Dolby Atmos technology is a breakthrough in movie theater soundtrack processing that adds a vertical dimension to the sound field and introduces the concept of an audio object in addition to traditional 5.1 or 7.1 channels. Decoding and rendering of Dolby Atmos content are completely carried out by a compatible audio/video amplifier, and therefore there is a problem of choosing a compatible device. Support for the necessary decoders appears in the devices of the mid-budget segment and the user will need to choose the best receiver under 500 $ based on their needs.
The new format assumes a completely different form of recording and reproducing spatial information, relying not on a strictly defined number of channels and speakers, but on the so-called object-oriented representation.
The minimum possible configuration is 5.1.2, that is, 2 low-level speakers, one subwoofer (or several subwoofers), and two ceiling speakers of the Atmos-effect channel.
The Dolby Atmos system provides 10 channels, configured as 9.1 (traditional 7.1, to which 2 ceiling ones are added), and it consists of left, center, right, left side, left rear, right side, right rear, left ceiling, right speakers ceiling and subwoofer LFE. The sound engineer can identify up to 118 objects that are not tied to a specific speaker or channel but have a specific position in the surrounding sound space. When playing such a track, the Dolby Atmos processor determines where these objects are and forms their images using all (or several of) the available speakers.
In fact, Dolby Atmos works quite well with 8-channel systems (7.1). So when buying a new receiver with Dolby Atmos, you can get by with a fairly simple system, and when you want to get even more “three-dimensionality”, buy and install the missing speakers (subwoofer or ceiling systems).
Thus, to build a Dolby Atmos system, you can use the following options:
- 5.1 + 2 speakers per ceiling;
- 5.1 + 2 upper front speakers;
- 5.1 + 4 speakers per ceiling;
- 5.1 + 2 upper front speakers + 2 speakers per ceiling;
- 7.1 + 2 speakers on the ceiling;
- 7.1 + 2 top front speakers;
- 7.1 + 4 speakers on the ceiling;
- 7.1 + 2 top front speakers + 2 speakers on the ceiling;
- 9.1 + 2 speakers on the ceiling;
- 9.1 + 2 upper front speakers;
- 9.1 + 4 speakers on the ceiling;
- 9.1 + 2 upper front speakers + 2 speakers on the ceiling
If you use the maximum set of audio in configuration 11.1 or 11.2, then a home theater can be represented by such a system: 2 front speakers, 2 front height speakers (with a slight downward inclination), 1 center speaker, 1 or 2 subwoofers, 2 rear speakers, 2 rear speakers center speakers, 2 ceiling speakers.