Most people have experienced Dolby surround sound – whether it was at your local theatre, or even at home with a simpler setup. Literally surrounded by sound, speakers are placed in front, behind, and on the sides of the listening area. Surround sound is great and does a pretty good job of bringing you into whatever you are watching.
Enter Dolby Atmos.
What It Is.
Dolby calls Atmos “the most significant development in cinema audio since surround sound”. Atmos is not simply the addition of extra speakers, but a shift in how the surround sound system works. Instead of simply surrounding the listening area with speakers, Dolby Atmos is configured to provide a true 360 degree audio experience.
Here’s an example. Have you seen the latest Avengers movie? (It was released in Dolby Atmos on May 1st of this year. If you haven’t, consider this your spoiler alert. You have been warned).
Related Reading: Movie releases in Dolby Atmos
Towards the end of the movie, there’s an epic battle between the Avengers and Ultron and his robot army. Explosions and weapon fire are all around. Fighter jets and other aircraft are flying overhead. Each of the avengers are engaged in battle on different fronts. It’s an action-packed section of the story with a lot going on.
With Dolby Atmos, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the movie as the technology makes the listening experience realistic. Dolby Atmos creates a true 360 degree listening experience where audio elements move within your sound system in correlation to what’s happening on the screen. The helicopter wings beating the air, the explosions all around you, the Hulk smashing things to bits; each and every sound is ‘placed’ where it would be as if you were the person at the centre of it all.
Whatever the content, Dolby Atmos really is the best way to experience audio in your home. With more and more compatible content being released, it’s time to get your system up to speed.
How You Can Get It.
A Dolby Atmos setup does have specific requirements. As a reference, we’ll use the Dolby Atmos 7.2.4 home theatre setup from our 408 Terminal Avenue in Vancouver:
- Blu-Ray player (any player that meets the Blu-Ray specifications is compatible with Dolby Atmos). At the gallery: Marantz Universal Disc player
- Dolby Atmos compatible AV receiver/processor. At the gallery: Marantz Audio Video Receiver
- Overhead sound speakers (two options: ceiling speakers or dolby atoms enabled speakers that will create the same effect). At the gallery: 4 x Paradigm Signature Series SIG-1.5 v.3
- Surround speakers. At the gallery: 4 x Paradigm Signature series SIG-ADP v.3 (2 for the sides, 2 for the rear)
- Front speakers. At the gallery: 3 x Paradigm signature series SIG-LCR 5 v.3 (left, centre and right speakers installed behind the screen). Note: For this option, an acoustically perforated screen (such as the Stewart Cine-V 125” curved screen) is required.
- Subwoofer. At the gallery: 2 x JL Audio Fathom IWS-SYS-2
- As listed above, a 7.2.4 Atmos setup requires 7 speakers, 2 sub-woofers and 4 ceiling speakers. It is possible, however, to achieve Dolby Atmos surround sound with less speakers (5 main floor speakers instead of 7, 1 sub-woofer instead of 2 and 2 ceiling speakers instead of 4).
- Be sure to set your player to bitstream audio.
Here’s a look at the finished product at our showroom:
Traditional surround sound brings audio to the front, back and sides of the listening area. With Dolby Atmos, the audience is hit with sound from all angles, creating the most immersive audio experience to date. Having hi-quality sound is one thing. Becoming a part of the action through a Dolby Atmos surround sound experience is something completely different.
Experience it for yourself at our showroom on Terminal Ave in Vancouver. We’d be glad to help you create the Dolby Atmos experience in your own home.