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An audio engineer explains why Dolby Atmos Music is “definitely going to supersede stereo”

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I have no interest in putting a PC back into my home theater. I also have zero interest in simulated surround formats.
Huh? I use a Popcorn Hour A500 as a music streamer/impossible file decoder and Audiomuxer doesn't add any channels it just remaps your file so it can go over HDMI correctly .4.0 still plays in 4.0.Also most modern avrs can play surround files via USB just fine.Though streamers are more convenient usually.
 

Madlop26

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You can get Spacial Audio/Atmos via most headphones and IEM’s already. Is it the same? Not really but it gives you a taste of what it can sound like with actual speakers . You don’t need Genelects for surround/height channels. Go slow and dip your toes in with building up your base level speakers first. 7.1 or 7.2. If you like that and want more. Then move into some height/ceiling speakers. They can be just your average surround speaker at first.
I have been enjoying ATMOS music for many months now (apple music.>Apple TV 4K> X3700H>5.2.4, front and surround speaker are revel speakers), I have to say I prefer it to stereo, the immersiveness!, but in my humble opinion the quality of surround speakers are as important as the front speaker when listening to ATMOS. Agree height speaker not as important. Surround back speaker I am thinking may be not be as important too, I will be upgrading to 7.2.4 next year and I will see.
 

Multicore

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Here’s the article: I personally love ATMOS for Movies and have explored the limited sampling of ATMOS Music available on Tidal and Amazon. I find it different and rewarding as a change of pace. What say You?
Give me mono or give me whole-body apoptosis.
 
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AdamG247

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I have been enjoying ATMOS music for many months now (apple music.>Apple TV 4K> X3700H>5.2.4, front and surround speaker are revel speakers), I have to say I prefer it to stereo, the immersiveness!, but in my humble opinion the quality of surround speaker are as important as the front speaker when listening to ATMOS. Agree height speaker not as important.
I have slowly built out my surround sound system over the years. As a result I have 9 bed channels (FL,FR,C,WL,WR,SL,SR,BSL,BSR) are all Tower sized speakers. Most are capable of 60Hz output except the center. I’m sure this makes a big difference in how I perceive Atmos music. Not everyone is going to have that or maybe not have the room. I also have 6 overheads object speakers. But the majority of the sound comes out of the Bed channels. Still enjoying regular stereo on a daily basis. It’s a mood thing. Today nothing but 2 channel music so far…
 

Spkrdctr

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I have slowly built out my surround sound system over the years. As a result I have 9 bed channels (FL,FR,C,WL,WR,SL,SR,BSL,BSR) are all Tower sized speakers. Most are capable of 60Hz output except the center. I’m sure this makes a big difference in how I perceive Atmos music. Not everyone is going to have that or maybe not have the room. I also have 6 overheads object speakers. But the majority of the sound comes out of the Bed channels. Still enjoying regular stereo on a daily basis. It’s a mood thing. Today nothing but 2 channel music so far…
In other words, you go big or go home! Sounds like you have a very nice system. :)
 

Godataloss

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So what do you do with your home theatre? Just curious as that is a black box I have never opened but sometimes wonder about.
Google TV/Apps via Chromecast or Xbox OneX into a newer, middle of the road Onkyo home theater receiver. It's better now that I'm no longer using the TV toslink out for audio- (which I always used without issue with a PC), but I guess I just expect more. Audio setup/control on affordable home theaters receivers is no better than it was 20 years ago. Adding further complexity of Atmos is not going to help matters.
 

Godataloss

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Huh? I use a Popcorn Hour A500 as a music streamer/impossible file decoder and Audiomuxer doesn't add any channels it just remaps your file so it can go over HDMI correctly .4.0 still plays in 4.0.Also most modern avrs can play surround files via USB just fine.Though streamers are more convenient usually.
I just have no interest in torrenting/ripping media and running a server or a home theater pc.
 

lc6

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Does anyone know why Amazon Spatial Audio cannot be streamed from the Fire TV Stick connected to an AVR via HDMI? There does not seem to be a technical limitation because Atmos audio is played by the AVR when streaming movies from Amazon Prime Video and other apps running on the Stick. So is the limitation there to promote Echo Studio, or due to some contractual restrictions that Amazon has with the provider of those tracks (but if so, why would spatial audio streaming work on smartphones / headphones)?
See this discussion on Amazon: Please allow us the option to play Dolby Atmos music through our AVR
 
