In any home theatre setup, the quality of the audio is just as important as having a crystal-clear and high-def picture on your television screen. Great sound just adds to the immersion factor and “we’re-out-at-the-movies” feel of having a home theatre system. So, if you want to entertain in awesome sonic style, then let me tell you how to create the perfect home theatre system with Dolby Atmos.
What is Dolby Atmos?
In June 2012, the Dolby Atmos system started showing up in movie theatres, creating brand new 3D surround sound experiences for movie-goers. It wasn’t long before the new audio format was adapted for home use, enabling home theatre aficionados to enjoy the superb object-based sound right in their living rooms.
How does Dolby Atmos work?
In movie theatres, the Dolby Atmos system places speakers overhead in the ceiling. However it is not just about having extra speakers blasting sound down from above. Atmos allows filmmakers to place and arrange different sound elements in 3D space.
When you have a 5.1 or 7.1 channel home theatre sound system, you create the illusion of 3D sound by pushing specific audio to rear speakers. We call this a “speaker-based system.” With Atmos, instead of pushing sound to a particular speaker, it’s pushed to a particular spot in 3D space. So, for example, if you are supposed to be hearing an explosion happening overhead, the sound engineering doesn’t pick which speaker the sound will emanate from, but instead a point is chosen in 3D space for the particular sound and the Atmos system adjusts the sounds automatically to ensure the audio comes from the appropriate room position.
How Does Atmos Work in Homes Without Ceiling Speakers?
For a home-based Dolby Atmos system, you can either opt for ceiling mounted speakers, or use Atmos-enabled speakers that point and actually bounce the sound off the ceiling to create that same 3D surround sound audio. For either setup, an A/V receiver that has an Atmos renderer must first calibrate the room to determine how to produce the optimum audio environment.
What Do I Need for a Dolby Atmos Home System?
To get the Dolby Atmos experience in your home living space, you’ll need to invest in an Atmos-enabled receiver with that renderer that calibrates the audio in your room, and can take the metadata found in supported movies, and push it to the ceiling mounted (or ceiling-pointed) speakers, as well as the other speakers in your setup. In addition to that Atmos receiver, you’ll also need at least two Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. Your Blu-ray and other media players also need to support the standard (and most new versions of devices do).
Content for Dolby Atmos Home Theatre Systems
Once you’ve got the hardware, and calibrated your entertainment space’s sound for optimum performance, you’ll be good to go to enjoy all your favourite movies and TV shows. Well, the ones that are compatible with the new sound system, that is.
But, don’t worry.
Although Atmos-enabled home content is still a bit of a newer thing, there are already lots of films that are Atmos-mixed for you to enjoy, and many streaming services, such as Netflix, are adding more Atmos content to their lineups all the time.