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Best Dolby Atmos Enabled Receivers

Dolby Atmos is a popular surround sound format . Dolby Atmos format has rapidly burst onto the home theater market. Now almost all mid-range and top models of AV receivers are equipped with it, and soon it should become a mandatory option in budget models as well.

Our pick
Denon AVR-X3700H
Denon AVR-X3700H
Best Atmos Receiver
The AVR-X3700H delivers the ultimate home theater experience with 8K/60Hz pass-through, 4K/120Hz pass-through, and support for the latest HDMI specifications.
Read the full review

Dolby Atmos technology is an audio system in which sound objects can be accurately positioned and moved in a three-dimensional space, including the area above your head. It brings what’s happening on the screen to life and creates amazingly powerful, rich sound for a fully immersive experience.

So, how to choose the best Atmos receiver? I will tell you in detail about this technology, and, of course, I will review the most interesting models equipped with this technology.

Dolby Atmos Receivers Comparison Table

Name Channels Stereo power, W/Ohm THD, % Review
Denon AVR-X3700H best overall 9.2 105/8, 135/6 0.08 Review
Denon AVR-X8500HA premium 13.2 150/8, 190/6 0.05 Review
Denon AVR-X2700H budget 7.2 95/8, 125/6 0.08 Review

What is needed for Dolby Atmos?

First of all, the receiver should support Dolby Atmos. Next, the device should be equipped with enough channels. All the AV receivers included in my review can work with Dolby Atmos easily – there is no need for virtual speakers when using them.

If you want to have a great Dolby Atmos experience, you need a 7.1 (7.2) or 9.1 (9.2) surround sound speaker setup, plus the addition of two or four overhead ceiling-mounted speakers. I have selected Dolby Atmos receivers for you, and I will consider the features of each in detail. The review also includes information about the number of channels in the appliances.

Dolby Atmos can handle up to 128 channels of audio, which can be routed to 64 individual speakers. If you are wondering what number of channels is needed for getting the most impressive sound, here is a brief instruction:

  • 7.1 or 7.2 receiver – minimum configuration
  • 9.1 or 9.2 receiver – satisfactory but still budget configuration
  • 11.2 or 13.2 – optimal choice

How I picked and tested

For my test, I decided to play John Wick 3 on a 4K Samsung QLED Q90T Series TV for killing Dolby Atmos to find out how devices will perform on surround effects. I evaluated the quality of the receiver’s sound on different scenes – from calm ones to the coolest shootouts, plus paid attention to dialogues and their clarity. The player used for this test is Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray DP-UB820. And Dolby Atmos speakers set by Klipsch, which includes two R-625FA, one R-52C, one pair of R-51M, two R-610F, one pair of R-41SA and R-120SW.

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Mid-price Receiver for Dolby Atmos

Denon AVR-X3700H – best overall

Denon AVR-X3700H

I want to start my review with my favorite from Denon. It is a well-known brand that has proved itself perfectly and has been pleasing its fans with great products for a long time. So what will they offer us this time?

Nine built-in power amplifiers provide 180 watts per channel. This means that the AVR-X3700H can be configured for Dolby Atmos 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 configuration – or you can add a stereo amplifier to distribute the signal to a 7.2.4-channel system. But even if you don’t have a full set of speakers with upper channels, you can still use the 3D audio features supported by this receiver – namely, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Virtualization Technology, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, and IMAX Enhanced. As you can see, this 9.2 Atmos receiver supports all modern surround sound formats, which is definitely a serious plus.

One of the major innovations of this model is the HDMI circuit: one of the seven inputs and two of the three outputs of the AVC-X3700H are HDMI 2.1 certified with support for 8K resolution at 60 Hz and 4K resolution at 120 Hz. All HDMI ports are compatible with HDR10 and 10+, HLG, Dolby Vision, Dynamic HDR, and Quick Media Switching-the latter technology provides instant resolution or frame rate switching to avoid image clutter. Gamers are not forgotten: Variable Refresh Rate will prevent gaps between frames and improve accuracy. At the same time, Auto Low Latency Mode and Quick Frame Transport promise to eliminate “freezes” and thereby increase the quality of the game.

