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

VonMagnum

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What do you mean by its future seems iffy?

Is there a slowdown of Atmos BluRay?
Perhaps he means people watch movies on phones and so many don't care about Atmos so why should the studios when all people want to do is watch people do dumb things on YouTube.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Shazam! has Atmos.... (had to remux the 3D version with Atmos, but now it has it too).
 
E

Erod

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What do you mean by its future seems iffy?

Is there a slowdown of Atmos BluRay?
The sub-35 crowd seems far more interested in sound bars and air buds than what we want. They're streaming on their phones.

Youtube and Netflix dominate their watching habits.

Oppo left already and the AVR business is slowing down. I hope that trend changes, but I don't know.

Also, the 4K disc market and Atmos sound mixing market is very small. I hope they stick with it long term.

And just look at the lack of quality movies released these days. The biggest releases going are Aladdin, The Lion King, Toy Story.....where are the great new movies? Where are movies like Braveheart, Forrest Gump, Goodfellas, Gladiator, etc? They don't fit the PC-metoo world we live in now.

The next James Bond is going to have a female 007, and the new Star Trek is supposedly very woman dominated. It's all about agenda now, not telling great stories.

We're at a lot of crossroads.
 
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Auditor55

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The absolute minimum should be what Star Trek:Into Darkness, Blade Runner 2049, or Jumanji sound mixers did with Atmos.

The Revenant sounds better than almost all Atmos, and it's not even Atmos. Amazing mixing in that movie, and it's just 5.1.

However,, most sub-35 year old people are watching these movies on their phones anyway. Discs sell at anemic levels. Gotta be dispiriting for the sound mixers to a degree.
I have said, if done right, a 5.1 mix can be immersive, especially in a small room. Atmos as a consumer electronic sound format was teetering on the fringe anyway. Most people cannot set up ceiling speakers and even if they could they wouldn't. It seems with Atmos the question is, to Overhead or not to Overhead, most movies don't call for overhead sounds, some sound mixers try to create some overhead sounds, where they shouldn't, which makes Atmos sometimes gimmicky. We all love the wow effect of overhead sounds!!

In my opinion, if the industry wanted to take surround sound to the next level, they should have at least considered moving from DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 to the European system, Auro 3D. Why, because overhead speakers are not really necessary in Auro 3D for the immersive experience. I know we could add the one speakers or the so-called VOG, but according to them, it's not really necessary. I believe that Atmos absolutely requires overhead speakers to really do it right, however most people are not going to go that far, even some hardcore enthusiast will tap out.

I know there are some hardcore enthusiast that are all in on Atmos and they have the rooms to do it right, however they represent the niche of the niche market.
 
VonMagnum

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Soundbars are starting to support Atmos and so does Netflix so just because there is a low end doesn't mean Atmos will go under. Netflix just greatly increased their audio streaming rates as well (DVD quality at a bare minimum now).

I've got a bunch of movies on iTunes that got free Atmos upgrades and they don't sound bad. In fact, I usually can't tell them from the uncompressed BD soundtracks (placement of sounds is certainly the same). Certainly their 4K video quality is approaching at least 2K discs so eventually I don't know that it will matter terribly if discs disappear. Besides, laserdiscs always had a small market and they didn't disappear until something better came out.

Personally, I've purchased more movies in the past two years or so than probably the previous ten combined. Cheap Blurays galore and Tunes finally sells discounted titles (I bought a lot of older movies for $5 each, cheaper yet when part of sets and many of those saw free 4K and Atmos upgrades as well).

For a "small market", I already own 70 Atmos Blurays, 34 DTS:X Blurays, 11 Auro-3D Blurays and about 50 more titles on iTunes that also have Atmos. 165 titles out of around 1000 isn't bad for less than one year of purposely looking for Atmos titles. Having one out of five movies in immersive by next year isn't too shabby IMO (and probably 200 of the remaining titles are mono movies from the '30s and '40s that won't get Atmos regardless.

3D is a tiny market too, especially with only new projectors offering 3D as new viewers and yet they're still selling new titles too (just got Shazam in and Captain Marvel 3D is on its way from the UK with Avengers Endgame to follow shortly as well. That will make 193 titles in 3D here in two years time.
 
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liquid360

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I’m in the middle of installing my first real home-theater and am excited beyond words. I overbought for the space big time. I’ve been told this by everyone, but I love beautiful hardware. Should have it done end of the week... so stoked. All speakers are B&W. I love having the option of Atmos. Use it or not, having the choice is what it’s all about.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
VonMagnum

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I have said, if done right, a 5.1 mix can be immersive, especially in a small room. Atmos as a consumer electronic sound format was teetering on the fringe anyway. Most people cannot set up ceiling speakers and even if they could they wouldn't. It seems with Atmos the question is, to Overhead or not to Overhead, most movies don't call for overhead sounds, some sound mixers try to create some overhead sounds, where they shouldn't, which makes Atmos sometimes gimmicky. We all love the wow effect of overhead sounds!!

