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Dolby Atmos: A Revolution in Home Theater

by Curtis cole

Dolby Atmos: A Revolution in Home Theater

The cinema, with its giant screen and massive sound system, will always be the reference for the ultimate entertainment experience. Dolby Atmos home cinemas convey the full, original artistic intent, far beyond what has previously been possible in home audio reproduction.

The Sound

In a recent video interview, Trance director Danny Boyle said, "“The truth is, for me, it’s obvious that 70, 80 percent of a movie is sound,” he says. “You don’t realize it because you can’t see it.” Sound in a movie isn't just about the dialogue and obvious sound affects. The most important sounds in a movie are the subtle sounds that create the illusion of space and ambiance. It transports you to the dark cave or large concert hall that is on the screen. The sound is what immerses you into the video. Dolby Atmos utilizes a particular speaker configuration to create that illusion of height and space. Boyle particularly likes the difference that Dolby Atmos makes in quieter sequences, where the filmmaker is “creating space.” He recalls: “When I heard Dolby Atmos tested, there was a rain test, a quiet rain test, that I thought was extraordinary. It was like one of those moments where I thought, ‘You can literally make people feel wet when they’re watching a movie." We have experienced the same Dolby Atmos "rain" demo and concur that the immersive qualities of the sound really bring you deeper into the film.

The Speakers

Dolby Atmost builds on the standard Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound formats. The 5.1 Dolby format consists of five speakers; left, center, right, surround right and surround left and the .1 subwoofer channel. A 7.1 configuration adds a second set of left and right back speakers. A Dolby Atmos Home Theater can be configured in five variations adding "height" speakers to either the ceiling or top radiating speakers reflecting off the ceiling.

A 5.1.2 Speaker Configuration can be configured with floor standing speakers with top radiating drivers like the Definitive Technology BP-8080ST Bipolar SuperTower floor standing speakers with the A60 Dolby Atmos Elevation module attached. This configuration is ideal for existing rooms where new wiring is difficult or rooms with low ceilings where top radiating channels are preferred.

A 5.1.4 floor standing configuration would add a second pair of rear speakers with top radiators like the Definitive Technology SR-8080BP bipolar surround speakers

A 5.1.2 system with dedicated ceiling speakers is ideal for rooms where you are able to get wiring to ceiling speakers or rooms with high ceilings where top radiating floor standing speakers won't be as affective.

A 5.1.4 system adds a second pair of ceiling speakers.

A 7.1.X configuration of the above systems adds a pair of dedicated side channels to the configuration and has the same options with one or two pairs of dedicated ceiling speakers or top radiators for the front and rear speakers.

For the ultimate in Home Theater sound in larger dedicated rooms the 9.1.2 speaker configuration consists of an additional pair of side channels.

Learn more about Dolby Atmos and Home Theater Design.

Click here for a complete list of Dolby Atmos move releases.

Download the complete Dolby Atmos install manual here.