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AdamG247

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In other words, you go big or go home! Sounds like you have a very nice system. :)
Well, that certainly was not how I meant that post. I was not bragging, rather saying how I started with just 2 channels and added speakers/amps like a Lego kit. My original speakers are now all the way in the back! This hobby/love/addiction thing is more of a journey than a destination. So no, I did not go big or go home. I started small and enjoyed what I had until I could afford the next step. My system is a tapestry of various brands and makes. Nothing fancy really. But I use the crap out of it and enjoy every minute. Nothing is ever perfect right? The moment you declare that your journey is over :eek:
 
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Does anyone know why Amazon Spatial Audio cannot be streamed from the Fire TV Stick connected to an AVR via HDMI? There does not seem to be a technical limitation because Atmos audio is played by the AVR when streaming movies from Amazon Prime Video and other apps running on the Stick. So is the limitation there to promote Echo Studio, or due to some contractual restrictions that Amazon has with the provider of those tracks (but if so, why would spatial audio streaming work on smartphones / headphones)?
See this discussion on Amazon: Please allow us the option to play Dolby Atmos music through our AVR
I beat my head against the wall with this when I first got my Echo Studio, don't bother...Amazon could care less.Spatial audio on the Studio sucks.I have it switched off it's so bad.I only got it for the wife,it's in her study and she loves it just so she can say "Alexa play David Bowie from the 70's" which tbh is the best advantage it has over Spotify well slightly better sound quality and cheaper too!
 

Newman

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you are saying i need to buy 3 more genelec 8030cs to make proper use of it? Or if i buy 5 cheap speakers would i get more enjoyment out of them with music than 2 genelecs?…
…You don’t need Genelecs for surround/height channels. Go slow and dip your toes in with building up your base level speakers first. 7.1 or 7.2. If you like that and want more. Then move into some height/ceiling speakers.

I agree with Adam and would like to add more reasons.

Your notion, spartaman, that you would have to take your two 8030C’s out of your system to go MCH and use 5 cheaper speakers, clearly implies that you think all the MCH speakers have to be identical.

And no wonder: we often see the advice to use the same speaker for all MCH channels. And it’s good advice. Good solid advice, and pretty much de rigueur advice for beginners and audiophiles who don’t want to escalate their level of thinking about audio gear selection. But in truth it is a shortcut. A shortcut for the real requirement, that is to maintain consistent tonal expression from all the speakers.

That consistency can be achieved in different ways. With a brand like Genelec or Revel, one could almost mix-and-match different models to suit budget and space. Or, with EQ and measurement tools, a variety of well-behaved speakers could be pressed into service and adjusted, delivering real excellence.

Depending on the circumstances, there could be real advantages to the latter approach. If the couch is near to the rear of the room, duplicates of large FL and FR speakers might work less well than well-behaved in-walls with wider dispersion and EQ’d to match tonality. And that’s just one example: there are others, but I just want to illustrate a point.

cheers
 
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chelgrian

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Does anyone know why Amazon Spatial Audio cannot be streamed from the Fire TV Stick connected to an AVR via HDMI? There does not seem to be a technical limitation because Atmos audio is played by the AVR when streaming movies from Amazon Prime Video and other apps running on the Stick. So is the limitation there to promote Echo Studio, or due to some contractual restrictions that Amazon has with the provider of those tracks (but if so, why would spatial audio streaming work on smartphones / headphones)?
See this discussion on Amazon: Please allow us the option to play Dolby Atmos music through our AVR
I don't know but I can guess.

Either
Amazon's developers are incapable of getting it to work
Or
There is a 3rd party hardware or software component in the fire stick which prevents them bitstreaming the encoded data over HDMI.
Or
they support both Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio (which is their branding for MPEG-H), MPEG-H has zero AVR support it's possible there is some kind of most favoured nation clause in their agreement with Sony that prevents them doing stuff with Atmos that can't also be done with MPEG-H
 

EJ3

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I have been enjoying ATMOS music for many months now (apple music.>Apple TV 4K> X3700H>5.2.4, front and surround speaker are revel speakers), I have to say I prefer it to stereo, the immersiveness!, but in my humble opinion the quality of surround speakers are as important as the front speaker when listening to ATMOS. Agree height speaker not as important. Surround back speaker I am thinking may be not be as important too, I will be upgrading to 7.2.4 next year and I will see.
I am particularly glad to see the .2 That is what I have had since my first non-quad surround system around 1990. But I have been back to stereo with .2 for many years. & I am now in a place that has less than 1/4 the living room footprint I had and about 1/8th the room volume that I had.. So, stereo with .2 is likely to stay as my system until a few tears from now when I may be able to get a bigger space.
 

