The Dolby Atmos Home Theater Paradox

How Many Speakers are You running in your Home Theater?

  • 5.1 or up to 5.4

    Votes: 107 46.5%
  • 6.1 or up to 6.4

    Votes: 6 2.6%
  • 7.1 or up to 7.4

    Votes: 70 30.4%
  • 9.1 or up to 9.4

    Votes: 20 8.7%
  • 11.1 or up to 11.4

    Votes: 15 6.5%
  • Two-Channel is where it's at!

    Votes: 12 5.2%

  • Total voters
    230
Auditor55

Auditor55

Senior Audioholic
Here is what I am seeing. We are almost approaching 2018 (the time of my response) and I have not heard a really good Dolby Atmos demnonstration anywhere. Virtually nothing related to surround sound has made it into the music end of things. I am not aware of any theaters in my area that have Atmos (or maybe its DTS counterpart). I am starting to wonder, is Dolby Atmos and DTS:X about to suffer the same “fatal death” that 3D video suffered? Maybe I missed something along the way, but I do not see much interest in Dolby Atmos.
I have to agree with your analysis. I have always questioned the long term viability of immersive audio in the home. I love the it for the commercial theater, but its implementation in the home is somewhat dubious. Also, some of the A/V receiver manufacturers, in my opinion, are cutting corners on build quality to bring us more processing power for sound formats like Atmos, DTS and Auro 3D.

I rather have a great 5.1 or 7.1 A/V receiver with powerful amps and build quality over a plastic receiver with more channels of immersion.

Another thing, where is the software support, its wanting at best. It is eerily reminiscent to 3D blu rays, which basically have left the market. Yes, I still have my 3D equipped TV, I remember when 3D TV was supposed to be the next big thing,
 
Gunny

Gunny

Junior Audioholic
I have always questioned the long term viability of immersive audio in the home. I love the it for the commercial theater, but its implementation in the home is somewhat dubious.
Why??? A little more information please.

Another thing, where is the software support, its wanting at best.
By this do you mean available titles?
 
RichB

RichB

Audioholic Field Marshall
I have heard cases where the Atmos mix is superior to the orignal lossless audio. For example, Star Trek Into Darkness UHD has an Atmos mix that sounds better than the original BD on my 5.1 system. In the opening scene, the spears wooshing has a better transition friom front-to-back.

My take-away an Atmos track can be better on a non-atmos system because of the care and effort that goes into scenes where sound moves in the room.

Atmos/DTS-X 3D audio in not going away because unlike it is backward compatible and does not harm users with 5.1/7.1 audio. There is no need to buy a special copy at higher price and glasses.

When 3D video did not make the transistion to streaming, it was over.
3D audio on the other hand is starting to show up on Netflx. Even Apple, will (finally) be supporting DD+ (required for Atmos).

- Rich
 
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Auditor55

Auditor55

Senior Audioholic
Why??? A little more information please.



By this do you mean available titles?
Mostly because it's impractical for most HT enthusiasts to set up, that is you see A/V receivers coming with applications like DTS X virtual.

Yes, software support is seriously lacking for for immersive audio formats. It appears as though some studios have decided to release movie with immersive audio encoding only on the UHD Blu Ray format which is stupid, they will kill it themselves.
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
One of the reasons I find Atmos/DTS:X so incredibly powerful is not just because I love the immersion so much (and some tracks are indeed superior to others),but I also love it due to its insane flexibility. The track tells your receiver where it needs the sound to come from within a 3 dimensional space, and your receiver does the heavy lifting of figuring out how to do that, utilizing your current setup. Whether you have a simply 5.1.2 system, a full blown Trinnov Altitude32, or anything in between, these object-based formats will make your theater shine and take advantage of whatever you have.

Personally, I have become a true believer. There's no going back. Haha.
 
Y

yepimonfire

Audioholic Samurai
I have heard cases where the Atmos mix is superior to the orignal lossless audio. For example, Star Trek Into Darkness UHD has an Atmos mix that sounds better than the original BD on my 5.1 system. In the opening scene, the spears wooshing has a better transition friom front-to-back.

My take-away an Atmos track can be better on a non-atmos system because of the care and effort that goes into scenes where sound moves in the room.

Atmos/DTS-X 3D audio in not going away because unlike it is backward compatible and does not harm users with 5.1/7.1 audio. There is no need to buy a special copy at higher price and glasses.

When 3D video did not make the transistion to streaming, it was over.
3D audio on the other hand is starting to show up on Netflx. Even Apple, will (finally) be supporting DD+ (required for Atmos).

