What’s Dolby Atmos and what audio system do you want?

Residence cinema is not simply in regards to the image – sound is equally as vital, and there have been vital developments in that space in recent times.

Now not are we confined to five.1 and seven.1 encompass sound methods, we will have totally encompassing, cinema-like experiences due to the proliferation of Dolby Atmos.

Accessible on motion pictures, sports activities broadcasts, and even video games today, Atmos is doing for sound what Blu-ray and 4K Extremely HD did for video efficiency.

However, what’s Dolby Atmos? Why is it thrilling? And what do you might want to get probably the most from it?

What’s Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos began within the cinema, and takes the longstanding encompass sound idea and provides further peak channels to supply a extra enveloping 3D sound.

So, quite than have sounds of raindrops, or a helicopter transferring across the similar peak as your ears with 5.1, for instance, Atmos means you’ll hear rain really falling from above or a helicopter transferring from over your head and into the space. At the very least, that is the idea.

In a cinema or film theatre, that is delivered at its highest, with as much as 64 audio system supported. However it’s extra more and more being utilized in soundbars and speaker packages for the house.

Right here, it introduces new speaker configurations, reminiscent of 5.1.2, the place there are 5 audio system across the room – typically a centre channel and 4 surrounds – one subwoofer and two peak channels. These peak channels may be delivered via in-ceiling audio system or drivers that fireside sound upwards.

You would even have 5.1.4, 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 – generally even 9.2.6 in probably the most difficult setups. Nonetheless, Dolby Atmos is not outlined by the variety of channels. In reality, Dolby Atmos is named object-based sound, as whereas its foundation is 10 mattress channels in a 7.1.2 setup, it will possibly even have as much as 128 particular person objects that may be positioned independently anyplace in a 3D soundscape, and transfer round freely.

When exported for a house surroundings combine, that is downscaled barely to as many as eight dynamic object teams – however the idea is similar. One of the best factor about object-based sound is it will possibly adapt to nonetheless many audio system you’ve gotten.

What do I have to get Dolby Atmos at dwelling?

For the very best Atmos expertise, in-ceiling audio system are the best way to go.

Nonetheless, not everybody is ready to facilitate them, so the extra frequent method at house is to get upward firing Atmos audio system to fireplace the sound as much as the ceiling and replicate again right down to the listening place. And, that is the shape adopted by many speaker, AV receiver and soundbar producers at the moment.


For these with conventional separate audio system – like a house cinema sound system – this would possibly simply imply the addition of upfiring modules. A number of manufacturers, together with Onkyo and KEF, supply audio system that you simply place on high of your present left and proper floorstanders, or close by on an AV stand. These are devoted to Dolby Atmos and are angled barely to bounce the pontificate the ceiling and again right down to your sitting place.

Some producers construct upfiring models into their left and proper bookshelf or floorstanding audio system. So, in addition to fireplace sound in the direction of you, in addition they fireplace upwards too.

In an effort to drive devoted Dolby Atmos audio system, whether or not they’re upward firing modules or are built-in to the ceiling, you may want a suitable AV receiver. The vast majority of main AV manufacturers assist Dolby Atmos throughout their ranges, and all at totally different value factors to swimsuit totally different budgets

However that is not the one path to getting Dolby Atmos in your house.

What Dolby Atmos soundbars can be found?

We have been speaking as if we’re assuming you’ve gotten house for a full Atmos encompass sound setup. What if you would like the added peak impact however house is at a premium? Then you possibly can go for a Dolby Atmos soundbar.

A lot of the huge audio manufacturers supply Dolby Atmos soundbars in some kind. Many supply fashions with upfiring audio system constructed into the highest of the physique, some supply a digital Atmos impact, recreating a wider soundstage to convey that immersion, however with out straight firing sound upwards.

A couple of years again it was solely the high-end bars that had this selection, however we’re seeing a a lot wider choice of mid-range bars providing Atmos too, that means it is getting less expensive to get that boosted audio impact.

  • Samsung Q990B square

    Samsung HW-Q990B

    A incredible soundbar that flawlessly delivers Dolby Atmos and DTS:X utilizing an 11.1.4-channel system.

  • Sonos Beam Gen 2 square

    Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

    A beautiful trendy and compact choice, particularly for those who’re already within the Sonos ecosystem.

  • Sony A7000 square

    Sony HT-A7000

    The Sony HT-A7000 delivers an unrivalled and totally immersive sound from a easy all-in-one soundbar.

What different {hardware} do I want for Dolby Atmos?

An enormous a part of the puzzle, in fact, is the supply. It’s worthwhile to discover a strategy to feed that Dolby Atmos sign to your audio system. The start line for film followers is more likely to be a Blu-ray participant – and you may in all probability need one which helps 4K Extremely HD.

Nonetheless, so long as the Blu-ray participant has been set to output a direct bitstream sign, your Dolby Atmos-enabled receiver or soundbar ought to be capable to decode the sign and ship the peak channels to the Dolby Atmos audio system.