Denon AVR-X3700H back

Those who are going to play music with the AV receiver can decode Hi-Res-audio files with up to 24-bit/192 kHz sampling rate and DSD up to DSD128. To do so, you just need to download them online or via the USB input on the front panel of the amplifier. Note that the receiver has a built-in MM phono stage.

Support for HEOS and Apple AirPlay 2 allows you to do without physical interaction with the AVC-X3700H if you wish. Besides connecting multi-room functions, these technologies enable Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri.

Denon AVR-X3700H photo

The remote control is pretty standard for this price range: sturdy and equipped with all the right buttons. Still, I especially liked twisting the big round controls with precisely calibrated resistance of this manipulation.

During the test, Denon perfectly proved its surround capability, providing clear sound and dialogues without any interference or overlaps. The surround effect was noticeable during active scenes of the movie, making the soundstage quite impressive. I also tried to use it at a higher volume, which gave me an impression AVR-X3700H is not intended for large rooms; still, it performs impressively for mid-size and small spaces.

As you can see, I was not lying when I called the AVR-X3700H the best Dolby Atmos receiver on my top list at the beginning of the review. It is pretty easy to use, multifunctional, and guarantees excellent surround sound when watching any video content.

Key specs

  • Channels: 9.2.
  • Stereo power, W: 105, 135.
  • Impedance, Ohm: 8, 6.
  • THD, %: 0.08.

Pros

  • Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri support.
  • Supports various HDR options, including the new HDR10 + and Dynamic HDR.
  • Supports IMAX Enhanced and other modern surround sound formats.
  • Phono stage connectivity possible.
  • Supports 8K resolution.

Cons

  • No Chromecast built-in.

Marantz SR5015

Marantz SR5015

Looking for a reliable audio receiver that fulfills all your needs while still playing premium sound? What a coincidence, you’ve just come across a review of the Marantz SR5015. It has something to boast about among other products on the market, so I suggest taking a closer look without hesitation.

The first thing I want to notice is the incredibly stylish design that will suit any interior. SR5015 with glossy buttons and an iron casing on the top and sides looks chic. Talking about the case, I want to add that the back panel has everything you might need: 6 HDMI inputs and 2 outs, phono and AUX connectors, USB ports, and even digital and analog ports, which are very convenient in use.

Marantz SR5015 back

The Marantz SR5015 has 7.2 channels of 100 watts each. This receiver’s power is hard to beat, as the sound quality is incredibly detailed and clear regardless of the audio you are listening to.

Marantz SR5015 photo

Its VRR stands for Variable Refresh Rate, and, of course, Auto Low Latency Mode did its job to remove sound stuttering and various kinds of lags turn when I tried playing and watching movies.

Such a device would be a great addition to a home cinema or console for an outstanding gaming experience.

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2.
  • Stereo power, W: 100, 140.
  • Impedance, Ohm: 8, 6.
  • THD, %: 0.08.

Pros

  • Control via voice assistants like Alexa for Amazon and Apple’s Siri.
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X support.
  • Quick Media Switching and Auto Low Latency Mode help erase audio lags.

Cons

  • Lack of support for Google Chromecast.

Premium Dolby Atmos AV Receivers

Denon AVR-X8500HA – best premium

Denon AVR-X8500H

Are you looking for the best receiver for Dolby Atmos in the premium price segment? Take a look at the AVR-X8500HA receiver that is ready to handle configurations up to 7.1.6 and 9.1.4. After a software update, the device will also be able to play multi-channel Auro 3D audio. The appliance works with video up to 4K-resolution at 60 Hz and BT.2020 color profile (4:4:4).

The receiver is also equipped with the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 calibration system, and the letter “H” in its name indicates support for the Heos multi-room system. In dual-channel mode, AVR-X8500HA delivers 150 watts per channel.

