Dolby Atmos is the most exciting advancement in
surround sound technology, perhaps ever! Dolby Atmos is a type of immersive or
3D surround sound technology that was first available in theatres in 2012 and
has been growing in popularity and availability for home theatre since
2014. There are 3 formats for immersive
surround sound currently available; Dolby Atmos, DTS-X and Auro-3D. If you have yet to experience one of these
formats you must experience a demo before making any changes to your current
surround sound set up or designing a new surround sound system. The effect is dramatic and it makes any
surround sound format you have heard previously pale in comparison.
Dolby Atmos creates powerful, moving audio by introducing two important concepts to cinema sound: audio objects and overhead speakers. Together, these completely change how soundtracks are created and heard.
Immersive Sound can be channel based, meaning the sound will
be sent to a specific speaker or sequence of speakers, or it can be
object-based, meaning the sound can be positioned in a specific place in the
room and its speed and direction can be programmed. Dolby Atmos is object based and will impact
not only specific Dolby Atmos titles, but all of your existing Blu-Rays in a
way you could never imagine.
Dolby Atmos capable receivers have more processing power than any receiver before them. This is because every sound in the movie has spatial data attached to it, which lets the receiver know exactly where in the room to position the sound. This means that more than ever before, you will truly get what you pay for!
The most basic Dolby Atmos set-up you would want to consider
would be 5.1.2. This means 3 speakers
along the front of the room, 2 speakers on the rear walls, 2 speakers overhead
and 1 subwoofer. Dolby Atmos in the
professional movie theatre typically maxes out at 128 speakers. Your home
theatre set-up will max out, currently, at 7.4.4. For Dolby Atmos to work properly, it is crucial
that we have at least two (2) surround speakers in the wall in order to
maintain the 3D dimensionality of sound sources.
The director of the film “Gravity”, Alfonso Cuaron, has gone on record to say that immersive surround from Dolby Atmos was important to the film as, “you can really explore the possibilities of depth and separation as never before.”