Has Dolby Home Atmos Been a Step Forward for Home Audio?

Do you think Dolby's Home Atmos hasbeen a positive move on the whole for home audio?

  • Yes, Home Atmos has been a move in the right direction.

    Votes: 24 49.0%
  • Dolby's Home Atmos has overall been good for home audio but has some flaws.

    Votes: 18 36.7%
  • Home Atmos has become a misbegotten mess for home audio.

    Votes: 6 12.2%
  • I don't know what a Dolby Home Atmos is. Help, I am lost and scared!

    Votes: 1 2.0%

  • Total voters
    49
C

Cdx

Audioholic Intern
IIRC Auro uses locations more in the corners or above the bed speakers directly, similar to dts-X.
Only, one ceiling speaker known as VOG, or voice of God speaker. There is almost ZERO content available in the US so imo, investing in an Auro setup is a waste of money.
What's weird about Auro is that I keep hearing that the source content is in Europe but as far I can tell, it's not a well known European format either. No receiver I've seen includes the format and no discs are sold. It was apparently invented in Belgium.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
What's weird about Auro is that I keep hearing that the source content is in Europe but as far I can tell, it's not a well known European format either. No receiver I've seen includes the format and no discs are sold. It was apparently invented in Belgium.
YeH, best I can tell it’s not getting much traction there either. Seems like it has potential but I’ve never heard an Auro theater so...
I placed my bet on Atmos and went with IC speakers. Iirc early DTS-X literature showed a similar layout to Auro. They billed it as object based, but I’m not sure any films in dts-x use them. My overhead installation lends itself well
enough to dtsx so I’m calling it good.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
IIRC Auro uses locations more in the corners or above the bed speakers directly, similar to dts-X.
Only, one ceiling speaker known as VOG, or voice of God speaker. There is almost ZERO content available in the US so imo, investing in an Auro setup is a waste of money.
But still require one overhead VOG ceiling speaker.

So if people can install one ceiling speaker, installing a 2nd speaker should not be a big deal. :D
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Right? :D

So I don’t get anyone saying Auro3D is easier to implement.
I agree. But I THINK, the VOG can basically be matrixed and phantom imaged from all for Auro height speakers. I care about Auro as much as I care about Nikki Minaj so...
 
Jon AA

Jon AA

Audioholic
No receiver I've seen includes the format and no discs are sold.
How hard are you looking? Most of the receivers we use here are available in Europe and basically all the high end ones have Auro. Most of my discs have shipped direct from Germany or the UK, so if I can find them from here....
But still require one overhead VOG ceiling speaker.
It's not required and is a big waste of time for music (they generally don't point mics in that direction anyway). The four heights image it pretty well but if you have a large room with a low ceiling you'd definitely want one for movie flyovers, etc if there were a lot of movies available. But since there aren't it's really a non-issue.

And yes guys, hanging a height speaker on a wall is dramatically easier than cutting holes in the ceiling and running wires to them for most people (especially those who rent). I do think ceiling speakers per Dolby specs will generally be better than height speakers (with no VOG to assist) for movies that contain a lot of sound effects directly overhead in most rooms.

But for music I'm not getting rid of my height speakers anytime soon as I just don't believe ceiling speakers are the right way to do it. When you look at recording setups by studios that do immersive recording (like 2L Norway who release their stuff in Auro and Atmos), they virtually never have the height mics pointed 45 or more degrees to record sound above your head. There's a reason for that....
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
How hard are you looking? Most of the receivers we use here are available in Europe and basically all the high end ones have Auro. Most of my discs have shipped direct from Germany or the UK, so if I can find them from here....

It's not required and is a big waste of time for music (they generally don't point mics in that direction anyway). The four heights image it pretty well but if you have a large room with a low ceiling you'd definitely want one for movie flyovers, etc if there were a lot of movies available. But since there aren't it's really a non-issue.

And yes guys, hanging a height speaker on a wall is dramatically easier than cutting holes in the ceiling and running wires to them for most people (especially those who rent). I do think ceiling speakers per Dolby specs will generally be better than height speakers (with no VOG to assist) for movies that contain a lot of sound effects directly overhead in most rooms.

