Sound United is offering new factory upgraded versions of a pair of 2018/2019 AV flagship receivers from its Denon and Marantz brands — the Denon AVR-X8500H and Marantz AV8805 — and announced current owners of the receivers soon will be able to have their units updated with the latest HDMI 2.1 features as well.

The newest versions of the AVRs are dubbed the Denon AVR-X8500H “A” and Marantz AV8805 “A”. Both are gaining a host of feature improvements, mostly related to full bandwidth HDMI 2.1 functionality and new advanced gaming.

When they were originally launched in 2018, the AVR-X8500H and Marantz AV8805 were positioned as some of Sound United’s first components to support the then new IMAX Enhanced Certification program, along with a host of other top-performing features available at that time.

However, not all of the latest HDMI 2.1 features were ready at that time, and some require different internal hardware and software to add them.

This is not related to the recent HDMI 2.1 bug fix that Sound United previously announced it was addressing. Rather, this is a part of a traditional customer support service Denon and Marantz have provided to keep certain flagship components up to date with the latest technologies.

The company said these new updates include support for 8K/60Hz upscaling and passthrough, 4K/120Hz pass-through , HDR10+ HDR support, Dynamic HDR, HDCP 2.3, and “other HDMI 2.1 technologies.”

To get the latest features out of the box, the new model Denon AVR-X8500HA will be available for a $4,299 suggested retail and the Marantz AV8805A is listed at $4,799. Both are available at authorized Denon and Marantz dealers now. The company said the new versions “will gradually replace all existing Denon AVR-X8500H and Marantz AV8805 units.”

Sound United said it will be offering owners of the earlier versions of the receivers the ability to have those products upgraded with hardware and software at an authorized service center.

In its announcement, Sound United said current owners of the Denon AVR-X8500H and Marantz AV8805 model receivers will need an upgraded “HDMI/Digital board within their units to obtain the same features as the “A” [version] components. The upgrade requires a hardware modification at a Denon and Marantz certified Service Center.”

The company said these service upgrades can be scheduled “upon request” beginning June 15, 2021. Customers will need to contact Denon or Marantz directly, and the fee to get the extra feature layer will be $599 (U.S.) or $749 (Canadian).

Customers outside of the United States and Canada, are asked to contact their local Denon or Marantz dealer or distributor for the availability of the upgrade, due to potential variations in price and availability.

The improvements will bring dedicated “8K” HDMI input enabling 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video pass-through, new HDR format support including HDR10+ and Dynamic HDR, and a new HDMI feature called Quick Media Switching (QMS), which allows a source to instantly switch frame rate to eliminate screen blackout.

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The models will continue to support enhanced color, clarity and contrast through HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and Dolby Vision HDR profile support, as well as 4:4:4 Pure Color subsampling and BT.2020 pass-through.

“Several new features give gamers an edge, including razor sharp motion clarity with 4K/120Hz pass through and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) to reduce frame tearing and improve overall precision,” the Sound United statement said.

Also supported are Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT), which both serve to reduce lag.

Other improvements include: upscaling existing HD and 4K content to 8K.

HDMI 2.1 features that will continue to be supported include: Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC), with greater bandwidth to support lossless and object-based audio formats including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos from TV apps or connected devices using a single HDMI cable.

Marantz AV8805A

Owners of either the Denon AVR-X8500H or Marantz AV8805 who would like to get the HDMI 2.1 upgrade, are asked to visit the Denon Site or Marantz Site for details.

The process to schedule an upgrade of the Denon AVR-X8500H or Marantz AV8805 is as follows:

  1. Customer visits Denon Site or Marantz Site. Follows instructions, and checks out.
  2. United Radio, official repair partner of Denon and Marantz, will ship a box to the customer.
  3. A confirmation will be sent to the customer via email with instructions on what to do with the shipping carton. This will include details on how to affix an upgrade kit label to the box, and a prepaid shipping label.
  4. Customer ships carton to United Radio.
  5. United Radio receives product and performs upgrade within 48 hours.
  6. Return shipment sent out, customer receives shipping notification from United Radio with tracking.

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By Greg Tarr

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