Onkyo prepares roll-out of Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel music downloads

10 May 2012

Dolby TrueHD logo

Onkyo is set to launch a high-resolution surround music download service at the end of this month, making Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel audio available to buyers of its 2012 model receivers.

The service, which goes live in Japan on May 30 via e-onkyo music, will be available via 2012 receivers from the TX-NR717 upwards, and is expected to be available globally by the Autumn.


The e-onkyo site, which already has some 60,000 titles available in Japan, 1500 or those in 96kHz/24-bit or higher, will launch the new service with 100 albums.

These will be available in 5.1-channel Dolby TrueHD, WAV and FLAC formats, and at 96/24 and/or 192/24 quality, at a price estimated to be Y3000 (around £23.60) per album, and Y500 (about £4) for a single. This compares favourably with the price of new-release CDs in Japan.

Onkyo TX-NR717Playback of the downloaded files, which can be stored on a USB flash memory stick or hard drive, on a NAS or on the home computer, is possible using the TX-NR717 (above) and TX-NR818 receivers, which are due to go on sale at the end of this month.

2L DivertimentiAmong the labels already signed up for the service are Norwegian hi-res specialists 2L, whose Divertimenti set (left) won 2009 Grammy Awards for engineering and surround sound, Japanese classical label Octavia, J-POP label Pony Canyon, and German-based Nishimura.

Shinsuke Yamashita, president of Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corporation, says that 'We are very glad that we can begin Dolby TrueHD lossless audio distribution via e-onkyo music in collaboration with Dolby.

'With the development of network audio and PC audio, high-resolution audio—which contains more information than CD—has become familiar.

'We would like to pursue further growth in our music distribution business. In strengthening the relationship with Dolby, we hope to expand the variety of surround sound content available and improve the user experience.'

  • Digg


Re this surround sound digital download service, all I have to say at 1st is; about time too. I and my friends have been requesting this of HDTracks since it's inception a few years ago.

hubiedubie has a very good point.

BUT maybe services such as this will begin to drive musicians and recording studios to invest in hi-res (24/96) recording now. It is perverse that old analogue recordings can be digitally reproduced, (for remasters/reissues) at truly higher resolutions, than the common modern digital recording techniques/equipment generally allow for new recordings. Laughing out loud

The problem with alot of these Hi res formats for artists like Chase & Status etc is to get the quality purported, all instruments and samples would need to be at a higher resulution / bit depth (than 44/16) to get any benefit over current and legacy formats. The current norm in electronic music production using samples is 44/24. Current Akai MPC samplers don't even support 24 bit samples. Few electronic artists have computers with the horsepower to run all their software at 96/24 or higher.

So unless they're using all analog / acoustic gear and it's recorded at 96/24 or higher for lots of electronic artists you're not going to get much the benefit of Dolby TrueHD.

Good I guess, but once again its music I don't really care all that much about. HDTracks has probably the best selection I know of at least, for popular artists in high resolution but even they have a tiny collection - of course its because of the tiny selection in high resolution I've found some interesting music at Naim and Linn. I am betting that Adele, Coldplay etc or indeed most current artists are recording their material in high resolution though, and I would love somebody to give me the chance to pay for it.

For those of us still mourning the failure of DVD-A mebbe's we have our replacement, But I wonder where this leaves Blu-ray audio discs?  The important thing is audio surround sound is alive and well .....still!

Indeed, Alears, but then no announcement has been made about pricing for the UK or any other market yet – it was precisely because the Japanese pricing seemed so high that I made the comment about it being roughly equivalent to a normal CD price there.

Precisely my point Andrew. Irrespective of the exchange rate or price of CD's / Vinyl in Japan they are going to hard a hard job selling it to Europeans unless a more realistic pricing structure applies here and it is not going to be the equivalent yen to pounds that the Japanese are having to pay.

Or rather, the pricing for the Japanese editions of CDs is pricier. Much cheaper to get the import discs whichare often on flimsier discs with worse packaging.

As for the market, maybe because it is a Japanese company and most of the labels are Japanese, so as far as copyright issues go, it is easier to start off in Japan. I could also complain that here in Japan I don't get access to HD Music, let alone Spotify. Unfortunately the issues of licensing and copyright make rolling these services out globally much more complex.

Why limit this to such a narrow market?

Alears wrote:
I feel they will need to do something about their pricing structure though as the stated cost is up there with a 180g vinyl LP

That is, of course, Japanese pricing – CDs have traditionally been pretty expensive in Japan, and the price comparison isn't helped by current exchange rates.

An exciting way forward for some it would seem. I feel they will need to do something about their pricing structure though as the stated cost is up there with a 180g vinyl LP and I find it hard to believe they can fully justify the similarity of pricing considering the costs involved in actually producing a vinyl copy of the same said album.

A nice step in the right direction. Lets hope the other big players take note.

You never know the music industry might actually take note ? Who knows, unlike SACD, which in my op was brilliant, this might actually take off.

No offence to you many classical fans but it would be a brillant experience to benefit from this format in other genres.

Imagine something like Chas & Status in Dolby TrueHD - would blow your socks off (Please note other reference artists are available before you tell me its not your cup of tea).