What’s Dolby Atmos and what audio system do you want?

House cinema is not simply in regards to the image – sound is equally as essential, and there have been important developments in that space in recent times.

Not are we confined to five.1 and seven.1 encompass sound techniques, we will have absolutely encompassing, cinema-like experiences because of the proliferation of Dolby Atmos.

Obtainable on films, sports activities broadcasts, and even video games today, Atmos is doing for sound what Blu-ray and 4K Extremely HD did for video efficiency.

However, what’s Dolby Atmos? Why is it thrilling? And what do you have to get probably the most from it?

What’s Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos began within the cinema, and takes the longstanding encompass sound idea and provides additional peak channels to offer a extra enveloping 3D sound.

So, relatively than have sounds of raindrops, or a helicopter transferring across the identical peak as your ears with 5.1, for instance, Atmos means you can hear rain truly falling from above or a helicopter transferring from over your head and into the gap. At the very least, that is the idea.

In a cinema or film theatre, that is delivered at its easiest, with as much as 64 audio system supported. However it’s extra more and more being utilized in soundbars and speaker packages for the house.

Right here, it introduces new speaker configurations, resembling 5.1.2, the place there are 5 audio system across the room – typically a centre channel and 4 surrounds – one subwoofer and two peak channels. These peak channels will be delivered via in-ceiling audio system or drivers that fireside sound upwards.

You might even have 5.1.4, 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 – typically even 9.2.6 in probably the most sophisticated setups. Nevertheless, Dolby Atmos is not outlined by the variety of channels. Actually, Dolby Atmos is named object-based sound, as whereas its foundation is 10 mattress channels in a 7.1.2 setup, it will possibly even have as much as 128 particular person objects that may be positioned independently wherever in a 3D soundscape, and transfer round freely.

When exported for a house atmosphere combine, that is downscaled barely to as many as eight dynamic object teams – however the idea is similar. The most effective factor about object-based sound is it will possibly adapt to nevertheless many audio system you may have.

What do I have to get Dolby Atmos at house?

For the very best Atmos expertise, in-ceiling audio system are the way in which to go.

Nevertheless, not everybody is ready to facilitate them, so the extra frequent strategy at house is to get upward firing Atmos audio system to fireside the sound as much as the ceiling and replicate again all the way down to the listening place. And, that is the shape adopted by many speaker, AV receiver and soundbar producers as we speak.


For these with conventional separate audio system – like a house cinema sound system – this may simply imply the addition of upfiring modules. A number of manufacturers, together with Onkyo and KEF, supply audio system that you simply place on prime of your present left and proper floorstanders, or close by on an AV stand. These are devoted to Dolby Atmos and are angled barely to bounce the pontificate the ceiling and again all the way down to your sitting place.

Some producers construct upfiring items into their left and proper bookshelf or floorstanding audio system. So, in addition to fireplace sound in the direction of you, in addition they fireplace upwards too.

With a purpose to drive devoted Dolby Atmos audio system, whether or not they’re upward firing modules or are built-in to the ceiling, you will want a suitable AV receiver. The vast majority of main AV manufacturers help Dolby Atmos throughout their ranges, and all at completely different worth factors to swimsuit completely different budgets

However that is not the one path to getting Dolby Atmos in your house.

What Dolby Atmos soundbars can be found?

We have been speaking as if we’re assuming you may have area for a full Atmos encompass sound setup. What if you’d like the added peak impact however area is at a premium? Then you may go for a Dolby Atmos soundbar.

Many of the large audio manufacturers supply Dolby Atmos soundbars in some kind. Many supply fashions with upfiring audio system constructed into the highest of the physique, some supply a digital Atmos impact, recreating a wider soundstage to carry that immersion, however with out immediately firing sound upwards.

A couple of years again it was solely the high-end bars that had this selection, however we’re seeing a a lot wider number of mid-range bars providing Atmos too, which means it is getting less expensive to get that boosted audio impact.

  • Samsung Q990B square

    Samsung HW-Q990B

    A improbable soundbar that flawlessly delivers Dolby Atmos and DTS:X utilizing an 11.1.4-channel system.

  • Sonos Beam Gen 2 square

    Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

    A beautiful fashionable and compact choice, particularly in case you’re already within the Sonos ecosystem.

  • Sony A7000 square

    Sony HT-A7000

    The Sony HT-A7000 delivers an unrivalled and absolutely immersive sound from a easy all-in-one soundbar.

What different {hardware} do I would like for Dolby Atmos?

An enormous a part of the puzzle, after all, is the supply. You could discover a solution to feed that Dolby Atmos sign to your audio system. The place to begin for film followers is more likely to be a Blu-ray participant – and you may most likely need one which helps 4K Extremely HD.

Nevertheless, so long as the Blu-ray participant has been set to output a direct bitstream sign, your Dolby Atmos-enabled receiver or soundbar ought to be capable of decode the sign and ship the peak channels to the Dolby Atmos audio system.

