Onkyo Unveils First DTS Neo:X Receiver

Onkyo's TX-NR1009 is the first surround receiver with DTS Neo:X, which converts signals with 2.0, 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 channels to 9.1 or 11.1 channels.

Why this, why now? Frankly we're not sure.

As described by DTS and shown in the diagram above, Neo:X "provides a semi-spherical sound field using an 11.1 speaker configuration adding height/wide speakers to create a natural, immersive, spacious and lifelike 3D surround soundscape."

The TX-NR1009 itself, however, has only (only!) 9.2 channels of amplification, so if you want the full 11.1 treatment, you'll need to scrounge up a stereo amp to augment it.

If you'd rather not do that, here's how Onkyo scopes out the possibilities. "A basic 5.1-channel set-up can be complemented by one of three different arrangements: (1) the addition of surround back- and front-height speakers to bring out ambient, non-directional sounds; (2) adding surround back- and front-wide speakers to provide a more expansive soundstage; or (3) adding front-height and front-width speakers to create an immersive space without needing to install rear speakers."

DTS Neo:X is not the only way to access these possibilities. The receiver also includes Audyssey DSX, which offers width and height enhancement, and Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which offers height enhancement. None of these listening modes is supported with specifically encoded material on Blu-ray, DVD, or any form of broadcast/cable/satellite TV. However, DTS created its own discrete Neo:X programming to demonstrate the technology at the January 2011 CES, and a few games have been encoded in DPLIIz.

The receiver is loaded for bear with THX Select2Plus certification. It boasts Audyssey MultEQ XT, the second-from-top of that company's auto setup and room correction technologies. Video processing includes both IDT HQV Vida and Marvell Qdeo, the latter upscaling 1080p sources up to 3840 by 2160 pixels. Network audio features include internet radio, Mediafly, Pandora, Slacker, Napster, Rhapsody, vTuner, SIRIUS XM, and Last.fm. And you can plug your iPod/iPhone into the front-panel USB jack.

The price of admission is $1399 and the product will ship in June.

See Onkyo press release.