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How Many Channels Do I Need In My AV Receiver?

The line between the big screen and home cinema continues to blur as high quality AV receivers bring cinema-quality video and audio capabilities to your living room. With the right home cinema equipment, you can create a movie or live-concert experience that completely redefines everything you love to watch. But among all the product offers on the market, there is one key question: how many channels do I need in my AV Receiver, to get the immersive experience I am longing for?

AV Receivers Redefine Surround Sound

Every AV Receiver offers at least the typical 5.1 surround sound setup featuring six channels: center, left-front, right-front, left -surround, right-surround speaker, and the subwoofer (the “.1”). That setup can certainly provide an elevated audio experience – far better than what can be achieved without an AV receiver. But to get the total depth of sound you would hear in a movie theatre, you need to add more speakers to the party, and upgrade to an AV Receiver which has more than 5 channels.

A 7.1 channel AV receiver can additionally support rear speaker audio playback, creating an audio experience that encapsulates the audience. Many Blu-rays and streaming services now feature 7.1 channel soundtracks, so a 7.1 channel AV receiver is fit to produce the enhanced audio embedded in a movie or concert recording.


3D Sound, And Why Your Home Cinema Needs It

But these standard setups don’t come close enough to capturing the full potential of a home cinema. The primary issue is the lack of verticality. Sound comes from the left and right and from behind, but that’s still a fairly basic layout due to the lack of height channels. If you want to achieve more nuanced and detailed sound, your AV Receiver needs to have more channels and support for groundbreaking 3D audio formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D. Imagine watching Independence Day and actually hearing the alien spaceships moving into position over your head. This is where 3D audio comes into play for a more immersive home theater experience than ever.

Denon offers a full line of AV receivers for every budget and application featuring true 3D surround sound anywhere from 7.2 channels (can be set up as 5.2.2) with the AVR-X1600H or AVR-X2600H, to 9.2 (5.2.4 or 7.2.2) with an AVR-X3600H, to 11.2 (7.2.4 or 9.2.2) with an AVC-X6500H, to the flagship 13.2 channel AVC-X8500H (7.2.6 or 9.2.4). The last numbers in the setup indicate the dedicated height channels, so a 5.2.4 setup has 5 speakers for the standard surround sound, 2 subwoofers, and 4 height speakers. Think about how many speakers you can install in your home given your possibilities to add height speakers, your aspiration and budget. These considerations and the size of your room defines which Denon AV Receiver class is right for you. 

Height Effects Without Height Speakers

The downside of a real 3D audio setup is that you either need to install speakers in your ceiling or buy special upfiring speakers to put on your existing floor speakers. If these are no options for you, the dream for height effects is not over. With DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, the latest Denon AV Receivers offer an immersive experience without the need for installing height speakers. 

Curious to learn more about virtual or real height effects? Read more about our line of Denon AV Receivers and contact your nearest retailer for a demo.    


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