I know that I am not in the market for a new AV receiver or pre-amp at the current time, but thought it might be interesting to see what is listed as new by the major retailers. I can understand the desire of Atmos in the theater in expanding the sound field to give better coverage and the ability to break out from the matrix speaker model to address individual speakers for better sound placement.
The fun part to this is how to bring that sort of sound back into your home.
Looking at the Pioneer line, there is just one new Atmos ready seems to be a 7.1 unit. Seems rather strange that they would put out a unit with support for so few speakers. How they call this Atmos is beyond me in it's just standard Dolby Digital with 7 speakers. Sound wise it should not be any different to any 7.1 unit before it.
Yamaha doesn't do much better, but at least their receiver does support DTS-X. Again with a 7.1 system it hardly seems worth it. I had high hopes for their CX-5100 pre-amp but they killed off the most important speaker option, the front wide channel. That was the biggest part of Atmos to kill the sound dead zone between the front and surround speakers when panning. In older DD or DTS they rely on a phantom speaker fill that spot and it just bakes a sound blur that really looses the effect.
So we are left with Marantz and Dennon. At least both of these units do offer a 9.2 receiver. The Marantz scores bonus points in their 9.2 receiver supports 11.2 pre-out capability. I don't really want to drive my main speakers from an underpowered receiver but the surrounds don't take that much power so it's kind of nice to hopefully be able to pre-out the Fronts & Center that do all the real lifting and just have the lower powered surrounds running from a receiver. Now it would have been more nice if they could pre-out a 13.2. They also support the needed Front Wide option. Yet sadly not a hint of word about DTS-X
Dennon on the other hand has got the DTS-X at least mentioned as a ready feature so I guess that would be a firmware thing. it too says it has 11.2 on the pre-out so it looks like this one is the only option going right now.
Axiom: ADA1000, LFR1100, VP180, QS8, EP500, M3, M3comp
AudioSource: Amp One/A