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Dolby Atmos Home Theater System. The next-gen cinema surround format Dolby Atmos has been given the green light to bring objectbased audio to domestic cinema rooms, with Onkyo, Pioneer, Denon and Yamaha all announcing compatible hardware to launch later this year.
The news was announced simultaneously in late June by the hardware companies and on Dolby’s official blog. In the latter, Brett Crockett, Dolby’s Director of Sound Research, explained the decision to move Atmos out of theatres and into living rooms.’Dolby Atmos has the amazing ability to have sounds come from above you. In the movie Noah, for instance, Dolby Atmos in the cinema made it sound like the torrential rains were pouring down from the sky on top of you. And if you see Godzilla in a Dolby Atmos theatre, hearing the monster roar above you is beyond realistic – it’s terrifying. You’re probably wondering how you can recreate this eff ect in your living room. We want to make bringing Dolby Atmos into your home as easy as possible, so we’ve given you choices.’If you’re willing and able to install speakers in your ceiling, there will be great options. If that’s not possible for you our partners will off er new Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers that produce full, detailed, overhead sound from speakers located where your conventional speakers are now.’How do we create the sensation of sounds above your head if there are no speakers above your head?’ asked Crockett. It’s complicated, but it all comes down to understanding the physics of sound waves and understanding the way your brain interprets those sound waves.’Running with regular Blu-ray No new hardware beyond processing and speakers is required. Traditional Blu-ray discs will launch with Dolby Atmos bitstreams, which have been introduced to the Dolby TrueHD specifi cation. All standard BD players will be able to passthrough those bitstreams to compatible AVRs/processors. The Dolby Digital Plus codec is also getting an Atmos upgrade, so the format could be introduced to film streaming services, with Netflix being the most likely.Dolby Atmos-enabled hardware so far announced includes a slate of AVRs, and not all at a premium price. For instance, Onkyo has launched the £2,000 TX-NR1030 and £2,500 TX-NR3030, yet confirmed that a firmware update (due September) will add Atmos adventures to its TX-NR636, TX-NR737 and TX-NR838 mid-range models.Elsewhere, Denon has announced its 9-channel AVR-X4100W and 11-channel AVR-X5200W for an Autumn launch, priced at £1,300 and £1,700 respectively, while Pioneer’s in-bound SC-LX88, SC-LX78 and SC-LX58 models (priced between £2,200 and £1,400) will get an Atmos fi rmware update. Yamaha’s recently launched high-end RX-A2040 and RX-A3040 AV receivers will also support the new audio format.Onkyo HT S7700 Home Theater
With Crockett explaining that it’s possible to have a Dolby Atmos array with 34 speakers, those with true high-end ambitions may turn away from the mass market propositions – which will generally cater toward two new ‘reference’ Atmos systems of 5.1.4 and 7.1.4 – towards a new breed of advanced processor. French audio marque Trinnov will launch its Altitude32 (a 32-channel Atmos-ready pre-amp) in September, distributed in the UK by Anthem AVS.The install industry is gearing up for Atmos, too. Guy Singleton, of CI fi rm Imagine This, told HCC that his company is already some way through two high-end Atmos home theatres. ‘They are proving challenging to design as the technology utilised is still very much in its infancy commercially, let alone at a private home cinema level.’Singleton is sure it’s the way forward, though: ‘Ultra high resolution, fast frame rates and new sound formats are not only exciting industry developments, they allow us to deliver an experience that is even closer to that of the post-production facilities in which the movies are mixed. It’s an opportunity to show our clients why they need experts like us to deliver luxury systems using state-of-the-art technology. All in all, we are very excited!’View Onky Dolby AtmosWhich films could arrive on Atmos BD this year?GodzillaThe size of the monsters and the destruction they unleash in Gareth Edwards’ blockbuster creature-feature was tailor-made for Atmos. Rumours already point to this being the first new title to be released on Blu-ray with the ‘object-based’ audio format.GravityThe poster boy for Dolby Atmos – directed by audio-visual innovator Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity bagged numerous awards for its sound design after its theatrical debut and has already had a Blu-ray release, but a Special Edition with Atmos soundtrack is surely on the cards.NoahOne title name-checked by Dolby’s Brett Crockett in his official blog, this Biblical epic starring Russell Crowe and directed by Darren Aronofsky hit Atmos cinemas at the end of March. A regular Blu-ray is already scheduled for the end of July, but could it get double-dipped?Dawn of The Planet of the ApesOnly recently launched in Atmos cinemas, this big-budget monkeytastic sequel will be most likely due for a BD release around Christmas – which should be enough time to have those treeswinging apes screeching from your Atmos ceiling speakers.The Expendables 3With its predecessor offering a DTS Neo: X ‘optimised’ multichannel mix, distributor Lionsgate has shown it’s keen to embrace new domestic audio tech. So hopefully the continuing adventures of Sly Stallone’s band of not-so-merry men will sport an Atmos bitstream derived from its cinema mix.
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Dolby Atmos Home Theater System ~ Tech Game Review