVRs from Denon first: The Denon AVR-X6500H ($2,199) is an 11.2 -channel model with 140W per channel of power (8 Ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.05% THD). It is able to run up to a 7.2.4 speaker system on its own.

The more affordable, 9.2 channel AVR-X4500H ($1,599) will power a 5.2.4 configuration delivering 125W per channel (8 ohms, THD 0.05%, 20Hz-20kHz). It runs Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D.

Notably, both AVRs will support numerous HDMI 2.1 capabilities as they become available, including ARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode).

Then there is the Marantz AV7705 ($2199) that offers 11.2-channel processing and balanced XLR preamp outputs as well as RCA connections. As with the Denon AVRs, the feature list is long and encompasses many items including support for IMAX Enhanced content and HDMI 2.1 capabilities.

These are all networked devices that have HEOS multi-room audio built in as well as Amazon Alexa compatibility.

The main story here is the new IMAX Mode and the potential that exists for a new approach to delivering 4K HDR with 3D immersive sound in a quality-assured package. So far it's been the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos show, it'll be interesting to see if IMAX and DTS have an answer. If they do, these are among the first three devices that can deliver the experience.

More to come on these new AVRs and processors from the show floor at CEDIA 2018.

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