The Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for home theaters made its debut this week with product announcements from several manufacturers and live demos in New York City at the Consumer Electronics Association's CE Week trade show. The technology that Dolby first introduced to theaters in 2012 offers the potential for a far more immersive audio experience than the traditional 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems that are still mostly employed today, and having experienced Atmos in the cinema, I admit I was pretty pumped heading into the demos.
And I wasn't let down. Atmos in the home environment seems to work—surprisingly well, in fact. Caveats? Yeah, there are a few worth watching out for that I'll get to later. But overall, I'll go on record that this is probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray. And it's one that leaves all the pre-existing height- and width-channel surround formats— including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X—in the dust. Finally, this may be one that will truly make it worth the trouble of adding those extra speakers. Maybe...
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Last edited by SpHeRe31459; 07-04-2015 at 05:42 PM. Reason: fixed link to full article
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September's issue of Sound And Vision includes an article written around the differences between 5.1.2, 5.1.4, and add-on modules versus ceiling speakers. Interesting read that has me pumped for my upcoming basement finish.
To the point regarding the advancement of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA, I was ecstatic when we first bought a Blu-ray player. Yes, the picture was superior to DVD. But it was the depth and detail of the sound that really captured me--Rush's Snakes and Arrows was the first thing I watched.
I think 3D TV and Blu-ray movies are fun every now and again, but television is still too much of a two dimensional medium for me. I think peripheral vision would need to be engaged/stimulated in order to be truly enveloped in a 3D viewing experience, but the cost of displays could break the bank in an effort to make that happen.
Back to audio, it appears Atmos (and DTS-X, potentially) has the capability to fully surround a viewer with sound in height, width, and depth, really localizing "objects" in the viewing/listening space. So far, it appears (as stated above) that Atmos will be the next significant advancement in home theater technology. If so, please sign me up.
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