What is Dolby Atmos? - All facts you need to know

What is Dolby Atmos? - All facts you need to know


You have most certainly heard of Dolby Atmos at least once in your lifetime. If not, then you are still not aware of what you are missing! Home cinema isn't all just about the video; there is a lot of sound going around that needs to be caught.

Therefore, Dolby Atmos is there to do to the sound what 4K Ultra HD (for example) did once for the visual effects.

So, let's see what is Dolby Atmos home theater about and how can this thing make cinephiles and audiophiles excited. 

What is Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is a 5.1 surround system with some additional height channels that increase the sound quality by a lot, providing more enveloping room ambient sounds.

Simply put, instead of hearing some effects from the same height, you will be able to hear a helicopter rotating all over your head, or rain falling from above.

Basically, these are some new speakers with a configuration such as 5.1.4, meaning that there are 5 Dolby Atmos speakers all over your room, 4 height channel speakers, and one subwoofer. There are a lot of variations that you can use to enjoy one of the best audio systems out there.

For example, 5.1.2, 7.1.4, or even 7.1.2, will blow your mind acoustically. So, to break it down, Dolby Atmos setup isn't predefined by some number of channels.  It's defined by the ability to deliver some quite better sound experience (immersive).

For those curious enough, there is a Youtube video where you can test this system and find out its limits.

Dolby Atmos vs surround sound: What Dolby Atmos does differently?

Dolby Atmos is a brand new audio system, more advanced surrounding system than any in the world. So, what is its biggest difference? Well, Dolby Atmos, unlike any other sound you've heard before uses special heights to implement the sense of a sound like the very action is happening in front of you.

Needless to say, this results in immerse experience and what happened to be a big breakthrough in not only cinematic but music world as well.

It's possible to enjoy these effects with some great Dolby Atmos headphones such as SIVGA SV005 or Monolith M560. However, I would recommend getting some Dolby Atmos speaker and full 5.1. The system to enjoy the effects as best as you can.

How can I experience Dolby Atmos?

There are several ways of experiencing Dolby Atmos. Except for some theater experiences that I would personally recommend, you can feel the beauty of Dolby Atmos in the coziness of your own home, as well.

Dolby Atmos in my house

Firstly, to experience Dolby Atmos you will need some proper equipment. For example, a new receiver is a must-have! Of course, these things were expensive at first, but this year, with tech improvement, you can find some of the best quality receivers under $500 or so.

So, you might ask what you can watch that offers this experience at home. Currently, there are more than 50-60 Blu-rays out there that wait only for you. And those are all the finest pieces of cinematography in the new age. For example, Game of Thrones- you must see this one.

Finally, to be able to listen to Dolby Atmos effects, you can use some of your own existing equipment. Anyway, the minimum for Dolby Atmos system is 5.1.2. This means that there are 2 height speakers in your system. Dolby recommends adding some of them more to the ceiling.

At least four height speakers and you will be able to enjoy this amazing system in the coziness of your own home.

So, you are probably thinking about adding casual speakers on your ceiling and hoping to get the same effects. Well, that won't work. Of course, you will get some closer feeling of that rain falling down, but this isn't the way Dolby system works, and you will enjoy some different experience and not Dolby experience.

Dolby Atmos on my mobile

When Dolby Atmos was released, there were a lot of companies that wanted to incorporate this system into their mobile devices. Now, you can find this system on almost every new mobile device. For example, LG G6, Honor 8 Pro, Mi Max 2 and many others.

Except for these android devices, you might need a good headset to dive into the world of magic and sounds with style. I would personally recommend this gaming headset if you are looking to increase your experience in the gaming world (for example Overwatch supports Dolby Atmos), or some casual, stylish wooden earbuds like Symphonized NRG 3.0 Earbuds Headphones.

Dolby Atmos Requires Special Hardware and Content

Of course, all of these fancy things do not come without any price. What you will need are hardware and Dolby Atmos-enabled content.

By content, I mean a proper video that offers such Dolby Atmos experience, and by hardware, you will need a device that will support such kind of video.

To break it down, once you find the content, you will a device such as Apple TV 4k, Fire TV 4K device, or an Xbox One. These are the first steps of the Dolby Atmos system.

Afterward, you will need a good Dolby Atmos receiver to do the hardest job, through Dolby Atmos speakers that this receiver will use. Now, there is a catch. You don't have to have all of the Dolby Atmos speakers. No, you just need either upward-firing speakers or ceiling mounted speakers to complete the package.

These aforementioned two are the key to any Dolby Atmos system. Those upward-firing speakers are actually the speakers that will improve those effects when something is falling down from above, or rotating around your head.

If you are searching for some other (simplified) option, you can even go with a so-called soundbar that will act instead of your speakers and bounce the sound off your ceiling.

This, of course, won't produce the same experience as the full Dolby Atmos system would, but it will give you a good insight into what are you missing with not buying the full system.

What content can I watch in Dolby Atmos?

Since Dolby Atmos is relatively a new system, it's starting to grow really big. For example, the first ever movie that supported this system were Transformers: Age of Extinction. That was a few years ago, and besides that, there are already a lot of Dolby Atmos movies that you can enjoy in beautiful effects.

Most of Blu-ray formats support this system nowadays. Other than movies, there is a BT TV that added this system as a part of its 4K Ultra HD channels.

Furthermore, you can hear Atmos sound in Sky's offerings, nonetheless. Watching sports on Sports Premiere League channel was never more joyful.

Lastly, you can enjoy watching Netflix Dolby Atmos, for now only through several platforms such as Xbox one (Dolby Atmos Xbox one), Win 10, or LG OLED TVs (only after 2017).

Now, you will love this. There is actually a list of movies on Dolby's website providing you the names of movies with enabled Dolby Atmos sound. Not only that Dolby provides the list of movies which support this system but the list of upcoming movies that will offer this amazing surrounding system.

So, on Dolby Atmos official website, you can find all of the information of what movies will have Dolby sound enabled. For example, Star Wars: Episode IX with all of the battleships passing right above your head, Frozen 2 with magical fairies, Avengers 4 with a lot of action and none a sound to pass unnoticed, and much more!

Simply put, this system is something brand new that is growing really fast, and you would like to be in the first lines of finding of it.

Final word

In the light of everything of the aforementioned, we may conclude that Dolby Atmos was a breakthrough in the audiophile world. This system offers a whole new experience and joy of listening to music and watching movies.

However, there are several things that you need to think about before even considering to get this surrounding system for yourself.

Firstly, consider your room's size. You will need a wide room to put all of the equipment such as Dolby Atmos receiver, Dolby Atmos soundbar, speakers, etc. Once you put them on a decent range, you will be able to create so-called “sound bed”, and enjoy inside of your own bed to these miraculous effects.

Secondly, you will need a bit of investment in a new receiver, some speakers, and of course- height speakers. The most important part of Dolby Atmos set is to have great height speakers. In the end, they are the most deserving part of Dolby Atmos experience.

They say, once you experience such sound effects, you never go back to the classic sounds…

I say they are totally right.  So, are you willing to take such step into the new world of sounds with just a bit of investment?

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