But for music I'm not getting rid of my height speakers anytime soon as I just don't believe ceiling speakers are the right way to do it. When you look at recording setups by studios that do immersive recording (like 2L Norway who release their stuff in Auro and Atmos), they virtually never have the height mics pointed 45 or more degrees to record sound above your head. There's a reason for that....
I think many of us think height speakers (above head, not overhead) work fine for Atmos.

Just get the speakers up there on the walls and point them down at you.
 
OBXMAN

OBXMAN

Audiophyte
Around May 2019 I installed a complete Atmos system using primarily Phase Technology speakers and an SVS SB3000 sub. I went from 2 channels to 12, ending up with a 7.4.1 setup. I am running two Yamahas, the RX-A3080 and the two channel hot rod A-S801 that handles the two fronts. NAD is always a top choice for amplifiers as well. The two fronts are line out from the RX-A3080 to the A-S801. This config gives me the best of both worlds - home theater when I want, and then purely two channel when I want. I would guess that most music and fine audio connoisseurs out there would like to have BOTH environments to choose from, as desired. That was always a dilemma for myself. I want both worlds, and to choose between each. This setup is very convenient.

As far as Atmos itself, I have been very pleased with the effects and experience. The exquisite silky smooth sounds of the Phase Techs have spoiled me as usual, being a Phase Tech customer since '85. I am using the CI-SURR X for surrounds and the CI 7.3X in-ceiling with massive 8" woofer. This system was installed in a traditional living room, not a man cave, and not a bazillion dollar dedicated home theater room. All ceiling and surrounds are in-ceiling and in-wall for minimal impact. I also have SONY's latest A9G OLED in 65" which delivers a photo-realistic quality picture - the term 'moving picture' is becoming a reality with SONY.

Do I recommend Atmos? YES - DEFINITELY. WHY? We audio/music/video connoisseurs want to do one thing: 'experience' the music, video which means 'best reproduced' as possible. That simple. Atmos definitely helps a person 'experience' video/tv/streaming/movies 'better'. Atmos is a progression towards a better experience in home entertainment. No negatives here. I am a fan.
 
R

RichW

Audioholic Intern
That's not true. Surround heights and optional VOG speaker.
Well I believe I said CEILING/HEIGHT speakers, which for a FULL proper Auro setup you should have both. 11.1 Auro, which is same amount of speakers as Atmos 7.1.4 requires 2 ceiling speakers for proper setup. And if you read the proper setup guide on Auro's site you will also see that on all their setups they recommend using ceiling speakers if you cannot put the height speakers at the precise recommended angles to the listening area. But either way, your probably going to have to run wires up into ceilings which is something no one in an apartment can do, and many home owners & house renters can't do for various reasons. In my case it's not feasible due to 2+ feet of Blown-In insulation above most of my ceilings and roll type insulation in my walls. I'm sure dealing with insulation is a problem a lot of people would have to deal with and will make it not worth the benefit you will only get at select times on select movies. Like this article stated, on all movies over 90% of all sound is coming from your front 3 channels and subs at all times, so with a good 5.1 or 7.1 setup, most of the time your missing nothing without Atmos, unless you watch helicopters circling overhead all movie long. And I laugh when I hear people talking about how Atmos brought all their old movie collections back to life. What are they hearing when there was no Atmos tracks on the disc's of their Old Movies.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
That's not true. Surround heights and optional VOG speaker.
So Auro3D "requires" HEIGHT speakers. The Ceiling VOG speaker is "optional".

I would say Atmos is the same.

Bottom line, you just need some speakers above your head. It's up to you if they are Height speakers or Ceiling speakers.

For example, in the Yamaha AVR and AVP, you tell the Yamaha if your Atmos speakers (presence speakers) are mounted as Ceiling Speakers or Height Speakers.
 
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R

RichW

Audioholic Intern
Around May 2019 I installed a complete Atmos system using primarily Phase Technology speakers and an SVS SB3000 sub. I went from 2 channels to 12, ending up with a 7.4.1 setup. I am running two Yamahas, the RX-A3080 and the two channel hot rod A-S801 that handles the two fronts. NAD is always a top choice for amplifiers as well. The two fronts are line out from the RX-A3080 to the A-S801. This config gives me the best of both worlds - home theater when I want, and then purely two channel when I want. I would guess that most music and fine audio connoisseurs out there would like to have BOTH environments to choose from, as desired. That was always a dilemma for myself. I want both worlds, and to choose between each. This setup is very convenient.

