The Dolby Atmos, DTS-X, and Auro-3D Discussion Thread

AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
It might be just me but after changing from 5.1 to 5.1.4, I don’t need center spread turned on for DSU on 2ch music anymore. Maybe it just balances better this way when heights are in use.

And I still think NeuralX has a little too heavy of center channel use on 2ch music upmixing.
Yeah nothing's perfect. NeuralX works better for some, DSU works better for some. But they are both a lot better than their predecessors.
 
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Tachead7075

Audioholic
Well, things are shaping up. I got the new UHD Player installed yesterday and the heights finally showed up this afternoon. I have to work today and tomorrow but, hope to have it all calibrated and up and running by the weekend.

I have accumulated a large selection of Atmos/DTS-X/Auro 3D discs to test it out including...

Ready Player One 4K
Baby Driver 4K
First Man 4K
ET 4K
The Fifth Element 20th Aniversary Edition 4K
The Darkest Hour 4K
Overlord 4K
Star Trek Kelvin Timeline Trilogy 4K
King Kong Ultimate Edition 4K
Godzilla 4K(New Release)
Kong Skull Island
Godzilla KOTM
Deepwater Horizon
Mad Max Fury Road
13 Hours
Mortal Engines
Wonder Woman
Han Zimmer Live in Prague
Auro 3D Demo Disc
Auro 3D Demo Disc #2
Dolby Atmos Demo Disc 2018
Dolby Atmos Video Demo Disc
THX Calibration Disc

So, I will have some reviews and opinions in short order...

 
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VonMagnum

VonMagnum

Senior Audioholic
If you haven't heard Yello's new album Point in Dolby Atmos then you haven't heard Dolby Atmos! It's bar none the most impressive Atmos experience I've yet heard (Books Shade's two Atmos albums aren't too far off, but the music isn't as good, IMO).

No Atmos movie even comes close! The rear surrounds (if you have a 7.1 or greater base layer) are used almost as much as the front mains and overheads are pretty much on constantly. If you ever thought rears weren't worth bothering, you'd change your mind with these albums.

Steven Wilson's The Future Bites is also pretty good in Atmos. I've got Gordon Goodwin's The Gordian Knot is on order as well (Contains both Atmos and Auro-3D mixes).

I've pretty much switched over to Atmos and surround music lately as the movies are often a big letdown in Atmos (e.g. Knives Out sucked in Atmos except for where the board fell on the floor above). I just got Wonder Woman 1984 3D in with Atmos remuxed to it, though (haven't watched it yet, though).
 
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Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
I listen to it about once a week. The disc is pricey so just via Tidal so far. Enjoy the entire album. “Way Down” is my jam.:)
 
VonMagnum

VonMagnum

Senior Audioholic
I picked up Yello's Point album in Atmos on Bluray from jpc.de for about $32 USD shipped (VAT is removed for US customers). Worth every penny. I typically play it at -3dB relative to the Dolby calibration level. Just awesome.

My favorite track is probably Big Boys Blues, especially where that one sound flies straight from the center speaker to the rear center (phantom). It passes literally just over my head. Freakishly realistic sounding at the MLP.

Way Down is also excellent, though, especially where it moves from the ceiling straight downward across the entire room to the bed layer. You don't hear much Atmos vertical panning like that! There's that nice diagonal plane flyover from an odd angle (above my front wides diagonally to between the sides and rear overhead) on Rush For Joe.

Hot Pan! Popcorn!

(I really need my account wiped and start over. The site still doesn't load right when I'm logged in half the time regardless of the device/browser used to access it; it loads instantly if I'm not logged in so there must be something corrupt, but I cannot imagine what since it does work if I keep reloading)
 
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Movie2099

Senior Audioholic
I picked up Yello's Point album in Atmos on Bluray from jpc.de for about $32 USD shipped (VAT is removed for US customers). Worth every penny. I typically play it at -3dB relative to the Dolby calibration level. Just awesome.

