Dolby Atmos, the secrets of surround sound technology

Dolby Atmos, the secrets of surround sound technology

What is Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is an object-based surround sound technology that Dolby presented in 2012 alongside the Pixar movie Brave and was initially only available on Dolby Teather.

With the passage of time, this technology spread and the idea of ​​surround sound became more popular and accessible. So much so that it was no longer exclusive to cinemas but was also designed to enjoy the best sound experience at home.

Before continuing, it must be clarified that it is not the only proposal that seeks to achieve such spectacular surround sound. Its great rival is DTS-X technology, which has also advanced considerably all these years. But now we focus on the Dolby proposal.

Dolby Atmos proposes an immersive sound experience. That means that the idea is that you feel how the sound comes from practically any point of the room or room in which you are, that surrounds you as if you were in the very center of the action.

To achieve this effect, the minimum that is required is to expand the hitherto common surround sound options. That is, expand the classic 5.1 and 7.1 speaker systems. Something that can be done by adding as many extra speakers as you want. Or almost, because the limit is 64 speakers.

These 64 speaker setups are of course for larger spaces like theaters and movie theaters where virtually the entire space is covered by speakers at different heights. Some are on the wall and some are directly on the ceiling. With this array of speakers and the different settings is how you get that unique and special surround feeling.

How Dolby Atmos Works in the Home

Leaving aside the installations compatible with Dolby Atmos such as cinemas, theaters, show rooms, etc., to enjoy this technology at home what we are going to need yes or yes is a compatible equipment with this technology.

These are usually composed of several speakers that are adapted to the needs of the users. So much so that there are even solutions that avoid having to place speakers on the ceiling or at different heights.

The latter is achieved with specific modifications to those available for project in sound in different directions. This, plus advanced algorithms, allow the sound wave to be bounced off walls and ceilings to achieve the same surround effect or, at least, try to make it as similar to what would be achieved with an advanced set of speakers.

Dolby Atmos Music

Ok now another question you know what is Dolby Atmos Music? As you can imagine, this is basically the same, but applied to music and not to content such as movies, series, documentaries, etc.

As we have said, Dolby Atmos starts from the base of the sound applied to objects. Therefore, when creating music compatible with Dolby Atmos Music, what is being done is add information to each object (instruments) about the position it is in and which speaker or group of speakers it should sound through in a Dolby Atmos compliant setup.

This is a technology that services such as Tidal or Amazon Music HD offer, so if you have speakers or other sound equipment you could try.

Dolby Cinema

Since we have talked about Dolby Atmos, we also think it is interesting that you know Dolby Vision and what implication both have in what is later known as Dolby Cinema.

Dolby Vision is like Atmos, a technology that seeks a better multimedia experience. The difference is that here it affects the image and not the sound. So the advantages are in how the image is reproduced in terms of color, brightness, contrast, saturation … so that you can obtain the best possible quality.

Thus, when image technology (Dolby Vision) is combined with audio (Dolby Atmos) is when it is achieved a total experience they call Dolby Cinema.

Dolby Atmos Compatible Equipment and Services

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Currently Dolby Atmos is a very widespread technology that little by little is gaining more ground and support from both hardware and software manufacturers and services. So it is not difficult at all to access equipment capable of enjoying this sound improvement.

At the loudspeaker level, before there were few equipment that provided support and those that did had a high price or needed a number of speakers that were not viable for many homes. Today there are sound bars that are compatible thanks to this way of projecting sound to achieve the same effect.

In matters of players, from Apple TV to Microsoft consoles, the Amazon Fire TV Stick and a large number of televisions, players and even mobile phones are compatible.

Of course, to these you will have to connect a compatible set of speakers or, at a minimum, headphones capable of also offering surround sound. So it's pretty easy to enjoy after the Dolby Atmos content that is also becoming common in services like Netflix, Prime Video, Rakuten, Sky, etc. What's more, even when you only want for music, Tidal and Amazon Music HD also have compatible songs.

Dolby Atmos is really worth it

Asking whether Dolby Atmos is worth it is like questioning whether there is improvement between mono or stereo sound. Logically it is not essential, but when you try it and you can enjoy it, you do appreciate its true value and potential.

In addition, for the future Dolby Atmos has interesting plans that would affect even the use of virtual reality. Ultimately, in order to obtain a more realistic experience, it is important that we experience different sound situations in the same way that we do in reality.


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