As far as Atmos itself, I have been very pleased with the effects and experience. The exquisite silky smooth sounds of the Phase Techs have spoiled me as usual, being a Phase Tech customer since '85. I am using the CI-SURR X for surrounds and the CI 7.3X in-ceiling with massive 8" woofer. This system was installed in a traditional living room, not a man cave, and not a bazillion dollar dedicated home theater room. All ceiling and surrounds are in-ceiling and in-wall for minimal impact. I also have SONY's latest A9G OLED in 65" which delivers a photo-realistic quality picture - the term 'moving picture' is becoming a reality with SONY.

Do I recommend Atmos? YES - DEFINITELY. WHY? We audio/music/video connoisseurs want to do one thing: 'experience' the music, video which means 'best reproduced' as possible. That simple. Atmos definitely helps a person 'experience' video/tv/streaming/movies 'better'. Atmos is a progression towards a better experience in home entertainment. No negatives here. I am a fan.
I agree Atmos is a step forward in surround sound, but I'm curious what about it makes your music better. I find when I'm watching music videos that anything other than say an audience cheering around you in a live performance, any musical instrument sounds not coming from the front sound stage area where you see them playing their music kind of sounds unnatural and silly. How can hearing something you see playing in front of you but the sound coming out the side, back, or top be making it better or more realistic. Some multi channel music disc's do sound amazing, but I've learned over the years that taking quality stereo music and splitting into multi channel sound only decreases the quality and sound stage. So for me, anything not originally mastered in multi channel, is only played back in Pure Direct Stereo with subwofers included! I think Gene D. will probably agree with that.
 
R

RichW

Audioholic Intern
So Auro3D "requires" HEIGHT speakers. The Ceiling VOG speaker is "optional".

I would say Atmos is the same.

Bottom line, you just need some speakers above your head. It's up to you if they are Height speakers or Ceiling speakers.

For example, in the Yamaha AVR and AVP, you tell the Yamaha if your Atmos speakers (presence speakers) are mounted as Ceiling Speakers or Height Speakers.
Auro is like Atmos in the fact that if you go with bare minimum you don't have to have ceiling speakers. Atmos gives all sorts of setups, but ceiling is preferred. But if you go with full Auro setup with 11 speakers equivalent to an Atmos 7.1.4, 2 ceiling speakers are required as well as height speakers. And if you cant put the height speakers at the precise recommended angles to the listening area, they advise to also put them in the ceiling. You can't be truly in the "Sound Bubble" their trying to create without overhead ceiling speakers properly located in the listening area. Your still just in a surround sound area, not the full 3D sound area their trying to create without having ceiling speakers in my opinion.
 
R

RichW

Audioholic Intern
IIRC Auro uses locations more in the corners or above the bed speakers directly, similar to dts-X.
Only, one ceiling speaker known as VOG, or voice of God speaker. There is almost ZERO content available in the US so imo, investing in an Auro setup is a waste of money.
Any Auro setup 11 channels or more (which is the same number of speakers as Atmos 7.1.4) requires 2 ceiling speakers. The VOG and another overhead. A lesser 10 channel only the 1 VOG. Less than 10 than none. But then your losing the 3D sound bubble effect that is what Auro 3D is suppose to be. And if you can't mount the height speakers at the precise angles to the listening area they recommend, then they advise to put those in ceiling too. And your right about the Auro 3D content. And in reality, in most movies hardly nothing is coming from overhead. Most is up front, with some to the sides.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I agree Atmos is a step forward in surround sound, but I'm curious what about it makes your music better. I find when I'm watching music videos that anything other than say an audience cheering around you in a live performance, any musical instrument sounds not coming from the front sound stage area where you see them playing their music kind of sounds unnatural and silly. How can hearing something you see playing in front of you but the sound coming out the side, back, or top be making it better or more realistic. Some multi channel music disc's do sound amazing, but I've learned over the years that taking quality stereo music and splitting into multi channel sound only decreases the quality and sound stage. So for me, anything not originally mastered in multi channel, is only played back in Pure Direct Stereo with subwofers included! I think Gene D. will probably agree with that.
There's no right or wrong when it comes to entertainment preferences. People like what they like. :D
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
So people making excuses about how Auro3D implementation is easier and more user-friendly than Atmos are really just making excuses. :D

If you can implement Auro3D, then you can implement Atmos.
 