You’ll after all even have to ensure the Blu-ray disc you are watching has a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on it. You may verify the rear of the case to see if it does.

Some TV companies supply Dolby Atmos – BT Sport Ultimate offers you Atmos on some dwell soccer matches if in case you have the 4K Extremely HD set-top field. Sky additionally offers Dolby Atmos on some sporting occasions and Sky Cinema films via its Sky Q field.

Media streaming is one other space that provides Dolby Atmos soundtracks. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ every help Dolby Atmos on films and TV reveals, as does Apple TV via its Good TV apps and personal set-top field. When it comes to different streaming units, Roku helps it, in addition to Android TV containers, such because the Nvidia Defend TV, and Amazon’s Fire TV.

You should use a video games console too, because the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox One S, PlayStation 5 and PS4 all help Atmos soundtracks on movies, both via streaming, with some video games adopting the format too. The newer Xbox consoles additionally help Dolby Atmos for gaming.

Some flagship TVs now help Dolby Atmos as effectively, with built-in sound techniques and upfiring audio system to help it natively. It is best to verify although earlier than you buy your subsequent TV although – some promote as supporting Atmos however can solely supply it just about, or cross it via to a soundbar or receiver.

You’ll need an HDMI 2.1 port that helps HDMI eARC expertise to be able to hear full-fat lossless Atmos, although. Older HDMI ports with normal ARC can cross Atmos although within the lossy Dolby Digital Plus codec – you may not hear an entire lot of distinction however in case you’ve spent the money on a superb setup you wish to be sure you’re listening to it at its greatest.

You’ll need the eARC help at each ends of the system although – so in case you’re passing it via to a soundbar, that can want eARC help too – it tends to be discovered on units and units launched in 2019 and up.

A ultimate choice is to buy a TV with Dolby Atmos audio system constructed into the set itself – resembling Sky’s personal linked TV

What content material can I watch in Dolby Atmos?

One of many first films to be launched with an Atmos soundtrack was Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014. Fortunately movies with Atmos have vastly progressed since then, in each high quality and amount. Many 4K and normal Blu-rays on the cabinets may have an Atmos soundtrack – so verify your assortment, as you could have already got a library able to go.

BT TV offers Atmos via its 4K Extremely HD sports activities channel. Reside sports activities have been proven with the added peak since 2017, however to get it you have to have the BT YouView+ 4K Extremely HD set-top field.

Sky Q additionally sports activities Dolby Atmos in its content offerings. This consists of many film downloads if in case you have a Sky Cinema subscription and Premier League soccer protection.

Dolby Atmos Explained What Is It And How Do I Get It image 5

Netflix affords Atmos content material, as does Amazon Prime Video. Most new content material added to Disney+ additionally is available in Dolby Atmos, together with Marvel and Star Wars films and TV reveals.

You should purchase or lease many digital movies with Dolby Atmos soundtracks via the likes of Apple TV and Rakuten TV.

Loads of Xbox video games now have Dolby Atmos soundtracks too – take a look at Forza Horizon 5 or Halo Infinite on an Xbox Collection X or S, for instance.

What about Dolby Atmos on laptops, telephones and tablets?

In newer years we have seen Dolby Atmos being talked about in different phrases – not simply within the context of the house cinema expertise.

If it will possibly play audio, Dolby needs to carry the Atmos expertise to it. Meaning we’re seeing laptops, tablets and telephones stating that they provide Dolby Atmos help – although after all the expertise is kind of completely different to that you’re going to hear at house or within the cinema.

In these circumstances, it is about virtualising a extra immersive soundscape. Sure, these units sound higher when the Dolby Atmos mode is turned on, nevertheless it’s not aiming to put sound objects in area such as you may get at house out of your separates system. It is about making a feeling of sounds being somewhere else, utilizing some intelligent audio trickery that delays – simply barely – when sounds are delivered, to offer a sense of them being nearer or additional away.

Meaning you will have to take Dolby Atmos on units like mobiles with a small pinch of salt – it is utilizing the identical branding, nevertheless it’s not likely the identical factor.

What about Dolby Atmos Music?

Extra lately, we have seen Dolby Atmos transfer away from the house cinema area and into the music area, with Dolby Atmos Music. This can be a spatial audio format, identical to it’s for cinema, however now with music tracks as a substitute.

The music tracks need to be specifically blended for Atmos, so you may’t simply play a daily tune via an Atmos system and count on it to work. On the time of writing, Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Music embody Dolby Atmos music tracks of their catalogues.

In fact, to listen to them at their greatest, you will have to have the {hardware} that helps Atmos playback. Amazon’s Echo Studio does simply that, as does Apple’s HomePod 2 and the Sonos Era 300.

You may also hearken to them utilizing any common headphones and a suitable telephone or pill, however this shall be a digital combine as mentioned above – utilizing the audio system will present a way more immersive expertise.

You may learn extra about Dolby Atmos Music in our full feature.

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