Just when we thought it was safe to enter the water...
Now we have Auro knocking on our doors...
Cheap cheap... only 16700 buckeroos...
AURO states that the main differences between them and Atmos are:
- Atmos has two vertical layers, AURO-3D has three
- AURO-3D has one top "voice of God" speaker placed directly overhead
- Atmos speakers are placed much higher than AURO-3D speakers - AURO speakers are in line with existing 5/7.1 speakers but elevated allowing more precise vertical sounds
- AURO-3D is based on uncompressed PCM, Atmos uses lossy AC-4*
- AURO-3D is a mixing format as well as a native encoding format (Atmos is only the latter according to AURO)
*Editorial Note About Dolby Atmos and TrueHD
While Auro claims Dolby uses lossy AC-4 for Atmos, according to the Atmos White Paper, Dolby claims Atmos over Blu-ray can be rendered losslessly via TrueHD. So we suspect the lossy AC-4 statement applies to streaming Atmos which we will confirm as these services become available.
AURO-3D Speaker Layers
While no receiver manufacturers have partnered with AURO as of yet, they have released their own receiver - the $16,700 Auriga. The AURO Auriga has four HDMI inputs and one output along with three coaxial and three optical digital inputs. Five pairs of RCA-style analog inputs round out the inputs. The Auriga sports 13 channels of amplification (at 200 watts per channel, 8 ohms, all channels driven according to AURO) with pre-outs for up to 16 different speakers. Right now it doesn't support 4K but will through a firmware update.
While the Auriga supports all the popular legacy high-def surround formats (DTS HD, Dolby TrueHD) as well as the expanded formats (DTS Neo:X, Dolby ProLogic IIz), it is the only one that supports AURO-3D. If there is no AURO-3D metadata, it will take whatever format is available (including PCM) and expand it to the existing speakers. The Auriga supports up to 24/192 audio over HDMI and has full bass management for up to three subwoofers. There are 10 parametric filters per channel and 12 global system configuration memories but no mention of any specific room correction system. The Auriga does have an XLR microphone input but we don't know if that will be used for auto-setup or other calibration solution.
The Auriga can be controlled over IP or from your phone or tablet via an app. There is no mention of a remote but we have to believe there is one. It can be connected to the Internet via an Ethernet connection or an included WiFi dongle. There is a second zone of audio but it only supports stereo audio (RCA analog input). The HDMI connections are only version 1.4a so those interested in maintaining future compatibility with HDMI 2.0 or HDCP 2.2 may have cause for concern.