My favorite track is probably Big Boys Blues, especially where that one sound flies straight from the center speaker to the rear center (phantom). It passes literally just over my head. Freakishly realistic sounding at the MLP.

Way Down is also excellent, though, especially where it moves from the ceiling straight downward across the entire room to the bed layer. You don't hear much Atmos vertical panning like that! There's that nice diagonal plane flyover from an odd angle (above my front wides diagonally to between the sides and rear overhead) on Rush For Joe.

Hot Pan! Popcorn!

(I really need my account wiped and start over. The site still doesn't load right when I'm logged in half the time regardless of the device/browser used to access it; it loads instantly if I'm not logged in so there must be something corrupt, but I cannot imagine what since it does work if I keep reloading)
Besides Oh Yeah, Si Senor the hairy grill is an excellent song! My Uncle introduced me to that song in the early 90’s.
 
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Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
Hot Pan! Popcorn!:D “Hot Pan” is fun. “ Waba Duba” has great deep bass at the end that comes over in a wave, kinda’ cool. “Arthur Spark” is a close second for favorite. Lots of cool elevated sound going on there that moves all around.
 
Hendrik Zefiro

Hendrik Zefiro

Audiophyte
I picked up Yello's Point album in Atmos on Bluray from jpc.de for about $32 USD shipped (VAT is removed for US customers). Worth every penny. I typically play it at -3dB relative to the Dolby calibration level. Just awesome.

My favorite track is probably Big Boys Blues, especially where that one sound flies straight from the center speaker to the rear center (phantom). It passes literally just over my head. Freakishly realistic sounding at the MLP.

Way Down is also excellent, though, especially where it moves from the ceiling straight downward across the entire room to the bed layer. You don't hear much Atmos vertical panning like that! There's that nice diagonal plane flyover from an odd angle (above my front wides diagonally to between the sides and rear overhead) on Rush For Joe.

Hot Pan! Popcorn!

(I really need my account wiped and start over. The site still doesn't load right when I'm logged in half the time regardless of the device/browser used to access it; it loads instantly if I'm not logged in so there must be something corrupt, but I cannot imagine what since it does work if I keep reloading)
If you haven't heard Yello's new album Point in Dolby Atmos then you haven't heard Dolby Atmos! It's bar none the most impressive Atmos experience I've yet heard (Books Shade's two Atmos albums aren't too far off, but the music isn't as good, IMO).

No Atmos movie even comes close! The rear surrounds (if you have a 7.1 or greater base layer) are used almost as much as the front mains and overheads are pretty much on constantly. If you ever thought rears weren't worth bothering, you'd change your mind with these albums.

Steven Wilson's The Future Bites is also pretty good in Atmos. I've got Gordon Goodwin's The Gordian Knot is on order as well (Contains both Atmos and Auro-3D mixes).

I've pretty much switched over to Atmos and surround music lately as the movies are often a big letdown in Atmos (e.g. Knives Out sucked in Atmos except for where the board fell on the floor above). I just got Wonder Woman 1984 3D in with Atmos remuxed to it, though (haven't watched it yet, though).
I completely agree. The Point album by Yello is really one of the best in Dolby Atmos. The Wolf album by Matt Darey (which is one of the few downloadable albums in Dolby Atmos) comes very very close, like Morgenstund by Schiller. Hope that much more Dolby Atmos music will be released. Preferably in M2TS (based on Dolby True HD).
 
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ouchmythumbs

Audiophyte
Excuse my ignorance as I still learning some features of a new AVR. I was doing some music listening with HEOS streaming hi-res flac via DLNA earlier and playing with the different upmixing modes. I noticed Auro-3D had a bit more enhanced low-end than DSU and Neural:X. Auro-3D is pretty new to me.