In my opinion, if the industry wanted to take surround sound to the next level, they should have at least considered moving from DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 to the European system, Auro 3D. Why, because overhead speakers are not really necessary in Auro 3D for the immersive experience. I know we could add the one speakers or the so-called VOG, but according to them, it's not really necessary. I believe that Atmos absolutely requires overhead speakers to really do it right, however most people are not going to go that far, even some hardcore enthusiast will tap out.

I know there are some hardcore enthusiast that are all in on Atmos and they have the rooms to do it right, however they represent the niche of the niche market.
Auro-3D on everything but the high end (which is based on 7.1) is just 5.1 with two or four height speakers plus optional VOG. How other than the VOG is that much different from Atmos 5.1.4 other than the recommended side heights versus rear heights which for 5.1 should be behind you anyway? DTS:X can use either layout.

You do know Atmos and X an play on 5.1 and 7.1 just fine, right? If anything, 7.1 titles were hard to find until Atmos came out, so if anything, 7.1 owners should be glad of getting more titles that contain discrete content. Atmos hurts nothing on older systems.

Atmos also plays fine on Auro layouts as I can attest seeing as my top middles are actually side heights (the only speakers "on" my ceiling are rear heights; my front heights are on a bookshelf beside the drop down screen. Side heights are just below my steel beam box on the side walls above my side surrounds so they are actually slightly lower than the front/rear heights (can't tell set to heights in AVR. I can tell if front/rear are set to tops in the Atmos helicopter demo, but just slightly).

People make too big a deal about exact placement. Your ears can't tell on the ceiling from in the ceiling from near the ceiling. They just hear height angles.
 
Auditor55

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Here is something that maybe of some interest, although it maybe of old news to many.

Like many of us, we have perhaps noticed the variable benefits of certain Atmos/Dts:X soundtracks. We have lists of content we consider good, average or bad and sometimes those lists differ between setups. Any number of factors can be involved, different processors/Avrs, speakers, positioning, room treatments, EQ, etc, all will have some bearing. This is just something else which I noticed recently, messing about in settings.

To be clear I am changing nothing physically, but the speaker layout setting in the Yamaha 5100. The processor has two layout presets and I copied my Layout 1 setting to 2, keeping the Distance, Levels, EQ, Cut offs the same. I then altered the 2nd preset to have 4 Overheads, the 1st preset remained the same as before with 4 Heights. The effect is being noted at the same volume level and the only thing being changed is the current layout setting between runs. All content was tested on both settings

I have long believed that Dts:X and Neural X bleeds more base layer content into the Height speakers than Atmos or DSU. Also that ADGT has been more often disappointed in Dts:X content than Atmos.

For the testing I used the Dolby Atmos and Dts:X demos. Fantastic Beasts 2 (Atmos),Crimson Peak (Dts:X),Valerien (Atmos),Pitch Perfect 3 (Dts:X),Hunter Killer (Atmos),The Meg (Atmos),Ready Player One (Atmos) and Flatliners 2017 (Dvd Dolby 5.1).

What I noticed is that Atmos soundtracks benefit from the Overhead setting whereas the Dts:X/Neural X tracks improved with the Height setting. All the films sounded fine previously, or so I thought and since the physical layout is not changing, why would there be any difference? What I have seen is a certain clarity between the layouts that was not present before, however the apparent difference is dependent upon the film itself. Ready Player One has always been a standout. There was not a particularly notable difference in the Demos although Shattered seemed better, clearer with the Overheads.

Layout 2 (Overhead setting)
Ready Player One, race scene ~8mins in, improves the coin capture, some crashes and the Kong rear portion. Fantastic Beast 2, always a bit of a disappointment, sound wise compared to the first, this just improves overall as does Hunter Killer. Valerian's opening battle and initial Bowie track yields some interesting spaciousness. The Meg, opening titles and initial rescue are much improved in the overhead department.

What does not improve is the Dts:X content and up mixing with Neural X using the Overhead setting. For these to sound right, to me, then the Height setting is much preferable. Perhaps it is down to the nature of the beast, my compromised layout, or that Dolby tends to spec for Overheads and Dts:X for Heights. Some may have already come to this conclusion and set accordingly. I know of a few who have actual different physical layouts for the content, particularly with Auro 3D, where there is an actual additional physical top layer.

