500 Club - QQ All-Star
- Sep 1, 2003
I don't disagree with some of your points as they relate to dealing with Dolby from the perspective of independent audio engineers.I think the cryptic-ness is unnecessary. If the mix engineer is mixing with a 7.1.4 speaker array for the main rig, it's a freakin' 7.1.4 mix. Atmos ability to speaker manage on the fly is crafty and welcome for sure! But we're not suddenly turning the speakers off and making the mix some conceptual experiment. We're listening, reacting, crafting as always.
I DO think the format has merit and I think the object system is crafty for speaker management. There's still the mix as heard on the original speaker system it was mixed on. 7.1.4 is hitting as default. (eg the Steve Wilson example) The concept of wanting to deliver the mix to a like speaker array 1:1 is still a thing. It doesn't downplay anything and in fact it's just the opposite. The system has the ability to deliver an original 7.1.4 mix to a 7.1.4 speaker array 1:1. That's a big deal and a hard starting point for a certain audience.
The restrictiveness is the only problem. Refusing to even sell the encoder subscription to outsiders is a hard call. That's what turned me off.
It is a bit curious that they changed tact to require proof of a legitimate business to purchase the encoder required to produce a high resolution final product but my guess is that might be to try and mitigate cracked versions getting into the wild perhaps with some kind of watermarking.
You're focusing specifically on mixing music for surround and presumably understand Dolby is of course shooting far higher than that market, ie movies and television where the object oriented nature of the new design really becomes important because it scales to theaters with dozens of speakers where the previous channel based tech could not and offers consumers new and useful technology such as being able to manipulate the volume of the dialog in a program vs previously what was merely mixed to the center channel (ie the dialog and everything else).
None of us would even be thinking of having a 7.1.4 system had Dolby not come along. Trying to re-invent or work around what they're doing for purposes of that specific format seems pointless especially since well accepted containers supporting lossless audio such as .wav and .flac don't support it. WavPack seems like a cool idea but also like it hasn't really caught on.
It is good news that meanwhile it's still possible to bust regular channel based pcm audio out of an atmos container if that's what floats your boat.