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

AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I hate getting hit in the head with soundtracks like that. Sounds like a mixer/remixer got a little zealous with the controls. Too bad. Much of the magic of atmos is in its subtlety.
Yeah, I admit some may go overboard. But for the purpose of demo materials, I would rather have overzealous effects than no effects at all like some movies.
 
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Y

yepimonfire

Audioholic Samurai
I have heard a number of Atmos demos. I think Atmos really wasted the potential of object oriented sound mixes. It could have has so much more flexibility than what it does. I am very disappointed at where Dolby has taken Atmos. I am sure they don't care since they have so much marketshare, but, in my opinion, they have mostly fulfilled the most negative predictions that Gene made back when it was launched for home use. It's just a damn shame.
How has it been wasted? Honestly, it's entirely up to the film mixers to use atmos to it's full potential or not. I've heard some amazing mixes that fully took advantage of using objects that presented a lifelike 3D sound stage (a quiet place), and others that underutilized it (some of the disney mixes).

I'm not sure what you mean by flexibility, but in my my opinion, I'd say DTS X was the real disappointment in flexibility. Atmos can be adapted to all kinds of setups, reflecting speakers/soundbars, front or rear height speakers, over head speakers, etc. etc. Reading through avsforum and various reviews of different atmos modules, reflecting speakers DO work when well designed.

In addition, even on blurays and streaming, atmos is still capable of the full 118 objects if the mixer so chooses to utilize them. The fact that atmos can be sent at 384kbps on Vudu and actually work as well as it does (from my own experience) is amazing to me.

Even for those with standard 5.1 and 7.1 setups, an atmos mix still offers benefits over a traditional channel based mix. When a Dolby TrueHD track with Atmos is rendered, the renderer encodes a 7.1 downmix of the objects, a 5.1 downmix of the objects, and a 2.1 downmix from there in the same way regular Truehd sub streams are encoded, since a non atmos AVR can't decode atmos, you get a pre-baked rendering of the objects (without the heights of course) into 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 channels. For AVRs with atmos decoding, the objects are encoded losslessly as separate sub streams and positional metadata tagged to each object is used by the renderer to determine which speaker to send the objects to. The downmixed objects are losslessly removed from the bed channels via reversed phase cancellation (is that the correct term?).
Do we have an official thread discussing all matters pertaining to these 3D Surround Sound formats?

Until recently I’ve been resisting the new 3D Surround formats.

I’m not alone. I know guys like @PENG, @TLS Guy, @TechHDS, and many others haven’t made the jump either. :D

When I built my custom 22’x26’x14’ HT Room in December of 2016, the installers could have installed the 4 ceiling speakers for me - after they installed the other twelve (12) ceiling speakers throughout the house. :D

I mean what’s four more speakers, right?

Why in the world didn’t I do that and get it over with? Why resist when I know that resistance was futile? I was just being an idiot. :D

So now I had to crawl up the scorching attic atop my 14’ ceiling and use my 12’ ladder to install my 4 RBH VM-815/FB-C8 ceilings speakers (1” Aluminum Tweeter, 8” Aluminum Woofer, 88dB/2.83V/m, 50Hz-20kHz +/- 3dB). :oops:

I am such an idiot. :D

So anyway, what’s everyone thinking about this Atmos/DTSX/Auro business about 6 years later ?


1. Which ones have you experienced in both commercial and home setting?

2. Was the commercial experience better or was the home experience better?

3. Which one do you prefer?

4. Do you use Overhead Ceiling speakers or On-wall Height speakers or Add-on-Modules?

5. Do you think Four (4) Ceiling/Height/Add-on speakers are better than two (2) ?

6. What do you think is the best setup and speaker placements after seeing other systems ?

7. Do your main speakers and subs “Overpower” the Atmos speakers?

8. What are some awesome Atmos, DTS-X, or Auro-3D materials for showing off your system?





1. I think you mean which movies? I've watched A Quiet Place, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Atomic Blonde (DTS X, and a very good mix), Nerve (DTS X) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Jigsaw (rather lame movie and sound mix), Tomb Raider, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Spiderman: Homecoming, Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, Mad Max Fury Road, Source Code UHD, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Legend of Tarzan, Wonder Woman, Ready Play One, and Suicide Squad. In all cases, the atmos mix was far superior to any mix I've ever heard in standard 5.1/7.1. I haven't yet had the chance to experience atmos in a cinema yet.

