Onkyo Readies TrueHD 5.1 Downloads – Onkyo is set to offer hi-res surround music downloads in Japan by the end of this month, and globally by Autumn. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel downloads will only be available to owners of Onkyo’s 2012 line of receivers from the TX-NR717 upwards. 60,000 titles are already available in Japan at the e-onkyo web site, of which 1500 are 96K/24-bit or higher. In addition to Dolby TrueHD, files will also be available for download in WAV, FLAC, 96/24 and 192/24 quality. The pricing compares favorably with that of new release CDs in Japan, the cost for U.S. users has not been set as yet. Among labels already signed up for the new service are Norwegian hi-res specialists 2L, Germany’s Nishimura, and Japanese classical label Octavia.
McIntosh Expands Preamp-Processor Line – McIntosh is replacing their single MX150 preamp-processor with the MX151 at $12,500 and a more entry-level MX121 AV control center at $6000. The latter has 7.1 channels, Apple AirPlay and DLNA networking thru either an Ethernet port or a wireless adapter. It decodes all Blu-ray audio codecs, has a wired USB input for playing back music on portable devices, and upscaling of all video sources to 1080p over HDMI and HDMI 1.4a passthru. Other 121 features include Internet radio, Audyssey room correction Audyssey DSX post-processing for front-height and front-width channels, 7.1-channel analog output, six HDMI inputs and two outputs, plus dual-zone AV operation. The MX151 adds full 3D video passthru, assignable balanced inputs and outputs, a dedicated phono section, Lyngdorf’s RoomPerfect room-correction technology, and the ability to play two-channel sources in up to 7.1 channels via Dolby ProLogic IIx or DTS Neo:6 post processing. There is also a new $17,500 home theater bundle with the 121 that incorporates a 3D Blu-ray player and seven-channel amp.
Marantz Plans Two SlimLine AVRs – Marantz will soon be shipping its next generation of SlimLine AV receivers, with one having the brand’s first slim AVR with Apple AirPlay and 1080p video upscaling. The models are the 7.1 NR 1603 at $649 and the NR1403 at $399; both are only four inches tall. The 1603 has DLNA networking, Internet radio, Pandora, and SiriusXM streaming. It adds 1080p video scaling, five HDMI inputs with one on the front, improved system setup, a new GUI and an auto power-off function. Both models feature Audyssey MultiEQ room correction, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume, plus a front-panel HDMI input and M-XPort, which enables the addition of a stereo Bluetooth adapter. The 1603 adds iPod Digital Direct, which uses the USB port to capture music in digital form from USB-connected iOS devices, and also features multi-zone/multi-source audio. The 1403 lacks networking ability.
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