Sitting here now watching some stuff on AppleTV4k, which is usually my go to for steaming. Have it set for LPCM so Atmos comes in via MAT2.0 and on my AVR I will usually set to Multi In+DSur or Multi In+Neural:X for non-Atmos streams. I realized I never really used Auro-3D for movies. Is this a bad option to use? Haven’t really listened critically to this and just started playing around, and what I turned on has a lot of dialogue so hard to tell right now and a bit late to experiment. My speaker config is currently 5.2.2 with the .2 set as front heights (eventually going to do a .4 with tops). So would this be similar to saying “Multi In+Auro3D” or am I completely hosing the 5.1 encoding? Thanks for any input or corrections on my current understanding.
 
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Homer Theater

Audiophyte
Excuse my ignorance as I still learning some features of a new AVR. I was doing some music listening with HEOS streaming hi-res flac via DLNA earlier and playing with the different upmixing modes. I noticed Auro-3D had a bit more enhanced low-end than DSU and Neural:X. Auro-3D is pretty new to me.

Sitting here now watching some stuff on AppleTV4k, which is usually my go to for steaming. Have it set for LPCM so Atmos comes in via MAT2.0 and on my AVR I will usually set to Multi In+DSur or Multi In+Neural:X for non-Atmos streams. I realized I never really used Auro-3D for movies. Is this a bad option to use? Haven’t really listened critically to this and just started playing around, and what I turned on has a lot of dialogue so hard to tell right now and a bit late to experiment. My speaker config is currently 5.2.2 with the .2 set as front heights (eventually going to do a .4 with tops). So would this be similar to saying “Multi In+Auro3D” or am I completely hosing the 5.1 encoding? Thanks for any input or corrections on my current understanding.
Dolby Surround is great for turning any high quality audio source into decidedly low fidelity audio. Works equally badly for music and movies.

DTS Neural:X is a little more lively than Dolby Surround but applying it to stereo music still sounds much worse than unmolested stereo

AuroMatic (Auro-3D's upmixer, though this name may not appear in AVRs, it will be applied when decoding non-Auro3D sources. This is the first and only upmixer that makes 12 channels of music sound better than stereo. Every kind of music sounds better with this processing. I never thought I would be able to say that about any upmixing processing but you can't argue the results of direct comparisons of the 3. Furthermore, Auro3D/AuroMatic processing of Atmos or DTS:X discs sound better than the actual Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack, 95% of the time. Not because Atmos and DTS:X suck, but because studios are not paying for a sound engineer to actually create a real Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack because that costs money. Instead if it is going to be an Atmos soundtrack, it sound like they simply run the movie soundtrack through Dolby Surround, end up with 11.1 channels of dead sound (Dolby Surround makes sound dead, seriously, sucks the life right out of it). They then encode those 11.1 faked Atmos channels into a TrueHD soundtrack with Atmos. So when you decode the Atmos soundtrack, the light on your AVR lights up, but you're getting CRAP for sound quality. Ditto for DTS:X but their results are better because DTS Neural:X sound isn't as bad as Dolby Surround. But NEITHER of them are as good as AuroMatic processing (your AVR may never say AuroMatic, but when you play TrueHD or DTS:X soundtracks and select Auro-3D instead of Atmos or DTS:X, AuroMatic will take the decoded 5.1 or 7.1 TrueHD or DTS:HD MA soundtrack and upmix those to 11.1 or 12.1 (12.1 requires a center-top speaker option something that sets Auro apart from the others).

Anyway, when you use Auro-3D/AuroMatic processing and forget the Atmos or DTS:X baloney (there are about 5% of the titles in each format with truly good soundtracks, but the remainder are pretty lame, so you'll get more entertaining sound with Auro3D/Auromatic 95% of the time. I mark the Blu-ray boxes of movies with good soundtracks and add something to the filename of movies I store on hard disks to remind me whether to decode with Atmos (rare), DTS:X (rare); or Auro (95% of everything... TV, music, movies, it's all better and gives you constant use of your investement in height. Example -- in Star Trek Beyond... thousands of invaders are punching holes in Enterprise and gaining access. Fighting is going on everywhere. In the height channels while all of that is going on, you hear exactly NOTHING except "Red Alert" a couple of times. No ambience AT ALL in the height channels, it's pathetic really. With Auro decoding, there's bumps, phaser noise, echoes, and general mayhem in the height channels --- none of that exists with the native Atmos or DTS:X encoding of that movie.

