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Dolby Atmos Music

CinDyment

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Ok, I have been on a similar quest a while back. I was trying to get Atmos from the tidal app and tried many different ways. Discovered that only a few devices are capable of delivering Atmos. Fire stick max, apple tv and Nvidia shield were the only ones that seemed to work. Connecting to the HDMI input of the x3700h will give you the Atmos music experience. Be prepared to be disappointed. I listened to dozen different albums hoping to be impressed and lost interest. Maybe someone else can recommend a good album to demonstrate the potential.

Cold Cold Heart - Dua Lipa and Elton John was better. I think maybe Shallows (Bradley Cooper and Gaga). Other than that, what a disappointing experience at least with headphones and Amazon Prime HD. I clicked on an Atmos playlist and went through song by song comparing. At least 75% were better without Atmos. Not just a bit better usually, a lot better. The Atmos reminded me of the "bad" surround options on an AVR. Fake, mushy, etc. I suspect it will be, like digital in some ways, a long road as people learn how to use it to make things better not just different.
 

Kioksor

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I've been having issues with getting Dolby Atmos music over my Atmos soundbar. As discussed Tidal is the only firetv app I have found to output Dolby Atmos music and even then it's been temperamental (occasionally it is clearly stereo). Any ideas on how to get Dolby Atmos from amazon music? I have tried side loading the android app and while it claims to be outputting Dolby Atmos the device it says it is outputting to is Bluetooth (only it's hdmi as fire TV is not paired with the soundbar) and it's clearly stereo AND quality to boot as it sounds awful.
 

Spkrdctr

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It seems that Atmos is not working with Amazon music. It is just too early in the product lifecycle. Give it 5 or more years and listening to Atmos music might be much easier. There are LOT of teething problems to work through yet. #1 as you all have mentioned is that the streaming services are not easy to use to get atmos. Currently with todays tech (not using Apple TV) you have to just let the Denon or Yamaha receiver mix the stereo to surround. I find the regular surround feature to be done very well with my Yamaha. It always sounds so much better in surround than stereo, every time. Now doing this is not Atmos, but just surround. Since it always sounds better to me, I find it fantastic as I wait the next 5 to 7 years for everyone in the industry to get their act together and offer true Atmos that is easy and simple to use. Right now everyone is all over the map. Also, as you all have said, there is not really much music that is true Atmos at this time. They will not be all that successful until it is an easy plug and play affair. No Apple TV required etc.
 
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MarcR

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I have found Robert Scoble's curated Dolby Atmos playlists to be a useful way to discover Atmos content on Apple Music. There are thousands of tracks organized in various overlapping categories, and he's actively updating them. Visit his @AllDolbyAtmos profile to check them out, and follow him to get updates.

He has blogged about it here and here.

I have found it to be a good way to discover cool music in genres I usually don't explore.
 

Madlop26

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I switched to apple music like 6 months ago, I use my Denon AVR preouts to my outlaw stereo amp to listen to my music, but when a Dolby Atmos song comes in, it switches to full surround speakers, only 5.2 in my case. But i have to tell you guys, I'm sold!, the feeling of involvement and new level of sound stage is a whole new thing and I like it. I am to a point that i would prefer if all music should mixed in Atmos
Is anybody else experiencing the same thing or I should be ashamed.
 

Spkrdctr

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I switched to apple music like 6 months ago, I use my Denon AVR preouts to my outlaw stereo amp to listen to my music, but when a Dolby Atmos song comes in, it switches to full surround speakers, only 5.2 in my case. But i have to tell you guys, I'm sold!, the feeling of involvement and new level of sound stage is a whole new thing and I like it. I am to a point that i would prefer if all music should mixed in Atmos
Is anybody else experiencing the same thing or I should be ashamed.
You are finding that two channel stereo is seriously outdated old technology. Surround sounds better to millions of people who have surround receivers. Clinging to stereo is like clinging to cassette tapes. It will probably die out but it may take another 20 years. The audio industry likes stereo as they can get great mark ups on their products and two channel listeners will pay a lot. A win for the manufacturers. But it has been passed by in every day use. If we wanted serious fidelity we would bring back the 8 track cassette. Now that was a cool market. The product quickly wore out and you had to buy a new one to get the sound quality back. A manufacturers dream!
 

srkbear

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You are finding that two channel stereo is seriously outdated old technology. Surround sounds better to millions of people who have surround receivers. Clinging to stereo is like clinging to cassette tapes. It will probably die out but it may take another 20 years. The audio industry likes stereo as they can get great mark ups on their products and two channel listeners will pay a lot. A win for the manufacturers. But it has been passed by in every day use. If we wanted serious fidelity we would bring back the 8 track cassette. Now that was a cool market. The product quickly wore out and you had to buy a new one to get the sound quality back. A manufacturers dream!
I think that two channel audio has prevailed for decades—despite many failed attempts to get quadraphonic technology to happen and a rather short-lived but admirable effort to bring multichannel to the masses via SACD and DVD-audio—because it ended up being cost effective and “good enough” to justify production, mastering, and equipment costs to the most end-users. But the advent of blu ray audio and Atmos streaming services may change that—actually in the long run it inevitably will as the technology advances and costs drop. Like many others I suspect that physical media will eventually die and will be solely reserved for archiving purposes.

To me Atmos is light years ahead of multichannel audio sonically—unfortunately it’s still primarily a compressed, lossy format in many of its current iterations but not with Apple’s spatial audio. The problem I have with it is that its quality is very dependent on the source material—one of the benefits of stereo mixes is that when the drums and bass are left in the center, the power and punch is so much more exciting for rock/pop/R&B genres compared to the rather anemic and ethereal results that occur when they’re panned to create a life-like audience perspective.