R

RichW

Audioholic Intern
Kind of curious about you people who say Atmos makes your old movies and music come alive again. What are your hearing from a movie that didn't even have Atmos channels on the disc, and was probably only 5.1. Or music that's only 2 channel stereo. How would hearing the musician blowing his horn that you see up front, but the music coming out the side or back make it sound better? Seems to me in the case of music that your just ruining the sound stage when your artificially split it up to more channels than it was intended. For me when it comes to music, unless it was originally mastered in multi channel like DVD audio, or SACD, it never sounds better than than Pure Direct Stereo. The stage is in front of you, and that's where the music should be coming from!
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Well I believe I said CEILING/HEIGHT speakers, which for a FULL proper Auro setup you should have both. 11.1 Auro, which is same amount of speakers as Atmos 7.1.4 requires 2 ceiling speakers for proper setup. And if you read the proper setup guide on Auro's site you will also see that on all their setups they recommend using ceiling speakers if you cannot put the height speakers at the precise recommended angles to the listening area. But either way, your probably going to have to run wires up into ceilings which is something no one in an apartment can do, and many home owners & house renters can't do for various reasons. In my case it's not feasible due to 2+ feet of Blown-In insulation above most of my ceilings and roll type insulation in my walls. I'm sure dealing with insulation is a problem a lot of people would have to deal with and will make it not worth the benefit you will only get at select times on select movies. Like this article stated, on all movies over 90% of all sound is coming from your front 3 channels and subs at all times, so with a good 5.1 or 7.1 setup, most of the time your missing nothing without Atmos, unless you watch helicopters circling overhead all movie long. And I laugh when I hear people talking about how Atmos brought all their old movie collections back to life. What are they hearing when there was no Atmos tracks on the disc's of their Old Movies.
Well only speaking for myself, but blow in insulation and crawling around on scissor trusses was a PITA but again, for ME totally worth it. Is so it again. You can laugh all you want about the new life people find in their old movies, but you’re basing your laughter on what? Al the times you’ve been disappointed with DSU or dtsnx? IMO it does depend on how good the track is in the first place but both upmixers do a very nice job of creating immersive experiences that are sometimes better than real Atmos or DTSX tracks.

As for music with DSU, or dtsnx, I’ve found that they place instruments in random places far less than PLIIx ever did.(but I did like PLIIx very much in general) Ime it they tend to give more sense of space and scale. It’s not like there’s a brass section overhead while the strings are up front with guitars in back etc.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Kind of curious about you people who say Atmos makes your old movies and music come alive again. What are your hearing from a movie that didn't even have Atmos channels on the disc, and was probably only 5.1. Or music that's only 2 channel stereo. How would hearing the musician blowing his horn that you see up front, but the music coming out the side or back make it sound better? Seems to me in the case of music that your just ruining the sound stage when your artificially split it up to more channels than it was intended. For me when it comes to music, unless it was originally mastered in multi channel like DVD audio, or SACD, it never sounds better than than Pure Direct Stereo. The stage is in front of you, and that's where the music should be coming from!
I use NeuralX a lot for DTS/DTS-HD/DD/TrueHD and also for 2Ch video sources. NeuralX tries to emulate DTSX and Atmos.

Most common example is the sound of rain/thunder/aircraft. For 2.0/5.1 sound, NeuralX will put the sound of Rain, Thunder, and Aircraft through the ceiling speakers.

Another example is background music like in dance clubs or any kind of background music. They will play overhead.

One example I've mentioned is the last few minutes finale of "Generation Kill" TV series from HBO. As they play the war footage video that one of the soldiers put together, Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Arounds" plays overhead.


Some contents sound better than others.

I sold my entire collection of SACD, DVD-Audio, and DTS-CD. Never looked back. These days, I enjoy 2.0 music with either DSU or NeuralX. I think many people prefer DSU for music and NeuralX for movies.

Also, NeuralX and DSU aren't just for overhead sound. They take 2.0 sound and make them 5.1. But they do a much better job than ProLogic-II and DTS Neo.
 
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