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

lashto

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I don’t have any idea why the Atmos mixes are so much better (just look at those Audacity wave forms!), I kind of doubt that it happens on the Mac during stereo down-mixing. It would be magical if it did. I’m assuming that whoever produces the Atmos mixes for Apple Music just take great care or has access to better masters. Or perhaps that Atmos necessitates a better dynamic range, crest factor, etc. No idea. In the end, it’s the result that counts. I’m not here to wave the Dolby flag, just wanted to point the stereo folk at something worthwhile giving a try, that happens to be Atmos related.



I think you’re conflating a few things here. It wasn’t Meridian who created the loudness wars. I also don’t remember MQA tracks to sound better (or even significantly different) than their regular versions.
It's a variation of Microsoft's EEE. Easier one because most of the loudness was already there. They did not have to create a problem now, it was already on the table (done by the same music industry which is suposedly fixing it now).

Those better sounding tracks were simply remixed/remastered. Take a crappy old release, remix without the loudness and then sell it as "better sound because MQA/Atmos". The better sound has nothing to do with MQA/Atmos, that's just 'packaging'.
A better remix will sound same as better without any single trace of MQA/Atmos involved.
 
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lashto

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Do you have some evidence for your second sentence?
what kind of evidence would be needed here?
Those are the exact same music-bits, just packed as Atmos (with proprietary encryption of course).

Or maybe you have evidence that Atmos pours some 'honey' on those music-bits
 
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AdamG247

AdamG247

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Hmm, is that really the way to go? 7.x systems (where x = subs) have existed for awhile, though actual content with that many channels hasn't, but those are front and side and back speakers, and I thought the new twist for Atmos was the use of height speakers.

I'm pretty sure 5.x systems are more prevalent that 7.x systems currently. So a 'dip your toes in' move would more likely be, add two height speakers to a 5.x, system...no? Dolby has published recommended 5.x + heights configurations for Atmos.

It's what I'll probably do when I feel like buying a new ladder to put up ceiling speakers. ;> I have some spare Paradigm Cinema 100s that should do fine for that, I am guessing speaker matching to the ground-based speakers is not crucial for the heights.
Yes, of course you are correct. A 5.1 is a more appropriate dip you toes level. Then go up to Object height speakers. My apologies. Had a Senior moment ;)
 

theREALdotnet

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Or maybe you have evidence that Atmos pours some 'honey' on those music-bits

Looks like some top-notch honey to me:

1669938061375.png

Lower one is the Atmos stream. I trust Jeremy won’t mind me posting this.
 

Madlop26

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It's just another shill train fed by a proprietary file format. Atmos does nothing for two channel stereo that any other remix couldn't achieve.
hmm ..nope , nope; I have tried surround processing formats for my stereo music for years, yes all those dolby surrounds, multichannel and pro logic stuff, it was Ok, gimmicky, But i was always going back to old good stereo, but ATMOS music when mastered well is quite different thing my friend, right now, streaming ATMOS is same price as streaming stereo so.....
 

-Matt-

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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.

Absolutely the very last thing Dolby would do. How can you even have a conception of this?
...
NO! We can just have stereo simpler and better.

Well that will sound different. If Atmos lessens the severe compression and limiting of remasters it will be worth it for that alone.

:facepalm:
 

Rottmannash

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I hate to say this but the best thing I did was go to a sound bar. Now, it will not play 120db for movies but I would never listen at that level. It will easily play 95db and sound amazing. There are some "buts" in this, I will not ever get the wall shaking, window rattling, ceiling damaging bass. Other than that though, oh another but, I am in a smaller area and not a big room. A big room would start to stress a lot of systems. So within the small to medium room situation, it really is a super easy plug and play adjustable/tunable system that puts out amazing sound. When the wife listens to music with it, I am shocked how good it sounds. The engineers really are making major progress and it shows. My sound bar is the Vizio Elevate set up. It is quite good and for the price? Amazing. Now compared to a killer home theater that costs 7 times as much or more, no it will probably not satisfy in a head to head comparison. But that is normal.
A buddy of mine got fed up with not being able to turn his system (the one he asked me to help him buy several years ago when he thought he wanted HT) on and adjust things, boxed it all up, sold it all and bought a top of the line Sonos Arc soundbar, sub and 2 satellite speakers and I have to say it sounds pretty good considering it's a bar, sub and 2 small satellites. Of course it was quite pricey by soundbar standards but it makes him happy and that's all that matters. He comes to my house and doesn't understand why I have so many amps and speakers...
 