Given the expense involved in creating these Atmos masters, I fear that once one is done it won’t be revisited again. And for many albums I love, if these end up being the definitive options I’ll have to stay content with two channel, because some of the atmos masters I’ve listened to just don’t work :/
 

napfkuchen

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For multichannel audio my future setup will most likely look like this:

MiniPC ---[ HDMI ]---> TV ---[ HDMI ARC ]---> Denon X3700 ---> 5.1.4 speaker setup

The "MiniPC"-part depends on whether the desktop apps for Tidal and Amazon Music allow surround / dolby atmos playback. Is this possible?
 

Spkrdctr

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To me Atmos is light years ahead of multichannel audio sonically—unfortunately it’s still primarily a compressed, lossy format in many of its current iterations but not with Apple’s spatial audio. The problem I have with it is that its quality is very dependent on the source material—one of the benefits of stereo mixes is that when the drums and bass are left in the center, the power and punch is so much more exciting for rock/pop/R&B genres compared to the rather anemic and ethereal results that occur when they’re panned to create a life-like audience perspective.

Given the expense involved in creating these Atmos masters, I fear that once one is done it won’t be revisited again. And for many albums I love, if these end up being the definitive options I’ll have to stay content with two channel, because some of the atmos masters I’ve listened to just don’t work :/
Give it 5 more years. But also, stereo will be around for at least 20 more years. By then the Atmos type systems will have matured to a much easier plug and play and sound better. The problem is that Atmos sound mixes are much more involved than sound of the past. Object audio is a serious leap ahead in technology and will take some years of expensive work to get it to "awesome". The biggest thing is that the manufacturers have to now come up with an Atmos 5.2.4 or 7.2.4 system that is all wireless. This cuts out the wires and allows for very, very easy set up. I imagine it is coming but probably not in my lifetime. (That is not that long!)

Jumping to another issue. I have a new sound bar that is Atmos and I have to say it is amazing. The sound it puts out for movies beats my dedicated Home Theater set up. It was so easy to plug in and set up. Took about 1.5 hours and I was done. The home theater with a full system was a pain in the butt and has been tinkered with for years to get better sound. The comparison is stark. I can see why everyone is going to the bigger, more expensive sound bar Atmos systems. They truly are amazing. Oh, and they do not cost an arm and a leg either. $900 to $2000 gets you top of the line sound bars. Again, very easy set up which is almost the most important issue for purchases. Now if I had access to Atmos music that is mixed right, the sound bar would most likely make it sound very good. Currently I have no Atmos music I listen to so it is all up-mixed with varying success. As always YMMV and the all important IMHO.
 
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srkbear

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Give it 5 more years. But also, stereo will be around for at least 20 more years. By then the Atmos type systems will have matured to a much easier plug and play and sound better. The problem is that Atmos sound mixes are much more involved than sound of the past. Object audio is a serious leap ahead in technology and will take some years of expensive work to get it to "awesome". The biggest thing is that the manufacturers have to now come up with an Atmos 5.2.4 or 7.2.4 system that is all wireless. This cuts out the wires and allows for very, very easy set up. I imagine it is coming but probably not in my lifetime. (That is not that long!)

Jumping to another issue. I have a new sound bar that is Atmos and I have to say it is amazing. The sound it puts out for movies beats my dedicated Home Theater set up. It was so easy to plug in and set up. Took about 1.5 hours and I was done. The home theater with a full system was a pain in the butt and has been tinkered with for years to get better sound. The comparison is stark. I can see why everyone is going to the bigger, more expensive sound bar Atmos systems. They truly are amazing. Oh, and they do not cost an arm and a leg either. $900 to $2000 gets you top of the line sound bars. Again, very easy set up which is almost the most important issue for purchases. Now if I had access to Atmos music that is mixed right, the sound bar would most likely make it sound very good. Currently I have no Atmos music I listen to so it is all up-mixed with varying success. As always YMMV and the all important IMHO.
I’ve got a Sonos Arc coupled with a sub and two series Five surrounds—which are very large drivers. As you know Atmos setups are object instead of speaker oriented, so they don’t correlate with the 5.x.x or 7.x.x standard—and according to manufacturer specs the imaging is achieved by driver placement, obviating the need of multiple free standing speakers (although I suppose the more you have, the more realistic and powerful the overall sound would likely be).

And like I said, some masters, like Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and the Beatles’ “Abbey Road”, sound fantastic in atmos format. To my ears a substantial number of more contemporary albums just don’t—they sound anemic and disjointed, like the power and punch was sucked out of the center of the mix. Some instruments sound too detached and overemphasized in the mix compared to their stereo versions, and I have to believe that this is a consequence of choices made during the atmos mixing process.

I suspect that at these early stages, many engineers are going for dramatic spatialization endpoints in the service of demonstrating the effects that can be achieved with the new technology. For those of us who have the original mixes burned into our DNA, these “stunts” can be jarring, almost like our favorite records are being turned into IMAX film soundtracks.

The Beatles recordings were all about studio wizardry, and were never known for their visceral punch, so I’m not sure the effects are as noticeable. But for more “modern” rock recordings, the novelty of stereo panning has been long abandoned for the fullness and energy obtained by keeping the drums and bass in the center, and several of these Atmos mixes sound like a regression to the hard-panned past.

I think that’s a monumental mistake, and like I said, I hope these mixes are revisited once the novelty has worn off, and future Atmos mixes go for subtle spatial enhancements that preserve the essence of what the tracks were meant to sound like from the beginning.
 
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