Dolby Atmos is a surround sound format that is typically associated with strategically placing speakers around the room to create a 3D audio experience. Thankfully, those without buckets of cash or tonnes of space have another option – as Onkyo has just announced the fourth Dolby Atmos soundbar to hit the market.

Philips, Samsung and Yamaha already offer soundbars supporting the Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound format, but Onkyo’s offering promises to be the one for true audiophiles.

In addition to Dolby Atmos, Onkyo has packed in support for DTS:X; although it’s not the first audio manufacturer to do so. Yamaha’s YSP-5600 MusicCast soundbar also supports DTS:X, although the big difference between Yamaha’s offering and Onkyo’s is the price. The Yamaha YSP-5600 costs around £1,600, while Onkyo’s LS7200 is almost half that at £899.

So what makes the Onkyo soundbar unique compared to the others currently on the market? Well, Onkyo’s 3D soundbar system comes as a three-pack, packing in a wall-mountable soundbar, a wireless subwoofer and a separate AV centre – which connects to the soundbar via a multi-channel audio cable – all in one package.

The AV Centre includes four HDMI inputs to connect media players and games consoles, with all components and cabling concealed in an entertainment unit. TV connection comes via a single 4K/60p HDMI cable with Audio Return Channel, allowing the LS7200 to enhance broadcast TV audio. It also promises full-scale power delivered to precision drivers (comprising two speakers each for the left, right and centre channels, plus single height speakers) by a discrete digital amplification system.

The Onkyo LS7200 also offers support for a whole raft of wireless technologies, including AirPlay, DTS Play-Fi and FireConnect – although the latter two won’t be available at launch, with the company promising to add support in a future firmware update.

While a soundbar will never truly rival a fully dedicated set-up, some of Onkyo’s competitors have come close. Yamaha’s YSP-5600 has received rave reviews from critics, although its design is larger than that of the Onkyo LS7200. Unfortunately Onkyo is keeping the exact specifications of the LS7200 close to its chest, meaning any meaningful comparisons will have to wait until they are released – Onkyo tells CE Pro Europe that it will happen sometime next week.

A lack of specifications may be disappointing for installers hoping to get a head-start on their client’s Christmas wish list (even though the Onkyo LS7200 won’t be out until January 2017), but those who are avid fans of Auro-3D will also be left disappointed. Onkyo has confirmed to CE Pro Europe that Auro-3D will not be supported on the LS7200, because it has “virtually no software support so it’s not a design priority for most AV manufacturers.”

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