Dolby Atmos is coming Home! - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 115 Old 06-26-14, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

We first saw Dolby Atmos arrive in theaters nearly two years with a sonic boom, boasting the ability to support up to 64 speakers, many of which are located over top of the audience. It has since been paired with an impressive theatrical run of films including Brave, Life of Pi, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Gravity (just to name a few). With such a wide array of speakers available, filmmakers seem to love the unprecedented ability to pinpoint sounds from nearly anywhere; it’s practically total immersion.


At its launch, Dolby Atmos appeared to have an IMAX lure that Hollywood could use to coax movie fans from the comfort of their homes to seats in the theaters. Apparently, that isn’t the case moving forward. Several days ago, Dolby announced that Dolby Atmos will soon be available in living rooms from shore to shore through a series of Atmos products including speakers and receivers. While it's reasonable to assume that Atmos products for the home won't support 64 speakers, this announcement does provide a huge change from Dolby's currently supported maximum speaker array of 9 (plus subs)...get your credit cards ready, you’re going to need more!

In a memo drafted by Dolby’s Brett Crockett (Director of Sound Research), the company excitedly touts the potential impact of Dolby Atmos in the home market for both enthusiasts and AV equipment manufacturers.

“From hearing the exciting cinema sound that Dolby Atmos made possible, I knew there was the potential to raise home entertainment to an entirely new level,” says Crockett. He adds: “You may have already heard announcements from some of our hardware partners about their products that allow you to feel every dimension of your home entertainment in Dolby Atmos. You’ll be hearing more of those announcements in the coming months.”

What Crockett is referencing are announcements from companies such as Denon, Onkyo, and Pioneer, all of which say they will be offering receivers capable of accepting Dolby Atmos firmware updates available later this year. Pioneer (Onkyo’s new darling) has also announced Dolby Atmos-enabled Andrew Jones-designed Elite speakers.

“We’ve been at the forefront of every technology available for the home theater environment and we’re making a point to have the Dolby Atmos technology into the latest products that will captivate and transport audiences with multi-dimensional sound,” said Chris Walker, director of AV product planning and marketing for the Home Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

Of course, what we really want to know is how Dolby Atmos can realistically be deployed in our homes. Dolby says there are multiple options, including speakers installed over the listening area. But, rest assured, for those of us unable to rig speakers from above, Dolby says partnering companies will deploy speaker products that can produce full, detailed, overhead sound from conventional speaker positions. In fact, some products will be simple “modules” that fit on top of currently used speakers. Using the magic of sound wave physics, Dolby says these modules can trick the mind into believing that sound is coming from above.

While an AVR upgrade might be necessary for those of you interested in adding Atmos to your theater room, you won’t need to purchase a new Blu-ray player (assuming a firmware update is available for your model). Look for Dolby Atmos enabled titles to come out on Blu-ray this fall, paired with offerings on television and streaming formats.

The last giant codec leap came in the form of Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which added two “height channels” to the front sound stage. It has received relatively minor fan-fair and mixed reviews as to its overall impact. It will be interesting to see if Atmos has more success in swaying enthusiasts to reconfigure their current speaker deployment.


Image Credit: Dolby
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post #2 of 115 Old 06-26-14, 10:38 PM
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

With requirement of many speakers, Atmos will not bode well in the mass market. We have 5 channels and 7 channels in rooms. With the exception of dedicated home theatre rooms, how many people will put up with more then 7 channels, especially the ladies of the house.

Already Onkyo is first out of the box on this with a few others coming out with AVRs that can support 4 extra channels above 7. This simply dilutes power reserves from the already power-starved receivers. Those AVRs will be stressed in dynamic scenes and stress is heat and heat is distortion. The Atmos AVRs will need dedicated amps to help them out on the 5 mains. This way the AVRs can handle the surround backs and ceiling speakers.
I have an Onlyo 906 and I'm only powering the surround backs on it. The Outlaw 7500 runs the main 5.

Well guys if you want Atmos get your power amps and subwoofers out for this.

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post #3 of 115 Old 06-26-14, 11:56 PM
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

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With requirement of many speakers, Atmos will not bode well in the mass market. We have 5 channels and 7 channels in rooms.
There is no requirement to go beyond 7 speakers for Atmos. Some of the Atmos receivers announced are 7.1 models (3 fronts, 2 surrounds, 2 heights).

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post #4 of 115 Old 06-27-14, 07:39 AM
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

seems like a gimmick for movie theaters to differentiate from the Home Theaters... they know that most people are not going to have space for 70 speakers in the living room for the FULL experience. However Dolby will not miss out on making a buck so they will tell you to strap something to the top of your existing White Van speakers for a simulated Atmos experience. Really bizarre.... Dolby is publicly traded correct ? It seems like they keep engineering looking out ahead 90 days
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post #5 of 115 Old 06-27-14, 08:19 AM
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

I replied to this on another site and got blasted by a user (and he made personal insults to my own system)! Andrew Jones of Pioneer or Pionkyo is designing a speaker that uses reflective technology to simulate the other speakers. I think the system is a 5.1.4 system. With this configuration - Atmos will be do-able in a home setting (because the extra speakers are located in the mains and the surrounds).

I still think that if a person wants a true Atmos experience in the home - it will cost a bundle and they must have a lot of room. That's just my humble opinion.
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post #6 of 115 Old 06-27-14, 09:35 AM
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

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I replied to this on another site and got blasted by a user (and he made personal insults to my own system)!
Clearly he is more qualified to have an opinion on the topic!

As with pretty much any room and audio configuration, proper setup and calibration will probably yield pretty stunning results. I suspect Atmos will be pretty good, especially when Atmos-enabled Blu rays become available. However, the difference from a standard 5.1 or 7.1 to say 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 may be subtle for all but a few movies, meaning the investment may not be worth it for a lot of consumers.
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post #7 of 115 Old 06-27-14, 10:44 AM
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

This is something that for me is not going to happen for at least the foreseeable future and at least until it is well within the market and affordable. Also I would not want to have to replace all my speakers, if that is what needs to be done, for a long time seeing the investment I have already made.

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post #8 of 115 Old 06-27-14, 10:59 AM
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

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Also I would not want to have to replace all my speakers, if that is what needs to be done, for a long time seeing the investment I have already made.
Shouldn't be necessary
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post #9 of 115 Old 06-27-14, 11:54 AM
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

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I hope your right but if that is then why are they making speakers specifically made for Atmos?

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post #10 of 115 Old 06-27-14, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Dolby Atmos is coming Home!

You'll have the option to add on modules to your current speaker configuration. The specifics of Atmos labeled speakers are a little fuzzy at this point... perhaps there will be side channels that are essential a rear channel and Atmos module in one? And ceiling specific speakers?

Still a little early to tell. We'll know more as Fall approaches.
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