Dolby Atmos For Home Theater Explained

Discussion in 'GENERAL AV Discussions' started by admin, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

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    Two years ago, Dolby Atmos entered the commercial cinema scene, dramatically improving the level of audio immersion provided by theaters. Now Atmos is coming to the home, leaving consumers wondering what they'll need to enjoy the benefits of the new format. In this article we go over the requirements, including speakers, receivers, and Blu-ray players. In addition, we cover the possible configurations, which range from 5.1.2 to 7.1.4 and 9.1.2. There's only one question left: are you ready for Dolby Atmos?

    [​IMG]

    Read Dolby Atmos for Home Theater Explained
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2014
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  2. MidnightSensi2 Audioholic Chief

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    Thank you for this wonderful introduction. Clear, visual, like it!
  3. cembros Audiophyte

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    I’m getting ready to install in celling surrounds for a 7.2 setup. I plan on purchasing one of the new Atmos enabled denon or Marantz receivers when they are released. Can I take advantage of Atmos with no side speakers? Will adding in celling heights above the mains along with traditionally positioned in celling side and rear surrounds work?
  4. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

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    I think people are ready for Atmos as long as it can enhance or does no harm to their existing 5.1 setup.
  5. Steve81 Audioholics 5-O

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    Personally I'm curious to hear what it can offer in a home environment; however, I'm not exactly inclined to add in-ceiling speakers, and my theater's ceiling height is too low to use Atmos-enabled speakers. As such, I'll have to find a way to live with 5.1 for the foreseeable future.
  6. SpenceJT Audioholic Intern

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    Exciting news, with Dolby's Atmos being announced for the likes of Onkyo, Denon, etc.

    Upon hearing this news, I am wondering if I will need to re-think my speaker choice and placement options.

    Here is my system in its current 7.2 channel configuration.
    After.jpg - Axiom Message Boards

    The Axiom M60's were added in place of the old M22s (which had been on a pair of the FMS-16 stands). My M22s are currently sitting (not connected) atop of the right and left oak towers of my entertainment center.

    My current plan is to upgrade to either the Denon X7200 AVR once it becomes available, with the fallback of the Denon X5200 if I find the X7200 to be out of my range.

    My M22s will be placed back onto their stands and positioned as "width" channels (with the right hand side to be moved in behind the M60 when not in use as the basement stairs come down to the right of the door).

    I had planned to create a pair of matching oak mounts (to the top front of the towers) for a pair of QS8s which were to be used as a height channel.

    Now I am thinking that placement of the QS8s will not be optimal for use as an overhead "Atmos" channel. I know that the QS8s will do well at dispersing the audio, but am unsure as to how they will sound being so close to the front soundstage.

    I am hesitant in cutting or modifying my acoustically absorbent ceiling, as running an extra pair of cables through the heavily insulated ceiling cavity above will be nearly impossible, and the ceiling is not a "typical" drop-ceiling providing space enough to slide up/over tiles as needed. It is "CeilingMax" and it only allows about 1.5" of space between the tiles and the joists above them.

    Ideas? I am currently considering fabrication of a pair of forward protruding "outriggers" (for lack of a better term), which can mount to the top of the towers and angle up and forward to mount the QS8s 3-4 feet forward of the main speakers. It may look ...interesting.

    I am totally open to ideas or opinions that do not involve me dismantling my ceiling or entertainment rack to mount speakers and run cables. ;-)
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  7. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

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    I think the key is being backward compatible. If Atmos AVRs can enhance everyone's existing setup (5.1, 7.1, 9.1, etc.), then 100% of people will be cool with Atmos.

    People shouldn't need to add more speakers or buy new speakers. The Atmos should take the already existing systems and improve the sound. No harm done, right?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  8. Steve81 Audioholics 5-O

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    I don't know how much Atmos will really improve an existing 5.1/7.1 setup without adding height channels, but buying an Atmos AVR shouldn't specifically hurt anything beyond price. Of course I can't claim to have any plans to buy a new AVR or pre/pro at the moment either. Who knows though, maybe a trip to the CEDIA Expo will change my mind.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  9. blcskate Junior Audioholic

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    Considering I am in the market for my new house and theater and I already pre-wired 7.1 it would not be extremely difficult for me to simply add the four in ceiling speakers and be atmos ready. I was going to buy the x4000 anyway. I will have to wait a couple months now because this releases after the house closes (no biggy since I have a couple pioneer elite receivers I can use temporarily). The only question now for me is what in ceiling speakers should I use to match RBH SX series for the rest of the room.
  10. agarwalro Audioholic Ninja