This is as I say, perhaps an option for some who previously have not bothered with specific changes for different content. I know that in the past, my reluctance is entirely down to pure laziness, however it is noticeable enough with some content to do the switch.

As always, YMMV, but it may be something to try with those films which seem a tad underwhelming.
So what happen to the claim that the processor supposed to determine what speakers layout you have, height vs OH and send the info accordingly?
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

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It has nothing to do with lazy, more to do with real estate, which mostly sub 35 don't have.
Gonna disagree. I owned my first home while in my 20’s and while small, I made a commitment to have a functional surround in my little house. Many people today ARE lazy, and especially the under 30’s who care about convenience over anything else. It’s frustrating to watch because they don’t even know what they’re missing out on because they’re too damn lazy to learn about it let alone implement something.
“I’ll just watch it on my phone”......lame.
 
Auditor55

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Auro-3D on everything but the high end (which is based on 7.1) is just 5.1 with two or four height speakers plus optional VOG. How other than the VOG is that much different from Atmos 5.1.4 other than the recommended side heights versus rear heights which for 5.1 should be behind you anyway? DTS:X can use either layout.

You do know Atmos and X an play on 5.1 and 7.1 just fine, right? If anything, 7.1 titles were hard to find until Atmos came out, so if anything, 7.1 owners should be glad of getting more titles that contain discrete content. Atmos hurts nothing on older systems.

Atmos also plays fine on Auro layouts as I can attest seeing as my top middles are actually side heights (the only speakers "on" my ceiling are rear heights; my front heights are on a bookshelf beside the drop down screen. Side heights are just below my steel beam box on the side walls above my side surrounds so they are actually slightly lower than the front/rear heights (can't tell set to heights in AVR. I can tell if front/rear are set to tops in the Atmos helicopter demo, but just slightly).

People make too big a deal about exact placement. Your ears can't tell on the ceiling from in the ceiling from near the ceiling. They just hear height angles.
I'm just going off of their white paper, I don't have an Auro setup, although my receiver does Auro 3D processing . Anyway, you stated the primary difference, side heights (Auro) vs Overhead (Atmos). I'm not saying one system sound better than the other, however I do believe Auro might be easier to implement in most homes since all you're doing is lowering the currently existing side surrounds or placing the height surrounds right above the them closer to the ceiling. Auro 3D would even be compatible with DTS-X. However, not with a Dolby Atmos setup, because for Atmos, according to Dolby, you must have overhead speakers or Dolby Enabled speakers to get that overhead effect.

As for your own experience, with your own system, it gives me some optimism that Atmos is more flexible than I thought possible. I would have to listen to your system. Then again, you have so many speakers in your systems you can experiment with various speaker layouts and sound codecs.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

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I’m in the middle of installing my first real home-theater and am excited beyond words. I overbought for the space big time. I’ve been told this by everyone, but I love beautiful hardware. Should have it done end of the week... so stoked. All speakers are B&W. I love having the option of Atmos. Use it or not, having the choice is what it’s all about.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
That's great, post a picture when its complete. Let us know how it looks and sounds.
 
VonMagnum

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It has never "determined" your layout in that sense. Atmos is based on set layouts. If someone prefers the 'wrong' layout for their room, well I'm not going to play placement police.....

All I know is one year ago I was still using 6.1 (which since my AVR couldn't process 7.1 soundtracks meant mostly 5.1 in practice) and shortly thereafter started experimenting with front heights (the Yamaha in question supported height DSP effects and dialog lift) and I was sold on dialog lift alone. Last August I started my retrofit room theater rebuild (I went from a couch and one chair with 6.1 to six chairs over three rows and ultimately ended up with 17.1 (11.1.6) plus dialog lift and six channel matrixed stereo. "5.1" soundtracks have never sounded better with Neural X upmixed to 11.1.6. It's night and day for immersion, really.

You'd be shocked how much actual overhead sounds there are in movie situations. Subs and even cars ending up underwater...footsteps or dropped baseballs rolling on the floor above you (or alien monsters on the tunnel grating in The Great Wall),airplanes, helicopters, super heroes, space shuttles, fireworks, thunderstorms, birds, elevated trains, rockets, fire ripping through buildings, wind, narrators, wizards on flying broomsticks, dragons, cars jumping over the camera placed at the base of the ramp, something landing on top of the elevator ceiling, clock towers ringing, music.... I've heard all these in actual soundtracks. Suffice to say actio and Sci-Fi movies put cameras in odd situations and you go with them.

But even plain old Dolby Pro Logic soundtracks are more dispersed and surrounding with more speakers in surround than just 5.1 layouts. Everything is better, IMO.
 