It's a sad commentary on just how bad MOST Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks are---all because of studios trying to save a buck. And that's on top of 2/3 of the UHD/HDR discs being released having been mastered from digital masters with 2K resolution. They don't magically become 4K resolution on the disc... once they take away 75% of the resolution by putting 4K content into 2K masters, you can't get that detail back. But that's another story. Short answer... use Auro decoding for EVERYTHING unless you KNOW the movie you're watching has a good Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack. How do you know? I think I've seen site where somebody actually listens to the height channels with the main channels off so there's no mistaking what is or isn't in the height channels.
 
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ouchmythumbs

Audiophyte
Dolby Surround is great for turning any high quality audio source into decidedly low fidelity audio. Works equally badly for music and movies.

DTS Neural:X is a little more lively than Dolby Surround but applying it to stereo music still sounds much worse than unmolested stereo

AuroMatic (Auro-3D's upmixer, though this name may not appear in AVRs, it will be applied when decoding non-Auro3D sources. This is the first and only upmixer that makes 12 channels of music sound better than stereo. Every kind of music sounds better with this processing. I never thought I would be able to say that about any upmixing processing but you can't argue the results of direct comparisons of the 3. Furthermore, Auro3D/AuroMatic processing of Atmos or DTS:X discs sound better than the actual Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack, 95% of the time. Not because Atmos and DTS:X suck, but because studios are not paying for a sound engineer to actually create a real Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack because that costs money. Instead if it is going to be an Atmos soundtrack, it sound like they simply run the movie soundtrack through Dolby Surround, end up with 11.1 channels of dead sound (Dolby Surround makes sound dead, seriously, sucks the life right out of it). They then encode those 11.1 faked Atmos channels into a TrueHD soundtrack with Atmos. So when you decode the Atmos soundtrack, the light on your AVR lights up, but you're getting CRAP for sound quality. Ditto for DTS:X but their results are better because DTS Neural:X sound isn't as bad as Dolby Surround. But NEITHER of them are as good as AuroMatic processing (your AVR may never say AuroMatic, but when you play TrueHD or DTS:X soundtracks and select Auro-3D instead of Atmos or DTS:X, AuroMatic will take the decoded 5.1 or 7.1 TrueHD or DTS:HD MA soundtrack and upmix those to 11.1 or 12.1 (12.1 requires a center-top speaker option something that sets Auro apart from the others).

Anyway, when you use Auro-3D/AuroMatic processing and forget the Atmos or DTS:X baloney (there are about 5% of the titles in each format with truly good soundtracks, but the remainder are pretty lame, so you'll get more entertaining sound with Auro3D/Auromatic 95% of the time. I mark the Blu-ray boxes of movies with good soundtracks and add something to the filename of movies I store on hard disks to remind me whether to decode with Atmos (rare), DTS:X (rare); or Auro (95% of everything... TV, music, movies, it's all better and gives you constant use of your investement in height. Example -- in Star Trek Beyond... thousands of invaders are punching holes in Enterprise and gaining access. Fighting is going on everywhere. In the height channels while all of that is going on, you hear exactly NOTHING except "Red Alert" a couple of times. No ambience AT ALL in the height channels, it's pathetic really. With Auro decoding, there's bumps, phaser noise, echoes, and general mayhem in the height channels --- none of that exists with the native Atmos or DTS:X encoding of that movie.