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    If the 11.x Audyssey DSX layout could be merged with the Dolby Atmos x.x.4 layout of speakers it will be awesome. A 11.4.4 setup should be truly AH :D.
  11. herbu Audioholic Samurai

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    Ditto. There are various options to add tower/bookshelve/wall-mounted and keep the wires relatively unseen. Adding ceiling speakers would seem to be a new level of complication. I think this advancement will be pretty low on my priorities.
  12. Steelheart1948 Enthusiast

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    It is not my intention to be the Grinch here, but the home theater market is shrinking, not expanding. Pioneer is leaving. Denon and Marantz are losing money. The odds of Dolby Atmos succeeding in the home theater market are very small. Like curved screen T.V.'s, this is an act of desperation by the manufacturers of such products.
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  13. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

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    It's even more sad to see solid loudspeaker designers based in grounded science endorsing the Atmos top mounted speaker solution as the next best thing since sliced bread.
    gene,
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  14. crossedover Audioholic Chief

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    Who said that Andrew said it's the next best thing since sliced bread? After a listening session, feel free to rip away. Would have assumed that judgement wouldn't be passed till then.
  15. walter duque Audioholic Samurai

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    What's wrong with a top mounted driver? I think it's a great idea.
  16. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

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    I will surely listen to it but very common sense physics dictates its a bad idea for so many reasons. IMO it truly is an act of desperation by an industry fighting to stay relevant.
    gene,
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  17. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

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    1. acoustical interference
    2. poor dispersion
    3. poor separation

    While that top mounted driver is active its messing with the sound of the main channels that are in close proximity. A driver firing up at a ceiling will also spread around the room at the lower frequencies and the sound that does bounce off the ceiling will NOT be very cohesive at all and it certainly won't project like an ideal flashlight towards the listening area like the diagrams show.

    It's really a shame Dolby didn't try to accommodate and adopt existing front height and back height channels that the very select few people who run speakers beyond 7.1 could simply transition to without having to relocate up to 4 speakers or buy speakers with a gimmicky top firing driver.

    I still can't wait for next generation Atmos where they start putting drivers on the back and sides of the cabinets. Hey there are still 3 more surfaces to work with ;)
    gene,
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  18. walter duque Audioholic Samurai

    walter duque
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    I never did use mine for fronts. But as far as rear surrounds go I think they sound great. Mine also had side firing woofers. Now Alex has them and he seems to like them a lot.
    I purchased these about 15 years ago and are still going strong.

    [​IMG]
    .
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  19. Plexmulti9 Junior Audioholic

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    I don't see this as an ATMOS problem. I see the format as an optional design element to a multi-channel system for people wanting to have top-tech theater/media systems. When manufacturers come out with HTiB (home theater in a box) versions of it to say "see, everyone can have it", that's when I feel like it gets hokey. I'm sorry, but not everyone can have everything at every price point.

    Look, I don't know about a lot of you guys but, to me, a real home theater or media space is a luxury purchase typically reserved for larger spaces. When I see posts for guys saying "Need HT help, budget $500 for complete system, what should I buy?" My first thought is: Groceries. ATMOS is a format that lends itself more to larger budget systems that are typically sold through the custom install channel. My problem, and it seems like Gene's as well, is that Pioneer sells their speakers through big box shops like BestBuy and Amazon primarily. Those shoppers are typically more concerned about price and features than quality and proper implementation. They typically tend to buy based on bullet pointed lists and information quickly gleamed off of a website or "fact tag" at a big box store. So, for Pioneer to basically snipe and capitalize on this sets a precedent for other manufacturers to introduce lame designs based on competing in that same way.

    Because of the above business side of the industry it gets really frustrating to see products come out like this and essentially devalue what I think is a really great step in advancing multi-channel audio. This, to me, is more interesting than a lot of what has been introduced over the past 15+ years of Dolby Digital because it's going to advance the mixing side of the industry. To see the real way to implement it get skirted around so quickly is kind of disgusting to me.
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  20. mychaelp Enthusiast

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    This is looking very interesting. I always noticed gaps in the surround sound, and this may help to reduce that. But I wonder what BluRays will have it mixed correctly?

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