How Dolby Atmos Works Its Magic
Audio Objects Take Flight
Dolby Atmos is based on the concept of audio objects. Any sound can be mixed as a single audio element, an object, that's independently placed in three-dimensional space. A child shouting, a helicopter lifting off, a blaring car horn—the filmmaker can decide exactly where the sound should originate and where it should move as the scene develops.
This approach allows the filmmakers to focus on the story. For channel-based audio, filmmakers must determine which speakers should reproduce which sounds, an approach that could compromise the artistic intent. With Dolby Atmos, filmmakers simply determine where the sound should be located within a scene, and the system intelligently makes the speaker-assignment decisions. Audio objects originate and move anywhere in three-dimensional space, including anywhere overhead. You will experience a soundtrack as you would in a real-world environment.
Dolby Atmos supports up to 128 simultaneous audio objects. These include stationary sounds that are reproduced through all the speakers, such as a music background or ambient effects. Content mastered for home reproduction includes all the audio objects from the original film, placed in three-dimensional space, just as in the cinema.
No More Channel Dependency
Descriptive metadata accompanies every Dolby Atmos soundtrack, specifying the exact placement and movement of the audio objects. A Dolby Atmos powered AVR reads the metadata and determines how to use the speakers in your specific setup to best recreate this precise placement and movement. Dolby Atmos is highly scalable. You can play a Dolby Atmos movie and get the spatial effects on nearly any speaker configuration in a home Dolby Atmos system, and adding speakers increases the precision of the audio placement. You can have up to 24 speakers on the floor and 10 overhead.
The technology also enables overhead sounds that enhance realism and make the sound more expansive. Overhead sounds can be produced by either overhead speakers or special Dolby Atmos enabled speakers that fire sound up to the ceiling, where it is reflected back down as overhead sound.
Other home theater audio technologies, even those that add height information, still rely on channels and do not create audio objects. No matter how many channels they use, they cannot duplicate the free movement of sounds that gives Dolby Atmos its unique realism.
Bringing Your Movies Home
You'll find a growing number of Dolby Atmos movies on Blu-ray Disc or through streaming video services. As Hollywood increases the number of cinematic movies in Dolby Atmos, you'll see the list of home releases grow, too.
Dolby Atmos content plays through standard Blu-ray™ players and streaming media players connected to your AVR via HDMI® and with the bitstream output function engaged. The Dolby Atmos powered AVR manages all decoding, rendering, and processing.
Dolby Atmos discs and streaming feeds are backward compatible. Even if you don't have a Dolby Atmos setup, you can still play Dolby Atmos content and enjoy the same outstanding sound you've been getting from your stereo, 5.1, or 7.1 system.