3rd party surround sound decoder

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Home Forums General Discussion & Questions 3rd party surround sound decoder

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  • #40713
    BRONZE Member
      • Topics Started 9
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      Hello all,

      I am looking for a third party surround sound decoder with pre-amp out for all channels so I can connect it to my active BeoLab speakers.

      Dolby Atmos
      can be setup without an app
      preferably a compact form factor

      Price around EUR 1000 / GBP 1000

      I have had a Canton Smart Connect 5.1 v2. It should have been perfect but unfortunately it does not work. When activating eARC and pass through sound on the tv (LG CX) there are loud bangs in all speakers when changing between source material and a constant loud hissing sound with all sources. All is well, however, when eARC is turned off. Canton cannot fix this.

      Almando is another option but I have read reviews where it has issues but my initial annd major issue with it is that all setup and control is via an app. I would like the possibility to setup the system without an app.

      If you have a suggestion I would be very interested.
      (I have considered BeoSound Theatre but it seems to have several issues and is dependant on an app so have lost interest. I feel it should work perfectly and effortlessly at this price. Just my humble opinion).

      Best regards, BeoMedia

      BRONZE Member
        • Topics Started 0
        • Total Posts 9

        Hello BeoMedia,

        I also had very similar target requirements when looking for my own setup and regrettably after a lot of searching I found  no product that met all those requirements. I actually considered buying the Canton you did and am sorry to hear it doesn’t work well.

        I ended up buying a Denon X4700h second-hand because it has a preamp mode that turns off all the amps dramatically reducing its power usage. This in turn lets me hide it in a closed cabinet safely. I am overall very satisfied with the unit in general.

        But the unit is obviously massive compared to the Canton and much more expensive.

        The step down X3700H also has the preamp feature, and with the new X3800H just announced perhaps it will go on sale in the near future.

        You could try and find the older X3600H(2019), X3500h(2018) or X3400H(2017), possibly second-hand, all have the pre-amp outputs (just check that they have the necessary channel count for your setup) but the amplifier can’t be turned off so ventilation is more critical. Also they run HDMI 2.0 so only 4K60.  But if you use eARC and the TV for higher refresh rate sources then that doesn’t really matter.

        There is also an equivalent set of Marantz receivers that are near clones of the Denon, could look for those as well.

        If someone knows of a better option I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing about it! I am hoping to move to the Beosound Theatre in the near future with my setup.

        Best regards,


        BRONZE Member
          • Toronto, Canada
          • Topics Started 8
          • Total Posts 217

          I was in a similar situation as you where I had a Marantz 6011 receiver with pre-outs powering my BL18’s and BL3’s for about 7 years and I was rather happy with it. Marantz is really the best sounding receivers I have ever used.

          But I just replaced it all with the Beosound theatre and reported my issues with it here. But to be honest once you get used to the sub menus of the app and get it set up it works very well.  Better than I was expecting but I had low expectations based on previous experiences. I’m quite sure they will update the software to make things better.

          In terms of experience and setup the Theatre kills the marantz.  You don’t have to worry about what you plug into what speaker port. You don’t have to set crossover levels per speaker you don’t have to go through a long setup etc.  The Theatre basically does the hard work for you.

          In terms of sound it’s complicated.  The marantz really made the speakers transparent and filled the room maybe more than was intended, but I loved that.  The bass was clean and not boomy and the 5.1 surround was flawless. My only complaint is that the centre channel never sounded clear or loud enough despite a high end B&W speaker.

          The theatre accomplishes a lot considering I no longer have an external sub hooked up. 90% of the time I feel like I don’t need one but there is a bit of impact at some levels I feel are missing. The theatre doesn’t seem to make quite as much use of my rears as my marantz did so I usually feel like it’s a forward stage unless something bold happens in the rear speakers. On the plus side the centre channel is always perfect. I don’t know if it’s the processing or the speaker or both. The bass is also there but it’s very clean but I feel like even if I add the sub this is just a typical B&O non-offensive level of bass. I feel it does a great job with movie audio when I throw it an atmos track but not as good at up converting older 3.1 or 2.0.

          So in terms of sound difference there is a HUGE price difference between the two but I don’t see the value in that difference.  The value for me is more the experience with the theatre as its more Apple like. Everything detects each other and works well with one another. It finds all the other B&O equipment in my house and will unify everything. And of course I no longer have a huge box just to process the sound, its all hidden within the theatre.

          So if you just care about sound go with an external system. If you care about overall experience and design all for much more money go for the B&O.

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