VonMagnum

VonMagnum

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I'm just going off of their white paper, I don't have an Auro setup, although my receiver does Auro 3D processing . Anyway, you stated the primary difference, side heights (Auro) vs Overhead (Atmos). I'm not saying one system sound better than the other, however I do believe Auro might be easier to implement in most homes since all you're doing is lowering the currently existing side surrounds or placing the height surrounds right above the them closer to the ceiling. Auro 3D would even be compatible with DTS-X. However, not with a Dolby Atmos setup, because for Atmos, according to Dolby, you must have overhead speakers or Dolby Enabled speakers to get that overhead effect.
That has never been true. Dolby supported 30 degree angle speakers from the start (aka "heights") and while they do not technically support side heights, all that really matters is the speaker angle relative to the listener. It spreads the image outward slightly. If your room is not overly wide compared to the front stage layout, it makes almost no difference as I've discovered here and the guy that invented Auro-3D noticed the same thing s he mentioned in an interview. Atmos sounds great on an Auro layout.

Obviously companies have a vested interest in steering you away from competitors' products, especially when they are the leader so I'm sure they'd like you to believe you can't use side heights. SVS sells a line of Atmos side height speakers for just that reason (we don't all want them on the ceiling in our rooms. If you shut your eyes, how can you tell if the speaker is ON the ceiling (or IN it) versus up next to it? And what about ceiling height? Is a seven foot in-ceiling speaker better than a side height mounted next to a 14 foot ceiling for overhead height impression? I don't see (or rather hear) how it could. It's all relative. The guidelines are there to get beginners started. Installers should know better.

What I do know is one of the founding fathers of Atmos (Stuart Bowling) liked my system enough to say it publicly at RPF and I use matrixed and extracted speakers plus side heights.
 
L

liquid360

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That's great, post a picture when its complete. Let us know how it looks and sounds.
I’m proud of my completely unnecessary equipment list.

McIntosh MI254 (dig amp)
McIntosh MC303 (SS Amp)
McIntosh MPC500 (conditioner)
Marantz AV8805 (processor)
JL Fathom 13.5 (3000w)
B&W CCM7.5 (X2)
B&W CWM7.4 (X2)
B&W 803D2 (X2)
B&W HTM2D3 (center)
Sony VPL-VW695ES
Screen:
Screen Innovations Zero Edge Pro
Fixed-frame projector screen with ultra-thin frame and LED backlight, Black Diamond dark gray material (100")


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
AcuDefTechGuy

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they should have at least considered... Auro 3D.
my receiver does Auro 3D processing .
Oh your agenda is crystal clear now.

You support a format that is DEAD (Auro3D),instead of a format that has been around since 2013 (Atmos) and still growing in numbers.

You support a format that is DEAD, only because your AVR just happens to support the DEAD format.

I believe it’s like what Von mentioned about the X8500 - they chose to support Auro3D and they chose WRONG because Auro3D is dead.

You can’t even buy a single Auro3D BluRay in the USA - like at Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, etc.

But you still support it?

That makes no sense.

You support a format that has ZERO content (Auro3D),but you are 100% against the other 2 formats (Atmos, DTSX) that have thousands of contents in both BluRay discs and STREAMING services.

And Streaming services. Did I mention streaming services?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

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I’ve only watched about 30 minutes of “Waterworld” in 4K/DTSX. But I can tell it’s another winner for DTSX.

The overhead sounds are so fun and add much enjoyment to the movie for me.

I will report more when I’ve seen the entire movie. :D

Man I love Atmos and DTSX. :D
 
VonMagnum

VonMagnum

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Oh your agenda is crystal clear now.

You support a format that is DEAD (Auro3D),instead of a format that has been around since 2013 (Atmos) and still growing in numbers.
Um, Auro-3D was invented in 2005 an deployed to cinemas by Barco in 2011, long before Atmos came out. In fact, it has been suggested Atmos was developed in a rather hurry when they realized George Lucas was behind it with Red Tails (i.e. if Dolby had done nothing, Auro-3D might have be well supported today everywhere) as it's clearly superior to plain 5.1 or 7.1.

You support a format that is DEAD, only because your AVR just happens to support the DEAD format.
There is no AVR that supports Auro-3D that does not ALSO support Dolby Atmos so I hate to say it, but I think you're barking up the wrong tree. I think Auro did get some early fans in Europe from its cinematic deployment and he's right that the layout it suggests is more room friendly than in-ceiling speakers. Dolby does support heights, but my god, do people on places like AVS *HATE* that fact. Why? Because they spent a fortune putting in their in-ceiling speakers and what to feel superior to everyone else (IMO). Almost anyone can hang a speaker on the wall. Cutting out holes in your ceiling and trying to get wiring to it is rather scary by comparison and not friendly to the average consumer. It's so bad, in fact, that Dolby came up with that ridiculous "bouncy" Dolby "Enabled" speakers and then promoted the crap out of it when it SUCKS. There's even some high-end installs out there using it (because they didn't want to cut into their finished/decorated ceilings either) and they'll try to cut you a new one if you put down bouncy speakers on in some threads on AVS.

