DTS:X is finally here. On January 28, Denon became the first manufacturer to release the long-awaited DTS:X firmware upgrade for its flagship AVR-X7200W/WA receivers. The free download makes X7200W/WA models able to take advantage of DTS’ next generation audio.
With the Denon AVR-X7200WA review unit still on-hand, I had a chance to take a look at DTS:X. I’ll take you hands-on with some initial impressions about the upgrade, my initial impressions about DTS:X, and set the stage for our forthcoming series on setting up immersive audio at home. There, we’ll focus even more on DTS:X with our new Beale Street Audio in-ceiling and SVS Ultra floor standing speaker setup anchored by the Denon X7200WA.
Before diving into the upgrade itself, let’s look at why DTS:X is a big deal. Like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X is an object-oriented audio format. However, unlike Dolby Atmos, which has a fixed speaker layout, DTS:X claims to support any speaker layout.
DTS:X’s flexibility has gotten the new technology lots of attention. Most of us know first-hand how difficult it can be in the real world to place speakers exactly where they need to be. Having different layout options that still deliver an enveloping audio experience is a unique hallmark of DTS:X.
The overwhelming majority of Blu-rays have been authored with DTS audio. DTS:X also comes with an audio upmixer called Neural:X that promises to take any legacy DTS audio or PCM signal and up-mix it to an immersive audio experience. The good news is that DTS:X content is backward compatible with the DTS-HD decoder. Therefore, Neural:X can be used on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and streaming media file formats to spatially reformat stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 content to take full advantage of all speakers in a surround system.
Because of its object oriented architecture, DTS is positioning DTS:X as an interactive audio technology that will help address one of the biggest complaints of in-home movie watching: dialogue. And here’s the really cool part: DTS:X will give you the option of adjusting dialogue no matter what speaker it comes from.