Poll: Atmos Music: Are You Going to Listen at Home?

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Atmos Music: Are You Going to Listen?


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    146

Hamilton59

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I am thinking that with Atmos mixes it is difficult to make absolute reviews. We will see people saying that you need a 11.4.8 setup to really appreciate Abbey Road.
Yes, Atmos is a new beast. I think I understand your comment about absolute reviews and people having different/diverse setups but that has always been the case.
I researched Atmos configurations and systems quite a bit before purchasing my new equipment. I decided that a 4 speaker height setup would truly be the minimum I would want so that the sounds could be mixed into a 3D space around/above me vs a 2 ceiling speaker setup. Ideally, the ceiling speakers are spaced an equal distance in front and behind you. You are in the center of the height speakers. The height speakers along with the floor speakers will allow sounds to be placed anywhere around you in a 3D space. I also decided that I wanted a higher quality speaker vs a lower quality speaker for heights since I wanted to listen to Atmos music vs just movie sound effects, leaves, rain, etc. I believe a 5.1.4 Atmos system would be the minimum setup to take full advantage of the new mixes.
Since I've updated my system, I have been paying more attention to my speakers than I have in while. So far I have found that I still prefer 5.1 sources played back to just my 5.2 speakers. My main quad speakers (Klipsch RF-7ii) are fairly tall and the sound does surround me and is above me as well. I've had to repeatedly verify that I'm not up-mixing to the height and rear speakers. However, music that has been mixed to Atmos (REM, Kraftwerk, INXS, etc) does sound wonderful with a definite taller expanded sound field around me. I believe a listener with the minimum 5.1.4 configuration will be able to hear the difference and make a valid review. We'll get to find out tomorrow!
 

DuncanS

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Until my £2k Pioneer Rx-Amp gives up I'm not changing to Atmos, so I'll listen in 5.1 via speakers. But, having gone crazy and bought a Smyth Realiser A16 I can listen to Atmos on headphones - so I've only listen to the REM Automatic For The People so far (limited success but much better than stereo), but I have some issues with signal levels into my amp from the A16 so I haven't been able to calibrate for my ears. So not a fair test yet.
 

LuvMyQuad

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In 2003, I put together my first 5.1 system to be ready for the soon to be released Pink Floyd- The Dark Side of the Moon SACD.... I wasn't disappointed and have been collecting 5.1 music since.
Last month, I upgraded my AVR to a Marantz SR8012 and added four height speakers for a 7.2.4 system .... all because of tomorrows The Beatles - Abbey Road release. I'm sure I won't be disappointed again!

I don't believe you'll be disappointed either.

You've made some significant upgrades there. My surround capabilities have never gotten larger than 5.1. I never saw a need. My listening area is near field and I can't do rear surrounds very well. I could easily do 4 height channels though.

So you've added 7 channel surround capability as well as dual subs on top of Atmos capability with four height channels. That's a lot of changes at one time.

But I'd like to hear about your experience based on a comparison of the 5.1 vs 7.2 vs 7.2.4 versions of Abbey Road and especially your take on the worth of only the Atmos portion of your upgrade journey. Keep in mind as well, this is the first high profile music release I know of that actually has 7 discrete channels. Most rear info in traditional 7.x systems is via some flavor of PCM. So I'm very interested.
 
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proufo

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I am thinking that with Atmos mixes it is difficult to make absolute reviews. We will see people saying that you need a 11.4.8 setup to really appreciate Abbey Road.
Or we can investigate what Atmos setup was used by Giles et al in the studio (if it's good for Abbey Road for Abbey Road it's good enough for me). Maybe they won't tell.
 

kfbkfb

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I haven't run across any info about the downmix options for Atmos content
(regardless of the channel configuration), I would like an option to downmix
to Original Dolby Surround so I can listen on my Basement (DS only) system
and in Stereo (from homemade CDs) on my Car system.


Kirk Bayne
 

ar surround

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Regarding the Abbey Road ATMOS mix @halbroome said"

"I voted, and here's why I made it a 10.

I upgraded to ATMOS this summer, and at first I was somewhat disappointed, as I really missed my wides (went from 7.2 to 5.2.4, which took a new AVR and an extra pair of speakers).

Why did I miss my wides? well, heights are normally thought of as not as good as wides, and on regular 7.2 I believe that to be true. AURO 2d can be used to simulate ATMOS, but it is just a simulation. What was missing was the true ATMOS mix, and there were slim pickings. KICK was nice but really conservative, Kraftwerk more interesting, but it was only when I spun REM's AftP ATMOS that I discovered I just might like ATMOS heights better than my former wides!

Then came yesterday and ABBEY ROAD. What a revelation!!! Buttery sound field oozing throughout the room -- the sweet spot was damn near everywhere, in that if you changed positions you heard a different mix that was just as thrilling. Synthesizers elegantly swooning from downside mid-room up to high back room. A lead guitar tantalizingly in front of you, coming from the center speaker, while around you another guitar would sneak in behind you and grab your attention, distinct, but never overwhelming the lead. Lennon in several places at once, making odd noises (never before had I noticed he had snuck in his infamous "primal screams" onto "Come Together"!).

