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AV Receivers

Dolby Atmos-equipped Onkyo receivers now available in Asia

If you're hankering for a cinematic audio experience at home, Onkyo has a new range of receivers that should fit most budgets.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Onkyo's latest range of AV receivers may not be the sleekest of devices, but they come loaded with impressive features. Most exciting is the latest Dolby Atmos support, allowing users to experience an immersive sound experience -- including audio from above and below.

If you've sat in a Dolby Atmos-equipped theatre before, you can expect a similar experience from the Onkyo receivers. When you're in the sweet spot, you'll be able to hear rain drops falling from above your head to splash on the ground below you.

Onkyo's new receivers support this format, but do require you to either purchase a pair of Dolby Atmos-compatible up-firing speakers (that you place on your normal front-facing speakers) for the full effect. These up-firing speakers bounce sound off the ceiling at a 70-degree angle. You can also use ceiling mounted speakers for the same effect.

Now if this all sounds particularly interesting to you, get your wallets ready, as the receivers don't come cheap.

The entry-level Onkyo receivers, the TX-NR636 , TX-NR737 and TX-NR838 are available in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Prices for these models are S$1,099 ($878), S$1,499 ($1,198) and S$1,799 ($1,438) respectively. The higher-end TX-NR1030, TX-NR3030 and PR-SC5530 are more expensive, but come loaded with additional features such as 4K video upscaling for your home theatre. These models are expensive and cost S$2,699 ($2,158), S$3,700 ($2,959) and S$3,500 ($2,799) each.

Before you take the plunge, note that most Asian homes are small and don't exactly have enough space for a proper front and rear speaker setup, so the lower-end TX-NR646 receiver which supports two front up-firing speakers should be ideal. You'll miss out on some effects, such as being able to hear sound moving downwards from the rear, but the other effects are accounted for.

Sadly, there isn't much content supporting Atmos, but the receivers are capable of simulating something similar in the meantime. Be sure to also check out our review of the Onkyo TX-NR636 to find out more.