Both Denon and Marantz have introduced new flagship AV receivers with an extensive spec and support for the latest video and audio formats and technologies.
The Denon AVC-X8500HA and Marantz AV8805A are the A-spec receivers of the AVC-X8500H and AV8805 models that appeared on the scene a few years back. Owners of those existing models will be able to upgrade to the A-spec by contacting authorised dealers.
Price and availability
- €3999 / £3699 / $4299
- Release date: June 2021
- Upgrade to A-spec for existing AVC-X8500H owners: €749 / £649 / $599
- €4299 / £3899 / $4799
- Release date: June 2021
- Upgrade to A-spec for existing AV8805 owners: €749 / £649 / $599
What does the AVC-X8500HA bringing to the table over the original model? Back when the X8500H went on sale 8K was in its infancy, so the X8500A mode adds 8K/60Hz upscaling and pass-through as well as 4K/120Hz pass-through, which should hopefully work given the issues receivers have had with next-gen consoles such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
HDR formats have been boosted with HDR10+ and a Dynamic HDR format siting alongside HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision. All the HDMI inputs – save for the input on the front of the device – have been upgraded to HDMI 2.1 functionality, so Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Quick Frame Transport – which will help with gaming performance – are on board, while QMS (Quick Media Switching) is now supported for speedily swapping through inputs.
Elsewhere there’s HDCP 2.3, as well as 4:4:4 Pure Color subsampling and BT.2020 pass-through.
eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) remains for piping through allows lossless and object-based audio transmission such as DTS:X and Dolby Atmos from TV apps or connected sources. DTS:X Pro is also supported, allowing users with compatible set-ups to enjoy DTS:X sound and IMAX Enhanced content in 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 configurations.
Other audio technologies supported out of the box include Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS Virtual:X, and Auro-3D, with the height virtualization technologies able to create virtual height effects in a 7.1, 5.1 or 2.1 speaker arrangement.
The spec sheets for the Marantz AV8805A reads pretty much the same as the Denon above. There’s DTS:X Pro and IMAX Enhanced decoding in 7.2.6 or 9.2.4 configurations, as well as the various other advanced object-audio based formats in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and height virtualization technologies such as DTS Virtual:X etc.
A dedicated 8K-compatible HDMI 2.1 input enables 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video pass-through. HDR10+ and Dynamic HDR are added to the list of supported HDR formats, and there’s support for the latest gaming technologies to reduce frame tearing and latency for smoother looking images and faster response times.
Updates for the Denon AVC-X8500H & Marantz AV8805 models
The original models haven’t been left out of the mix. If you’re not seeking to upgrade to the A-spec, then Denon & Marantz will be issuing firmware updates for the older models, upgrading them to support DTS:X Pro, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and front-wide channel support with Dolby Surround. These should be rolling out today (27th May, 2021).