Dolby Atmos

7.1.4 Dolby Atmos Sound system for under $1500

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After having a simple “Home theatre in a box” system from Samsung in my living room for about 8 years, I have been contemplating upgrading to a better sound system in my dedicated home theatre for some time now. My original idea was to go from my current 5.1 system to a 7.2 system with a dedicated AV receiver with enough HDMI inputs for all my devices and support for 4K passthrough to support my 4K beamer.

Once I started my research about my options, I noticed that in addition to the number of speakers and subwoofers, there is a third number listed for most AV receivers from the recent generations denoting the number of supported Atmos channels.

I have been obsessed with this topic for some time now trying to squeeze in additional four height channels at the expense of the second subwoofer for my original budget of $1500.

dolby atmos
Dolby Atmos (credit: Dolby)

Since this might be interesting for a lot of people out there, I decided to write down my decision process.

What all do you need?

  • AV Receiver supporting Dolby Atmos
  • Speakers and subwoofers
  • External Amplifier
  • Speaker wiring

Choosing the AV Receiver

My criteria for choosing the receiver were:

  • Support for Dolby Atmos(DTS:X, IMAX enhanced, AURO-3D etc. would be a bonus of course)
  • Enough number of channels to support 7.2.4
  • At least 5 HDMI inputs supporting 4K and HDCP 2.2
  • Should cost about 50% of my budget -> $750
  • A decent brand name -> I looked at models from Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha.

For supporting 7.2.4 natively, I would have needed a receiver with 11 amplified outputs. These receivers cost upwards of $1500 and were obviously out of question for my budget. The only reasonable option for me was to get a receiver with 9 amplified outputs but 11 preamp outputs. This gives me the chance to connect a stereo amplifier externally to support the missing two channels.

After much consideration, I decided to go with Onkyo TX-RZ740.

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon DE

The other model I had in mind was the Denon X4400H.

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon DE

Finally, it boiled down to the price. For a detailed comparison of all the models I had in mind, checkout this post.

Once the AV receiver was finalised, the next step was to select the speakers compatible with this receiver. The details of the speaker selection process will be posted in the second part of this post.