A half dozen people on there have me on ignore or just ignore me manually because I either put down bouncy speakers or didn't kiss their butts when I started my Atmos upgrades and asked a bunch of questions and didn't kow tow enough or something... (You can't have two alpha dogs in some circles and clearly Sanjay is considered the alpha dog on AVS when it comes to Atmos and I didn't back down to his nonsense. Oddly, it was arguments about Auro-3D as I recall (he hates it too, I think). I personally like the layout and VOG concept (although a stereo VOG would work well too, IMO...but I think that's called top middle. :D You can also fake one using external processors easy enough for Atmos or X by extracting a center between top middle (L/C/R top middle; nice solid locked in sound stage). I think Auro movies are more likely to use center height as well as it's a standardized speaker. It SHOULD have been standardized for Atmos too, but Dolby doesn't do everything right (and that crap with letting Disney make 7.1.4 locked soundtracks SUCKS; Dolby should have revoked their license to use the format if they won't play ball, IMO).

Personally, I don't care what format a movie is using as long as it's better than 5.1/7.1. I can stretch Auro into 15.1 here and X into 17.1 the same as Atmos. I'd like to see Auro stick around just for music recordings if nothing else. Yes, Atmos could probably do dual-quad miked recordings too, but they don't and won't because they have an odd layout and objects and you'd have to set up the microphones in a matching configuration to one of their layouts and then lock it like Disney does. That's not going to likely happen. Auro-3D is setup for channel-based recordings and they clearly latched onto dual-quad early. Those recordings are PURE MAGIC, IMO. Everyone is always the MOST impressed here when I play Auro-3D demos with dual-quad because the walls just disappear and it sounds like you are THERE. Auro supposedly is getting some traction in China as part of their new broadcast standard so hopefully that will keep them around enough to keep making music recordings if nothing else. Given the lack of regions, I wouldn't have minded Auro movies available in Europe and Atmos here or whatever and you could just order what you want. It's just as easy to order from Amazon UK as it is Amazon US (and 3D movies are always cheaper there and more available so I do it a LOT). The shipping just takes a few days longer.

I believe it’s like what Von mentioned about the X8500 - they chose to support Auro3D and they chose WRONG because Auro3D is dead.
Well, it seems dead. But if China starts using it regularly, things could change again. Music albums are still trickling out (Prince's Sign o the Times just came out with an Auro-3D mix recently).

You can’t even buy a single Auro3D BluRay in the USA - like at Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, etc.
The world isn't just the USA...in fact with 330 million people we are a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the world (~9 BILLION people). I had no trouble getting a hold of 10 Auro-3D movies from Europe and Australia and a few music albums. The real problem is Auro doesn't even seem to get support in Europe anymore. I've got an Auro-3D movie theater TWO MILES from here, but it doesn't matter since no Auro content has been there since last year (there's NOTHING on the list for 2019 and only a few for 2018. But before that, they had regular features in Auro-3D 11.1 and then Auro-Max). I'm hoping DTS converts the theaters to DTS:X cheapest for them to do) as it's a waste having that overhead setup and not getting films using it.

But you still support it?

That makes no sense.
It makes some sense if you invested a lot of time and effort to make an Auro-3D home layout and don't want to convert to Atmos. In my room, all I had to do was connect a switch box and some Pro Logic decoders to do top middle instead of side height for Auro and buy rear bed and height speakers. Now it does everything just fine.

You support a format that has ZERO content (Auro3D),but you are 100% against the other 2 formats (Atmos, DTSX) that have thousands of contents in both BluRay discs and STREAMING services.
You can't call it zero... I've got 10 movies and three music albums in Auro-3D. That's not zero. :D

I'm up to 34 DTS:X movies, but that's still only 2/3 more. If Auro had kept putting out movies, they might be a lot closer together. I keep thinking about putting in a VOG speaker, but given the lack of content, it's kind of moot even though I'm certain it would make a nice difference. I could still do it with extraction for all formats, but the processors I used for TOP MIDDLE had built-in 50W amps so I can't daisy-chain it to the next processor to extract a middle speaker. I'd have to get some different processors and at least two more outboard amps on top of wiring the new speaker.
 

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