Can You Recommend a Dolby Atmos Preamp/ Processor Without a Tuner?

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Q Are there any standalone surround preamp/processors that decode Dolby Atmos? I’m interested in a unit that doesn’t include an AM/FM radio tuner. —Doc Lockett

A I can think of a few preamp/processors that meet your requirements, but they’re all pricey units aimed at ultra high-end home cinemas. What distinguishes these from more mainstream units is a focus on digital signal processing, including room correction, as well as home automation and control features. They also omit many amenities you’ll find on more typical preamp-processors, including an AM/FM tuner, Bluetooth, and SiriusXM internet radio support.

The DataSat RS20i ($23,000), for example, provides Dolby Atmos and DTS:X processing with 16 output channels and Dirac Live room correction. An equally esoteric option is the Trinnov Altitude-32 , which starts at $17,500 for an eight-channel model and tops out at $29,000 for a 32-channel version. All Altitude-32s feature the company’s Trinnov Optimizer room optimization, and can be upgraded at additional cost to support Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D and DTS:X.

Audiocontrol’s Maestro M9 ($8,900) offers a somewhat less pricey alternative to the models mentioned above. With support for up to 11.1 channels, the M9 combines Dolby Atmos processing with Dirac Live room correction. It’s also DTS:X-ready, although there’s no news yet about when a DTS:X update will be made available.

If you ultimately do decide you can deal with having an AM/FM tuner in your preamp-processor, Dolby Atmos-capable models are available from Anthem, Marantz, Yamaha, and Onkyo at prices ranging from $1,500-3,000.

[Edit made on 12/18 to correct inaccurate statement that Trinnov Altitude-32 preamp-processors come with Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D and DTS:X codecs are bundled together as part of a 3D Audio upgrade.—AG]

Billy's picture

Go with the Onkyo, best price to performance ration. Its not like you have to look at an old fashioned analog dial on a receiver anymore, though I always thought that was cool. Did you have the idea that it would cost less because of no tuner? BTW, does anyone listen to over the air radio anymore, except MAYBE in the car?

mtymous1's picture


But there is a catch - you gotta wait a little bit:

(Apparently unbeknownst to Al Griffin) S&V posted a review over a year-and-a-half ago:

mtymous1's picture
mtymous1's picture

Looks like the XMC-1 does indeed have a tuner. Apologies for the oversight and any confusion.

ray ray's picture

McIntosh has two the MX160, and the MX122 AV PROCESSORS

TimmyS's picture

Acurus ACT4

$8500 Made In USA!

You can buy it from

pw's picture

Almost every Receiver with a Tuner has gobs of Crosstalk and the Radio Tuner still emits stations (output).. Turn your Tuners to a "White Noise" station that is a station that is Not broadcasting.. and avoid Receivers in any form.. buy a stand alone processor ..