360RA decoding via hardware - McIntosh and other MPEG-H ready receivers

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Lucanu

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It's every Atmos title on Apple Music that falls under the Sony umbrella. This isn't a definitive list, but off-hand I can think of a few:
  • London Grammar - Californian Soil
  • Pearl Jam - Ten
  • Cheap Trick - In Color
  • Sarah McLachlan - Surfacing
  • Porcupine Tree - Closure/Continuation (yes, I know there's a 5.1 too but this appears to be a transcode of SW's Atmos mix)
  • David Bowie - Space Oddity
  • Europe - "The Final Countdown"
  • Earth Wind & Fire - "Let's Groove" & "September"
All titles are Atmos on Apple, but 360RA on Tidal.
Also John Mayer‘s Sob Rock is in 360ra on Tidal and Atmos on Aplle Music.

BTW there’s a thread here about mixing that album on Atmos by the engineer himself
 

~dave~~wave~

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Back to this, Marantz is getting out new receivers, Cinema line, with implementation of both 360RA and Mpeg-H decoding.
My question still remains the same: how?
This came up again recently in another thread.
As a casual observer, it appears to me that Marantz and other high-end manufacturers like McIntosh are including this capability in expensive new products to "future-proof" them for customers who might hesitate to buy them without it.

The means to deliver the streams so the customer can listen is not their problem.
That's for the "record" companies to figure out.
So don't hold your breath for that.

But definitely don't wait to buy the hardware thinking it might become outdated. ;)
 

~dave~~wave~

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I have a Marantz SR7015 which added MPEG-H (360RA) decoding through a firmware update. But it only accepts/plays stereo through the USB input infuriatingly! Same applies with FLAC/WAV/DSD etc...

This is the issue right now. There is no software that can pass MPEG-H through and link up to compatible hardware. It's bloody annoying. I've tried to ask J River about implementing it but they don't even do Atmos audio files so not holding my breath. @HomerJAU has tried to reach out to KODI developers to see if they could implement it there, but so far not had anyone engage. You'd think something like Roon would look at it considering the retail price.

There is the MPEG-H production format player from Fraunhofer IIS but that would only accept the BWF/ADM master file rather than anything from Tidal etc...

Hopefully something changes soon... 🤞:)
Has something changed, then?
 

pat bateman

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It's my belief that 360RA has no chance of winning this format war vs Dolby. Atmos has been included on sub $500 AVRs for something like 4 years now? 360RA is only being included on $3,500+ AVRs just now. They have zero support from the movie/streaming industry, Deezer dropped 360RA, and Tidal will only allow 360RA on a mobile (phone, tablet etc) session.
 

HomerJAU

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Tidal will only allow 360RA on a mobile (phone, tablet etc) session.

One would hope with new AVRs having 360 decoding Tidal will support streaming 360 on any device.

This is typical for AVR release cycles: New decoders are first added to high end AVR models, then trickle down to all future AVRs released. It happened to DTS, DTS-HD/TrueHD then DTS:X/ Atmos. Same with HDMI, ARC then E-ARC, Room Correction was only seen in high end, now it’s standard etc, etc.
 

HomerJAU

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There‘s a new Denon 3800H coming with RA360/MPEG-H decoding for around $2k.

It has 11.1 pre-amp outputs to give you 7.1.4 using an external Stereo amp on top of its 9 internal amps, or you could use more external amp channels if you have decent external Amps or AVR with better amps and analog ins.

The previous Denon 3700H was tested as having one of the best preamps in any AVR in any price range (much better than Marantz).

EDIT: Link added:


There’s also the new Denon 4800H with RA360/MPEG-H with a bit more power:

 
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J. PUPSTER

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Wow, it's got Auro-3D as well.
I'm considering this one for 2023 with 360RA as well, but really getting up there in price :unsure:
I might just go hole-hog into my dedicated Quad/Computer room, as my main AV room (Family Room) just isn't configured adequately for more speakers.

But that room will require substantial re-arranging also, in order for that to happen.

 

HomerJAU

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I'm considering this one for 2023 with 360RA as well

Do you need 16 channels (9.1.6)? IMO 7.1.4 is enough if you have the room for rears, otherwise 5.1.4 would be my bare minimum for Atmos/360.

Atmos for home is currently limited to 16 ch. RA360/MPEG-H appears to be 24 ch (22.2).
 

J. PUPSTER

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Do you need 16 channels (9.1.6)? IMO 7.1.4 is enough if you have the room for rears, otherwise 5.1.4 would be my bare minimum for Atmos/360.

Atmos for home is currently limited to 16 ch. RA360/MPEG-H appears to be 24 ch (22.2).
Sorry for the delay, had to make Eggplant Parm. with Polenta & Hot Italian Sausage 😋

Just want 7.1.4 without needing additional amps, and all the goodies, Atmos, 360RA, Auro-3D, etc! Much more study of available choices will be needed.

But any help keeping me straight on this is much appreciated :)
 

fredblue

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Going beyond 8 channels is a whole new can of worms, especially for a new format with a VERY limited market. A small form factor just doesn't make any sense on this scale, and in this market.
so true.. the industry seemed pretty well-prepared for a mass rollout of Atmos in AVRs & Soundbars in a 5.1.2 configuration because 5.1 and 7.1 have been common for so long.

anything above 8-channels however still feels more in the realms of the upper-mid sector of the market and that's not where most folks are at (other than people like us bunch of fanatics, of course!).

just a v.recent 1st hand case in point, my Brother was so convinced by my Atmos rig he promptly went and got himself one.

he now has Atmos in a 5.0.2 config (4 x Floorstanders and matching MTM Centre, 2 x Upward Firing Front Atmos Speakers, no Sub) run thru a Denon AVR-X2800H and he absolutely loves it!

however, he just told me that had he known that upgrading to 5.1.4 would not be possible with that Receiver he would have spent more and got the next model up (3700) instead because he worked out what he really loved most on my rig was the effect of 4 x Atmos Height speakers!

tbh i screwed up there, i should've been more forthcoming but i didn't want to be pushy i was just so thrilled he was going Atmos and it's not my money after all, the 2800 is like 800 quid and the 3700 is £1200+ which isn't massive in the scheme of things but it all adds up, times are tricky and 400 smackers is still not peanuts.

really imho the industry needs to come up with an AVR that can handle 7.1.4 Atmos (even if only with an external amp for the extra channels) and 360RA decoding for under a grand.
 
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