3. Outside of Atomic Blonde, most DTS X mixes have been underwhelming. On paper and in practice, Atmos is the superior format to all three, and I'm happy that it's become the standard go to for immersive audio mixes. I think the other important consideration that has led studios to prefer Atmos, outside of the fact that Pro Tools now natively supports it, is the fact that streaming media is going to end up replacing physical media. Atmos is the only immersive audio format that can be streamed using a lossy codec.

4&5 can be answered simultaneously. I have only used a 5.2.2 setup, but I have experimented with top front and front height placement, as well as "middle/side height" as well. In my experience, 5.1.2 really only works well when the speakers are placed in the middle position, at about 80-65 degrees of elevation. If it is impossible to install speakers in or on the ceiling, mounting speakers on the side walls and angling them towards the listener is the next best thing. The only way this might be a problem is if your room is extremely wide in comparison to the length, (for example, let's say your setup is on the long wall of a 25x15x8 room). You really want a minimum of 30-45 degrees elevation side to side or your brain will likely perceive them as just high surrounds. as far as front and rear heights go, i think they'd work fine so long as the system is a 4 height system.

As for the major difference between 2 and 4 overheads, the major downfall of having only two heights is a lack of front to back panning of overhead objects. 95% of the time this isn't noticeable, and mainly only applies to things like front to back flyovers.

6. I think sticking to the suggested layouts on dolby's website is the best practice, but myself and others will say, ANY atmos, even compromised atmos such as side heights, or (decent) modules is better than no atmos. Just use as many speakers as you can afford/fit and try to get them placed as closely to the recommended guidelines as possible.

7. Nope, there are two things that could potentially cause this to happen. The first is obviously using small speakers that are incapable of providing the same dynamic range of the main bed speakers, the second would be improper delay/level setup in the AVR or a massive timbre mismatch. IME Audyssey does a damn good job conforming all speakers to their target curve, eliminating timbre differences for the most part, so if you use Audyssey, you shouldn't have to worry about that.

Improper level and delay settings can make the sound stage biased towards wherever the first arrival/loudest signal comes from due to the Haas effect. Audyssey generally does okay properly setting the distance/spl levels but its best to verify it both with an spl meter and by ear. What I generally do is play pink noise on my avr and enable something like "all channel stereo" or "full mono" so that the same signal comes from all speakers simultaneously. sitting in the center most position (the initial Audyssey measurement position), the location of the sound should appear to sound like it's either coming from right between your ears or no specific location. If it's biased to one side or the bed/height channels, either the trim or delay settings are wrong.

To diagnose whether it's a trim mismatch or a delay mismatch, you can use separate pink noise files generated via REW. one lowpassed at 1khz, and the other highpassed at 500hz. Our ears primarily detect direction based on phase using low frequencies, and use loudness as a determinant of direction with high frequencies. If only the highpassed pink noise sounds directionally biased, but not the lowpassed pink noise, it's a trim mismatch, if both sound off, it's a delay mismatch.

8. For a lively atmos mix or dts x mix that take full advantage of the immersive formats, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, Atomic Blonde, and A Quiet Place would be my top picks out of that list.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Yeah, I admit some may go overboard. But for the purpose of demo materials, I would rather have overzealous effects and no effects at all like some movies.
Yeah me too. Conversely, I hate watching an action film, or even one that just has a lot of activity and everything is locked into the front of the room. I’d love to sit in on a mixing session!
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
O M G ATMOS IS SOOOO WORTH IT!!!