You’ll in fact even have to ensure the Blu-ray disc you are watching has a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on it. You possibly can verify the rear of the case to see if it does.

Some TV companies supply Dolby Atmos – BT Sport Ultimate gives you Atmos on some reside soccer matches if in case you have the 4K Extremely HD set-top field. Sky additionally gives Dolby Atmos on some sporting occasions and Sky Cinema motion pictures via its Sky Q field.

Media streaming is one other space that provides Dolby Atmos soundtracks. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ every assist Dolby Atmos on motion pictures and TV exhibits, as does Apple TV via its Sensible TV apps and personal set-top field. By way of different streaming units, Roku helps it, in addition to Android TV bins, such because the Nvidia Defend TV, and Amazon’s Fire TV.

You need to use a video games console too, because the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox One S, PlayStation 5 and PS4 all assist Atmos soundtracks on movies, both via streaming, with some video games adopting the format too. The newer Xbox consoles additionally assist Dolby Atmos for gaming.

Some flagship TVs now assist Dolby Atmos as effectively, with built-in sound methods and upfiring audio system to assist it natively. It is best to verify although earlier than you buy your subsequent TV although – some promote as supporting Atmos however can solely supply it just about, or move it via to a soundbar or receiver.

You will have an HDMI 2.1 port that helps HDMI eARC know-how in an effort to hear full-fat lossless Atmos, although. Older HDMI ports with normal ARC can move Atmos although within the lossy Dolby Digital Plus codec – you may not hear a complete lot of distinction however for those who’ve spent the money on setup you wish to ensure you’re listening to it at its greatest.

You will have the eARC assist at each ends of the system although – so for those who’re passing it via to a soundbar, that can want eARC assist too – it tends to be discovered on units and units launched in 2019 and up.

A remaining choice is to buy a TV with Dolby Atmos audio system constructed into the set itself – reminiscent of Sky’s personal linked TV

What content material can I watch in Dolby Atmos?

One of many first motion pictures to be launched with an Atmos soundtrack was Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014. Fortunately movies with Atmos have enormously progressed since then, in each high quality and amount. Many 4K and normal Blu-rays on the cabinets can have an Atmos soundtrack – so verify your assortment, as you might have already got a library able to go.

BT TV offers Atmos via its 4K Extremely HD sports activities channel. Stay sports activities have been proven with the added peak since 2017, however to get it you might want to have the BT YouView+ 4K Extremely HD set-top field.

Sky Q additionally sports activities Dolby Atmos in its content offerings. This contains many film downloads if in case you have a Sky Cinema subscription and Premier League soccer protection.

Dolby Atmos Explained What Is It And How Do I Get It image 5

Netflix affords Atmos content material, as does Amazon Prime Video. Most new content material added to Disney+ additionally is available in Dolby Atmos, together with Marvel and Star Wars motion pictures and TV exhibits.

You should buy or lease many digital movies with Dolby Atmos soundtracks via the likes of Apple TV and Rakuten TV.

Loads of Xbox video games now have Dolby Atmos soundtracks too – try Forza Horizon 5 or Halo Infinite on an Xbox Collection X or S, for instance.

What about Dolby Atmos on laptops, telephones and tablets?

In more moderen years we have seen Dolby Atmos being talked about in different phrases – not simply within the context of the house cinema expertise.

If it will possibly play audio, Dolby desires to convey the Atmos expertise to it. Meaning we’re seeing laptops, tablets and telephones stating that they provide Dolby Atmos assist – although in fact the expertise is sort of totally different to that you’re going to hear at dwelling or within the cinema.

In these circumstances, it is about virtualising a extra immersive soundscape. Sure, these units sound higher when the Dolby Atmos mode is turned on, but it surely’s not aiming to put sound objects in house such as you would possibly get at dwelling out of your separates system. It is about making a feeling of sounds being elsewhere, utilizing some intelligent audio trickery that delays – simply barely – when sounds are delivered, to offer a sense of them being nearer or additional away.

Meaning you may have to take Dolby Atmos on units like mobiles with a small pinch of salt – it is utilizing the identical branding, but it surely’s probably not the identical factor.

What about Dolby Atmos Music?

Extra just lately, we have seen Dolby Atmos transfer away from the house cinema house and into the music house, with Dolby Atmos Music. It is a spatial audio format, identical to it’s for cinema, however now with music tracks as a substitute.

The music tracks should be specifically blended for Atmos, so you possibly can’t simply play a daily tune via an Atmos system and count on it to work. On the time of writing, Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Music embrace Dolby Atmos music tracks of their catalogues.

In fact, to listen to them at their greatest, you may have to have the {hardware} that helps Atmos playback. Amazon’s Echo Studio does simply that, as does Apple’s HomePod 2 and the Sonos Era 300.

You may as well take heed to them utilizing any common headphones and a suitable telephone or pill, however this can be a digital combine as mentioned above – utilizing the audio system will present a way more immersive expertise.

You possibly can learn extra about Dolby Atmos Music in our full feature.

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