Does Your Home Theater System Have Dolby Atmos Surround Sound?
Upgrade Your Audio Setup for a Truly Immersive Movie-Watching Experience
When it comes to your home theater design, few things are more important than your surround sound setup. While it's easy to make the 4K-Ultra HD images on your screen the focal point, it's the immersive audio experience that truly transforms you into another world. Despite this, many people are still relying on old technology when watching their favorite movies. It's time to upgrade to Dolby Atmos—which offers the most realistic audio experience in your Atlanta, GA home. Keep reading to learn more about Dolby Atmos and other 3D audio technology, and how to integrate it into your home theater design.
What is Dolby Atmos?
To understand Dolby Atmos, first, you need to know how traditional surround sound used to work. It worked based on channel-based mixing. Audio was designated to a specific speaker based on its channel or location (left, center, right, surround, etc.). What Dolby Atmos brings to the picture is the concept of individual audio objects that complement the standard channels. Sound mixers can create as many as 128 sounds that move freely throughout the room based on specific metadata. Not only does this result in more realistic, free-flowing sound but it also allows home theater designers greater flexibility when designing speaker layouts.
How Can You Install It?
To take advantage of Dolby Atmos technology, you need to have the right technology in place. You need Atmos-enabled A/V equipment from the likes of Lexicon, Sony and Audio Control that can render the metadata and place free-standing objects where they belong. As opposed to a traditional home theater design, you should use different components for AV processing and amplification instead of going with an all-in-one receiver.
The biggest difference between Dolby Atmos and traditional surround sound is the ability to hear overhead audio. This is why you'll see that these layouts have an additional number. Instead of the 5.1 or 7.1, you may be used to, Dolby Amos adds a number at the end corresponding to the overhead speakers. For example, we often work with 9.1.2 configurations. This means there are nine speakers in a typical surround sound set up (front, left, right, surround), one subwoofer and two overhead speakers.
It’s important to take these overhead needs into account when choosing speakers for your Dolby Atmos system. One approach is installing in-ceiling speakers from James Loudspeaker or Revel that easily blend into your décor. If due to acoustic or space limitations in-ceiling installation is not possible, you can use Dolby-Atmos enabled speakers, soundbars or modules. These have up-firing drivers to reflect the sound signal off the ceiling, making it seem like the audio is coming from above. If you want to go big, we can incorporate JBL Synthesis systems that can expand to as many as 32 channels.
What is DTS:X and Auro 3D?
When researching home theater receivers and speakers you may encounter terms like DTS:X and Auro 3D. DTS:X, Auro 3D and Dolby Atmos all offer overhead audio. Dolby Atmos is often recommended since it’s used by most movie and TV studios, so it’s easier to find content (as we’ll discuss below).
The other options also have their strengths. Auro 3D is often described as the most three-dimensional of the three, with their channel speakers installed on multiple height levels. Meanwhile, DTS:X is best known for its flexibility. Using its object-based coding, it allows for custom speaker layouts that could be ideal for unique space or design limitations. By working with a professional like Digital Interiors, you can best figure out which of these technologies would be best for your theater.
What Can You Watch?
Though Dolby Atmos will make almost anything sound better, to get the most out of it you need to watch content mixed with this technology. Thankfully, it's easier than ever to find content for your home theater system. With most movie releases now mixed with Dolby Atmos, the easiest bet is to invest in an Ultra HD Blu-ray player from Oppo or Sony. We can also install a media server with Wi-fi capabilities so you can enjoy Dolby Atmos streaming content from Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon Video.
We partner with CinemaTech when designing truly custom home theaters. From the ideal seating to a truly immersive speaker layout, they help us create the perfect movie watching experience for you to share with your friends and family. To learn more about our installation services and the latest Dolby Atmos technology, call us at (770) 844-5800, reach out via our live chat, or fill out our online contact form.