And, as others have gushed, Paul's BASSSSSSS!!!! Can't wait to play this for some of my friends who asked why I had two big 12-inch subwoofers in the front corners. The floor danced!

Well, I could go on, but we'd all be repeating ourselves. I'll close by saying I'll have to recast my votes on Sgt. PEPPER'S and TWA. Now it would be:

PEPPER'S -- 7
TWA -- 9 (there's a clarity at times to it that you don't find in AR, because there are actually thin quiet moments, while AR is just a richer sounding album -- because it's 8 track?)
ABBEY ROAD -- 10 x 10!!! "Because" it has ATMOS and the other two don't!"


halbroome's post, along with the host of other "10" ratings for Abbey Road, is a really great prop for Atmos that would make me consider it at some time. But note the term "slim pickings." I would need to see a larger catalogue of Atmos releases at reasonable prices before delving into it. That's because the need to keep other things in the system...Surround Master and Logic7...would add complicated switching. Now if these manufacturers would just go back to putting multichannel analogue inputs and outputs in their equipment offerings, well that would simplify a lot of things. One set of 7.1 analogue inputs would be sufficient to support legacy equipment.



 

J. PUPSTER

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This is going to be me when trying to hook up my 5.1.4 atmos system.
More true than we’d like to admit; and really loved his height speakers install technique 🤠
 

LuvMyQuad

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halbroome's post, along with the host of other "10" ratings for Abbey Road, is a really great prop for Atmos that would make me consider it at some time. But note the term "slim pickings." I would need to see a larger catalogue of Atmos releases at reasonable prices before delving into it. That's because the need to keep other things in the system...Surround Master and Logic7...would add complicated switching. Now if these manufacturers would just go back to putting multichannel analogue inputs and outputs in their equipment offerings, well that would simplify a lot of things. One set of 7.1 analogue inputs would be sufficient to support legacy equipment.
I share the sentiment about the larger catalog at reasonable prices, but I have other issues to consider before making the leap, none of which are related to analog inputs.

I seldom play discs anymore, preferring to rip everything. I know I can rip 8 channel audio (what appears to be basis for Atmos) as easily as the 6 channel audio I rip now and store as FLACs but as yet, I'm unsure how to play back and decode the resulting PCM "Atmos" tracks.

Cost is an issue too. I've only done separates for many years and have no desire to enter AVR land. That means the purchase of an Atmos capable Pre/pro and 7 or 9 channels of amplification vs my current 6. Not to mention the height transducers. Were talking $5-6K minimum.

And before I jump through those hoops, I'd need much better intel than what we've gotten so far on a valid 5.1 vs Atmos comparison.

So far, most of that I've read says only that the Atmos performance sounds richer or fuller and even sonically better. I've also read that an Atmos downmix is louder than the 5.1 counterpart. Well, more volume could be where that first observation is coming from. Putting 2 and 2 together, I fear what a lot of people may well be hearing is a volume difference. Everyone needs to understand that playing each version with the volume setting unchanged does not mean they auditioned the two versions at the same true volume. An SPL meter might be needed.

So far I've heard nothing about what Atmos does for sonic imaging, either pro or con. Does it reinforce an image, making it more pin point (generally a good thing), or does it blur an image (similar to what DPLII does to most stereo tracks)? Shouldn't better image quality be something that a format like Atmos excels at?
 

halbroome

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Near the beginning of ABBEY ROAD in ATMOS (which, btw, gets better and better sonically as it goes along -- they didn't shove everything in at once), the lead guitar is coming from the center channel BUT seems to be standing about two feet in front of it! It seems almost isolated from the rest of the mix (and perhaps was).

I could give other examples, but you do not need to worry about blurring! Enough pin-points to pop all of IT's balloons ;) .
 

LuvMyQuad

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Near the beginning of ABBEY ROAD in ATMOS (which, btw, gets better and better sonically as it goes along -- they didn't shove everything in at once), the lead guitar is coming from the center channel BUT seems to be standing about two feet in front of it! It seems almost isolated from the rest of the mix (and perhaps was).

I could give other examples, but you do not need to worry about blurring! Enough pin-points to pop all of IT's balloons ;) .
So are you saying that doesn't happen with the 5.1? It's an effect I've heard with 5,1 many times. How is it enhanced by Atmos?
 

LuvMyQuad

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One difference I'm hearing DTS vs. Atmos, is that some parts have more presence and sometimes definition in Atmos. Some parts are more discrete in DTS.
by presence do you mean forewardness , more in your face in the mix? Some people use "presence" to describe a tilted up midrange.
 

himey

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I share the sentiment about the larger catalog at reasonable prices, but I have other issues to consider before making the leap, none of which are related to analog inputs.

I seldom play discs anymore, preferring to rip everything. I know I can rip 8 channel audio (what appears to be basis for Atmos) as easily as the 6 channel audio I rip now and store as FLACs but as yet, I'm unsure how to play back and decode the resulting PCM "Atmos" tracks.

