Transported. You’ve stepped out of the movie theater having watched the action film of the year. Your chest is thumping, your head is reeling. For the past 2 hours and 13 minutes you were completely immersed in the film. Every sight, every sound, perfectly orchestrated to put you at the center of the action. So, how did they do it and how can you replicate this immersive experience in your home theater?
While you might have been drawn into the action through its stunning cinematography in 4K, seeing details previously unseen, the same holds true for the audio. Whether DTS:X technology, Auro 3D or Dolby Atmos, 3D sound systems are bringing a new dimension to movies, gaming, television and music by adding a multi-dimensional level of realism.
Did you hear that?
Close your eyes and listen for a moment to all the sounds around you; a car whizzing past, a creaking shutter, a barking dog or even a whisper. You’re able to determine exactly where that sound is coming from. In order for a video game or movie to simulate a real-life experience, it must recreate that same 3D experience. Surround sound systems, having made a comeback in 1976 with the introduction of Dolby Stereo, ushered in a new era for audio. Popularity exploded in 1977 with the release of Star Wars and its engaging, realistic rear-channel effects. By the early 90’s we were enjoying 5.1 surround systems (remember 1999’s famous Matrix lobby shootout in 5.1 HDR?) and eventually the 7.1 which brought audio to the rear of the room. By 2004 we were enthralled with the breathtaking precision of the blind dancer in House of Flying Daggers as she meticulously replicates the strike of each surrounding drum with her scarves. And do you remember watching in awe as the Star Ship Enterprise navigated to the space dock in 2009 or being charmed as Wall-E catapulted himself through space using a fire extinguisher? Audio places a dimension to the event.
Atmos and DTS. How do they work?
There are distinct differences between DTS and Dolby Atmos technologies, but each accomplishes an immersive audio experience by pinpointing sounds from the exact spots from which they originate. DTS:X adds a height element to a surround sound system which improves sound accuracy. Without the need for additional speakers, and irrespective of the channel assignment or speaker placement, a compatible receiver can interpret and isolate an object’s location on-the-fly and direct its movement and volume.
In a commercial movie theater, an Atmos system employs 64 speakers but you can create an immersive experience your home theater with just 10. Basically, Dolby Atmos avoids the constraints of sounds being routed to specific channels. Instead, they are routed to particular speakers. This demo video explains it well: Dolby Atmos Demo Sound Test.
Rock Star Status
The blockbuster sensation “Bohemian Rhapsody” took full advantage of the Atmos technology and, in addition to a 4K image, provides a number of scenes showcasing Atmos on its UltraHD Blu-ray. The clearly defined sounds take you in and out of a sound studio and have you feeling like you’re a part of the Live Aid crowd singing “We are the Champions.”
According to Dolby, manufacturers can embed Atmos in both hardware and software, so that your game console, laptop, soundbar and even your smartphone, can support the technology. Are you ready to make immersive audio part of your home theater? Call The Loop Technologies for a demo or in-home consultation and we’ll make your theater legendary!
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