Dolby Atmos and other immersive sound systems can scale to whatever size system you're running - but they have been limited in this boundless scalability by the traditional channel count of AV receivers and their iterative evolution.

But Denon has announced it’s up for lifting the channel count with its new AVC-X8500H (RRP $5999), claiming it as the industry’s first true 13.2-channel amplifier.

The X8500H features Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro 3D surround decoding, plus plenty of smarts — full HEOS multiroom compatibility, Apple AirPlay, and also Amazon Alexa’s Smart Home Skill for Entertainment Devices, a new feature set which will become available in Australia later in 2018.

Of course the AVC-X8500H is fully prepared for UHD Blu-ray disc players and other ‘4K’ UHD sources, with onboard Dolby Vision and HLG (broadcast HDR), and full 4K compatibility on all eight HDMI inputs and triple HDMI outputs.

Denon also plans to support the owners of the AVC-X8500H with both hardware and software upgradability to the HDMI 2.1 specification, which will include 8K pass-through capability (see below) when the solution becomes available, as a charged upgrade service.

The 13 amplifiers in the X8500H are discrete monolithic amps incorporating custom-made DHCTs (Denon High Current Transistors); they are rated at 150 watts per channel into 8 ohms, 20–20kHz at THD 0.05%, two channels driven. And since we count 30 binding posts on the back panel, it seems there’s some layout versatility built in as well.

This model is hand-assembled in small batches in Japan. Info: www.denon.com.au