What is Dolby Atmos? A Simple Breakdown

Hey Dudes! Today, we take a look at Dolby Atmos and the future of surround sound.

Chances are you’ve yet to experience Dolby Atmos. Despite the fact that this sound technology has been around since 2012. But the technology is becoming increasingly prevalent, with more and more cinemas embracing it, and the home AV industry providing receivers with Atmos decoding.

What is Dolby Atmos?

Developed in 2012, Atmos expands the previous 5.1 and 7.1  surround setups to potentially 128 channels to create an all-enveloping, “3D” sound experience.

Image result for 5.1 surround sound

Traditional 5.1 Setup

In a cinema setting, speakers will not only be placed in front of, and at various points around you, but also above you. This adds a height dimension to the sound, creating a hemisphere of speakers. This allows film-makers and sound designers to direct specific sounds to certain areas in the room with a high degree of accuracy.

One of, if not the main thing to be aware of when it comes to Dolby Atmos is the concept of audio objects. Previously, sounds were constrained to specific channels. With Dolby Atmos, sound designers don’t have to limit a sound to a particular channel. They can specify where an individual sound originates from and moves to, and the Atmos system will interpret that data and play it back within a virtual 3D space.

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Home Atmos setup (7.1.4)

In layman’s terms: the result is sound that feels as though it’s coming from the room you’re sitting in. Raindrops can be heard hitting individual leaves close-by, helicopters sound like they’re flying right above you. Individual sounds that are no longer limited to a particular speaker or channel in this way are known as audio objects.

The Consumer Market

However, most home theatre receivers only come in 5.1.2. 5.1.4 or other small configurations. This means that at home you will only ever get use of about 7 to 11 channels. Which of course makes sense for the everyday consumer. Most will not want to run several in-ceiling or surround speakers.

Image result for ceiling speakers atmos

Dolby Atmos is a technology that is really exciting in the movie lover world. The reason most people want to build a home theatre or go to a movie theatre is to feel closer to the action, characters or setting of a movie. Atmos does exactly that. I sometimes feel that most people that look to buy a large television often negate audio. In my humble opinion, Dolby Atmos is a greater advancement in terms of home theatre experience than 4K.

Thanks for reading dudes

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