About a week ago it became known that selected models of the Aventage series from Yamaha will support the Auro-3D format in addition to Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. Specifically, these are the models RX-A6A and RX-A8A, which are expected to come onto the market from July at prices of around 2600 and 3600 euros, respectively, as the manufacturer announced yesterday.
However, the announcement has had a bitter aftertaste since the manuals for the devices have been available. There you can read that the new models, like their predecessors from 2018, will be delivered with a so-called “cross-upmixing lock” with regard to DTS Neural: X.
The lock prevents the user of a 3D audio system from using the “DTS Neural: X” upmixer from DTS to add additional height information to audio tracks in the formats Dolby Digital Plus or Dolby TrueHD .
Not legally necessary
In 2019, legally binding agreements between Dolby and the manufacturers on the cross-upmix lock took effect – with the result that other manufacturers also brought AV receivers with the cross-upmix lock onto the market that year. In August 2019, however, the bang followed when Dolby, under pressure from the EU Commission, published the declaration on its website that the obligation in question to the receiver manufacturers was withdrawn with immediate effect.
As a result, Yamaha has the cross-upmix lock in its AV receivers for the second time, although this would not (have been) necessary in both cases from a legal point of view: Not with the previous generation, because they were already on the market in 2018 – that is, before the entry into force of the agreements. And not with the new generation, because the obligation no longer applies.
The buyers of the 2018 devices waited in vain for a firmware update that would remove the lock. It remains to be hoped that Yamaha will subsequently remove the lock at least for the 2021 generation by means of a firmware update.
Outlook on Auro-3D
In the operating instructions there is so far nothing to be found about the 3D sound format Auro-3D, which the new devices will support for the first time – which is understandable, since the codec will only be delivered with a firmware update in autumn.
According to the current state of knowledge, it can be assumed that the AuroMatic upmixer supplied with the Auro-3D can be used on all tracks, including those encoded in Dolby formats.