Sal1950

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I have no interest in putting a PC back into my home theater. I also have zero interest in simulated surround formats.
Your loss Mr Flintstone. ;)
Audio setup/control on affordable home theaters receivers is no better than it was 20 years ago.
Oh my Lord, no your right AVR's haven't improved one little bit. :facepalm:
Talk about a load of FUDD.
 

lashto

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Personally I believe Atmos, due to it's down sampling ability has a greater chance of becoming the default distribution codec than MQA ever did.
that touches on a (probably) much better question: do we want Atmos-everywhere to happen? (or shall we?)

This push for Atmos seems to have only one true reason: money, money, money.
It's again about the music industry's desire to (re)take control via proprietary formats. And now Dolby wants to sit at the same table.
The dolby+music marriage will be heavily promoted everywhere as "made in heaven for everyone". But I can only see the good old corporate heaven of control and greed.

My answer to that would be a loud "No thank you"! (the same I had for MQA)
 
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lashto

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I just love when new flat panel TVs come out with Dolby Atmos speakers built in.
Nowadays we see that stuff popping everywhere: dolby atmos speaker, atmos compatible, atmos enabled, atmos certified...
Many are obviously just pure marketing .. or even pure bullshit.

Besides that, what exactly are those labels supposed to mean?!
What do you get from an "atmos speaker" that a normal speaker can't do? Does the atmos speaker sound different somehow? Or what is that "more" that you get (and are supposed to pay extra for)?!
 
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Blumlein 88

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Nowadays we see that stuff popping everywhere: dolby atmos speaker, atmos compatible, atmos enabled, atmos certified...
Many are obviously just pure marketing or even pure bullshit.

Besides that, what exactly are those labels supposed to mean? What do you get from an "atmos speaker" that a normal speaker can't do? Does the atmos speaker sound different somehow? Or what is that "more" that you get and are supposed to pay extra for?!
Hey, if the Atmos soundbars work, we don't need anything else. I can pull down my surround system, put in the soundbar, save money, space and get SOTA movie and music sound. Or they are full of shite. Which do you think it is?

Now I can believe the full object oriented 9 channel or more Atmos might be fantastic. Otherwise Dolby is just being Dolby. Money making machine to the detriment of the industry.
 

-Matt-

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Firstly we should make a distinction between Atmos as
1) a content delivery format and
2) as the latest and greatest Dolby object based multichannel surround offering with height channels.
(They should have had different names if you ask me).

If, when you think of Atmos, you first think of 2) (the multichannel surround format) then you may think that marketing a stereo soundbar as an Atmos product is deception. (I'd tend to agree).

Despite this, I can see some potential benefits of 1) Atmos as a content delivery format. For example:

The audio world is in severe need of standardisation. (Thinking of the loudness wars here). If Dolby could force an end to this it would be great.

Also it could be great to have a single file for each content item, that is downmixed appropriately for the current playback device. I.e. you no longer need a separate stereo version, a 5.1 version, a 7.1 version, a 7.1.4 version, ...etc.

You shouldn't (in theory) be losing anything if you want to stick with stereo, just use a stereo playback device (or configure one that way) and Atmos should give you the stereo version of the content.
 

lashto

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Hey, if the Atmos soundbars work, we don't need anything else. I can pull down my surround system, put in the soundbar, save money, space and get SOTA movie and music sound. Or they are full of shite. Which do you think it is?
a very tough question that is :D

Sarcasm aside, at least the Atmos label makes some sense for soundbars (compared to putting it on single-box speakers).
Heard quite a lot of those soundbars in shops and a few people's homes. Sorry, not good enough. Most of them were no good, period. Only heard an acceptable effect once, from a pretty big soundbar+sbwoofer (yamaha) in a fairly small demo room (10-15m2)
Now I can believe the full object oriented 9 channel or more Atmos might be fantastic.
Also heard a few Atmos demo rooms and yes it can sound very good. Not sure about "fantastic" but surely desirable
 
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