The Dolby Atmos Home Theater Paradox

Discussion in 'GENERAL AV Discussions' started by admin, Feb 25, 2014.

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How Many Speakers are You running in your Home Theater?

  1. 5.1 or up to 5.4

    72 vote(s)
    52.2%
  2. 6.1 or up to 6.4

    4 vote(s)
    2.9%
  3. 7.1 or up to 7.4

    39 vote(s)
    28.3%
  4. 9.1 or up to 9.4

    11 vote(s)
    8.0%
  5. 11.1 or up to 11.4

    4 vote(s)
    2.9%
  6. Two-Channel is where it's at!

    8 vote(s)
    5.8%
  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

    admin
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    We've heard chatter in the industry that the new surround format Dolby Atmos, originally designed for Cineplexes, may be working its way into new AV receivers as soon as this fall. Are you ready to jump on the 9.1 or 11.1 surround bandwagon? Or, do you think this will be another forced technology push like 3D and UltraHD have been, from an industry desperate to promote a shiny new product or feature rather than educating the consumers on how to better set up existing technologies to maximize their home theater experience? It will be interesting to see if consumers will identify a need and benefit for adding more speakers in their existing home theaters and if they will be willing to allocate both budget and space to accommodate.
    [​IMG]

    Read The Dolby Atmos Paradox

    Are you planning an AV Receiver upgrade to accommodate Dolby Atmos and up to 11 channels of audio? Let us know in this thread.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2014
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  2. Steve81 Audioholics 5-O

    Steve81
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    Negative; 11.1 channels of surround just isn't practical in my space, and I'd rather focus on quality over quantity for my speakers.
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  3. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

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    Right now I'm running 9. 11 would be a stretch, but hey, I can just keep adding subwoofers until the place falls down.
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  4. zhimbo Audioholic General

    zhimbo
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    So...what's the "paradox", exactly?
  5. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Warlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    Why only 11? I demand all 128 channels!

    /s


    But honestly, 5.1 is already good. 7 channels is a small improvement. Why more?
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  6. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

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    Why not? :p

    I think "small" can be an understatement depending on room size and movie. I know with Pacific Rim, the difference between 5.1 and 7.1 isn't insignificant IMO. Although it was cool that included both mixes on the BD.
  7. Jim Hawkins Enthusiast

    Jim Hawkins
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    Nice to have the option. If you only use 5.1 or only buy 5.1 receivers that is still an option. If they start mixing movies for Dolby Atmos and you can take advantage of the extra channels because your room allows you then why not? Having more options is always nice. This is like some of the arguements about going from a two channel setup and surround sound. Had a Hifi salesmen try and tell me that I wont miss rear effects if I get this 5K stereo. 11.1 isnt for everyone and neither is 5.1. I use a 5.2 system with two center channels and I love it. I have setup 13.1 on the Avengers and it was great. Huge sweet spot.
  8. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    adding more speakers in a market that is constantly looking for a less speaker solution.
    gene,
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  9. hk2000 Audioholic Intern

    hk2000
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    What's next? Dolby will come up with a "technology" for in-floor speakers for a true 3D surround, jut wait!
  10. mike c Audioholic Warlord

    mike c
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    nope.

    are there discs that have more than 7.1 channel content?

    when the day comes that the mainstream sources are there ... i'll look into it.
  11. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    I heard about rumors of Atmos Soundbars on the way too. No joke!
    gene,
  12. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    No, as I noted in my article, Blu-ray is limited to 8 discrete channels. They will have to either matrix the extra channels or use some sort of compressive algorithm which I'm not sure would be compatible with existing Blu-ray players.
    gene,
  13. ReUpRo Full Audioholic

    ReUpRo
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    Considering that not every BD has 7.1 tracks today, I'd say, no content, no viable media or delivery system, no case for me. That's true not considering cost or logistics.

    I can see this happening for AV enthusiasts only when downloadable media can deliver content (streaming is out since FCC has effectively killed Net Neutrality in the US and ISPs are already throttling streaming media companies like Netflix, delivering poor service quality with ludicrous data caps and overcharging customers while double dipping from content providers. /r).

    I don't see this ever getting much attention from mainstream customers due to reasons called out in the article.

    The only way I see this happen near term, is in multi million dollar custom home theaters of the rich and those in with the movie studio crowd. Something similar to the ability to see movies at home before DVD/BD release.
  14. TLS Guy Audioholic Overlord

    TLS Guy
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    I certainly don't intend to go beyond 7.1. Under domestic conditions I think 7.1 is max. I think people would be far better off with better speakers than more speakers.