Finally got around to watching an entire Atmos sound tracked movie and what an experience! My wife and I just watched Annihilation which was a great 1st choice for a couple of reasons. Number one, the movie was actually really good. I tend to love trippy movies and this one definitely falls into that category. What a movie! But the other reason why it was a great choice is it was a movie I had NOT seen before. So the Atmos affects were coming at me unexpectedly because I didn't know what was happening from one scene to the next. That movie is scary as sht at times and the 7.2.4 sound made it even worse lol. I've read about this many times but Atmos really does create a bubble of sound around you. My Polk in ceilings and my old Infinity Beta Surrounds timbre matched perfectly. There are no more individual speakers, just surround sound and its everywhere. My wife said it best, it no longer feels like watching a movie, it feels like you're on set. Thunderstorms are freakin realistic as can be, but what really stuck out for me was the music. They mixed this movie very good. The opening scene has a song playing and the echo effect through the surrounds is so subtle, but yet so beautiful. I honestly felt like I was sitting in the house with them listening to music. Phenomenal. Oh, Natalie Portman, just in case you're a sound geek like us and you secretly hang out here because you love to play around with your mansions home theater, I have to tell you that I am madly in love with you! :)

For everybody whos already done Atmos you already know what I'm talking about, for anyone "thinking" of doing it, follow Nikes lead and just do it! Even if it sacrifices everything haha.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
How has it been wasted? Honestly, it's entirely up to the film mixers to use atmos to it's full potential or not. I've heard some amazing mixes that fully took advantage of using objects that presented a lifelike 3D sound stage (a quiet place), and others that underutilized it (some of the disney mixes).

I'm not sure what you mean by flexibility, but in my my opinion, I'd say DTS X was the real disappointment in flexibility. Atmos can be adapted to all kinds of setups, reflecting speakers/soundbars, front or rear height speakers, over head speakers, etc. etc. Reading through avsforum and various reviews of different atmos modules, reflecting speakers DO work when well designed.

In addition, even on blurays and streaming, atmos is still capable of the full 118 objects if the mixer so chooses to utilize them. The fact that atmos can be sent at 384kbps on Vudu and actually work as well as it does (from my own experience) is amazing to me.

Even for those with standard 5.1 and 7.1 setups, an atmos mix still offers benefits over a traditional channel based mix. When a Dolby TrueHD track with Atmos is rendered, the renderer encodes a 7.1 downmix of the objects, a 5.1 downmix of the objects, and a 2.1 downmix from there in the same way regular Truehd sub streams are encoded, since a non atmos AVR can't decode atmos, you get a pre-baked rendering of the objects (without the heights of course) into 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 channels. For AVRs with atmos decoding, the objects are encoded losslessly as separate sub streams and positional metadata tagged to each object is used by the renderer to determine which speaker to send the objects to. The downmixed objects are losslessly removed from the bed channels via reversed phase cancellation (is that the correct term?).

1. I think you mean which movies? I've watched A Quiet Place, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Atomic Blonde (DTS X, and a very good mix), Nerve (DTS X) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Jigsaw (rather lame movie and sound mix), Tomb Raider, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Spiderman: Homecoming, Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, Mad Max Fury Road, Source Code UHD, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Legend of Tarzan, Wonder Woman, Ready Play One, and Suicide Squad. In all cases, the atmos mix was far superior to any mix I've ever heard in standard 5.1/7.1. I haven't yet had the chance to experience atmos in a cinema yet.

3. Outside of Atomic Blonde, most DTS X mixes have been underwhelming. On paper and in practice, Atmos is the superior format to all three, and I'm happy that it's become the standard go to for immersive audio mixes. I think the other important consideration that has led studios to prefer Atmos, outside of the fact that Pro Tools now natively supports it, is the fact that streaming media is going to end up replacing physical media. Atmos is the only immersive audio format that can be streamed using a lossy codec.

4&5 can be answered simultaneously. I have only used a 5.2.2 setup, but I have experimented with top front and front height placement, as well as "middle/side height" as well. In my experience, 5.1.2 really only works well when the speakers are placed in the middle position, at about 80-65 degrees of elevation. If it is impossible to install speakers in or on the ceiling, mounting speakers on the side walls and angling them towards the listener is the next best thing. The only way this might be a problem is if your room is extremely wide in comparison to the length, (for example, let's say your setup is on the long wall of a 25x15x8 room). You really want a minimum of 30-45 degrees elevation side to side or your brain will likely perceive them as just high surrounds. as far as front and rear heights go, i think they'd work fine so long as the system is a 4 height system.

As for the major difference between 2 and 4 overheads, the major downfall of having only two heights is a lack of front to back panning of overhead objects. 95% of the time this isn't noticeable, and mainly only applies to things like front to back flyovers.

