Dolby Atmos And DTS:X | What Are Dolby Atmos And DTS:X?

360-degree Virtual Reality movies are not quite mainstream yet, I mean who wants to strap on the headset every time. But 360-degree surround sound has long been a mainstay, not just movie theatres but home theatres as well. A typical setup would be a subwoofer too for bass and 5 or 7 speakers surrounding the viewer to help the sound well surround the viewer. Now traditionally the way this work is that depending on the surround audio encoding scheme used by the publisher a device called receiver would decode and playback discreet audio tracks for each speaker that would correspond to the action on the screen assuming the high-quality mix.

So the idea is that if you are looking at a scene featuring a conversation the voices will probably mostly out of centre channel, while the satellite speaker behind you focus on let’s say ambient background noise. This one track for one speaker paradigm has been powering surrounding sound system for a long time and it’s worked pretty well. But we have increasingly seen a different method of surround sound delivery both in theatres and on blue-ray.  That’s actually based around sound’s objects of channels The principle behind Dolby Atmos and DTS: X.

But hold on a minute sound as an object What?
So it’s mean that instated of each audio track corresponding to only one speaker the tracks are encoded with data that indicates some locations in space instead of a specific channel. So let’s say you are watching a scene where an aeroplane is flying overhead toward you, so here instead of the track match to the front speaker getting quieter and the tracks for the back speaker getting louder  as the plane passes by, The plane’s engines will instate be encoded as a spot in space above you that moves around in real time.  
Now, this may not sound like too much of a difference but the idea here is that Dolby Atmos and DTS X scale very well. Traditional surround setup had no way of knowing much more than distance from your couch about the physical placement of the speakers in your room , so results could be very inconsistent from setup to setup. But because of Dolby Atmos And DTS X  allows sounds to be coded location data like above the listener halfway between the screen of the chair and against the right-hand wall rather than just front speaker. 

A decoder compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS X formats will then take these positional data and the specific speaker configuration into account to produce sound that’s more accurately reflective of where suppose to be in space. Whether it has five speakers propped up on two by four around your computer to represent data of fifty professional-grade loudspeakers in large cinema and even include support for sounds above you. It offers at most 118 objects and DTX supports an unlimited number of objects and both technologies can work with your conventional 5.1 and 7.1 speaker setups with Dolby Atmos bosting support for up to 34 speakers for home theatre. 

Now as like with any new standard not everything is Dolby Atmos or DTS X capable. You need a compatible receiver though the good news is most receivers support both. Fortunately, these technology becoming more and more common on Blu-Rays streaming services and even game consoles. So maybe at some point. 

Leave a Comment