    I don't subscribe to the view that surround speakers can be far less capable than the rest. I fail to see how most surround speakers in use can really bring any benefit to the table. I would never consider adding a lousy ceiling speaker for instance.

    Quite honestly I think you need a dedicated room for any surround system. My guess is that most members would be better off with good 2.1 or 3.1 rather than 5.1 or 7.1. For instance in our Eagan home I would never consider the space suitable for more than 3.1.

    I don't think height channels are necessary in the home. With my system I get lots of height information, even with good two channel recordings.

    I have a significant amount of program which pushes all speakers hard, and I can't begin to imagine the effect if all speakers were not powerful capable speakers.

    I get excellent 360 degree localization and depth, as well as seamless overhead trajectories.

    I think I have to vote War Horse as having the best movie sound track I know. The orchestra perspective is magnificent. A lot of the movie is outdoors and it really feels like it. There is huge depth to the sound stage all round and movement front to back and side to side continuous. So I'm convinced we can do a first class job with the channels we have. So my advice for anyone putting together a dedicated space, is to concentrate on really good speakers and amplification all round. Forget puny speakers anywhere in the system.

    On another note, I find it strange that the 5.1 arrangement puts the surrounds at the side instead of the back. I say this as the European SACD layout is left and right front, front center and left and right rears. I think that is a much better 5.1 speaker layout as long as it was mixed that way. That is the way I play my European SACDs. In the Aho 12th symphony, there is circular Laplander drumming in the first movement. The drumming does go seamlessly round the room. Also there are multiple brass choirs and two either side where the surround speakers of a 5.1 system would be. The front and rear speakers of my rig can produce the phantom image where the silent surrounds are. You would not know they were silent. So the 5.1 layout will always remain a mystery to me. Frankly, I think it was a misguided choice, and we could have done perfectly well with European mix SACD speaker layout.
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  15. mike c Audioholic Warlord

    mike c
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    i've listened to a system with both height and wide channels, there are some movies that benefited from the wide channels while there are other movies that were just plain horrible with the wides on. the height channels were acceptable most of the time. (probably easier to matrix the heights from the L and R)

    maybe one day when studios start mixing in 12 channels, this will be much more acceptable.

    so it all boils down to studio support. (like the HDDVD-BD war)
  16. Alex2507 Audioholic Overlord

    Alex2507
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    Agreed with the understanding that 'puny' is defined as a speaker that can't do 80Hz which is the THX cross over point anyway. While I can't afford the real estate for an IMAX in my home (like YAA), I can squeeze out a few shekels for surrounds that work well enough for me to enjoy surround in my living room.

    For me it's like applying the 80-20 rule to audio.
    For 20% of the investment I reap 80% of the rewards ... with an 80Hz xo and a sub. :)
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  17. ImcLoud Audioholic Ninja

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    I think I will stick to 5.2 until there is some huge improvement... I played with 7. and couldn't stand it I felt like the rears kept taking me out of the movie, I actually had the rears plastered over and repainted the entire wall so there is no signs of them, the cables are still back there taped to the back side of the wall...
  18. rrehart Enthusiast

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    I have to agree, in the most part, with the comments above and the article. I am set up as 9.1 and use the PL IIz matrixing. I find the height adds some 'depth' on a few movies (certainly not the majority), but the overall surround effect is virtually identical to 7.1.

    I had the good fortune of being able to purpose build a home theater when I moved into the house two years ago, but I couldn't see myself adding speakers for the sake of 'more is better' without the content and medium to take advantage of it. Same thing for 4K content. I use an Epson 5010 projector, and most folks that see my setup when I demo it, are blown away by the clarity of the picture. I just don't see the need to upgrade any further on picture or sound for the foreseeable future.
  19. greatdavide Audioholic Intern

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    Right now the different versions are mixed as specific channels, Atmos is different.
    I thought the point of atmos was that instead of a sound being specific to a speaker channel it gave the noise a position in space and measures the positions of your speakers and then recreates the sound as closely as possible using the speakers you've got. I would think it would make every system more accurate in spatial effects regardless of the number of speakers. Obviously it is going to get more accurate the more speakers you have but to say it needs more speakers seems to be a stretch. I'm pretty sure while it can solve for 128 speakers doesn't mean it needs anywhere near that many to have a noticeable and hopefully positive effect.
  20. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

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    I've never liked matrix sound. It never really sounds right. Dolby Pro Logic IIx is nice for Wii games and such, but that's about it. I only really notice the back channels with video games anyway. 5.2 in my little room is plenty, but I have 7.2 anyway for the movies that support that format.

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