6. I think sticking to the suggested layouts on dolby's website is the best practice, but myself and others will say, ANY atmos, even compromised atmos such as side heights, or (decent) modules is better than no atmos. Just use as many speakers as you can afford/fit and try to get them placed as closely to the recommended guidelines as possible.

7. Nope, there are two things that could potentially cause this to happen. The first is obviously using small speakers that are incapable of providing the same dynamic range of the main bed speakers, the second would be improper delay/level setup in the AVR or a massive timbre mismatch. IME Audyssey does a damn good job conforming all speakers to their target curve, eliminating timbre differences for the most part, so if you use Audyssey, you shouldn't have to worry about that.

Improper level and delay settings can make the sound stage biased towards wherever the first arrival/loudest signal comes from due to the Haas effect. Audyssey generally does okay properly setting the distance/spl levels but its best to verify it both with an spl meter and by ear. What I generally do is play pink noise on my avr and enable something like "all channel stereo" or "full mono" so that the same signal comes from all speakers simultaneously. sitting in the center most position (the initial Audyssey measurement position), the location of the sound should appear to sound like it's either coming from right between your ears or no specific location. If it's biased to one side or the bed/height channels, either the trim or delay settings are wrong.

To diagnose whether it's a trim mismatch or a delay mismatch, you can use separate pink noise files generated via REW. one lowpassed at 1khz, and the other highpassed at 500hz. Our ears primarily detect direction based on phase using low frequencies, and use loudness as a determinant of direction with high frequencies. If only the highpassed pink noise sounds directionally biased, but not the lowpassed pink noise, it's a trim mismatch, if both sound off, it's a delay mismatch.

8. For a lively atmos mix or dts x mix that take full advantage of the immersive formats, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, Atomic Blonde, and A Quiet Place would be my top picks out of that list.
Quite honestly, in the commercial cinema, I find Auro-3D to be more immersive than Dolby Atmos. I think the Auro-3D concept is more intelligent than Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos is more amazing, however their concept have a way of pulling you out of a movie than immersing you in it. Auro-3D is more seamless than Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos objects moving around can sometimes be distracting, as the person in the foregoing post described, that he heard car sounds from the ceiling speakers, that's not realistic, amazing yes, but not realistic or true to life. If you took those same car sounds and mixed them for an Auro-3D set up and place them above the first layer of sound (height) but still to sides of us, left and right ears, instead of in the ceiling (above us), the listener would he be immersed.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Quite honestly, in the commercial cinema, I find Auro-3D to be more immersive than Dolby Atmos. I think the Auro-3D concept is more intelligent than Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos is more amazing, however their concept have a way of pulling you out of a movie than immersing you in it. Auro-3D is more seamless than Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos objects moving around can sometimes be distracting, as the person in the foregoing post described, that he heard car sounds from the ceiling speakers, that's not realistic, amazing yes, but not realistic or true to life. If you took those same car sounds and mixed them for an Auro-3D set up and place them above the first layer of sound (height) but still to sides of us, left and right ears, instead of in the ceiling (above us), the listener would he be immersed.
But don’t you think the car sounds overhead are more a mistake of the guy who remixed it more than the format?
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
Its all gonna be depending on the mix. Same with stereo. Tom Petty always sounded better than most because the engineers were amazing. In the movie I just watched it started raining and the rain sound was all around me in my side and rear surrounds, but not from the ceiling. At first I thought maybe atmos was over rated and I was sad, but then the thunder clapped and that was 100% above me. I realized that this was mixed perfectly. Rain makes noise when it hits the ground, not when it falls from the sky. So with the right people in charge I think atmos (or any format) can be pretty amazing. With the wrong people, it can suck I'm sure.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
Its all gonna be depending on the mix. Same with stereo. Tom Petty always sounded better than most because the engineers were amazing. In the movie I just watched it started raining and the rain sound was all around me in my side and rear surrounds, but not from the ceiling. At first I thought maybe atmos was over rated and I was sad, but then the thunder clapped and that was 100% above me. I realized that this was mixed perfectly. Rain makes noise when it hits the ground, not when it falls from the sky. So with the right people in charge I think atmos (or any format) can be pretty amazing. With the wrong people, it can suck I'm sure.
Have you heard Cinema Atmos (Dolby Cinema)?
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
I havent been to a comercial theater in years.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
But don’t you think the car sounds overhead are more a mistake of the guy who remixed it more than the format?
Yes I do. Having said that, very little sounds emanate from above us, at least the way human hearing works, mostly from sides, even height information. That's why Auro-3D only use that one speaker above (VOG), which is that third layer which represent only ten percent of the height information we might perceive from directly above. However, DTS and Dolby wants us to put all the speakers on the ceiling above us.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Its all gonna be depending on the mix. Same with stereo. Tom Petty always sounded better than most because the engineers were amazing. In the movie I just watched it started raining and the rain sound was all around me in my side and rear surrounds, but not from the ceiling. At first I thought maybe atmos was over rated and I was sad, but then the thunder clapped and that was 100% above me. I realized that this was mixed perfectly. Rain makes noise when it hits the ground, not when it falls from the sky. So with the right people in charge I think atmos (or any format) can be pretty amazing. With the wrong people, it can suck I'm sure.
This!
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
I havent been to a comercial theater in years.
Dolby Cinema is where Atmos is optimized. If you really want to know what Atmos is really about in its purest form, in my opinion, you have to go to the Cinema.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Yes I do. Having said that, very little sounds emanate from above us, at least the way human hearing works, mostly from sides, even height information. That's why Auro-3D only use that one speaker above (VOG), which is that third layer which represent only ten percent of the height information we might perceive from directly above. However, DTS and Dolby wants us to put all the speakers on the ceiling above us.
But the overheads aren’t there for the sole purpose of sounds above. They phantom image between them and the bed layer as well. That’s how you get sounds into the room.
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
Dolby Cinema is where Atmos is optimized. If you really want to know what Atmos is really about in its purest form, in my opinion, you have to go to the Cinema.
I built a dedicated home theater and spent ungodly amounts of money on hardware so that I would never have to visit another commercial theater. I'll put my system up against many of them too. Spending time with the general public in a dark room is not my idea of a good time. I find more civilized people when I visit the local zoo. :)
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
I built a dedicated home theater and spent ungodly amounts of money on hardware so that I would never have to visit another commercial theater. I'll put my system up against many of them too. Spending time with the general public in a dark room is not my idea of a good time. I find more civilized people when I visit the local zoo. :)
That's great. I'm just saying, a one time experience at a Dolby Cinema won't ruin you.:) Anyway, you can't spend enough money to get you a home cinema that can compete with a commercial Dolby Cinema unless you have a large building at your home.
 
