I had a long conversation yesterday with ChatGPT about much of the above and how I might interconnect everything, an I've come to some further understanding, but no full conclusions yet. The Sony ES 7000 and 3000 are now available to order on sony.com, so I'm really looking forward to Matt's review. As mentioned above, I'm planning a 7.2.4 system in an ideal room that's adjacent to another room and deck that I'd like connected audio in as well with Homepods, Denons, or Sonos. Here are some things I learned
- It turns out I can play Atmos to a receiver and the Homepods simultaneously from an Apple TV 4K (for live concerts). Although it's still unclear if I can have a source as X-Box, it's not a large use case to play video game sound to the adjacent room. So Homepods are in the running for the adjacent room.
- In order to run my Samsung Frame TV in Art Mode while listening to music from the Apple TV to Atmos, the best solution I've come up with is to run a 10-inch monitor to a side table from Zone B video out for just the Apple TV UI, and put the Samsung Frame TV in Art Mode. This will be nice to have a small screen just for music UI and another huge one for art.
- The rest of what I learned has to do with spatial audio and the various streaming services available... and I'm just more confused.
Obviously, if I go with Apple Homepods, I'll subscribe to Apple Music for Lossless and Apple's Spatial Audio, which will work on both the Sony ES Atmos and the Homepods in the adjacent room. However, should I expect that a 2023 Sony ES Receiver with "360 Spatial Audio" is better suited to play Sony's "360 Reality Audio" formatted music, compared to Apple Music's Atmos? Probably yes, but this is an important question if you're reading, Matt. If a brand new Sony receiver does play Sony formatted content better, then I should subscribe to Tidal HiFi Plus with Sony Reality Audio, and then of course ditch the Homepods for Sonos, which works with Tidal and presumably will even have spatial audio and maybe room correction in their upcoming Era line. So, here's what I'm assuming so far:
- Sony ES 5000 + Sonos Port ($400) + 2 Sonos Era Speakers (~$500-600) = 11- channels out of the box and subscription to Tidal for Sony Reality Audio. DCAC IX plus 360 is promising vs. Dirac standard, but that's unclear. Bass Optimization will have to be done with SVS DSPs and REW. Sonos have portable options which are ideal for deck and even camping. Spendy but good.
- Denon/Marantz = Will likely start with 5.2.4, then add an amp and 2 more speakers later. Dirac Live available, but Bass Management coming way later. Independent sub-outs. Denon Heos makes sense obviously although Homepods could work. Denon's are nice but not portable, and no mention of spatial audio. Homepods atleast have in-room correction built in, and probably better if I go with Apple Music. Denon/Marantz do support Sony Reality Audio.
- Pioneer = 305 and 505 are on sale now, have standard Dirac, and seem to work with either Sonos of Homepods just fine.
See the plans below if you're interested.