It's a sad commentary on just how bad MOST Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks are---all because of studios trying to save a buck. And that's on top of 2/3 of the UHD/HDR discs being released having been mastered from digital masters with 2K resolution. They don't magically become 4K resolution on the disc... once they take away 75% of the resolution by putting 4K content into 2K masters, you can't get that detail back. But that's another story. Short answer... use Auro decoding for EVERYTHING unless you KNOW the movie you're watching has a good Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack. How do you know? I think I've seen site where somebody actually listens to the height channels with the main channels off so there's no mistaking what is or isn't in the height channels.
Thanks for this thorough reply. This is what I’m beginning to realize, i.e. many Atmos titles are underwhelming and just looking to get that logo applied. Your explanation almost reminds me of what’s going on with Tidal and MQA, but I’m not about to pull on that thread here :)
 
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Sal1950

Audioholic Intern
Thanks for any input or corrections on my current understanding.
Hi OMT, nice to meet ya.
I can only add to Homer's thoughts with the idea that the whole question is very system and source dependent. Your speaker layout can have a very different outcome than the next guy who has 9 base speakers and 6 overheads, you need to find whats right for you. I have a 5.2.4 setup with 5 base speakers, 2 subwoofers, and 4 overheads in the recommended Atmos layout.
I'm not as down on Dolby as Homer and will usually keep my rig there when the Atmos stream is detected.
As for upmixing of non-Atmos encoded sources I'll run what sounds best with that particular source. I often find that stereo sources sound best to me with Auro3D upmixing or DTS Neural X.
5.1 sources is a crapshoot, try each and use what pleases you.
Hope your having a nice Memorial Day weekend,
Sal
 
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Erod

Audioholic
Excuse my ignorance as I still learning some features of a new AVR. I was doing some music listening with HEOS streaming hi-res flac via DLNA earlier and playing with the different upmixing modes. I noticed Auro-3D had a bit more enhanced low-end than DSU and Neural:X. Auro-3D is pretty new to me.

Sitting here now watching some stuff on AppleTV4k, which is usually my go to for steaming. Have it set for LPCM so Atmos comes in via MAT2.0 and on my AVR I will usually set to Multi In+DSur or Multi In+Neural:X for non-Atmos streams. I realized I never really used Auro-3D for movies. Is this a bad option to use? Haven’t really listened critically to this and just started playing around, and what I turned on has a lot of dialogue so hard to tell right now and a bit late to experiment. My speaker config is currently 5.2.2 with the .2 set as front heights (eventually going to do a .4 with tops). So would this be similar to saying “Multi In+Auro3D” or am I completely hosing the 5.1 encoding? Thanks for any input or corrections on my current understanding.
Use Dolby Surround for upmixing movies. Use Auro 3D for upmixing music. Forget DTS: Neural X exists.

That about sums it up.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
If you read through this thread and other threads, you will see that the varying opinions are all over creation because it comes down to 100% personal preferences, not what’s right vs wrong. :D

Personally I use DTS NeuralX most of the time for music and movies.
 
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Sal1950

Audioholic Intern
If you read through this thread and other threads, you will see that the varying opinions are all over creation because it comes down to 100% personal preferences, not what’s right vs wrong.
Not just preferences but the source material can have a big influence on how well up-mixing performs. I also use DTS quite often, I will switch between all three at the beginning of each new source to see which I prefer.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Not just preferences but the source material can have a big influence on how well up-mixing performs. I also use DTS quite often, I will switch between all three at the beginning of each new source to see which I prefer.
I agree absolutely. Depends on the source. I think NeuralX sounds bad with movies like “Tenet”. So I definitely agree.
 
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Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
Tried streaming A Bad Think “lifelike” album in atmos on Apple TV 4K’s Tidal app. While labeled (ATMOS mix), it is not in dolby atmos and plays back in two channel format.:confused:
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Last night I re-watched "Edge of Tomorrow" 4K Atmos (Web, no BD disc release available yet).

This time I increased the volume by 2dB (except for the opening bass bomb :eek: :D). Even at 2dB louder than usual, I don't think the volume I listen to is even near reference THX level, which I consider way too loud! :D

And then I heard a lot more of the Atmos in-ceiling sound effects. This general low-level of the Atmos channels might be the biggest problem of Atmos. If you can't hear it, then it sucks. :D

So I thought the Atmos sound effects was great - as long as you have good volume. :D
 

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