Dolby Atmos® FAQ


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But to state that all speakers MUST be at ear level is just a little shortsighted IMO, and takes away from the immersive sound experience of Atmos.
I never said that! I said that speakers sound best at ear level. While I do not see the need for the height dimension especially with music, I am not condemning it just pointing out it's pitfalls.
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For me the thing is this. I do not have matched speakers in my current setup but I once did for many years, 5 identical NHTs. Again back to my current setup, they are all of the same brand (Emotiva), they all use the same tweeters, and some even use the same mid bass/midrange drivers.

in my experience, talking front mains only, even with identical speakers there are small differences in sound based on their position in the room. I have heard it across several speaker sets. But only hear it when testing with pink noise. With music, I can't detect it at all.

With respect to the center channel, the differences between center and fronts become larger. Its easy to hear with pink noise. But I can't really detect it at all with music. The whole front soundstage appears seamless. Weather stereo or MCH. No different than I perceived with identical fronts/center.

When we get to the surrounds, the differences using pink noise get larger still, but with music things could get panned across the sides and sound the same. During the pan there was typically a hole in the middle side, but it also happened with the identical. I hear nothing that would point to a difference in timber.

The worst are the heights. There is a fairly big difference using pink noise. I think I could hear a difference in timber if given a chance to test it, but in actual use, for the typical stuff that shows up there, I'm not convinced it matters. It definitely doesn't matter for ambience or effects. It might for discrete instruments, but its very difficult to perceived it.

In short I think the physical location of the speaker, and probably our listening position in relation to it, plays a significant part in its timber, but it not like we can do a whole lot about it anyway.
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Because Dolby is all about back-compatibility. But Dolby doesn't promise that a bed mix will sound the same as the full Atmos layout mix. Obviously it won't recreate the height information/sensation the mixing engineer intended in those channels. It will do 'something else', hopefully pleasing.
Dolby is all about compatibility??? Then where is Dolby Pro Logic?

They dumped it to keep people from recording in it (because they no longer have control or license powers over it).
Dolby Pro Logic is from the old analogue days. Given everything's done digitally now, there has to be a cut-off somewhere!
No there does not have to be a cutoff. That cutoff is because the patent expired, so they can't make money on it.

There is no cutoff in phonograph disc records. My equipment can play anything from an 1890s Berliner to the new version of Revolver I got a few weeks ago. There are only a few disc records I can't play correctly:
- Pathe broad groove records (larger than 12-inch and groove needs a 7-mil stylus)
- Records larger than 12-inch (I used to have a 16-inch turntable and arm)
- 120 rpm records
- CD-4
Dolby is all about compatibility??? Then where is Dolby Pro Logic?

They dumped it to keep people from recording in it (because they no longer have control or license powers over it).

Well, no, as I found recently, it still comes pre-loaded on AVRs that don't do Atmos.

(and who on earth wants to 'record in' DPL these days?)

But yes, DSU is a different approach than DPL, and for whatever reasons (we may speculate about them), new AVRs that have Atmos do not generally offer DPL in any flavor anymore. That pisses off a small market of aging surround fans: us. Far, far more surround fans would be pissed off if Atmos mixes did not have a built-in 'bed' mix for those who don't use height speakers. That is back-compatibility that matters far more to the market.
Yeah, the Atmos mix on the 4k LOTR is demo material. Choirs in the ceiling, Nazgul flying everywhere!
Just got the 2021-ish remastered Blu-ray (non-4k) LOTR discs which have the Atmos soundtrack too- both the visuals and the soundtrack are significantly improved. Unlike the 4k disc set, you also get the original special features on 3 DVDs per title. Pretty good deal for $40ish.