Cost is an issue too. I've only done separates for many years and have no desire to enter AVR land. That means the purchase of an Atmos capable Pre/pro and 7 or 9 channels of amplification vs my current 6. Not to mention the height transducers. Were talking $5-6K minimum.

And before I jump through those hoops, I'd need much better intel than what we've gotten so far on a valid 5.1 vs Atmos comparison.

So far, most of that I've read says only that the Atmos performance sounds richer or fuller and even sonically better. I've also read that an Atmos downmix is louder than the 5.1 counterpart. Well, more volume could be where that first observation is coming from. Putting 2 and 2 together, I fear what a lot of people may well be hearing is a volume difference. Everyone needs to understand that playing each version with the volume setting unchanged does not mean they auditioned the two versions at the same true volume. An SPL meter might be needed.

So far I've heard nothing about what Atmos does for sonic imaging, either pro or con. Does it reinforce an image, making it more pin point (generally a good thing), or does it blur an image (similar to what DPLII does to most stereo tracks)? Shouldn't better image quality be something that a format like Atmos excels at?
You will have to rip Atmos discs to a different format. Standard FLAC files won't work. After reading all the positive reviews of Abbey Road in Atmos I believe all your sound quality fears of the format will be laid to rest.
 

humprof

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Pre-Abbey Road, I would've voted "Maybe--wait and see" and/or "I'll listen on 5.1" (I've already done that with some Sono Luminus classical releases and have found both the Atmos and Auro mixes to be more "spacious" than the straight 5.1 mixes.)

But today, after reading all the early Road reports, I bought a pair of Episode 8" ceiling speakers, which will sit in their boxes till mid-November, the first open date my installer has on his calendar. If I could do 5.1.4, I would, but my Marantz 1607 will only accommodate two Atmos channels beyond standard 5.1, and I'm not ready to shell out for a new AVR when this one is only a couple of years old. If we get a flood of truly amazing Atmos music mixes in the near future, maybe I'll change my tune!
 

Hamilton59

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I upgraded to the SR8012 6 months ago, no regrets, a great receiver!
Cool, I had the SR7008 prior to the 8012. I thought it was a great sounding AVR as well. It couldn’t switch my 4K ultra HDR signals so the audio paths for my newer devices were more difficult than they could be and....finally, it couldn’t decode or drive the Atmos speakers....so it was time for it to go. I liked the amp so much that it made my upgrade choice very easy!
 

Scott65

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Cool, I had the SR7008 prior to the 8012. I thought it was a great sounding AVR as well. It couldn’t switch my 4K ultra HDR signals so the audio paths for my newer devices were more difficult than they could be and....finally, it couldn’t decode or drive the Atmos speakers....so it was time for it to go. I liked the amp so much that it made my upgrade choice very easy!
My main amp was a yamaha rx-v2600 - still a great amp but really annoyed me that I could only do 5.1 channels over HDMI. Anyway so glad I got the SR 8012 - it does so much more and sounds better. I also like the fact that you can do firmware updates over the net. I have done 3 so far. Such a great product all round. I am progressing to an Atmos system. I have 2 atmos speakers so far. Will be getting two more soon. :)
 

humprof

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Pre-Abbey Road, I would've voted "Maybe--wait and see" and/or "I'll listen on 5.1" (I've already done that with some Sono Luminus classical releases and have found both the Atmos and Auro mixes to be more "spacious" than the straight 5.1 mixes.)

But today, after reading all the early Road reports, I bought a pair of Episode 8" ceiling speakers, which will sit in their boxes till mid-November, the first open date my installer has on his calendar. If I could do 5.1.4, I would, but my Marantz 1607 will only accommodate two Atmos channels beyond standard 5.1, and I'm not ready to shell out for a new AVR when this one is only a couple of years old. If we get a flood of truly amazing Atmos music mixes in the near future, maybe I'll change my tune!
Okay--nothing new to add here, really, except that as of yesterday I've officially made the leap. When my installer told me that his business was down 80% last month over the preceding year, thanks largely to PG&E's blackouts, I swallowed hard and decided that as long as he was wriggling around in the crawlspace above my living room, he might as well double his fun. So even though my current AVR can only power two of them, I'm now the proud owner of four contractor-grade Episode 350 8" in-ceiling speakers. (I'm hoping that sometime next year I'll be able to afford a Marantz SR-6013, which is now down to $899 from its original MSRP of $1499, and that it will still be available when I've got the scratch.)

I really haven't had the opportunity to do any critical listening yet, so all I can say is that I was predisposed to hear more "dimensionality" in Stemmerklang's Tomba sonora after I switched from 5.1 to Atmos (it's already crazy immersive, even in 5.1)...and so waddya know, I did.

I've got precisely fourteen discs with Atmos and/or Auro 3-D mixes on them, eight on Sono Luminus and four on 2L, plus Abbey Road and Automatic for the People. So even if I decide that Atmos blows my mind, I can't say whether it will have been worth the expense, at least not yet. But I guess I can try out the upmixer, too. And my teenager, who noticed the new overhead speakers the second he walked in the door when he got home from school, is excited about what this will mean for his movie and TV-watching. So it's all good...
 
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