The Impending Big Thing in Home Theatre: Dolby Atmos And DTS:X

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When it comes to the sound in your home theatre, we’ve been living in a two dimensional world for all these years. The established 5.1 and 7.1 audio arrangements do encircle you, but they do so on a single plain. A 5.1 setup has three speakers in front right, left, and centre with the left and right surround speakers, and finally a subwoofer for low-frequency output. A 7.1 setup adds the left and right speakers to your rear. So you’re encircled by speakers, but they’re all setup via a flat plain. We’ve never known any different as that’s all that’s been accessible to us.

Furthermore, the acoustics for films and music has continually been mastered with only 2D presentations in mind. Fidelity and resolution has scaled up over the years, but soundtrack engineers have never had the ability to give a truly 3D audio experience where sounds come from above you as well as surround you. Of course you could install some speakers high on the wall or sometimes the ceiling, but your playback tools have no capability to take those new positions into account.

To install Dolby Atmos into your home theatre, you’ll need an A/V receiver and one or two pairs of speakers in your ceiling. This will convey the feeling of verticality to generate a rounded, 3D sound experience. The model Atmos setup comprises a couple of in-ceiling height speakers in front of the listener’s location and another couple behind the listener’s location.

In order to delight in Atmos and DTS:X, you’ll require Blu-ray discs with sound encoded using Atmos or DTS:X. The amount of films available is currently quite small, but it’ll inevitably increase down the road. While you’re waiting for that though, that new Dolby Atmos/DTS:X A/V receiver is equipped with up-scaling technology that will adapt the current 2D soundtrack into ‘sort of’ 3D. It won’t be as great as the genuine article, but the execution is top notch and it’ll give some extra life to your currently owned collection.

One item you won’t need though, is a new Blu-ray player (Unless you’re on the hunt for a 4k player too). As long as your surviving Blu-ray player follows the Blu-ray specifications, it will be good enough to send out Dolby Atmos and DTS:X grade audio to your A/V receiver for decoding. The player must be setup to send audio through HDMI as a bitstream and not as PCM (pulse-code modulation). This can easily be changed in your player’s settings if it’s not already setup as such. This is also needed for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio as well.

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X is still in its infancy, but these new tools deliver thrilling, and engaging audio experiences that are exhilarating and more accurate than anything that’s come before. You’ll need a new receiver to get it, and the majority of people will require another couple of speakers at least, but participation will be well worth the outlay.