Rottmannash

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He needs a active demonstration. Show him what all that gear is for. :D
That's just it-I have demo'd some Atmos movies and he just doesn't get it. He has always been unable to hear the difference in a cheap pair of speakers and quality ones. I've had him listen to my headphone system which is quite resolving as well and he says it sounds just like listening in his car...he's the opposite of golden ear'd.
 

Doodski

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That's just it-I have demo'd some Atmos movies and he just doesn't get it. He has always been unable to hear the difference in a cheap pair of speakers and quality ones. I've had him listen to my headphone system which is quite resolving as well and he says it sounds just like listening in his car...he's the opposite of golden ear'd.
O' well... Not much can be done other than crank it up and hope something happens. :D I had a customer that was all about the movies and not the music. He had a full Yamaha DSP surround system in the early 90's. Not unheard of but not common either. :D Play music and he might as well be deaf.
 

kongwee

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Excellent teaching Video. Who knew Atmos downmixing would restore the original dynamic range. Atmos is the new Compression killer? Thanks for posting this video. So much going on under the hood here. In a good way this time.
It isn't Atmos downmixing restoring the original dynamic range. Remix Atmos mean you open the tracks and put all your sample in difference "space" of Atmos. You have so much "space". You can place the tracks surround you( assuming you have the full 7.2.4) and don't worry about loudness. You don't need compression at all. Or you don't need compression for loudness. If you ATMOS don't contain compression or limiter, your stereo down mixing won't be compressed at all. I really can't explain it till you really touch DAW.
 

krabapple

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I don’t have any idea why the Atmos mixes are so much better (just look at those Audacity wave forms!), I kind of doubt that it happens on the Mac during stereo down-mixing. It would be magical if it did. I’m assuming that whoever produces the Atmos mixes for Apple Music just take great care or has access to better masters.

A remaster starts from a stereo recording. A surround remix starts from a multitrack recording*. Very different things.


(*Unless it's just an upmix..which some Atmos mixes reportedly are)
 

krabapple

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Well that will sound different. If Atmos lessens the severe compression and limiting of remasters it will be worth it for that alone.
It really depends how it's achieved. Various after the fact 'declipping' or 'dynamic range restorer' plugins have been available to consumers for awhile now. They kind of work. So it would not be a huge deal if that's all Atmos is doing. But if Atmos is doing the real thing ...providing or auto-generating stereo mixes that were never stomped on with loudness wars compression in the first place...that would be a big deal.
 

Vacceo

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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'm using a set of old Kef IQ1's for the height channels and they work quite well.

Sure, if I upgraded to KEF R8's it would improve, but I doubt it would be night and day. It is perfectly possible to recicle old bookshelves if you angle them down and adjust them right.
 

JoachimStrobel

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I had a 5.1 System made of identical speakers and identical amps. I did optmise it with Dirac. The change was little but good.
Lately I added 6 smaller speakers for a 7.2.4 system together with a new 9 channel amp. Here Dirac made a difference like day and night creating a much more homogeneous soundstage. So I guess that one could “save” money and space by mixing speakers, but then one needs a Dirac type of optmisation. The center speaker should be of the same type but that is always a problem with a screen in the way.
 

JoachimStrobel

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For some time, JazzGroove.org had a Mch stream where they de-assembled old stereo jazz tunes into a Mch experience. It sounded great. Then they mixed the same music back to stereo and it sounded superb. I guess that separating instruments and the merging them again intelligently works. The same could be true for Atmos.
 

JoachimStrobel

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And as I am getting warmed up…
A problem not solved is the spatial sensitivity function of my ears. The side channel loudspeakers shine directly into my ear channel, while the center has a hard time finding my ear drums. An omnidirectional microphone facing up does not see that. I always wondered if room optmisation should not be done with some kind of artificial head microphone (Kunstkopf as it was called in Germany, it superseded quadrophonics with similar success but seems to be back now with Atmos)
 

abdo123

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Looks like some top-notch honey to me:

View attachment 247228
Lower one is the Atmos stream. I trust Jeremy won’t mind me posting this.

This is pretty much why I bought an Apple TV, check out Maroon 5's Song About Jane. Pretty much the same situation. The album is actually better than the original now.
 
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