Are any streaming Atmos services compatible with non-Atmos-capable receivers?

QuadraphonicQuad

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

edisonbaggins

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
Joined
Aug 13, 2015
Messages
9,525
Location
Wherever I May Roam
Hey all,
Looking for a clear or definitive answer, if anybody knows for sure.
Either Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music or whatever, can streaming Atmos tracks be played using an AVR which does NOT have an Atmos decoder?

I'm aware that, if you have an Atmos processor, but only 5.1 or 7.1 speakers (or whatever speaker configuration), the Atmos processor will distribute the surroundy stuff as best as possible.
In that way, if you're using a compatible streaming device, like an Amazon Firestick 4K or Apple TV 4K or Invidia Shield Something, you can enjoy streaming Atmos content, as long as an Atmos processor is involved, with whatever speakers it knows about.

I've also heard that Atmos music sources will play back in Dolby Surround or Dolby Digital, if there is no Atmos capability in one's system. Is this true only for files and blu-rays? Or does this work in the case of streaming services too?

I seem to recall, when using Tidal, that it would switch to stereo, if Atmos capability wasn't detected.

Again, with the right streaming device, plugged in to a non-Atmos AVR (or whatever kind of non-Atmos surround processor), can some kind of Dolby surround be played?

Thanks everyone!
 

sjcorne

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
4,807
Location
Washington, D.C.
Again, with the right streaming device, plugged in to a non-Atmos AVR (or whatever kind of non-Atmos surround processor), can some kind of Dolby surround be played?

Apple Music (via Apple TV 4K) will play back in discrete 5.1 through older AVRs that predate Atmos. Tidal will default to stereo unless all equipment in the signal chain is Atmos/HDCP 2.2 compliant.
 

jimfisheye

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
2,494
The stream or file will appear as a 7.1 audio stream if you don't have the Atmos decoder codec in the device in question. (The extra metadata the height and object channels are encoded into is invisible and unavailable without the Atmos codec and the file is thus backwards compatible.) Then your media player and/or OS audio settings will downmix as you set it to do when presented with a smaller speaker array.

If you don't have the decoder codec, the height and object channels are unavailable to you no matter what downmixing and routing capability you have. In theory the 5.1 mix and then the stereo mix would be the best mix listening experience for smaller speaker arrays, FWIW.

The HDMI using devices are prone to the HDCP copy protection gone wild scheme. There is some convenience out there but be really careful in vetting products and don't be afraid to stubbornly return stuff that shuts itself off and doesn't work! If you can make the digital connections without HDMI, it's best to avoid it.

And of course we have the devices like soundbars that include the Atmos codec hidden in their firmware that can decode it and downmix it for devices that can't really even deliver monaural sound properly! But that's the other end of the discussion. The positive part is you are hearing the full content. Sort of.

Drop the ball and kick it away. If you find the ball again, give it a bigger kick!
 

Audiowannabee

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
1,749
Location
Orlando
Im using old pioneer non hdmi non atmos avr w apple tv connected into oppo hdmi input or try a 5.1 HDMI extractor
 
Top