Denon AVR-X8500H back

It also features XLR and RCA outputs for the 15.2-channel configuration. It has a 32-bit/192 kHz DAC and proprietary HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module) components. You can send voice commands to the connected Amazon Alexa device to control various functions, including power on/off, volume, mute/unmute, music play/pause, external input switching, and also play supported streaming services.

I was pretty impressed by the explosion scenes and gunshots – they were really punchy and noisy. Dialogues were crystal clear, music – funky and catching.

Denon AVR-X8500H photo

Mind that the quality of performance of this 13-channels babe may significantly depend on the sizing and configuration of your room.

AVR-X8500HA includes all you need for clear sound and justified its price by providing precise picture and clear sound. I would recommend it for the most demanding enthusiasts that are ready to spend more on quality equipment.

Key specs

  • Channels: 13.2.
  • Stereo power, W: 150, 190.
  • Impedance, Ohm: 8, 6.
  • THD, %: 0.05.

Pros

  • Equipped with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 calibration system and supports HEOS.
  • Features wireless Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Apple AirPlay streaming capabilities, and wireless multi-room audio technology.

Cons

  • It does not support multi-channel FLAC or DSD files. You have to playback these files from other devices.

Yamaha CX-A5200

Yamaha CX-A5200

The CX-A5200 11.2 Atmos receiver has seven HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2 and three HDMI outputs. The inputs allow you to work with high-definition video in all current formats, including 4K with a refresh rate of 60p. The receiver recognizes the BT.2020 palette, three HDR formats (HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG) and Dolby Vision, and DTS:X surround audio formats in 7.2.4 variations.

Yamaha CX-A5200 back

This model also features YPAO (Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer), which adjusts the sound to a specific room.

Yamaha CX-A5200 photo

The appliance is equipped with MusicCast and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This ensures the interaction of components within the system – to create it, you can use an existing Wi-Fi router or connect equipment directly to each other.

I would recommend the CX-A5200 as the receiver with the easiest set-up: all you need to do is download the MusicCast app to your smartphone or tablet.

Key specs

  • Channels: 11.2.
  • Stereo power, W: N/A.
  • Impedance, Ohm: N/A.
  • THD, %: 0.06.

Pros

  • Analyzes and adjusts the characteristics of the audio signal in real-time and it following the reference values ​​contained in the database.
  • Updated Cinema DSP HD algorithms help handling the vertical positioning of sources.

Cons

  • Better bass requires manual EQ’ing.

Budget Dolby Atmos AV Receivers

Denon AVR-X2700H – best budget

Denon AVR-X2700H

This is the best budget Atmos receiver with excellent features.

The Denon AVR-X2700H has a 7.2 configuration, which is also not common at this price point. You can create a system in configuration up to 5.2.2 channels. This will make it possible to fully sound the majority of living rooms in your apartment. The appliance is also equipped with a processor Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, which will give volume to standard soundtracks.

Denon AVR-X2700H back

The receiver also has a USB connector for flash drives with music files. AVR-X2700H can play songs in High-Res PCM and DSD formats, and you can use cable or Wi-Fi to connect to the network.
Audyssey speaker calibration here is a bit below the same of other Denon receivers, but I’d call the sound of this model as “accurate”.

The AVR-X2700H is equipped with six HDMI inputs and outputs supporting the latest HDCP2.3 standard. The unit can switch video with 4K/60 Hz, Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HGL and support eARC technology, which allows you to transfer sound in 3D formats. To add, the device has HEOS technology, which allows you to play music from network devices and online services and includes the device in the proprietary multi-room system.

Denon AVR-X2700H photo

Despite the movie’s hectic scenes, the device was able to keep up with all the firing and explosion blasts in all the details and with no delays. Overall, the listening experience was engaging.

It is packed with the latest technologies but is offered at a price that is affordable for most movie lovers.

On the basis of this device, you can create a modern audio/video system that will allow you to watch movies and listen to music with improved quality. And in addition to its rather good functionality, you will be pleased with the price, and therefore I can confidently call this model the best budget Dolby Atmos receiver.

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2.
  • Stereo power, W: 95, 125.
  • Impedance, Ohm: 8, 6.
  • THD, %: 0.08.