Bookmark

Bookmark

Full Audioholic
A proper cinema I might agree with you, unfortunately our local multiplex, although set up for Atmos is nowhere near as good as in the house. :( I know a friend who has seen a fair few in various Imax and has said this has been very good.

It was my understand the VOG was just an extra overhead speaker not a solo thing. I believe, which has been suggested, that the new Imax mode is a means to rollup Auro into Dts and give this the VOG too. Imax was known to use a layout similar to Auro, if not actually Auro

 
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Bookmark

Bookmark

Full Audioholic
@Drunkpenguin was the Annihilation on Netflix or was this a disc purchase? I did watch it on Netflix.
@yepimonfire might I suggest Crimson Peak or Fast and Furious 8, both these use Dts:X and might give you a better opinion. Personally I don't have a problem with any of the formats, they can all work well with the right material.

I'll update the list I made with some of the other suggestions, Particularly Mad Max, a Quiet Place and Annihilation. ::)
 

TechHDS

Audioholic General
A proper cinema I might agree with you, unfortunately our local multiplex, although set up for Atmos is nowhere near as good as in the house. :( I know a friend who has seen a fair few in various Imax and has said this has been very good.

It was my understand the VOG was just an extra overhead speaker not a solo thing. I believe, which has been suggested, that the new Imax mode is a means to rollup Auro into Dts and give this the VOG too. Imax was known to use a layout similar to Auro, if not actually Auro

Not to many have a ideal room like that for set up.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I saw "Oblivion" in Atmos last night.

I think the Atmos sound mix is pretty great.

I also love the movie so watching it again was awesome.

This statement sounds cliche, but I did feel like I was "watching it for the first time". :D

I think the Atmos mix sounds natural. One example is when Tom Cruise speaks on the Intercom, it comes from the ceiling speakers, which is exactly where I expect it to be in real life.
 

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