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Dolby Atmos: A new era of audio for the perfect media room

Dolby Atmos: A new era of audio for the perfect media room

Dolby has been around for 50 years and they have innovated how we watch movies in our homes. With the newest line, Dolby Atmos, being released into home theater systems, your movie-watching experience will sound better than ever before!  Atmos uses a system of sound objects rather than their old sound channels optimizing how you hear details in your movies, such as car horns or a whisper right behind you. The system now allows sounds to travel around the room instead of directly at you like with older speakers.

Audio engineers have more options to enhance movie-watching utilizing up to 128 sound objects at once!  With Atmos, you will be swimming in a sea of audio sounds while sitting comfortably on your favorite leather recliner.  “Emerging technology such as this makes me really excited to see how we can change how we, as viewers, watch and listen to movies.” One requirement of obtaining the newest addition to Dolby is having 2- to 4-in-ceiling speakers if they are not installed in your home already.  You will also need an Atmos enabled AV receiver.  One of our favorites is a Marantz SR7009. The future of immersive audio for your favorite movies is here thanks to Dolby.  So don’t delay!

-Stephanie Samples, Office Manager, UCF Graphic Design Student


The addition of this new audio technology and its ability to completely immerse you in sound is a revelation for anyone who truly appreciates the added depth that proper sound gives to movies.  By creating a 3D audio space with the addition of the height speakers, a new type of sound plane is created.  This allows for a more true surround-sound experience that really seats you in the heart of the movie. “I agree with Stephanie that it’s awesome to see how home technology is becoming more and more like a movie theater experience.” While the benefits and immersive effect are more prominent with an in-ceiling install, you can get the same effect with floor speakers that feature an up-firing driver that bounces the sound off the ceiling. This allows for the immersive feel without costly installations, but at a slightly reduced quality.  A large number of manufacturers are integrating this new tech into their A/V receivers and pre-processors, so keep an eye out for a newly enabled Atmos device, and really get into the sound.

-Merrick Geldner, Service Manager


I first witnessed the Dolby Atmos at the last CEDIA conference in Denver, Colorado.  They demonstrated a video clip of rain that was truly amazing.  With the additional speakers and the placement of these speakers, the sound was so natural and live.  I had never heard so much separation of audio in a small theater setting before.  In the past, the rears and sides only provided an audio prospect of effects within the movie.  Now with the height speakers you get a new sense of audio from above.  A separation much needed and better defined.  With the rears and sides on the side of the room walls and the heights above, they have now created definition to the audio locations.  Together these speakers fill the room with the movie audio that can now wrap you into the experience.

This year we did our first Atmos install.  After much research and conversation, we evolved a 7-channel theater into a 11-channel movie cinema.  We had to move the rears and sides to ear height.  We had to re-position the ceiling speakers to height locations.  We used the Marantz AV7702 for the receiver.  It is always exciting to work on new technology in the industry but sometimes frustrating, too.  I went back and forth with many manufacturers when it came to what product to use and what type of speakers to install.  But after it was all said and done, it turned out amazing.  The customer and I were very happy with the outcome.  We sat down and watched our first movie:  Transformers:  Age of Extinction.  We were both highly impressed.

Adding Atmos to an existing Theater or Media Room is not the easiest upgrade due to specific placement of speakers.  Yes, they do have add-on speakers or speakers with ceiling firing cones.  These options only work with specific ceiling height and the ceiling must be flat.  These options are only secondary to the standard placement of speakers in the room.  I would highly recommend going with Atmos technology for all new construction or remodel media rooms that have the width.  I feel that it is truly worth it.  

-Curtis LeMaster, Control Systems Integrator, Owner

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Comments (3)

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