Pros

  • Includes AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth.
  • Low Latency mode for use with game consoles.
  • Voice commands support (Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri).

Cons

  • Bluetooth streaming offers less quality.

Yamaha RX-V6A

Yamaha RX-V6A

The main feature of this AV receiver in comparison with the younger models of the series is the 7.2 configuration and support for the new surround sound formats Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

Thus, this model will allow you to create a home theater, the sound of which will surround the audience from all sides, including from above. In addition, the RX-V6A with the next firmware will add the ability to work with Dolby Atmos Height Virtualiza.

The RX-V6A has seven HDMI inputs and one output that supports 4K Ultra HD with all the Dolby Vision and HLG additions and 8K on three of the seven inputs. The device is also equipped with analog and digital inputs, which will make it possible to create an AV system based on it with a variety of signal sources.

Yamaha RX-V6A back

The device uses discrete amplifiers with high output current and wide dynamic range, and high-quality DAC. To connect all the speakers, the device has reliable screw terminals conveniently located in the middle of the rear panel.

In Yamaha RX-V6A, there is a USB input for storage devices with music files and Bluetooth. For direct connection of iOS devices, you can use the AirPlay 2 technology. Unlike the younger model, the Yamaha RX-V6A has a phono input.

Yamaha RX-V6A photo

Zone B output provides 2-channel audio in another room. The output allows 2-channel audio to be transferred to another room. This leaves 7 output channels for the main zone. It means that you can listen to stereo sound in the second room. In this case, the same source’s audio content will be played in both zones (simultaneous use of two signal sources is impossible).

Compared to Denon, Yamaha offers added thrills and sounds more fun to me with extra bass on high volume. I’d define it as a reliable, 3-dimensional sound that gives you a cinema-like experience.

The Yamaha RX-V6A is the optimal choice for modern home theater equipment in terms of money. This model is bi-amping, which amplifies the high and low-frequency bands of the front left and right speakers with independent amplifiers, thereby enhancing the sound quality of the front channels – an important advantage for this home theater.

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2.
  • Stereo power, W: 100.
  • Impedance, Ohm: 8.
  • THD, %: 0.06.

Pros

  • MusicCast technology to connect it to compatible wireless speakers.
  • Content playback in Lossless and High-Resolution formats, including DSD 11.2 MHz.
  • YPAO auto-calibration scheme.

Cons

  • The interface reacts a bit slow.

FAQ

Can an optical cable transmit Dolby Atmos?

In an optical digital connection, data is transmitted through a fiber optic cable (whose fibers can be made of plastic, glass, or quartz) by means of light. In such a case, noise from the source is not transferred to the DAC circuit, as it can happen with coaxial, so it is reasonable to use it when connecting the device directly to the DAC of a soundbar or AV receiver.

Traditionally, optical cables are used in surround systems to transmit compressed multi-channel sound in Dolby Digital and DTS formats. Those with a Toslink (Toshiba Link) connector connect to the corresponding source and AV receiver ports. Therefore, the answer is yes, an optical cable can transmit Dolby Atmos.

Does HDMI 2.0 support Dolby Atmos?

An HDMI connection is a must for Atmos audio. It does not matter where the content comes from (Blu-ray disc, set-top box, TV app), but the signal must be output to the receiver or soundbar via HDMI. And yes, HDMI 2.0 supports Dolby Atmos technology.

Which is better, DTS or Dolby Atmos?

Theoretically, DTS: X has an advantage in terms of sound quality because it supports higher bitrates. However, Dolby claims that its codecs are more efficient than DTS. Consequently, the sound will be just as good or possibly better at lower bitrates. DTS: X allows you to tune the sound objects manually. Because of this, it is possible to increase, for example, the volume of the voice. Movies with Dolby Atmos are also more common than with DTS: X, although about 90 percent of the home AV market also supports DTS: X. Thus, there is no clear winner in the war of DTS: X versus Dolby Atmos formats as far as each has its own advantages and characteristics.

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About Frederick Douglass
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