If you're a film buff, the name Dolby probably rings a bell. You guessed it, the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood is where the Oscars have been awarded to the best and brightest in the film industry every year since 2012.
Dolby Atmos stands out among available sound tech as one of the best on the market. First introduced in movie theaters, the technology has been gradually introduced in home entertainment equipment and the movies themselves. Today, Dolby Atmos sound also extends to the world of music and video games. Despite being fairly well known, few people really know what Dolby Atmos does.
So, what does Dolby Atmos do? Whether it's for movies, music or video games, Fillion's experts explain what Dolby Atmos is and how to enjoy it in your home!
What is Dolby Atmos: An evolution of Dolby Surround
Dolby Atmos technology was launched in 2012. It was a major upgrade from the well-known Dolby Surround. Dolby Atmos is intended to be a multi-dimensional sound experience. In other words, the sound reaches your ears from all sides. The sound is 3D, as if you were in a movie theater, and comes from in front, behind and even from the ceiling. Dolby Atmos technology, which was very expensive and only available on a few devices at the time of its release, is becoming increasingly popular and is now compatible with a wide range of devices.
The sound environment offered by Dolby Atmos surpasses all previous technologies and provides a unique experience in your home. The clarity and depth of sound are also improved. Dolby Atmos reveals its full potential in scenes where the sound effects are vertical: a plane or helicopter passing overhead, rain falling, someone walking on the floor above, etc.
Filmmakers using Dolby Atmos in movies can actually decide exactly where these sounds come from and exactly how they move as the scene develops, since this technology does not rely on channels, but rather on audio objects. Designing sound in this manner eliminates many of the limitations of channel-based audio.
What Dolby Atmos does: A multitude of possible uses
Contrary to some preconceived notions, Dolby Atmos technology is not limited to the world of cinema. Dolby Atmos is also used in other areas such as music and video games. In fact, if you want to enjoy a sound experience worthy of a philharmonic hall or live your gaming experience as if you were on the battlefield, Dolby Atmos is made for you.
Listening to your music with Dolby Atmos requires a compatible device, as well as a subscription to Apple Music. This will let you enjoy an unparalleled sound experience, where every nuance of your song comes through clearly. To get a taste of what Dolby Atmos has to offer, you can listen to some songs in Dolby Atmos on the brand's website. Want to listen to the classic "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye in Dolby Atmos? Well, you totally can!
Finally, for video games, you will also need Dolby Atmos-compatible equipment, including a game console and a game that are compatible (F1 2021, Halo Infinite, among others). Currently only available on the next-gen Xbox Series X|S consoles. The technology should soon be available on Sony's PS5.
What equipment do you need to use Dolby Atmos sound?
There are two different ways to enjoy Dolby Atmos sound. The first is using speakers, with a 5.1 or 7.1 configuration (a subwoofer and 5 or 7 speakers). You can also enjoy Dolby Atmos technology "virtually". Some sound bars are equipped with a Dolby Atmos chip that recreates the Dolby Atmos experience without requiring a 5.1 or 7.1 configuration.
In any case, keep in mind that beyond equipment compatibility, not all movies, series and video games can be experienced in Dolby Atmos. Therefore, remember to check if your Netflix series or movie or Blu-Ray supports Dolby Atmos technology.
If you want a genuine Dolby Atmos experience like you would find in a movie theater, here's the equipment you'll need in your home.
AV receiver that supports Dolby Atmos
An AV receiver is the device responsible for decoding the sound signal of a movie and accurately distributing the sound to the various speakers in your system.
You should therefore make sure that your home theater receiver supports Dolby Atmos sound.
The Yamaha RX-V6A AV receiver enables you to distribute Dolby Atmos technology to the speakers in your room.
The best configuration with Dolby Atmos is to add 5 or 7 speakers and a subwoofer to create a 5.1 or 7.1 configuration. Starting from this base, you can also add 2 Dolby Atmos speakers to your ceiling in order to send the high directional sounds back from them.
There is no limit to the number of Dolby Atmos speakers you can add and you can increase the number as much as you want for an even richer and more faithful sound experience. When you add home theater speakers, the Dolby Atmos-enabled receiver automatically determines how to use them to create fantastic, immersive sound.
The Dolby Atmos Focal Chora 826-D speaker is a great choice for enjoying a unique cinema experience in your home.
You could also opt for a set where the 2 satellite speakers have a second loudspeaker, installed on the upper side, which directs the sound towards the ceiling at a studied angle so that the sound signal is reflected in the whole listening room.
Dolby Atmos sound bar
As we explained earlier, Dolby Atmos technology can also be distributed through a smart sound bar equipped with a Dolby Atmos chip. Coupled with other speakers, the audio rendering is even better.
However, these Dolby Atmos soundbars can already let you take advantage of this technology, especially for those who are unable to invest in a 5.1 or 7.1 configuration.
Treat yourself to Dolby Atmos sound by shopping at Fillion Électronique
The bottom line is that Dolby Atmos sound brings the ultimate experience of a real movie theater into your home, creating 3D sound effects that envelop you in a way that is truly unique. But there's more! The same technology is also used in the world of music and video games. It brings you closer to your entertainment, almost as if you were really there.
However, the Dolby Atmos experience requires certain equipment in order to support the technology and enjoy it to the fullest. From receivers to speakers, it's a bit of an investment.
To learn more about the electronic devices compatible with Dolby Atmos sound, feel free to ask our experts for advice, either online or in store. Fillion Électronique is the leading home theater and audio specialist in Quebec!