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New Firmware for PAC AVRs Adds Roon, Auro 3D, Improved Dirac & More

by January 17, 2024
Premium Audio Company Updates

Premium Audio Company Updates

Established in 2020, Premium Audio Company comprises some big AV brands, including Onkyo, Integra, and Pioneer/Elite, which PAC acquired in 2021 — the same year those brands began offering Dirac Live Room Correction in select products. In 2023, Dirac Live Bass Control arrived on newly-released AVRs within the PAC family of brands. Now PAC has released a firmware update for its flagship AVRs that promises to improve audio playback, functionality, and Dirac Live performance. The AVRs affected by this update are the Integra DRX-8.4Onkyo TX-RZ70, and Pioneer Elite VSX-LX805, which launched in the spring of 2023.


The firmware update adds Roon Ready certification for all of the above AVRs — something that will make many audiophiles very happy indeed. Roon Ready is the top level of certification offered by Roon, and it requires extensive compatibility testing to ensure that the piece of gear in question meets the standards set by Roon Labs for a smooth and optimized user experience with the company’s industry-leading music server/streamer software platform. Roon seamlessly combines locally-stored files with streams from TIDAL and Qobuz, and offers a superior user interface with detailed metadata and extra content, such as album art, lyrics, artist bios, and more.


Like certain models from PAC’s competitors Denon and Marantz, the top Integra, Onkyo, and Pioneer AVRs now feature a Pre-amp Mode, which disconnects the Power Amp output for channels being routed to external amplifiers. Doing so reportedly offers a slight improvement to the Signal/Noise ratio in the preamp signal, resulting in a bump in sound quality. Pre-amp Mode also reduces power consumption because the unused amplifier channels are not drawing as much power. Premium Audio Company says that this mode will expand the range of use of the AVRs, as many users add external amplifiers for at least some channels.

Pioneer Elite

Next on the update list is Source-Based Tone Mapping (SBTM) for HDMI 2.1a, which allows a portion of the HDR mapping to be performed by the source device, such as a gaming console or Blu-ray player, rather than the display device, such as a TV or projector. According to HDMI.org, the benefit of SBTM is that the source can send a video signal that takes full advantage of a specific display’s HDR capability by adjusting its output to take better advantage of each display’s potential. Best of all, this happens automatically, without manual configuration by the user.

Stream Spatial Audio Directly to your AVR!

Dolby Atmos music fans with Amazon Music accounts will be pleased to know that the firmware update makes the affected receivers among the first in the world to play Dolby Atmos content via Amazon Music HD. Another upgrade to the receivers’ immersive audio capabilities comes by way of support for Auro-3D, an advanced audio technology and format that layers sound via lower, height, and top channels. Auro-3D uses a slightly different speaker layout than Dolby Atmos, and there’s certainly less material available in Auro-3D, but the format has its fans. While Auro-3D is best experienced with audio that has been mastered in the format, the firmware update also adds Auro-Matic, a unique up-mixing technology that reportedly transforms existing stereo and surround sound content into a more 3D experience.

Finally, the firmware update allows Dirac Live users more flexible speaker placement by improving Dirac Live Room Correction delay times. Users of the popular automatic sound field correction technology will benefit from an increased compensation from 20ms up to 50ms, which allows speakers to be placed farther from the listening position. The previous max distance was approximately 6.8 meters, while the improved version can correct for speakers nearly 17 meters away. Being able to correct for varying speaker distances is an important aspect of room correction, and now those with large home theaters can enjoy improved performance.

The latest software updates delivered by PAC engineering reinforce our continued commitment to music and home theater enthusiasts. Strike that... our customers go beyond the enthusiast level. They are truly the heartbeat that drives sound and video innovation, and we are thrilled to be part of their journey.

— Rob Vieira, Senior Director of AVR Brands of Premium Audio Company, Americas

For those with the Onkyo and Pioneer AVRs connected to the internet, availability of the update will be indicated via both the on-screen display and the front panel display, and it can be downloaded directly onto the AVR. The update can also be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website and installed onto the AVR via USB drive. Integra DRX-8.4 owners should navigate to the AVR’s “Setup Firmware” menu and follow the on-screen prompts.


About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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