- Rich
Apple, like practically every other streaming service, already supports dd+. 3D video probably failed because it's inconvenient, a actually is a gimmick, unlike Atmos. Lastly, an Atmos track cannot sound better in 5.1. Atmos won't render unless you have a minimum of 7 channels, and the AVR supports it. A quick run down on how it works for home theater:
Atmos mixes on blu-ray are mixed down via truehd to 7.1 mix, during the encoding process, the Atmos encoder creates a 7.1 rendering of the objects in their relative position without the overhead speakers, a 5.1/2ch downmix of that, and a completely lossless Bitstream of the objects, including positional Metadata. For home theater purposes, the original bed channels are converted to objects with a "snap to nearest speaker" flag, not only is this more efficient since the renderer groups objects of similar spectral content and position, but it makes reversing the down mixing process simple and completely lossless. There is no 7.1 mix when played back via an Atmos capable AVR, just a losslessly decoded object mix.

Without an Atmos AVR, you're only hearing a 5.1 down mix. What you could be hearing, is most re-released UHD blu-rays that did not originally release in Atmos have been completely remixed for Atmos from the original stems. Obviously, this will turn out differently than the original mix, but it isn't Atmos.
One of the reasons I find Atmos/DTS:X so incredibly powerful is not just because I love the immersion so much (and some tracks are indeed superior to others),but I also love it due to its insane flexibility. The track tells your receiver where it needs the sound to come from within a 3 dimensional space, and your receiver does the heavy lifting of figuring out how to do that, utilizing your current setup. Whether you have a simply 5.1.2 system, a full blown Trinnov Altitude32, or anything in between, these object-based formats will make your theater shine and take advantage of whatever you have.

Personally, I have become a true believer. There's no going back. Haha.
I'm of the same opinion. It does this even without Atmos encoded content, via upmixers.
Mostly because it's impractical for most HT enthusiasts to set up, that is you see A/V receivers coming with applications like DTS X virtual.

Yes, software support is seriously lacking for for immersive audio formats. It appears as though some studios have decided to release movie with immersive audio encoding only on the UHD Blu Ray format which is stupid, they will kill it themselves.
I agree, but uhd only releases are limited to a few studios or uhd rereleases. A large portion of new releases are Atmos encoded, and it's becoming the norm more and more as time goes on. I still don't get why it's so impractical to implement, plenty of people mount surround speakers to their wall, why is mounting front height, on the side walls near the ceiling, or actually mounting them ON vs in the ceiling any more impractical? Bounce speakers also work to a certain degree, even if not as good as overhead speakers.
 
RichB

RichB

Audioholic Field Marshall
Apple, like practically every other streaming service, already supports dd+.
The Apple TV 4K (and older models) do not currently pass the the DD+ bitstream; output can be LPCM or DD.

- Rich
 
Gunny

Gunny

Junior Audioholic
Mostly because it's impractical for most HT enthusiasts to set up, that is you see A/V receivers coming with applications like DTS X virtual.
I hear you and you have a point. I am blessed to have a dedicated room so I do sometimes forget that the majority of HT enthusiasts probably have their systems in multi-purpose rooms with limited ability to position and re-position speakers to accommodate new audio schemes. Do remember, however, that Atmos [and DTS:X] are about more than height channels. The core of this technology is metadata which "tells" any compatible system where and how a particular sound should be placed. I would think any room is better with an Atmos track than without one assuming compatible hardware.

Yes, software support is seriously lacking for for immersive audio formats. It appears as though some studios have decided to release movie with immersive audio encoding only on the UHD Blu Ray format which is stupid, they will kill it themselves.

Agreed but I feel software support will improve dramatically in the near future because an Atmos/DTS:X track does not mandate an Atmos/DTS:X capable playback system. The original lossless track is always available and automatically selected where appropriate in most cases. I personally would not buy a new release at this point if it did not contain an object-based audio track.
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
I personally would not buy a new release at this point if it did not contain an object-based audio track.
Unless it's a Christopher Nolan film. In which case we don't have much of a choice. :(
 
Gunny

Gunny

Junior Audioholic
Unless it's a Christopher Nolan film. In which case we don't have much of a choice. :(

I had considered picking up Dunkirk but, based on your comments, researched a bit further and now will not.

You always have a choice.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
I had considered picking up Dunkirk but, based on your comments, researched a bit further and now will not.

You always have a choice.
Was a great film though. That and the upmixer is actually pretty impressive IMHO.
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
I had considered picking up Dunkirk but, based on your comments, researched a bit further and now will not.

You always have a choice.
In all fairness, the DTS-MA 5.1 tracks on his films are usually OUTSTANDING, mastered so incredibly well (hat tip to whoever does those),and certainly pushes the format to its limits. Nolan has his own personal reasons for his disdain for such things, but I still don't like it. Really annoying actually.
 
