A while ago I picked up my new Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray player and 9-channel AV receiver with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to go with my new OLED 4K TV set. Since then I have had some experience with my new gear and I am indeed quite happy with it so here’s some ramblings from me about OLED, 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos.
Let’s start with the OLED TV together with the 4K Blu-ray player. The image is just great. The biggest improvement is actually not so much the resolution, the AV receiver is pretty good at upscaling a normal Blu-ray, but the HDR colors. The picture just pops out at you in stunning, smooth color. Sure the increased resolution is quite visible as well but it is really the color that adds the most. Together the improved color and resolution makes for some stunning images, at least as far as I am concerned.
Moving on to the receiver. This is the other big advantage. I got my rig configured as a 5.1.4 system. A “normal” 5.1 system with 4 height channels added. Sadly I, as is probably the case for most people, could not go for “real” ceiling mounted height speakers so I had to settle for the “Atmos enabled” kind of up-firing add on speakers. Maybe this is the reason why I feel the height dimension is not as present as I hoped it would be. It is there for sure but I have yet to listen to a track where you really her a plane or whatever fly across the ceiling of the room.
However, I was still awed when I fired up the first movie with my new receiver. I thought my old Onkyo 876 was a pretty good receiver but this Marantz SR7011 is even better. The precision is really fantastic. The sound is crisp and clear and that includes boom effects like explosions etc. The first movie I fired up was The Magnificent Seven remake. If you have watched it you know there are a couple of big explosions in the beginning. I was almost chocked when the loud but incredibly precise explosions rolled out of the speakers without any annoying rumbling effects whatsoever.
The surround effects and the positioning of the sound was also incredible. Again I thought my old 5.1 system was great for bullets swishing past in big shootouts but the new rig brought it to a different level entirely. You almost felt the draft when bullets where flying past your head. I have not yet tried to make a comparison between the rig with and without height channels but, even though the height effects is not as noticeable as I hoped, they definitely seems to add to a really realistic end emerging sound field.
I am really happy and for the first week I could not wait to quit my job and rush home to slap a movie into the player. The one thing that I am a bit unhappy with is that the Panasonic player do not have a function/button for changing the subtitles on-the-fly. What the f… is that? Quite often you forget to set the subtitles or you do set them but when the film starts they did not stick. I am Swedish, I live in France, I work in Switzerland and has English as my preferred language. Also, my oldest kid prefers English sound with French subtitles. My youngest kids prefer French sound without subtitles. I prefer the original sound, if I can understand it, and no subtitles and English subtitles if the movie is in a language I cannot understand. So this is quite a big deal for me.
Well, appart from that I am a happy puppy.