RichB

RichB

Audioholic Field Marshall
Was a great film though. That and the upmixer is actually pretty impressive IMHO.
It was griping at times. The flight scenes are excellent.
Character development was weak and the replaying of incidents and time-sequencing was disorienting.
There is very little dialog.

- Rich
 
Y

yepimonfire

Audioholic Samurai
In all fairness, the DTS-MA 5.1 tracks on his films are usually OUTSTANDING, mastered so incredibly well (hat tip to whoever does those),and certainly pushes the format to its limits. Nolan has his own personal reasons for his disdain for such things, but I still don't like it. Really annoying actually.
His reason is stupid IMO, he insists on using and continuing to push film and that only carries 6 channels of audio.

Sent from my LM-X210(G) using Tapatalk
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
His reason is stupid IMO, he insists on using and continuing to push film and that only carries 6 channels of audio.
While the audio component of his film ideology is certainly annoying, there are still some very, very valid reasons for using traditional film. For one, 70MM film is FAR beyond 4K and as such can be remastered far into the future.

Imagine if films like Baraka and Samsara had been shot digitally in their eras and we were limited to those renderings of them. It would be pretty lousy quality. But since they were both shot on 70mm film and have since been scanned at 8K (and downscaled to 1080p for home release),they are utterly spectacular.

Still, is there no reason we can't have both? Come to think of it, has ANYBODY filmed large format combined with modern object based audio formats?
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
(I should have posted this here instead of general...anyway..)

I'm looking at used Yamaha AVRs and I can pick up an RX-A2000 for $300. I looked at the specs and it dawned on me that it doesn't support Dolby Atmos... That started with the xx40 series. SInce I have all PSBs, I looked at the asking price for their Imagine XA Dolby Atmos speakers. These modules would sit on top of my towers. Asking price is $700 which I find absurdly expensive. They got solid reviews but $700? .

For those of you who went with Atmos.. did you find it a game changer over 7.1? Anyone use the speaker modules over ceiling speakers? I ask because my ceiling in the basement is finished and it would be rather difficult to fish wires through the walls into the ceiling.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Ninja
(I should have posted this here instead of general...anyway..)

I'm looking at used Yamaha AVRs and I can pick up an RX-A2000 for $300. I looked at the specs and it dawned on me that it doesn't support Dolby Atmos... That started with the xx40 series. SInce I have all PSBs, I looked at the asking price for their Imagine XA Dolby Atmos speakers. These modules would sit on top of my towers. Asking price is $700 which I find absurdly expensive. They got solid reviews but $700? .

For those of you who went with Atmos.. did you find it a game changer over 7.1? Anyone use the speaker modules over ceiling speakers? I ask because my ceiling in the basement is finished and it would be rather difficult to fish wires through the walls into the ceiling.
In my room, when I went from 5.3 to 7.3 the difference was mostly subtle, but still effective. When I went from 7.3 to 7.3.4(yes I know it’s x.1.x but it gets the “how many subs” question out of the way lol) I was very impressed. While not all tracks are transcendent experiences, this has been true for years, many are and DSU and dtsNX do a great job of creating an immersive experience.
Iirc, your rear speakers are very high, so they’ll need to come down, and the one/s on the back wall should go away. Essentially a 5.1.2 or 5.1.4(IF you can move the couch forward)
It might be worth mounting the ones from the back wall to the ceiling, if for nothing more than a test. The modules can be really fussy with placement/angle so for me, 700 bucks is not worth it. Also, you can’t use regular speakers pointed at the ceiling because Atmos modules are built with a FR notch into the XO that helps with sounding like they’re overhead.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
In my room, when I went from 5.3 to 7.3 the difference was mostly subtle, but still effective. When I went from 7.3 to 7.3.4(yes I know it’s x.1.x but it gets the “how many subs” question out of the way lol) I was very impressed. While not all tracks are transcendent experiences, this has been true for years, many are and DSU and dtsNX do a great job of creating an immersive experience.
Iirc, your rear speakers are very high, so they’ll need to come down, and the one/s on the back wall should go away. Essentially a 5.1.2 or 5.1.4(IF you can move the couch forward)
It might be worth mounting the ones from the back wall to the ceiling, if for nothing more than a test. The modules can be really fussy with placement/angle so for me, 700 bucks is not worth it. Also, you can’t use regular speakers pointed at the ceiling because Atmos modules are built with a FR notch into the XO that helps with sounding like they’re overhead.
Are you saying that my surround sound placement being too high will interfer with the Atmos modules? I don't have a lot of room for moving the couch forward. Thats why the surrounds are angled down towards the listener position.
 

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